Whoa! It’s September already!
Come and get your ya-yas out with some yoga and pilates, some deep breaths, a few good swears and a lot of laughs! I’m look forward to welcoming some new faces into our zany fold this fall.
Basement Fusion classes will resume on Wednesdays from 6-7pm, and Saturdays from 11am-noon. Classes begin September 7 and run through December 10, and there will not be a class on Saturday Sept. 24th. Prices are as usual: $15 to drop in, 4 for $50, or 8 for $80.
For anyone interested in getting their groove on, I am also teaching Contemporary Dance on Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm at the DSN Drop-in Centre (236 Dundas St). This is a class for adults of all levels, and beginners are definitely welcome. Drop me a line if you have any questions, or get more details here.
WHY FUSION? All forms of movement are connected. What’s called temple pose in yoga is also known as a grand plié in second in ballet. What pilates instructors call spine flexion and extension is the same movement yogis call cat/cow. Mixing all the movement styles I have learned into my classes is only natural, because it’s what I do in my personal practice.
A little of this and a little of that is one way to find balance in my body, and each movement discipline has important lessons to teach. Yoga’s steady breathing, pilates’ focus and flow, and dance’s opportunities for expressing emotion all blend beautifully together.
The word fusion allows me to mix and match the elements that work best for my students, and challenges me to find new ways to move. Sometimes I add a little tai chi, or a strength training exercise. Sometimes I invent something new while experimenting between styles.
Fusion is my way of celebrating the infinite possibilities contained within our human bodies. Try it for yourself with one of my Fusion Quickie videos.
WHY DANCE? Helping us get around in space is one of the primary functions of our brains. To move is to live, and to move rhythmically is very human.
Our brains love patterns, and even the simplicity of walking left foot, right foot, left, right, brings us joy. It is incredibly hard for me to imagine not dancing, especially after 25 years of training.
Even when injuries prevented me from participating in the advanced classical forms I was used to, I still found ways to move to music. I swayed in my seat, I danced with my arms, I let emotions move through my body and direct it in space – even if I had to move very, very slowly while I was healing.
Expressing yourself through movement doesn’t require years of training, just the willing suspension of self-consciousness. Although I’ve always enjoyed complex movements, anyone can enjoy letting the music guide them into a groove.
I often teach simple movements from my dance training in yoga or pilates classes because they feel really good no matter what your level of experience. Rolldowns are one of my favourites, and you can learn about in this video.
WHY YOGA? I’ve been practicing yoga since before I was born. Apparently my mom thought the unitards were cool, and joined a class so she could wear the outfit.
She claims to have used her pregnant belly (aka, me!) as a bolster to lean on while practicing Upavistha Konasana (wide leg forward bend). Her impressive collection of yoga videos, plus her strong encouragement, inspired me to start my own practice as a teenager.
As an adult, I found out that the benefits went way beyond stretching. I use yoga breathing techniques to calm, energize or clarify my mind. As a dancer, I was always drawn to the more active, flowing styles of yoga, but I have learned there is equal value in stillness.
People sometimes ask what kind of yoga I teach, and that’s a tricky question. I’ve come to think of yoga not so much as a thing that I do, but as a way that I do things. That’s not to say I don’t practice classic poses – I do! Since they were designed to help a person practice the HOW of yoga, they are an easy way to get to my calm centre. And I apply the principles of yoga to all my movement practices. I breathe deeply, I aim to balance strength and softness, and I seek out moments of stillness even when I’m in motion.
My yoga teacher training, plus my long injury history, taught me how to modify and adapt poses so they would be do-able by any body. I love finding ways to make yoga work for everyone.
The first yoga video I ever owned was Sarah Ivanhoe’s Joy of Yoga, which you can try here on youtube.
WHY PILATES? I was introduced to pilates in high school by my mom’s workout video collection (you can try Jennifer Kries’ classic 1996 workout on youtube). I was originally drawn to its ballet aesthetic. I’d been taking ballet classes since the age of 6, so pointed toes and long lines were already very familiar. We always did sit-ups and crunches as a warm-up in dance class, so I knew strong abs were important.
The principles of precision and flow appealed to my dancer brain, and like yoga, pilates uses the breath to bring awareness to the body. Later on, when I discovered my naturally extreme flexibility actually made me more prone to injury, I used pilates to balance my bendiness with strength. But it wasn’t until I took my teacher training that I truly understood the importance of activating the deepest abdominals. It’s actually their job to keep the body in steady alignment, and now I’ve made it my mission to spread the word.
The first thing I teach to new students is how to engage their transverse abdominus, and it has a huge impact not only on how they move but how they understand their bodies. To try it yourself, check out my Pilates Quick Fix video.
What do you get when you combine three sassy ladies, a funky soundtrack, lots of core strengthening and a whole bunch of belly laughs? You get Piladies Night! I’m really excited to start this semi-private class back up again.
Tonight’s 8:30 class is full but I’m looking to start more sessions. You and a couple friends can have a pilates-fusion class of your own, and I can help match you with some sassy new friends if yours aren’t available.
I have times available most nights of the week, and prices are very reasonable. Message me if you’re interested and I’ll hook you up!