Leena’s Learning Break

This post is from QSY Director, Leena Miller Cressman about her plans to take a 6-week break from teaching. Leena will be back to teaching January 12. In the meantime, all her classes will still be on the schedule, and will be taught by our other excellent teachers. You can check out the live schedule here.

I love teaching. I love guiding folks through these embodiment explorations we call yoga. I love watching a student take a deeper breath, or release tension from their jaw. I love seeing the exhilaration on someone’s face when they kick up to their first handstand. I love the peaceful, resonant sound of a whole group singing the sound of Aum at the end of class.

Getting to teach yoga as a profession, and lead our community at QSY is an enormous privilege.

When you love something deeply, it can be easy to forget that you still need breaks and healthy boundaries. You still need time to refresh and explore things from a new perspective.

I recently had a great conversation with a university professor friend of mine. I shared with her that it felt challenging to juggle the administrative work of running the studio, teaching public classes, workshops and yoga teacher training, and also make space for research and development and learning. Without much time for my own learning, it was feeling difficult to be as refreshed and innovative as I’d like to be when I teach. She pointed out that this is the precise reason for sabbaticals in the academic world. Every three years or so, tenured academics get a period where they are free from their teaching load, they lessen their administrative duties, and they get to pour themselves wholeheartedly into their research and learning. Since I don’t have a PhD I’ll just call what I need a “learning break.” Continue reading

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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

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.)

Continue reading

A Year of Yoga Musings

This post was written by Lisa French, one of our newest QSY teachers. Lisa participated in our 2014 Yoga Teacher Training Program and wrote this reflection at the very end of the program. Our next Yoga Teacher Training program will begin in September 2015. If you’re curious about our program, please come to an info session in March or April. Read on for a glimpse into the process of becoming a yoga teacher, through Lisa’s eyes.

YTT 2015 info sessions

This past weekend was the final weekend of a year long journey into yoga teacher training.  It has been everything that I expected and so much more.  Here are some of my thoughts recorded over the span of the entire year in no particular order. Continue reading

Yoga Teachers are Real People

Kristian Bjonard

OPhoto by Kristian Bjornard

 

Our 2014 Yoga Teacher Training wrapped up this past weekend, and our graduates are now fanning out across Kitchener, beginning to make their own individual, unique paths in the world of teaching yoga! We wish them lots of continued learning, and send them off with this sweetly humorous post from Teacher Training graduate Tiffany.

I have to admit that, prior to starting my Yoga Teacher Training, I had pretty stereotypical pre-conceived notions about yoga teachers and the kind of lives that they lead. To paint an exaggerated caricature; picture an always smiling, socially responsible and community involved super-yogi. You know the type…they practice advanced postures every day, teach mind melting sequences and are completely body omniscient. (Not to mention the deliciously slow pace at which they seem to live.) Calm. Accepting. Flexible.

So when I started the teacher training program in January, part of me assumed that I would slowly start to adopt some of these qualities- at least the body omniscience, flexibility and calm. My expectations for my asana practice were set high. (Intensity, frequency, progress, etc.) I figured that I’d make it to the studio twice a week and practice for at least 30 minutes on the days that I couldn’t get there. I’d write a couple of new sequences each week and make time each day to do a bit of reading and homework. Obviously, with all of this practice, my hamstrings would open up and by half way through the program I’d be able to perfectly demo for my students… Continue reading