November 2010

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PD Day for Yoga Teachers
Wanted: used yoga mats
What's in a Mat?
How to Clean your Mat
Gift Certificates
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urdva dhanurasana


Change is the only constant in life, and autumn is a time for big changes in the world around us.  With the barren trees, cooler weather and shorter days, it's becoming obvious that winter is just around the corner.  Some of us embrace change, and others resist it.  But, whether we like it or not, change is here to stay.


At Wavelengths, we're also experiencing some changes this fall as we say good-bye to Margo, who's been teaching the Westwood classes, Wake-up Yoga and Yoga for Children.  Though we're sad to see Margo leave, we wish her well in her new ventures in Toronto, and are excited to welcome Tiina Kivinen who will teach the Westwood class, and Brooke Stevens who is taking over Yoga for Children.  The Wake-up yoga class has been cancelled for now.  We will be offering periodic early morning week-long intensives again in the future, as we have in the past, so stay tuned for news of the next session in the early spring.


Later this month, I head back to India to work at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM).  I will be working with students with a variety of illnesses and ailments, designing healing practices and monitoring the progress.  The KYM has been dedicated to teaching and providing yoga therapy for 34 years, and has a staff of over 50 teachers.  This is an invaluable part of my ongoing study and work as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist.


While I am away, Tiina Kivinen will be teaching the classes at the studio.  I will be available via email, but may not answer emails as promptly as usual!


Enjoy November, and the changes that it brings. Embracing change allows us to be open to exciting new opportunities and experiences, taking us places we may never have imagined.

Professional Development Day for Yoga Instructors

Network, experience, learn. Meet other instructors in the area, experience heart-opening and delightful practices, and learn more techniques to bring into your practice and teaching. If you are a yoga instructor, or enrolled in a teacher training program, you're welcome to participate. 

A delicious vegetarian lunch is included in the cost of the workshop and catered by Louise Racine of ThirteenMoons. For details and registration information, click here .  Please register in advance so we can order lunch for you.

Date: Sunday, November 7, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Wavelengths Yoga, Norwood, Ontario

Wanted: your old yoga mats

matsA high school teacher in Peterborough, also a student of Wavelengths, is looking for donations of used yoga mats, in any condition.  Juli is running a yoga program for teens with developmental issues, and there is no budget for mats.  She'll happily accept any kind of yoga mat in any condition.  This is an opportunity to do something positive with that old mat you've been wondering how to get rid of, or maybe a good time to upgrade to a new mat!  You can drop off your used mat(s) at any class.

What's in a mat?

purple matOne of the most common questions from new students, is "Where can I buy a yoga mat?" and the answer is "almost anywhere!"


When I starting practicing yoga in the 1980's, there was no such thing as a yoga mat as we know it today.  The first mats began appearing after 1982, but were literally cut up pieces of carpet underlay.  It wasn't until the 1990's that the first "real" yoga mat was produced in Germany, and not until the mid-90's that they started to appear in Canada, imported at fairly high prices. 


My first yoga mat was a towel, and then I graduated to a blanket when I began my teacher training program in 1990.  Around 1995 I purchased my first "sticky mat," imported from the United States.  I paid $60 for the mat that would now sell for less than $20.  Though it was expensive, it held up well to almost 10 years of daily practice.  In 2004, in India, my mat found a new home.  I sold it to student who had left her mat at the airport in Dubai, in the stupor of traveling from North America to India.  After much bargaining and haggling (Indian market style!), I finally sold my beloved mat for 250 rupees (about $7 at the time).  Ironically, yoga mats as we know them are not available in India.  Cotton mats are generally used for yoga practice there, though originally yoga was practiced on the bare earth or the skin of a tiger.


ecomatIn 2002 the first eco-conscious mats began appearing, and now there are several available in a variety of colours and styles.  In fact, there are so many yoga mats on the market these days that the choices can be overwhelming.  Eco friendly mats are great for the environment because they'll break down in the landfill when you're done with them, but the downside is they often start breaking down before you're done with them!  The good news is that you don't have to throw out your old mats.  There are many possible uses for old mats, such as donating them to a school yoga program (see above), using them under rugs to stop them slipping on hard floors, placing them under a dog's blanket to provide extra cushioning...and more.  Be creative! 


There are a few key things to consider when purchasing a mat.  The most important are thickness and density.  A good mat should be about 1/4 inch thick (many, including my first mat, are 1/8 inch thick or even less).  It should also be sufficiently dense that it doesn't compress when you kneel on it.  Many mats look nice and thick, but when you squeeze them, they compress to nothing, which means that you'll feel the floor under your bones.  A good mat should also be non-skid or non-slip, which is a bit harder to determine.  Look for a mat with some texture that doesn't feel slippery to the touch.  Sometimes new mats have a bit of an oily coating that can be washed off, so if you buy a mat and it seems slippery, try giving it a wash to see if that helps to improve its stickiness (see next article for how to wash your mat).  A new mat also needs to be broken in, and will become less slippery (and more sticky!) with use.  So practice lots!


Mats range in price from about $10 to over $100.  Since a yoga practice requires very little equipment, it makes sense to invest in a good mat.  Shop around (Winners, Canadian Tire, health food stores, many larger yoga studios, Lululemon and even Chapters sell mats) and find the mat that suits best.  But, most importantly, whatever mat you choose, use it daily!


How to Clean Your Yoga Mat

Most mats are machine washable in cold water with mild detergent (don't use the spin cycle).  Hang your mat to dry and make sure it's completely dry before you fold or roll it.  To speed up the drying process, you can roll it with a towel to squeeze out excess water.  If you prefer, you could wash your mat in the bathtub, again with cold water and mild detergent.


You can also buy mat wipes or spray mat cleaner which can be used to wipe down your mat anytime.  Better yet, make your own mat spray.  Use any clean spray bottle and fill it with purified water.  Add a few drops of tea tree oil as an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and a few drops of lavender essential oil which is known for its calming effect on the nervous system.  Shake it up and spray it generously on your mat, then wipe it off with a clean dry cloth.  Voila!  A clean mat that smells good too.

Give the Gift of Yoga

Gift Certificates can be purchased in any demonination, as well as for specific services, such as a Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga Therapy starter kit or session of group yoga classes.  Call or email for information or to purchase a gift certificate.  Gift certificates can be mailed out to you or picked up at the studio.
My mission is to ignite, inspire, expand, nurture, educate and deepen your love of yoga.
Caroline Owen
Wavelengths Yoga
Save 10%
Save 10% when you register for two or more yoga classes in Norwood.  Classes must be purchased at the same time for one student.  This offer may also be combined with the student/senior discount. 
Norwood only.