100 Faces- 10 Years of QSY

This post was written by QSY Director, Leena Miller Cressman.

This fall, Queen Street Yoga turns 10! It’s a significant milestone as a small business and as a community. According to this article by Forbes, only about one-third of small business survive 10 or more years. Yippee, beating the odds! In addition to throwing an awesome party to celebrate (more on that later on), I wanted to share some of the story of how Queen Street Yoga came to be what it is today.

DSC_6433Just over ten years ago Meaghan Johnson, a Kitchener native, founded the studio. From the story I remember Meaghan telling me, at the time she wasn’t planning to open a large yoga studio. However, someone tipped her off about this beautiful space with glowing hardwood floors, big windows and high ceilings that used to be a dance studio, but now was sitting vacant. (Before it was a dance studio our space was a club called Pop the Gator- if anyone has photos or stories about that send them our way!) Meaghan arranged to visit the vacant space, and upon walking into the space she exclaimed, “Well shit, now I have to open a yoga studio. This space is too perfect.”

image (5)The studio opened with a staff of several other teachers in addition to Meaghan, and always had an emphasis on mindful, alignment-based yoga, with a grassroots community feel. Meaghan once told me that she opened the studio with about $1,000 and slowly invested and grew the business from there. This gradual model of growth, alongside a lot of community support, thoughtful offerings, and caring, dedicated students, teachers and administrators is why we’re still open and still growing today, ten years later. Continue reading

Emma says Goodbye to Wednesdays and Saturdays

IMG_5315When I first started teaching at Queen Street Yoga in January of 2011, I felt like the luckiest person alive. I had just finished my teacher training, and Meaghan (QSY’s founder and then-owner) came to a class I was teaching in Uptown Waterloo, and hired me on the spot! I was nervous and excited to start teaching at QSY. The first regular class I taught was a Thursday community class at 6pm.

A year later I was teaching drop-in classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When I first started teaching on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the class sizes were much smaller. I often taught classes of 2 or 3. Now the classes are full of regular students, usually no less than 15 (and the occasional Saturday is overflowing at 35!) It has felt so rewarding to build relationships with so many people over the years. I have often said to students that my teaching is a co-creation – I couldn’t do it without them! (Really. I would just be talking to an empty room.)

My teaching schedule has been getting fuller and fuller in the past few years. I teach a number of pre-registered courses (Intro to Yoga, Yoga for Round Bodies) and I oversee the Intro to Yoga program, mentoring our new teachers in how to most effectively teach beginners. I love teaching Rest & Renew, and the pace of teaching Basics classes really appeals to me (lots of time to get exploratory in the subtle movements and sensations of the poses.) This September Leena and I will begin teaching our second Yoga Teacher Training program, with an amazing group of enthusiastic learners. 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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Embodied Teaching

This post is by English professor and yoga teacher, Aimee Morrison. You can find Aimee teaching a rocking drop-in Expanding Flow Class every Sunday at 7:45pm starting in May!

Before class, I changed my shirt–I was just reviewing my lesson plan and I could see that what I was wearing was going to work against my teaching.

In class, I got a student to come to the front of the room. We linked arms and sat waaaaay back. People partnered up and swayed together.

“Watch me,” I said: “Can you see the curve in my low back?” And then: “Put your hand on your lower back–can you feel a curve there?” And then, turning around, “Now look–watch my shoulder blades come together when I move my arms like this.” (This was why I switched to racer-back tank top from the Internet t-shirt I had on originally.)

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Why I’m Afraid to Become a Yoga Teacher

Tomasz Stasiuk - Do not fear failure

Photo by Tomasz Stasiuk

Our next Yoga Teacher Training Program begins in September 2015. Maybe you are thinking of applying, but some fears or insecurities are nipping at your heels. In this post, Marta (one of our 2014 Yoga Teacher Trainees, who recently graduated from our program) shares about the fear and anxiety that can come along with pursuing something that you love. 

Fear.  It happens to all of us.  I’m not talking about the kind of fear that makes you leap out of bed in the middle of the night and run to the bathroom so the monsters don’t catch you and gobble you up (so far so good on that one).  I’m talking about the fear of not being awesome.

I love yoga.  I love doing yoga, reading about yoga, watching yoga, talking about yoga… you get the drift.  Yoga has enriched my life in ways that I never imagined possible.  It has given me tools to help manage my anxiety and depression.  It has taught me how to practice happiness.  It has challenged me to take a close look at what I think, how I speak, how I behave, and it is still doing so every day.  It has taught me how to breathe.

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How Yoga Teacher Training Helped me Find My Voice

KayVee INC - Wearing your heart on your sleeve

Has speaking in public ever been a fear of yours? One of our Yoga Teacher Trainees was dead-scared of speaking in front of people – now 8 months through the program that has changed a great deal for her. Read on to hear about Jess’ journey in finding her voice.

Finding my voice

Months ago (I can’t believe it’s already been that long) we started our teacher training program by introducing ourselves and by sharing an item that was particularly special to us. We sat in a circle and shared our names for the very first time. When the spotlight hit me, I shared that public speaking, or speaking in any group setting really, made me extremely uncomfortable. It was something I was consciously working on, but it still proved to be a bit of a hurdle. I’d brought a mala necklace with a smoky quartz stone, that I had recently started wearing, that acted as a constant reminder that I could open my mind to connect with my voice. Even just sharing this with the group made my palms sweat, my heart race and my face hot. Explaining the discomfort made me even more uncomfortable- shocking, right? I knew that this program would challenge me in more ways than one, but I also know that they very best kind of learning and growth comes when you are uncomfortable. So here I was, ready to learn.

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