Ripple Effect : Yoga & Self-Care for Helpers

Mara Branscombe and I are thrilled to team up with One Yoga to offer this event in the community. After years of offering yoga to different organizations in the DTES we recognized a need to support the staff who were attending with their clients. Join us for an afternoon of gentle yoga, breath work and take-homes from our sponsors.

No yoga experience required. All abilities, bodies and genders welcome! 

This event is free of cost and open to all youth workers, outreach staff, counsellors, social workers, or anyone who identifies as a helper. Click here to register and reserve your space.

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January is Live Music Month

Join us in January for 4 Mondays of Yoga and Live Music featuring a different local artist each week! A gentle flow class to get the body warm followed by relaxing and restorative shapes. 
January 9 - Ellyn Woods
January 16 - Kaya Malou
January 23 - Jody Okabe
January 30 - Desiree Dawson

The artists
Ellyn Woods: 
Indie folk singer-songwriter, living in Vancouver. 
Currently working on new acoustic EP.

Kaya Malou:

Jody Okabe:

Desiree Dawson:

Clases held from 7:30 - 9:00pm at Yoga on 7th. Drop-ins $15 or class card.


Click here for more details.




Practicing yoga kicks ass on not practicing

I came across the best fitness article I've seen in a long time where Will Gadd (whom I've admired for quite some time) says, "Doing something physical, pretty much every day, kicks ass on not doing something physical"

See article full article here

What a refreshing read. It's true, doing something always trumps not doing anything. Often we get so preoccupied with choosing the "right" or best exercises we lose sight of what's really important- moving our bodies. Same goes with yoga, there is no shortage of advice on the internet telling you what time of day to practice, what to eat (or not eat) before and after, which style is best, what to look for in a studio, bla bla bla. Like Will says, doing something physical [practicing yoga] kicks ass on not doing so. I used to get so worried about scheduling a precisely sequenced practice, at the same time each morning (because I heard you must practice before 6am), before breakfast, but after a warm lemon water, before checking my iphone, but after pooping... you get the point; and when things inevitably didn't line up I would end up skipping the practice all together. Sure, there are days and times in our life we we can orchestrate the ideal regime, but other times it just aint happening.

A few years ago someone gave me the most simple yet useful ever, which was just to sit on your mat every day. It seems too straightforward, but giving myself permission to do a quick 10-minute sequence consisting of nothing more than a balasana (child's pose) and a supine twist actually resulted in practicing more than ever. Telling myself I was just going to do a few minutes often resulted in long, free-flowing creative practices and progressing in my asana practice. And other days, it was just nice to take minutes out for a quick seat and a few moments inverted.

I admire the dedication of the many fierce yogis in my community who are so regimented and dedicated to their practice. I miss the time in my life where I did a 2-hour ashtanga practice each day and I predict I will go back to it in my future. But as a full time grad student, yoga teacher, partner, addictions counsellor, recovering from an injury (who also has a full time job), I can't always swing it. The ex-varsity athlete, kinesiologist inside me cringes at the idea of suggesting non-specific workouts, but the thing is- most of us aren't professional athletes. And those of you who are, I admire you to the moon and back. Will Gadd has had a successful athletic career as a professional climber, ice-climber, paraglider and kayaker; and if doing "something" works for him, it works for me! 

Big love to everyone who finds ways to move, practice and embody truth amongst the chaos. xo.



Root to Rise Launch Party

Root to Rise has been a dream project for me since its conception over 3 years ago. The class, originally established to serve young people from Covenant House, has since taken many shapes. Today, our goal is to make yoga accessible to young people in Vancouver by offering a free yoga practice to anyone 25 years old and younger. We are thrilled to be adding a second class (7:45-8:45pm) on Fridays to the long standing Wednesday afternoon class. Please join myself & Matthew Burditt Friday March 4th for the official launch Party. Check it out on Facebook! There will be an all levels yoga practice, live music and plenty of vegan snacks. The event is FREE of cost and we especially encourage young folks to come on down!


Emotional Bodies and Embodied Emotions

Yogis have been familiar with this idea for a long time, lucky for us science is catching up. Perhaps this video will seem obvious to those of us who have wanted to scream in a long lizard pose or balled our eyes out after a series of backbends, but the fact that this information is making its way into mainstream media, I believe to be quite radical. I am grateful to live in a time where these conversations are happening; and quite frankly, the more the merrier. I dream of a world where discussions about emotional baggage in our hips or vulnerability in our back body are part of everyday small talk rather than some freaky thing your yoga teacher ranted about in last night's class. 

Yoga for Climbers

Two of my favourite things: Yoga and Climbing. 

I am pleased to be teaming up with Mountain Equipment Co-op to offer a "Yoga for Climbers" workshop Tuesday April 14th 7:00 - 8:30pm. 

The workshop is FREE for MEC members, however space is limited. Click here for more info and to register. 


  • Date: Tuesday, 14 April, 2015
  • Time: From 07:30 pm to 09:00 pm PDT
  • Organizer: MEC North Vancouver
  • Price: Free

Whether you're bouldering at the gym or multi-pitch climbing The Chief, yoga will help improve your performance and prevent injury!

Balance, core strength, body awareness, and focus are foundational to yoga and essential for all climbers. Join us for a climbing-specific yoga class, to learn from an expert yogi and rock climber which poses and flows will serve you best on the wall!

This clinic is FREE for MEC members. No previous yoga experience is required. Please bring whatever gear you have (mats, straps, blocks) to share, as extras are limited :)

**Please register in-store or online to reserve your spot in our first climbing-related seminar of 2015!

About the Instructor: Raelene Hodgson is a passionate climber, Registered Yoga Teacher, and former MEC staffer! This lucky lady has climbed all over the world and teaches at The Hive Bouldering Gym, with her ACMG Gym Instructor certification. Raelene has a degree in Kinesiology from UBC and helps people enjoy the benefits of yoga at various events and studios around Vancouver. 

To find out more, visit:

If you have any questions, please call the store or email


Body what???

For the last few years it seems like every yoga class, washroom and coffee shop I go to, people are dropoin' the "bodywork" word left, right and centre. One late, internet-land night I decided to do a little research and typed, "what is bodywork" into google. 
Here's what it said:

1.    Bodywork is a term used in alternative medicine to describe any therapeutic or personal development technique that involves working with the human body in a form involving manipulative therapy, breathwork, or energy medicine.

Awesome. About as helpful as asking google "what is love.” So I tabled that search for meaning for a few years. But like all good quests for meaning, they always have a way of sneaking back into our consciousnesses. A few serendipitous things happened and I found myself receiving some of this illustrious bodywork  (reiki, accupressure, jin shin do, lomi-lomi, etc). However, I never really stopped to question why or how or acknowledge that I had, myself, become a bodywork user. I did, however, start to slowly accept the role of energy in this mystical world.

Then, almost one year ago, my life got shooken right up. I suffered a serious injury to my neck that was both physical and energetic in nature. I wont get into the details, but it wasn't pretty. Alongside my physical and neurological symptoms, my chief concern was the anxiety and vertigo that accompanied not being able to feel my limbs. A lot of the physical injury cleared quickly but the fear remained and manifested itself in a big way.

Of course, the kinesiologist, virgo, ex-varsity athlete, problem-solver me wanted answers and I wanted them NOW. I wanted a diagnosis, a few physio exercises, some NSAIDS and to get back to my 4-jobs, daily power-vinyasa, over-achieving lifestyle by the end of the week. Turns out, the universe had other plans for me...

This whole process, and I say process because it certainly is not complete (and never will be for that matter), has taught me a hell of a lot more than can possibly be contained this blog post. It has also helped me to answer, or un-answer, “what is bodywork.”

Sure, it's easy(easier) to believe in energy and to feel the benefits of shoulder stand from your twenty-something fit and able-bodied self. But how do you practice this when all of a sudden you can't sweat out your fears, backbend your heart into answers, run 10kms away from your problems or stay in headstand for clarity? Aren't these the tools I had practiced so hard to serve me in life's challenges? I found myself resentful of this once sacred energy, this connecting to the divine through the physical body and I couldn't keep on pretending to fart lotuses (to quote one of my favourite teachers). I was mad at yoga. 

So, like I always do, I did everything- physiotherapy 3x/week, chiropractor, massage, x-rays, doctors’ appointments galore. Nothing worked. Nothing. Even my doctor couldn't understand how I could clear a CT scan with flying colours and have such limited mobility in the joints and muscles of my neck. 

Then, (through another serendipitous encounter), this "bodywork" stuff reappeared in my life. First, from a yoga student who emailed me out of the blue saying she felt called to gift me some healing. During my time with her I felt things I never knew were possible- I felt anger, fear, joy, and little pulses of electricity that made me feel simultaneously more alive and more relaxed then I ever felt (I should add, her bodywork is so gentle, she barely touched me). All that potent bodywork and energy, I was convinced I would hop right off that table magically fixed, and be back to advanced inversions by dinner time. And then I wasn't. Fiercely disappointed that I hadn't been handed a miracle on a silver platter, I left our session feeling more anger. However, like all things good, real, and magical, healing is not a linear process and integration doesn't happen in a line.

After some anger, vertigo, sadness, more anger and a small divorce from practicing and teaching yoga all together, I decided I needed to do something to un-funk myself. I said to one of my teachers, I can’t practice yoga anymore. To which she replied, no- you can’t practice yoga the way you’re used to. Those words really stuck with me. It pushed me to break out of my one-track asana mind and explore the other 7 limbs. I started attending restorative classes (admittedly practiced yoga for 10 years and not once took a restorative class), yin classes, kirtan, reading, meditating, pranayama, practicing some of the kriyas, and walking my dog in the forest A LOT. For a few months I was so limited in what I could do without getting “the spins” as I call it, that all I could do was walk. Through this practice of doing “less,” I learned more about myself than I knew was possible.

I digress from the “what is bodywork question” but here is where it all comes together.  This quote pretty much sums things up:

 “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple” –Dr. Seuss

Over the holidays, a long time friend, Sarah Harvie, offered to give me some bodywork. She explained that bodywork is different for everyone and to everyone. She uses a combination of yoga nidra, massage therapy, cranio-sacral, guided meditation and somatic emotional release. After my session with her, I don’t really give a shit what you want to label it. I set an intention to let go of my fear and Sarah worked with me on a deep level. I felt safe and relaxed the entire time. The things that had previously surfaced for me in my other bodywork session seemed to integrate and I felt an understanding in my body that I didn’t need to think about or put words to in my mind. In a state of deep relaxation and complete surrender to my fears I felt tears streaming down my face without feeling an ounce of sadness or any cognitive awareness I was crying. I wasn’t “crying” per say, I was releasing emotional trauma that had manifested itself physically. I let go of anger, I let go of fear and I felt an enormous releasing of the muscles in my neck; it was as if my cervical spine could breathe again.

I have to admit, as soon as she left the room I started moving my head around a lot (despite her advice to move slow and chill out). I hadn’t been able to put my neck in any degree of extension (aka- looking up) for months. Although I was excited with my new found range of motion I didn’t feel the urge to jump back into a powerful asana practice full-force. I have regained a lot of my mobility and could probably safely return to my old practice routine, but I am finding myself enjoying some of the sweeter and simpler things life has to offer me. Some days my yoga practice is lying over my bolster and breathing, I now feel excited about this instead of guilty. I like the soft spot I have acquired on my belly. I love my 2-hour restorative class with a bunch of 60+ year-olds I now attend once a week. Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up and feel differently; but for now I am finding Santosha (contentment) in a more sustainable practice and I believe this is my work.

So perhaps google’s answer that bodywork is "any therapeutic or personal development" is more accurate than I thought. Maybe we don’t need to label it or define it anymore than that. Maybe bodywork is walking your dog in the forest, who am I to say? 

One love,


Check out Sarah Harvie Integrative bodywork here.

Grassroots: My kind of festival

Yoga + music + permaculture + trail running + bee keeping + slack lining + food trucks + community potlucks = My kind of festival. 

I have always believed yoga extends far beyond the mat; Grassroots honours exactly that. It is an event created around community that acknowledges the yogi way to practice sustainability and learn from each other while supporting local, grassroots initiatives. (and have a little fun too). I am thrilled to be collaborating with local dj and musician DOGWOK to share yoga and conscious music in a creative way. If you haven't checked it out yet head to and explore all the local yoga teachers, musicians, performers, vendors and more who are contributing to this awesome festival!

Cool Body Movements For Anatomy Nerds

I love anatomy. There, I said it. During my time studying kinesiology I was also beginning to get deeper into practicing yoga and my infatuation with anatomy via yoga was born. I always keep my eyes peeled for cool videos and images that portray just how f"*king cool the human body really is. Unfortunately, more times than not, the focus of these pieces is on the female skin covering these bones or the consumerism of the clothes these bodies are wearing (or not wearing).

A good doctor friend and fellow anatomy nerd of mine sent me this video and it was just what I was looking for! Refreshing, inspiring and delicious to remind ourselves just how awesome the human skeleton is and what the practice of yoga can do for it. Enjoy. 

State of the Art



Sate of the Art ~ World Ski & Snowboard Festival

Don't miss Alex Guiry's photography at Skull Candy's State of the Art event at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC. His work along with many other local artists' will be on display from April 11 - 20, 2014.

Alex Guiry Of all the things during my travels, yoga would become the point of reference that would help anchor my soul and bring my creative side out of the shadows. Now I have this little Buddha in me, but six feet under I have this attraction to a dark dangerous past, of sex, adrenaline, that’s sunk in booze. I walk these lines at all times, and people have a tough time reading between the two. I have always been a widely misunderstood person but photography has become my platform to not be stood under, but understood. My current state of photography rests in expressing my subject’s story- Their struggle, feats, and fruitful realities. That conversation you have when we weave our doubts and dreams into favorable scenes. 

My name is Alex Guiry, and I’m a lifestyle photographer & writer from Vancouver. My work revolves around surfing, camping, travelling, & fashion- with undertones of pain, mental health, addiction, Zen philosophy, sex & culture. I do my best to pass emotion on, stir conventional views, and leave people affected while staying true to myself, then the people I work with.


Instagram: @alexguiry