Moksha Maple

Moksha Maple, we found you!

Moksha Maple, we found you!

What: Vinyasa Flow
When: Saturday, February 2 @ 1:30pm
Where: Moksha Maple (1480 Major Mackenzie Drive, Unit E8
Maple, ON
)
Who: Kyneret Azizo

 

In case you were unaware the littlest Fit Girl, our baby sister Anne, has decided to move to Toronto. Welcome Anne! Now that Anne has officially moved in, found a job, and has a few friends to hang out with, she needs something else to keep her busy. Naturally, Erin and I suggested yoga and running. But Anne was not having it. Some how joining the Toronto Roller Derby came to mind, but that’s a story for Anne to tell.

My last weekend in Toronto was coming up very fast, so Anne and I decided to make a trip to Vaughan Mills for a little shopping. How did this come about? Where Anne needed things to do I suggested she invest in a Passport to Prana to get to know the yoga studios in the city. It was an excellent time to buy because Passport to Prana was giving away a daily prize for those who bought or renewed their card. One day the prize happened to be a $100 gift card to Lululemon. Guess who won? Anne! So to get the most bang for her buck, I offered to drive us to the outlet store where Anne bought THE BEST purple tights and a running head band for me! Thanks, Anne!

Of course, because we drove all this way, I wanted to visit a new Moksha studio.

 

Anne is ready for some yoga!

Anne is ready for some yoga!

Our arrival to class was magical. The studio shone like a gem amongst a sea rocks. The colours of the studio were like the sea and the greeting we received was warm and inviting. The studio is two years old, but it still smelled brand new.

Our class was also very great. As soon as Kyneret began instructing rhythm and breath, I knew right away, from the tempo of class, she was a vinyasa teacher. But when she sang the ABC’s to our abs sequence (this was the first thing we did in class) I had my doubts for the moment. As the class when on I began to have a lot of fun. We powered through the hour building upon a basic sequence to more and more challenging poses. I liked Kyneret’s series and teaching style very much, and Anne did too.

If I’m ever out that way again I wouldn’t miss the chance to visit Moksha Maple again. Jackie, the studio director, made sure to invite us back. I will be back, Jackie and Kyneret, and when I do I will be a Moksha teacher too!

 

Funky, funky vinyasa

What: Creative Vinyasa
When: Saturday @ 4pm
Where: Moksha Yoga Downtown (577 Wellington Street West)
Who: Jackie Szabo

After the fantastic (or rather insane) Saturday morning roomie date which consisted of running and pilates, it was my turn to take Jenn to try something new. She picked pilates so I picked Jackie’s 4pm vinyasa class! Oh, I was beyond excited! Warning: this class should not be attempted by beginners or anyone who has never taken a Jackie class before. But for anyone else, I highly recommend taking this class. Seeing how I haven’t been to a vinyasa class with Jackie since Costa Rica, I was dying to go, and Jenn wasn’t totally convinced that Moksha yoga is challenging. I took great offence to this, as Moksha is practically my life. I knew Jackie would change Jenn’s mind and make her see things my way. Jenn does Bikram Yoga when she does practice. Boo!

 

Me showing off my yoga moves before a run. I am awesome.

 

The afternoon brightened up as we hopped on our bikes and headed to the studio. The whole 4pm gang was there – Lee Ann, Jackie, and my fellow 4pm yogi Michelle – to welcome us. I love this place so much. I gave Jenn the grand tour then we went inside for class. I sneakily placed my mat beside a fellow yoga retreater Joy, who I spotted out as soon as I entered the room. She was my bus and surfing buddy in Costa Rica and the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet. As Jackie began class I felt a tickle at my side and knew Joy had seen me too. This made me happy. Joy is an amazing yogi to practice next to. I feel myself feeding off her energy and graceful practice.

Jackie warned us on Tuesday (the 8pm has become the meeting class for the whole Costa Rica family to practice together) that Saturday’s class was going to get funky. Returning fresh from a trip to San Francisco, Jackie had some tricks up her sleeve. We began with a shoulder stretch then moved in to gentle movements, then began our transitions from triangle to triangle twists then to warrior two. I was confused. And this was only the first variation! Then we moved from pigeon to crow pose. How I successfully managed to do this, I may never know, but I have conquered crow pose. I can actually hold this pose with both feet in the air for longer than 3 seconds.

Now I have a new challenge: side angle crow pose. At least this is what I’m going to call it. We moved into this pose from eagle, we squated and twsited our elbows to our hips then with our hands on the floor you kick our feet out to the side. Or something like that. I saw a girl actually do it before I attemped this insane yoga pose (if you’d even call it one). My jaw hit the floor. But I was feeling good and determine to do it. And I actually did! My feet came off the ground and everything! Joy can attest to this success as I had her laughing as hard as I was. I have another new challenge: some strange looking leg split, but one of your legs is hoisting the other up and your twisting your arms to the oposite direction. You’ll have to talk to Jackie if you want to know what I’m talking about.  I fell. I fell right out of this pose and on the floor, staring Joy right in the face. This got a few more laughs out of her. Poor Jenn, I hope she was having as much fun as I was. But this why I love Jackie’s classes so much. Jackie isn’t afraid to test your boundaries, and she makes yoga both challenging and fun. She keeps true to the traditional Moksha series, but makes every class her own. You’ll never know what’s coming up with Jackie and I like that the most!

Jackie once told me Diane Bruni (from Downward Dog) and Christi-an (from Kula) fuel her soul. Well, Jackie, you fuel mine 🙂

My Week in Costa Rica – Day 3

Man, I really wish I could remember all the amazing things we did in Brendan’s yin classes over the week. Honest to goodness, he is a yin master. It is rather hard to believe that I – the yin student worshiper – has never taken a yin class with Brendan before this trip. If you haven’t done so yet, please do. Brendan teaches the 5pm yin class Saturdays at Moksha Danforth. Just pick up a copy of Sweat Equity and go. There is a free Moksha class in very issue (an amazing piece of information I had to share!).

Thoughts of Brendan came to mind on Sunday when it took the 6pm yin at Moksha Downtown with Bruce. Bruce is a newer teacher (to me at least, but not to the Downtown community). His class was delightful and challenging, much like Brendan’s. Another highly recommended yin experience for anyone looking for suggestions.

So, after the interesting partner work Brendan had us do, my little brain was a stirring for Tuesday day – I was going surfing! Now every guy friend I told about going to Costa Rica for amazing food and yoga all responded with “Are you going surfing?!” My response? “What? Heck no! Are you crazy?” Surfing not only scares me in the same strange way that downhill skiing does, I promised myself I would never do either due to the dramatic fact that I could die! Yes, this is very dramatic.

But what did I find myself saying months before at Moksha Downtown when Jackie said she was going on the surfing excursion? Oh, just saying, “I’ll totally learn to surf with you, Jackie!” What on earth was I thinking?!

After another fantastic vinyasa class with Jackie that morning, the bus pulled up at precisely 9:30am as scheduled to lead me to my doom. Thankfully there was a pretty big group of us going, of which most have surfed before, at one point or another. I however was the only one who had not, nor had ever, touched a surf board.

Me with my surf board before I hit the waves.

There is a certain rush that comes with surfing, which I totally understand now. I was more determined than ever. If I was going to attempt this surfing thing, I was not only going to get up and ride the waves, I was going to get up more than once and do it well!

Okay, so the third goal didn’t happen (not for a long shot) the first two did happen! With a personal teacher at my side pushing me in front of the waves then yelling at me when to stand up, I was hanging 10 by the end of the morning. I really was!

Me surfing! Be impressed!

I get why Costa Rica is a place where everyone is supposed to surf – these teachers make it too easy. I’m not complaining. I actually learned to surf and didn’t die trying.

My Week in Costa Rica – Day 2

Okay it has been far too long between Day 1 and Day 2 posts. I am sorry. I know you’re all dying to hear more of my vacation of a lifetime. Erin and I are back from vacations and ready to take on the spring fitness season (more like summer with the weather we’ve seen).

Day 2 was our first full day in Costa Rica! Waking up to the sunshine, monkey’s chirping at us to rise and shine (do monkey’s chirp?), either way, the exotic wildlife was summoning me to the house for our morning ritual of fresh fruit and coffee surrounded in silence. After the morning mediation, lead by Allison, Jackie guided us through a crazy vinyasa class. Crazy as in crazy awesome! I’ve been taking Jackie’s 4pm vinyasa class at Moksha Downtown for the past few months (yes months) all in preparation for this very moment. This class rocked! The creative movement from binds, to bird of paradise through to tree pose was fun! Jackie’s unique transitions keeps you on your toes. Literally.

Then we ate. I look forward to this part the mostest. Then Allison was offering acupuncture sessions in the afternoon for anyone wanting one. After my painful experience from the night before, then falling asleep, I convinced myself to give it another try. When was I ever going to get free acupuncture in Costa Rica ever again? The night before Allison placed a pin in everyone’s zen spot (only if you wanted her to of course). I knew I was carrying a lot of “stuff” in my head these past few weeks, but I was not expecting the pain that came from it. I wanted to rip that pin out and throw it away! My whole head ached from my brain through my face. It was awful. Then magically the pain softened into a head ache then disappeared completely. Needless to say, I was terrified for what could come of this session. Allison suggested a heart opening treatment after I explained last night’s torture and that I didn’t have any aches or muscles to target, with the exception of my head.

Acupuncture is weirdly relaxing. For people who regularly go for treatments, I apologize. This was a whole new experience for me, which I feel obligated to share (it was one of those big moment during this retreat). Sticking pins in places where energy blocks are stored, that’s kinda weird. But when you actually feel heat coming from these spots you didn’t know could hold stress, that was cool. Allison has a voice of an angel and one that I can dose off to without knowing what is happening. She ended the treatment with balancing and grounding exercises, which was basically massaging my head. But then she placed her hands on the top of my head and a huge wave of energy flushed out of my body from the top of my head out through my feet. Dead serious. Like I said I knew I was carrying a lot of thoughts, stress, impossible or impractical dreams, and who knows what else, but I have never felt anything like Allison’s magic ever. I’ve been converted to a believer in the acupuncture.

Then we went to the beach! What else was I to do after the morning I just experienced? We finished the night off with an energy releasing yin class Brendan lead which involved partners (I guess his dancers do this for moves they have trouble with). I can see how this would relax your body. We did everything from hips to chest openers, it was lovely.

Another great day, full of new emotions and experiences. Next up I learn to surf!