Monday, May 28, 2012

Wheel of Life - Health Interview

This week's Wheel of Life theme is health.  To get us started, I had a chat with an  awesome yogi and yoga teacher, Claire Matthews of Yoga Truly in Grimsby, Ontario.  I love her to pieces.  She does yoga in her home and I go most Wednesdays (well I had a little hiatus for a few weeks, but I'm right back at it).  

If you have been thinking about starting a yoga practise, in home or in studio, then you are going to love to hear what Claire has to say.  If you happen to be local, then you MUST drop in and enjoy Claire's intuitive teaching style.  Her schedule and address can be found on her website
So you started yoga in 2002 due to chronic neck pain from a motor vehicle accident, right? 

Yes, I hurt my neck in a car accident in 1996. After physiotherapy, I was told by my doctor that the pain would be chronic and that I would need to find to find a way to cope with it. I ignored the pain for a long time... just accepted it. But tried yoga in 2002 and after only a few classes, the pain was starting to go away. I was so intrigued as to how this was possible, and what yogi's knew about the way our bodies function, that I took my teacher training course...not with the intention to teach, just to learn in depth about yoga. 

And then when did you start teaching?  

2006 in Bobcaygeon (Kawartha Lakes) where we were living at the time. From there we moved to Grimsby and I began teaching at the Grimsby Beach Hall in 2009. After having Grace, I took some time off from teaching, but had some loyal clients who kept asking when I would return to teaching. Knowing I couldn't get away from home with an infant, I invited them to my house to practice yoga... and they came!

So for over a year, I moved the furniture from my living room, into my dining room twice a week and taught yoga there. Throughout the summer of 2011, made our basement more accessible as a studio and have been teaching there ever since. I can now open the classes to more clients.... and am happy not to have to move the furniture anymore. LOL
What are some of the health benefits that can be enjoyed from a regular yoga practise?  

Health benefits are endless. Increased strength & flexibility are the obvious ones, but it's important to note that yoga helps all the systems of our bodies work together. Awareness and control over our breathing, helps our muscles to feel safe and release, leading to that increased flexibility. Then our circulation improves, which is great for detoxing our system and warming it....allowing again for strength and flexibility. Yoga also has a huge impact on our endocrine system which governs our hormones. Through yoga, we are able to engage and challenge our bodies, but also calm our nervous system. 

The list of ailments yoga aids really is endless, but here are a few to list: anxiety & depression, high or low blood pressure, Respiratory ailments such as bronchitis or asthma. Yoga is excellent for digestive issues: constipation, indigestion, IBS. Also diabetes & weight loss. Any sort of muscle pain can be relieved by learning how to obtain each individual's optimal alignment and creating new patterns of movement.... neck, lower back, shoulders, hamstrings, arthritis, as well as acne, psoriasis and headaches. And on and on and on. Insomnia, menstrual discomfort, menopause, even infertility. 

Yep, yoga pretty much covers it all. It's amazing! But, the biggest benefit is that yoga will allow the body to cope with any ailments so that the mind can settle. When the body feels relieved and relaxed, it can turn inward and work towards the true goal.....clarity in the mind... enlightenment. 

Is there more to it than stretching?

Soooo much more than stretching. It's about creating freedom in your body. A quote I love about yoga suggests that the more space we create for ourselves in our body, the more room we have to live. 

How would you suggest a person who is entirely new to yoga get started?

Just get started. Honestly seek out the options for yoga that are available in their community. Then consider what it is they hope to achieve from a regular yoga practice (this often changes once they actually start) and make contact with the teachers that appeal to them. Many studios offer 'free first class' options so you can see if you connect with the teacher and style of yoga they offer. Taking the first step into a studio can be intimidating, but yoga is a very welcoming practice and it truly is accessible to everyone. 

What are some of your favourite poses for people who sit at a computer for a large part of the day?

I like to offer them standing postures that engage their core: warrior 1 & 2, as well as sun salutations to improve circulation and lengthen all their muscles. Hip & shoulder openers are also great, Triangle & Wide Leg forward folds to open up the hips that have been sitting all day and Eagle, Cow's Face Pose and Shoulder Sweeps to release tight shoulders from using the computer. 
Are there any other thoughts you would like to share with someone who is new to yoga? 

Ummmm, just try it. Keep and open mind and an open heart and try it. One thing to keep in mind though is that the key to really benefiting from your practice, whatever your intention consistency. 

"Yoga helps us to cure that which need not be endured, and endure that which can not be cured" B.K.S Iyengar


A great big thank-you to Claire for giving us deeper insight into the yogic practise.  If you want to connect with Claire, here is her info:

Yoga Truly web page


Tina Bradley said...

I adore this post! Yoga has brought me flexibility in mind, body and spirit...just can't recommend it highly enough. T.

Unknown said...

Another fantastic interview!! I love that you asked her about poses for people that sit at a computer a lot. You know your audience!
I really should look in to Yoga again. Some of those poses look crazy though!:)

Lesley said...

I definitely believe that yoga and cutting out specific foods is a far better pain management plan than taking pain killers! I suffered from kidney stones for years and once I started regular yoga and cut out caffeine and modified my diet...boom! No more stones! And my blood pressure is dropping. :)

Adrianne Surian said...

I am off to see if there are any classes that fit my schedule, now. I miss yoga! Thanks for this share, Terry!

Macey said...

I just had a visual of what I would look like doing weren't purty!

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...

Great interview. I wish I had more time to do yoga. I work with spine orthopedic surgeons and they highly recommend it!!

ujjwalsharma said...

My first time I visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff on your blog, especially its discussion. thanks for sharing such a wonderful post. You can learn about the health benefits of gomukhasana.

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