This morning, my mum and my dear friend Melanie Emlyn (who is a fellow Holistic Nutritionist [in the making], attending the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, although- we have done a few things outside of that including the Jiivala Holistic Entrepreneurship Program and since then she has created her own fabulous blog, business [Free Run Kitchen] and offers amazing cooking classes) decided it was time to go to a morning yoga class.
So, we each took part in our own morning rituals (mine included Lana Del Rey, finishing up some work I was doing for The Naked Label, drinking my morning detox lemon tea & eating a delicious bowl of fresh, organic berries)- and agreed to meet at the Semperviva Kits Beach studio for an hour and 15 minutes of wonderful, deep, thoughtful, reflective, compassionate Hatha Yoga. There were a lot of things that made this class & morning really fabulous- however, the instructor, Cameron, really was a huge part of it. From start to finish- he continuted to challenge me, inspire me, catch me and send me off into a deep relaxation and self enquiry. It was truly amazing. I must say, I did notice him as soon as I walked into the studio. He had a very powerful energy about him. I didn’t realize until settled into the class, on my mat, that he was actually the instructor of the course (mostly because he found his seat at the front of the class, on the top of a wooden platform).
The reason we chose to attend this class in the first place, was quite simple. Mel (who also works at Semperviva- she is a woman of many talents and jobs haha) gave me the option of Gloria’s Kundalini (which I have written about in a previous blog post) or this other Hatha class. At this point, I must quote Mel, because she was pretty on point with the description of Cameron and his style of teaching (sorry Mel): “Cameron is a creative English writing major and he talks a lot about the universe and our existence. He’s slow and thoughtful.” Although I absolutely love Gloria and her Kundalini class- I was craving something different- and I knew my mum may want a yoga introduction like hatha before dropping her in Gloria’s wild, dynamic, amazing Kundalini class.
The thing about yoga, for me, well, is the thing about yoga. Whether or not this is a shared feeling/idea here in Vancouver, or it is just something that I have created in my mind from my past experiences, emotions, states of being- yoga in Vancouver can be quite the production, and- it is difficult to feel a part of the show if you haven’t been attending the rehearsals regularly. Does that make sense? I mean, in general- the yoga lifestyle has taken over…. the world…truly. Yoga clothes, yoga wears, yoga sayings & slang, yogis, yogic life, namaste…. it’s all a new trend. But the essence of yoga is not this new trend. It’s somewhat similar to Holistic Nutrition & the whole idea of Organic food. Just because the mainstream has gotten ahold of this, and realized that is is powerful and simply put, is marketable and economically promising- doesn’t mean that it hasn’t always been around. Organic food has been around long before we were all born. Organic food is food that hasn’t been “messed with”: sprayed, infected, modified & tampered with. In this same light- yoga isn’t lulu lemon, bikram hot yoga & yoga wear. Those are all a part of society’s interpretation and manipulation of an ancient practice, in this current society & time. To be frank, I am absolutely a participant of this manipulation. I am sitting in my lulu lemon wunder under pants as we speak. However, I think that for a long time now, I have been overwhelmed and intimidated by these aspects of the yoga world that truly are not the essence of yoga.
For me the thing that I am starting to really grasp and finally feel is that yoga is an individual experience. It’s not about being the best in the class, having the best form, or wearing the nicest clothes. Yoga is breathing. Yoga is you. Although I have “known” this for quite some time, I’ve had a hard time truly getting it. The concept has been there, I just haven’t been able to feel it. I’ve found myself being judgmental of myself and others in class & comparing. & it’s those detrimental human habits that create feelings inside that remind me of my old behaviours and addictions to self-loathing and excessive exercise at the gym.
I am no expert. Lets just get that straight now:) That being said- there is something about Semperviva and my experiences there that are welcoming. In some way, for me, it feels less about the manipulation of the yoga world- and more about the practice of yoga. More about the spirit. More about the experience of being. That’s what Cameron’s class was about. It was amazing! I knew within the first few minutes (or seconds) that my mum was going to enjoy this class as much as I would. Cameron combined a very gentle yet disciplined form of hatha yoga along with pensive, reflective moments of speaking to the idea of relaxation and experience. He was a great teacher because I felt like he was aware of the moments where I would slip out of concentration (my mind would wander off into planning, anxiety, worrying- just all sorts of thoughts) and bring me back to that experience, that breath (it very well may also be that is just observative and I would begin leaning to one side or my form was slipping haha).
One motif of the class was the idea that relaxation is an active practice, it is not passive. By taking part in your relaxation through conscious, deep breathing, focusing on form and bringing yourself back to your core/breath- you are actively taking part in your process of relaxation. He mentioned that you never reach complete relaxation. Within every new moment of relaxation, comes another challenge or another step. I really enjoyed listening to him speak and found it very appropriate for that style of yoga.
One thing I do want to mention is that I am not bashing other studios or forms of yoga. Cameron mentioned that we are constantly in a state of change- we are never this one small self that we sometimes make ourselves out to be. Every millisecond, we change. Thus, what works for me at this moment- may not work for every single person today. It may not work for me next month. We are all different, but we are also all the same. We are all changing, and it’s about experiencing each moment, in its presence. So, for now- I got a month pass, and I am going to go with it, feel it out.
As if the day could not have gotten any better- we decided to follow-up our amazing yoga experience with a delicious, nutritious lunch at Aaron Ash’s Gorilla Food. In my opinion, Gorilla Food is the best place in town to get raw, fresh, amazing food. In fact, I have been trying to a Restaurant Review there for a while now. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review on this fabulous gem in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown. Located on Richards and West Pender Street- everything about this place screams Aaron. That’s what I love the most I think. He is true to himself, and his business is a part of him.
Oh- and the food doesn’t suck;) It is hands down the most delicious raw food I have eaten, I think. So, if you haven’t been, you absolutely must go check it out soon! He did mention that they just received their permits and will be opening a larger spot on Powell and Jackson in the near future!!!! So exciting!:) He also just recently (past few months) released a book/cookbook– featuring all of the fabulous, infamous recipes from the dishes that are served at the cafe. Talk about integrity. No secrets here- Aaron is all about sharing his love for earth and it’s abundant, beautiful vegan food with the world.
What type of yoga do you practice? What is your favorite studio? If you have any comments or thoughts on this, share or email me! I’d love to hear from you!:)