Cool It!: A short practice to calm the nervous system & release the lower back and hips

This post and sequence was created by Leena as a follow up to last week’s post on #Selfcare, Restorative Yoga & Community Acupuncture.

The first few weeks of September are this funny in-between time. We’re on the threshold of transitions: the end of vacations, the weather turning (eventually) from summer to fall, back to school, back to routine, etc. Here at the studio we are gearing up for a packed fall schedule of special offerings, including lots of great pre-registered courses and a nearly sold-out Yoga Teacher Training program.

Here’s a quick little practice to help you cool off and calm down in this early September heat wave. It’s a great sequence for helping to soothe an over-reactive nervous system and find more ease in the lower back and hips. It would be nice as a before-bed sequence to help you get a good night of sleep. You can even do the last pose, legs up the wall, against your headboard. Enjoy! Continue reading

#Selfcare: Community Acupuncture and Restorative Yoga at QSY

We are excited to introduce weekly Community Acupuncture at QSY with Registered Acupuncturist Nir Saar! In this post QSY director, Leena, explains the primary functions of the nervous system, and how exhaustion of the nervous system can lead to a myriad of health problems. Leena is a big proponent of restorative yoga and acupuncture, and she details how restorative and acupuncture can help regulate and heal an exhausted nervous system, and boost your health on many levels. Read towards the end of the post to get a sense of how Community Acupuncture, which is super affordable, will operate at QSY.

stress free zone- thornypupStress is a dirty word in our busy North American, urbanized society, and no doubt many of us experience stress on a regular, if not daily basis. But more technically speaking, at the level of the body and nervous system, stress is actually neutral. It’s how we process stress that makes all the difference.

Stress is what your body/mind does to adapt to change. Our bodies evolved in environments where responding to change usually involves some amount of muscular action, like to run away from a tiger (muscles spring tighter to take action, eyes focus, heart rate increases), and the mode of your nervous system called the sympathetic mode is utilized. Continue reading

Yoga & The Importance of Touch: Self Massage and Massage Therapy

katerina garceaThis post is from Katerina, one of our Registered Massage Therapists. Katerina attends regular classes at the studio and in this blog post considers the relationship between yoga practice and therapeutic touch.

Queen Street Yoga is a place of many things for me. It is a workplace, a third place (a place between work and home) and a spiritual place. It is a place where my understanding of anatomy and kinetics of the human body is deepened. It is a sanctuary where my learning from all these faculties meets and marinates and becomes the type of knowledge that can only be called embodied wisdom.

The Importance of Touch

Lately I have been contemplating the question, “How can massage and yoga work together to help us heal?”. This has lead me to think about the role of touch in the health and healing. As a massage therapist my job is to create an environment where my clients feel safe and relaxed with my touch; an individual on my massage table should always feel like they are the one in control. In massage, touch plays the role of a tool in a tool-belt designed to help us journey towards a healthful relationship with our body. Massage can be used as a tool to decrease a muscle spasm, scar tissue and pain,Anthony Easton- Seraphic Massage and during the last year I have also seen massage used to help Alzheimer’s patients return to a sense of self and aid anxiety sufferers in feeling control over their symptoms. Massage with a trusted therapist can be an experience of healthy and safe touch. As adults we may experience less touch in our lives than we did as children, and therapeutic touch can be an important part of experiencing our bodies. Continue reading

Water Kefir – post by Leena

image (2)Gut health has been in the news a lot lately. It seems like every week I come across a new piece of research about the inner environment of our guts and implications of the levels of good bacteria and probiotics in the gut for our overall health. And I’m not just talking about physical health, new studies are showing that probiotics may even improve mental and emotional well being and decrease anxiety. This interview I heard on Science Friday from NPR News discusses how probiotic-laced broth reduced anxiety and stress in mice.

In humans, this interesting study found that four weeks of regular intake of probiotic yogurt by healthy women affected activity in the brain regions that control central processing of emotion. Continue reading

Tips for Going Upside Down — A Handstand Post from Aimée

I love doing handstands. I love kicking up and feeling my heels tap the wall. I love pressing down through my hands and up through my tailbone and my feet. I love the way the reversal of gravity feels on my spine. I love how free my toes feel. I love that feeling of trying out my (very wobbly) balance and feeling the whole length of my legs balancing from my pelvis. I love that a tiny wiggle of one of my fingers can send me all the way over to one side or another.

I do handstands as often as I can, just for the sheer joy of it.

I used to take gymnastics when I was a kid (I was never any good at it at all, ever, but I LOVED it) and as a result was always doing cartwheels and somersaults and wheel poses and handstands at the wall in my living room during the commercial breaks of TV shows. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t do this. I know I was still doing it in high school–here’s a picture of me doing a headstand against the wall that somehow wound up getting taken and ultimately placed in a family album.

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Enliven Your Spine with an Ergonomic Desk

Do you identify with this photo?

posture-skeletonMany of us do. Many of us use computer stations or laptops that are not positioned well for us to maintain healthy posture. Andy, Leena and I have become aware of the effects of non-ergonomic computer use while we’re working away at the studio, and we’ve been experimenting with different ways of elevating our screens, keyboards and mice so that we can work in a more optimal position for our spines. Check out the various desk arrangements we’ve experimented with. We are lucky to have lots of yoga blocks around to play with! Over the course of the day, we alternate between standing and sitting desk arrangements. (Read more about the benefits of standing desks in this article). We also try to take regular stretch breaks (which sometimes turn into dance breaks in the front studio) to move our bodies and rest our eyes. Continue reading

A Heart-Warming Letter about Yoga from QSY Student Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell wrote this letter to us about how yoga has changed his life. He feels that yoga has played a large part in lowering his blood pressure and allowing his body to do a “natural bypass” to assist a blocked coronary artery. It has also helped him relate more effectively with his teenage son, and enjoy running his company. We are so happy that Glen stepped out of his comfort zone to join us at the studio, and we are so happy to see him so regularly in class! 

It was January of 2014 when I got hit with some bad news regarding my health. I had the same health issue five years earlier and it had returned. It was my heart again! I had been doing all the right things (diet, weight loss, don’t smoke, reducing stress and exercising) but my body rejected the stents that were put in my right coronary artery. It was 100% blocked again! My doctor told me nothing can be done surgically as it’s a difficult repair. Drugs were my only option and to just hope for the best. Every day I woke up and wondered if this would be the day I would have a heart attack. I could get through my day but if I did a little more than moderate cardio I could feel the pain in my chest. It was hard to plan for the future when I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the day. Not a great way to live. It was the darkest time of my life.

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Reposition Your Internal Self

ImageScientists say it takes seven-ten years to regenerate and replace every cell in your body, including bones and organs. A whole new body every 7 years! And, of course, many cells, such as your skin cells, regenerate much more quickly. Of course there is a strong genetic matrix that you are rebuilding upon, but that generation is also responding to whatever it is we’re asking of our bodies. Continue reading