Enjoy this weeks blog from Chris. He is an inspiring, talented teacher and we are so thankful for his teachings and for being him. Check out his class and video at the end. Love.
(he is also the guy that made those cool mat bags you see us with)
I thought my story might be beneficial to people unsure of yoga's "power". Back in '78..... Yeah '78, I started my first serious sport.... Basketball. By '84 I was the top recruit from my city. I played a bit of University and City All-Star, but I knew it was pretty much over for me. I had taken it as far as I could, so I switched my focus to Beach Volleyball. And in just two years I played in the Labatt's Pro Beach tour. Needless to say all the jumping took it's toll on my knees and lower back! I never really stretched, even when I was weight training...... I never really thought about it.
Winter's were tough in Ontario and I hated them, until my friend Stefan took me snowboarding!
I moved to Whistler 6 months later where I absolutely fell in love with everything snowboarding offered. We played B-Ball and V-Ball in the summer, but my entire focus was snowboarding. Living in Whistler is "All Extreme"!
After riding 100+ days a year for 5 yrs. my body was WRECKED!
To date I've broken 9 bones and am waiting for my knees to be operated on.
My left femur break in '97 was my catalyst for leaving Whistler. With my knees, hips, and back messed up, I moved to Vancouver. Here I joined a great gym and took dance classes. My body slowly transformed but I still didn't focus on flexibility. I have had many friends mention yoga to me and one of the Pro snowboarders, Martin Gallant did yoga every morning and he is still at it. He's had sponsors for over 20yrs. and still rides, bikes, and surfs at a high level........ I saw the power of yoga.
So on my 40th birthday I took my first yoga class. It was really embarrassing but at the end of the class, I was hooked! It took me another 3 years to sit crossed-legged, but every class I noticed changes and improvements. I was taking 1-3 classes a week and about a year into it, the teacher didn't show up. I said: 'I've been practicing at home.... Would you like me to guide you through my practice?' And the other students said: "Sure, we came here for a stretch".
Then, shortly after, my friend Josh came to teach and he said: "I'm the most un-flexible yoga teacher you'll ever meet". It was the best thing I could have heard and I thought you really don't have to be the master to teach, you just need to be passionate about the process. And that I was!!
My next step was to find a teacher training that clicked with me. My tattooist Steve Moore took me to Eoin Finn's class at Kit's house......
And I had found my teacher. I got my teaching chops at Kitsilano Workout where I taught Power Yoga, Hip Hop, and Dance Yoga Mix (My creation...... Now called "Hip Hop Yoga")
Since then I have added One Yoga for the People, Chopra Yoga Centre, Exhale Studio, and YYoga to my resume. I am also running workshops, yoga and surf retreats, and making beautiful yoga bags.
Teaching fulltime is a very physical but incredible experience. It reminds me of my team sport's days, when the room is electric, and
everyone is practicing with passion!! It's really incredible when some days you show up for class, and you are down and sore....... And the students pick you up, and you leave feeling amazing!!.......... Everyone is a teacher and a student.
It's truly amazing how diverse the Vancouver yoga community is!! I tend to be more drawn to the powerful and playful side of yoga. I take a lot on inspiration from Ryan Leier, Dustin Fruson, and Danny Paradise with their Ashtanga backgrounds Eoin studied Ashtanga as well, but he added a flowy "surf" vibe to his classes, which drew me in.Then after practicing with Christine Price-Clark, Sjanie Mcinnis, Suzanne Slocum-Gori and Natalie Rousseau..... The Anusara flow felt really juicy too!
I love to remix the styles and add creative sequencing to my power class............ Keep it challenging but keep it fresh and fun.
September 25th 2014 will be my 10th year and I'll be 50...... Wow
Many times I have pushed too hard in class and caused setbacks!! For the "A-type" athlete, sometimes just slowing down and taking the "yin" approach is really what's necessary (Thanks Danielle Hoogenboom). Lately I have been adding more "long hold" postures into my practice (Thanks Slava Goloubov).
Slava said in class the other day: "How you do anything is how you do everything". That really resonated with me and seemed to help quiet my mind allowing me to focus on a deep healing breath....
I'm still waiting to get both of my knees "scoped out", to clean meniscus tears and scar tissue. My amazing physiotherapist Sharon Spinder is untwisting my hips from snowboarding, and helping me release my extremely tight lower back, the result of heavy weightlifting.
But as the years roll on, my practice keeps improving. When my back's too inflamed I focus on my hips. I am so much more in tuned with my body now... Less ego and more compassion.
We have our good days and bad, but the most important thing is to make time to be on your mat. Over time it's amazing what you can accomplish if you just be consistent... Nothing has to happen yesterday!!
While Danny Paradise was doing an incredible long arm balancing sequence, he said... "It get's easier when you get older"!!!
He's in his 60's... I have some work to do!
Practice and Breathe
|A class with Chris|