Category Archives: Yoga Talk

Wednesday Morning in the Bain Co Op

Fall Session:  September to December 2018



We started our fall session today in the Bain Co Op.  I have a student in my class that I’ve been teaching for over 20 years and another who just re joined me after 17 years of living out of the city.  The group at the Bain Co op is amazing and so is the space.  We are doing some Transformational Yoga.  The journey is deep and long and there is no goal.  The intent is to be in the process!

come join us

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ReCharge – Stay Strong – Be Well

Your Health Is Your Wealth

Wednesday Morning Yoga

Notice the form, the grace, the breath of these ladies who are devoted to their wellbeing…..


Marichasana – Sitting Spinal Twist

Some of my Wednesday morning yoga participants have been doing yoga for a long time.  They really get it and are totally devoted to their practice and well being.  I love the image here because they all have their head in line with their backbones!


Yesterday, I visited the Boyz at Orbital Arts.  Their friend Matt was there.  We got chatting about yoga. Matt wondered about Upward Facing Dog.  In a vary limited space, he demonstrated how he went from plank to upward facing dog.

I thought of a few more important points to that asana…..

In order to keep the weight from sitting in your low back…keep in mind that it is an upper body weight bearing exercise.  Let the work be in your arms and lengthen your heels away from your waist.  In this case, your toes are turned under. Try not to lock your elbows.  They stay bent and hug into your ribs.

If you focus on opening your chest and taking the weight in your arms, there will be less pressure compressing on your lumbar.   Shoulders are always dropping away from your ears and sliding down your back.  Its more that your wings tuck in and come forward and apart rather than “squeezing them together”




When  I was 9 years old, I was introduced to yoga.  My sister and I use to go down to “the apartments” on Queen St. East at Craven Rd where we were taught Alternate Nostril Breathing.  We were given a poster of Sun Salutation. The woman who “taught” us wasa free spirited , pot smoking, free loving hippie who was the older sister of my brothers friend…. It was 1969. I remember that poster being hung at the end of a hallway in our house.   Trying to do those poses unassisted was short lived and frustrating to say the least.

In 1987, my friend Dominique convinced me to go to a yoga class with her and the teacher allowed me to bring my child (stroller and all) to the class. At that time, yoga showed me how disconnected I was from myself and how in many ways, I existed from the head up.  I can’t even say I really liked it, it was hard and awkward and I tried to understand everything intellectually.

The stress of my life was too much and I quit.  Thank god, my teacher sent me a letter once telling me that she was going to save a spot for me in her class whenever I was ready to return. What a gift she gave me. Her name is Elissa Gallender.  She inspired me to teach.

I grew to love yoga but my practice was superficial. I was working too hard to “do yoga” instead of getting out of the way and letting “yoga do me”

Yoga made me feel good…and I wanted more but I was never able to master the art of dicipline.

I think it comes to each of us thru perserverance and dedication and time.

I believe INSPIRATION is the best motivator to establish a dicipline.  Pain, illness and residing in an aging body are also very good motivators.

Yoga really does mean to unify ones self in all of our various parts and the poses and conscious breathing are simply the means to get there!  Horray for yoga

Marguerite Arbour


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Marguerite Arbour<>

Date: Thursday, August 18, 2016
Subject: yoga diaries
To:, marguerite arbour <>

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Tips From Heaven

SOAP TIPS: Bathrooms can get pretty humid so keep any extra bars of Heaven Scent Handmade Soaps in a cool, dry place. Love you, love your soap.

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Is Sitting The New Smoking?

Heavan Scenets
With more and more time spent on computers and cellphones, people are getting tighter. Our bodies are fixed in awkward positions for long periods of time with our fingers overworked and head tilted forward. Too much static pressure on ones pelvis without the support of our
legs and even worse if you cross your legs and cut off your circulation . Notice how you feel when you get up after sitting too long…

Try these tips:

1. Hang forward in your chair let your upper body rest on your legs; let your head and arms hang

2. Lift your arms up as you come to sitting and open your chest by stretching your arms up and back

3. Repeat 1 and 2 standing

Got A Pain In Your Neck?

If you’ve ever experienced a pinched neck muscle then you know how debilitating it can be.
Try a Downward Dog pose and release it for a few deep breaths and release. It may seem counter intuitive but by putting weight on the shoulders, then releasing, you allow the muscles in the surrounding area (shoulders and back) to relax. Don’t let neck and body pain ruin your day, a little bit of yoga goes a long way!

Sign-up below for more free tips and tricks for keeping you happy and healthy and productive. If you or your organization would like to try Yoga At Work, drop me a line!

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Finding a Yoga Studio that Best Suits You

I’m trying to imagine a person with little to no yoga experience today looking for a studio or teacher. I also imagine that in the early stages of post cancer treatment, there are many physical changes one has to adjust to.

We know that movement and relaxation can contribute to physical and mental well being. I think if you are a person who wants to start a yoga class in your community,at any stage of your cancer journey, veer  on the side of caution and listen to the wisdom of your body… start slow and steady if you are new to yoga.


All people have tension in their bodies and an imbalance to various degrees from the right to left side. As time passes, people hold emotions in their bodies, they have injuries, they get cancer, they have surgeries. We are all working with something.  Most classes focus on a persons well being. I think that an experienced teacher can tell when they see a person move…where they are tight and where they are tender. Some people are more comfortable than others sharing personal information. Feel free to let the instructor know where you are tight. It will help them help you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want your focus to be on increasing flexibility or relaxation or both?
  • Do you think it makes sence to stay in a pose for a time to give the body a chance to let go or are you the type who prefers to keep it moving and get more of an active work-out?
  • Would you like hands on assists and verbal correction or would you prefer the teacher do the movements with you ?
  • How far are you willing to travel? Do you like music when you practice? How much are you willing to pay?  Do you prefer a male/female instructor?
  • Do you want to attend a class in the day or at evening? Is a small small class better for you or do you like the big groups?
  • How much are you willing to share about your cancer experience and any mobility issues you may have?

Here are some questions to ask studio or instructor:

  • Is your instructor certified? In what style? How much experience do they  have  Don’t be afraid and ask questions.
  • Does he/she do hands on assist? (do you want to be touched)Does  the instructor  make corrections or do they think the body will eventually finds it’ s way to proper alignment?
  • Is the instructor comfortable suggesting modifications or is the expectation that everyone does the same movement?
  • Does the instructor have any experience with cancer patients and are they aware how to modify movements if necessary.

One style is not better than another. It takes time to understand how simple and complex the practice is. One starts off by doing yoga and over time… yoga does you!  Bring a friend, ask questions!  Information is power and clarity will bring you closer to what you want.There are far too many styles of yoga for me to list. I am sure I would miss many… I will leave you with a few general styles that you can work from.

  • Hatha… can either mean a more gentle style or a style that holds poses for a time.  There is no guarantee it will be “easy “ so ask
  • Ashtanga…another style that could be quite athletic or not…it really depends on the training of the instructor.  In some ways a more modern type of yoga
  • Bikrim:   has 26 postures repeated and done in a hot room.  Challenging and athletic in nature.
  • Vinyasana :  has flows…series of movements that are done in a sequence.  Teacher does flow with participants.
  • Iyenga:  Similar to some Hatha styles; very precision oriented; very classical style; good for detail oriented folks; Poses are held; Props are used;  Blocks, bolsters and belts are common. Hands on and corrections
  • Restorative:  an extremely gentle yoga with lots of bolsters, blankets and no strenuous movement
  • Sivinanada:  has a series of movements that are repeated.  Classical style. No props
  • Kripalu  teacher usually does class with participants…a flow of movements…poses held but not as long as in hatha styles. More gentle and more variety than in vinyasana.  Classical style

Try out some different styles. Don’t feel obliged to make a commitment.  Remember, this is your time and you can design it how you like!

Originally published on Wellspring: Pass It On! 

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