Yogi of the Month

Yogi of the Month- Moksha Yoga Kelowna

Each month we select a stand out student of Moksha Kelowna and ask them about their personal yoga journey… It gives us a chance to get to know individuals in our diverse community and learn about what their Moksha means to them.

Thanks to Float Space Kelowna the MYK Yogi Of The Month receives a free float! As well as a gift from MYK.

Get to know your fellow yoga friends ~

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-12-09-24-pm

Frank Varley

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

I started practicing yoga at Moksha in March of this year. I heard from several different people that it was a great place to practice and I was ready for a change. I have been coming almost every day since I joined.

What does yoga mean to you?

Yoga means calm to me. It takes me to a place of tranquility. For me finding my inner self has been my key to happiness. I have never been happier in my life!

What is your favourite thing about Moksha?

My favorite thing about Moksha Yoga Kelowna besides the general format of the classes is the wonderful staff and instructors. If I was asked to choose my favorite teacher I wouldn’t be able to do it.

What is your favourite pose and why?

My favorite pose by far is the tree pose. The reasons are many  when I started I couldn’t do it at all. Very poor balance I guess? The pose for me has been an indicator of my progress in the practice. It’s also the best pose for self expression. Every tree is slightly different and every day, every month, my tree pose changes and grows.

What is your favourite off the mat pastime?

My favorite off the mat pastime besides smiling is wave counting. I love the beach especially tropical beaches.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time:

I would go to a couple of yin classes to get used to the heat. Start slow and remember its your practice not a competition. Yoga changed my life and it will change yours if you give it a chance.

Namaste, Frank Varley.

 

gelnna turnbull

Glenna Turnbull

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

I first came to Moksha in November 2014. I had been a founding member at Bikram and while I loved the hot yoga, I found it too regimented and lacking a spiritual side or “sanga.” If I hadn’t already been hooked after discovering the freedom offered in my first Moksha class, walking in and finding live music at my second ever class was enough to confirm I’d found my yoga home. The gentle, nurturing and healing atmosphere at Moksha was just what I’d been searching for.

What does yoga mean to you?

I started doing yoga 12 years ago when my doctor recommended it as a way to help control the debilitating migraines I was suffering. I saw yoga as a way to relieve stress, keep my body toned and relax my mind. The longer I do it, the more I see it as probably the most essential thing in my life. When i’m forced to be away from the studio due to work or obligations, I miss it terribly and upon my return to Kelowna, the first thing I do is head into the studio. Just walking up the stairs makes me feel like I’m home again.

What is your favourite thing about Moksha?

My favourite thing about Moksha? From the amazing staff and nurturing teachers to the diversity of classes offered and the way the studio is kept so clean and the terrific sangha, I could easily answer in so many ways but when it comes right down to it, it’s the inner peace I find on my matt, usually strongest at the end of class, that keeps me coming back faithfully to Moksha.

What is your favourite pose and why?

Picking a favorite pose is like being asked to pick a favorite child… but I suppose I am most partial to wheel, crow and sleeping hero: wheel for the fabulous stretch it gives to the front of the body, crow for the challenge of trying not to fall flat on my face, and sleeping hero for the tremendous stretch my quads and groin need from all the hiking, cycling and running I do.

What is your most loved off the mat pastime?

My favorite past times off my mat are making stained glass windows, skiing and reading.  I just launched my stained glass business a few years ago and any time I get to spend in my glass studio is magically special.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time:

Words of wisdom for first time yogis? Don’t be so serious, it’s only yoga! Have fun with it, don’t be hard on yourself and don’t judge yourself by what others in the room are doing. Nobody is watching you, nobody will ever judge you in the hot room, just relax and forget everyone else is there and do the best to your ability. And most importantly, my words of advice to absolutely everyone, new or experienced, take a longer savasna at the end of class. The world outside will wait another few minutes. Enjoy the inner peace  that you spent the full hour working towards a little longer. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

Kevin

Kevin Witzke

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

I started over 4 years ago in Dec 2011, as Moksha Kelowna was approaching it’s first birthday.  My daughters got me a class as a Christmas gift.  I’ve practiced a couple times every week since then.  I find the increased flexibility reduces injuries in other sports and the calm meditation reduces stress everywhere else in the body.

What does yoga mean to you?

Yoga is a safe place to go for a little nutrition for the mind and the body.  The community is outstanding and all egos are check at the door….maybe even the parking lot.

What is your favourite thing about Moksha?

Moksha offers calmness and reinforces inner strength to deal with the little upsets we encounter some days.  It’s a great reminder to take care of yourself so that you can better care for others.

What is your favorite pose and why?

My favourite pose is sleeping pigeon, not because you get to sleep for a few minutes, but it offers a great stretch for the quads that I use relentlessly in other sports. And of course, the sleep.

What is your favourite off the mat pastime?

Off the mat and away from home, Rita and I like to hike and travel. Close to home, I look forward to caring for my tomatoes in the garden.  My fam loves the spaghetti sauce I freeze each fall to get us through the next 8 months until the vines are full again in August.  Out of the garden, in the summer I love putting on a few k’s on my road bike, alone or with my son, and in the winter freezing my A** x-country skiing.  Rita and I became grandparents to an amazing and inspiring little boy, Dante, last month, so now there’s a new favourite activity.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time:

First timers? Listen to the gentle and wise advice offerred by the instructors.  They’re there to help you be and feel your best.  A few visits will lead to a few hundred more.  Your mind and body will love you for it.

 Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.26.19 PM

Dallas Shalansky

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha? 

I joined mid October 2015. I joined to improve my fitness level and try a different approach to fitness. The reason I chose Moksha was that my sister recommended it to learn the benefits of the calming aspect of yoga.

What does yoga mean to you?

It is powerful, humbling, helps one to become more aware of themselves, calms the mind and ground me in a busy world.

What is your favourite thing about Moksha?

The studio is friendly, supportive and welcoming, a great mix when someone is new!!

What is your favorite pose and why?

Eagle Pose (Garudasana) It has it all, balance, opens the hips, makes the body work as one to sustain the proper alignment.

What is your favourite off the mat pastime?

I enjoy getting outside and being active, snowshoeing, skiing in winter, hiking the trails on Knox Mtn in the summer, and spending time with family and friends.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time:

Don’t be too critical of yourself, yoga takes time, it’s a process of growth, and always remember to breathe!!!

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.21.30 PM

Cheryl Holmes

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

I started my yoga practice at Moksha in November 2011. My motivation was to change my life. Starting a yoga and meditation practice was one of the many things that I started during that month to rewire my brain and to improve my well-being.

What does yoga mean to you?

In the beginning yoga was a precious hour that I gave myself on the mat. Now it is a new way of viewing myself and others as I take yoga off my mat daily. Through yoga, I have also become more comfortable and non-judging of myself.

What is your favorite thing about Moksha?

After my first practice at the Moksha studio in Kelowna, I knew I had found my new community of practice. I felt welcomed and accepted from the very start. I have never felt uncomfortable or judged in any way practicing at the studio.

What is your favorite pose and why?

My favorite pose is mountain pose because it is a posture that I can come into any time of day and in any situation. It reminds me to be mindful and focused and in the moment with the person I’m with or even just with myself. Mountain pose reminds me to stop and just breathe.

What is your favourite off the mat pastime?

My favourite past time off the mat is to connect and be inspired by other people whether they are students, patients, colleagues, family members or my wonderful husband who has been part of this great journey with me for the last four years.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time

To a newcomer I would say that we are all beginners, don’t be hard on yourself and just start where you are

Dave Skateboarding

Dave Brown

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

I started Moksha/Yoga in Dec 2014.

I began practicing for a number of reasons. The desire to be healthier with an increased level of fitness was high on the list.  I was also looking for a way to heal my body. I have skateboarded for the majority of the the last 27 years and have had more than my fair share of breaks and tweaks. I have a goal of being able to skateboard for the next 27 years and yoga fits into this equation well.

I choose Moksha in particular because it was recommended to me by my wife as being one of the better places she had practiced throughout her years of doing yoga. The showers at Moksha were also highly spoken of.

What does yoga mean to you?

I was under the impression yoga was an acronym for ‘You’re Old, Get Active’…In all seriousness yoga to me means connecting to the body and the breath. It’s about increased body awareness. It’s about healing. It’s about avoiding the weakening aspects of getting older that most people fall victim too.

What is your favorite thing about Moksha?

My favorite thing about Moksha beyond the benefits of practice itself is the variety. The variety in the amount of class times available daily make it easy to schedule around and the variety of instructors each bring their own uniqueness to the class.

What is your favorite pose and why?

No favorite poses. I don’t discriminate.

What is your favorite off the mat pastime?

Favourite pastimes off the mat are skateboarding and playing/writing music.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time: 

  1. Drop all preconceived opinions regarding yoga.
  1. Buy a one month introductory rate pass…it is very inexpensive.
  1. Commit to doing yoga for as many days possible in that first month, whether that be 3 times a week, every other day or 7 days a week.

By getting as much yoga as possible under my belt in a short period of time, I felt I was able to give it and myself an honest assessment.

I found my aches and pains diminished. I was sleeping better. My digestion improved. I was getting stronger and I felt better in all areas of my life.

I came to the conclusion after my first month that I needed to make yoga a part of my regular routine for the rest of my life….I’m a lifer. Yoga gives me the best all around return for my hour of time invested. It allows me to strengthen, stretch, and recharge all within the same hour. Those who know will tell you skateboarding is the fountain of youth, yoga is similar in this respect, except it doesn’t hurt as much when you fall.

 

yogi of the month Terry

Terry Bradshaw

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

My first couple classes were in April of this year ramping up my attendance in July and started a personal 90 day challenge Aug 8th. I had a nagging pulled lower abdominal injury and knew in order to heal I needed a program that would repair and build my body in order to continue with my active lifestyle. From my experience Yoga is the only program that accomplishes healing , strength and flexibility all in one practice.

What does yoga mean to you?

Investment in my mind and body for myself and those in my life that depend on me.

What is your favourite thing about Moksha?

The ability to “switch off” from my every day busy life and recharge my life battery (Husband, Dad of two boys ages 12, 11, two girls ages 7, almost 3 as well as owner of busy company)

What is your favourite pose and why?

Warrior series as it works the whole body and the great feeling you have when those days come along that you have the strength to be peaceful in the pose.

What is your favorite off the mat pastime?

Coaching my two boys hockey team as well as Playing hockey 4 times a week myself.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time:

Consistency over time brings the greatest change. Ask yourself what brought you to seek out Yoga and at first set a small attainable goals. From there be true to yourself and set more smaller goals to gain the change you are looking for.

 

Daniel

Daniel Tomlin

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

Spring of 2011. The bright cleanliness of the studio and its close location.

What does yoga mean to you?

The conscious effort to transcend the busyness of modernity.

What is your favorite thing about Moksha?

My sweat sisters.

What is your favorite pose and why?

Virabhadra, Warrior III. Because it is like flying and leaving the confines of gravity welding us to earth.

What is your favourite off the mat pastime?

Partner dancing whilst singing and gardening.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time…

Breath and listen to your body. Poses will happen without forcing. Let ego go.

 

Ryoji

Ryoji Kawamura

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

About 2 years and a half ago/ Sarah Martin introduced me to yoga.

What does yoga mean to you?

Yoga, to me, is like a jacket in my closet.

What is your favorite thing about Moksha?

People in Moksha share the bottom line idea and culture they want to represent.

What is your favorite pose and why?

I like every pose in the class. I believe every posture has its own meaning and depth to it. Contemplating on each posture gives me a lot of “nutritions” to my mind and brain.

What is your favourite off the mat pastime?

Learning. I think that change is constant. In this current world, it does not matter a lot to stick to what has been practiced for a long time. To survive and develop, it is essential to be flexible to the change. The learning prepares me for up-coming changes and reminds me of that.

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time…

Yoga offers a way to live from the donut life to the boston cream life.

 

Joanna

Joanna Staniszewski 

When and why did you start practicing at Moksha?

I started practicing Moksha in 2012. My lovely sister Julia was already practicing for a while, I tagged along one day and instantly fell in love.

What does yoga mean to you? 

Yoga to me means freedom, energy, health and growth. Freedom from the hustle of life and your own mind for the length of a class. The energy I feel after a class is phenomenal not to mention the energy you feel from an entire studio full of yogis moving and breathing together is so cool. Health wise, I feel strong physically and mentally when I’ve been practicing regularly and I notice a difference when I haven’t been in a while. It’s fun to look back from where I started stamina and flexibility wise and see the personal growth, while keeping in mind that it is a constant process and there is so much more to learn.

What is your favourite thing about Moksha?

My favorite thing about Moksha is the kindness and acceptance radiating out of the entire community of staff, instructors and fellow yogis. Even as a beginner, I never felt judged or made to feel inferior because I was unable to make it through a whole class without lying down or hold certain poses for their entirety. The staff is always smiling, warm and welcoming. In-class adjustments are suggested thoughtfully. I also really enjoy the way instructors will often begin and end class with a reminder to set an intention and make the important link from what is happening on the mat to our everyday lives.

What is your favorite pose and why?

May I choose three? 🙂 Eagle for concentration, Dancer’s Pose for grace and Savasana for meditation.

What is your favourite ‘off the mat’ pastime?

Being with friends and family, painting, interior decorating, dancing, gardening, reading, cooking, eating, drinking wine, taking photographs, travelling…once again too many to choose just one!

Words of wisdom for someone thinking about trying yoga for the first time…

What are you waiting for?! Haha, honestly give it a try and don’t feel discouraged if you can’t make it through the first class. It won’t take long for you to feel and see the benefits both physically and mentally and then you’ll be addicted 🙂 Or maybe you won’t love it, but then you’ll know it’s not for you and isn’t that how we all find out what suits us, by trying it first? Last thing is that if you’re feeling down or just having a bad day, yoga can be so helpful in that it gives you space and time to work out your feelings and emotions. To me it is so therapeutic to challenge yourself with the poses physically, focus on breathing and then let it all sink in afterwards. If you are already feeling awesome and happy, it just adds to the awesomeness 🙂