It’s true that Yoga has become quite a popular activity in North America. I will refrain from using the term ‘fad’, as that is something which comes into popularity quickly, and leaves just as readily, but the yoga culture shows no signs of going anywhere. It is also apparent that there are many companies who have cashed in on the yoga following, with yoga clothing (I must make mention of yoga jeans…not sure how I feel about that idea yet), pricey yoga mats and towels, yoga props and the list goes on and on… Despite all this, the popularity of yoga makes me happy, knowing that people are becoming more aware of their health and fitness, and perhaps in time creating a greater mind, body and spirit connection.

For those that are interested in getting into yoga, I suggest doing some research on the studio and/or teacher to ensure they have a credible background and training…especially in Toronto, where there is a yoga studio or two or three in every neighbourhood. One of the best options is to purchase a Passport to Prana, which costs about $30 and allows you to attend one class at any participating studios in Toronto before the yearly expiry date. If you’re willing to do some trekking around the city (and possibly explore a new neighbourhood at the same time), this is one of the most cost-effective ways to satisfy that yoga craving!

I have often been asked about what yoga DVDs are good or what I can recommend in that regard. I can honestly say I’m not so familiar with the plethora of yoga and pilates DVDs which are out there. Most of the feedback that I do get from those who use them at home is that they tire of them very quickly. I have a few suggestions to remedy this…

1. My Yoga Online: This site does require a monthly membership fee in order to do more than sample the videos, but for those that wish to practice and learn in the comfort of their own homes, this site will provide hours, days, weeks of yoga! There are yoga classes of all levels, pilates, meditation, vidoes on healthy living and so much more…Plus the instructors are typically well-known within the yoga community. You can even download classes to your ipod for classes on the go! 

2. Downward Dog: Most people in Toronto interested in yoga have come across or at least heard of Downward Dog. It is the home of Ashtanga Yoga in Toronto AND as I now consider this my second home since completing my training with Ron Reid and Diane Bruni, the founders of the studio. Both have been practicing for close to 30 years! They have since began to post many workshops and classes online. The workshops or ‘Yoga Labs’ are great for anyone looking to further their practice and learn to deepen postures or open hips etc. Explore and enjoy!

3. Padmani: All I can say is she is lovely. I attended her classes while she was teaching in Toronto, combining both Jivamukti and Ashtanga Yoga. Her teaching style is intelligent, articulate and challenging, but her gentle presence and soothing voice makes you feel as if you are floating away on a yoga cloud. Best of all….she has podcasts on her website! As long as you are familiar with the asana practice, you can allow her to guide you through an intelligent practice at home or wherever you choose! I can honestly say, quite a few of her podcasts are on my ipod just for that very reason!!

Lastly, many studios do have student discounts (yes, you actually have to be a student), or karma classes. The karma classes are typically free or a $5 donation and taught by graduates of teacher training programs who are looking to gain experience and exposure….its a win-win situation!

With spring quickly aproaching, I encourage anyone who has not done so already to get out there and check out a class or two, or perhaps challenge yourself to a yoga class in the comfort of your own home!

Enjoy and Namaste…