Finding the Perfect Fit: A Tour of our Class Schedule

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Finding the Perfect Fit: A Tour of our Class Schedule

If you've been curious about which class might be the right fit, this post is for you. I asked our teachers to describe their vibe in a sentence or two. Have a glimpse through a week at amma, and see which class is calling to you.

MONDAY:

9:30 YOGA (Jyoti): Set the tone for the rest of your week. Move and feel your way through your practice. I love to give space for students to explore their own movements. 

11:00 MOM & BABY (Thea): It feels good to move, and is reassuring to be with other moms & babes in a supportive space.  

6:00 PRENATAL (Karla): A warm and supportive class where expectant mamas can empower themselves through movement and tap into the power and transformation that pregnancy brings while finding a space for deep relaxation and connection with baby. 

7:30 YOGA (Thea): This upbeat, playful class flirts with the boundary between nurturing & challenging.

TUESDAY:

10:00 MOMS & MOVERS (Megan): A feel-good practice for parents, while the babies get into mischief. Not the most zen yoga experience, but so much fun.  

4:30 KIDS YOGA 4-7yr (Jackie): Laugh and play in a yoga adventure designed for kids! Through games and practicing yoga poses, we’ll learn body awareness, patience, coordination and creativity.

6:00 YOGA (Jackie): This open-level class is tailored to meet the needs of the students. Regardless of what you’re working on, we’ll keep this class interesting and relevant to your practice. 

7:30 PRENATAL (Jackie): Connect with your body and your baby in prenatal yoga. Stretch, strengthen, and cultivate breath awareness in a way that will help you prepare for your birth experience.

8:45 YOGA (Julie): Send the kids to bed and get to your mat for some playful active practice and followed by some serious chill time on Tuesday nights!

WEDNESDAY:

10:00 MOM & BABY (Carin): Mom and baby yoga is a dedicated hour where you can be present with your little one in a soothing space, move your body, and feel good. This class focuses on discovering optimal ranges of movement and increasing muscle strength and joint stability. We also incorporate the babies in inventive ways! 

12:00 YOGA (Carin): Build strength and stamina, increase your movement intelligence, and most importantly - have fun while you do it. This class will have you celebrating the middle of the week. 

4:30 KIDS YOGA 8-11yr (Julie): Life is changing, learn how to go with the flow. This practice combines a physical practice, a mindfulness practice and some general horseplay to help these kids prepare for all of the changes coming their way.

6:15 FAMILY YOGA (Julie): 45 minutes of time well spent! Join your children in learning a little about slowing down and focusing on your breath and a lot about goofing off and moving your bodies.

7:30 GENTLE PRACTICE (Tiffany): In a world that so often asks us to do or be more, Gentle Practice offers a space to soften, to breathe and to slowly explore your many sensations; A chance to listen to, and to be kind to, your body as you move through a variety of movements and supported postures. 

THURSDAY:

11:00 MOMS & MOVERS (Jyoti): We practice together while our little ones play. Each class is an adventure and though there are many interruptions we all get to flow and carve out some peace.

12:30 YOGA (Jyoti): Flow in your own way, with options to Vinyasa or find stillness. Always room for therapeutic adaptations or more athletic practices.

2:00 MOM & BABY (Karla): A fun and easy going class catered to the new mama with a variety of relaxation and strengthening poses to leave you feeling calm, energized and connected to yourself and your baby. 

6:00 PRENATAL (Thea): Stretch the achy places and get strong for the work ahead! Build trust in your physical instincts, learn to use your breath and draw reassurance from other women who are on this journey. 

7:30 RESTORATIVE (Tiffany): A chance to rest. To be held. To let your body let go. Follow your breath, or sensations that you notice in your body, in a variety of supported postures - or use the space to just be. 

FRIDAY:

10:30 TOTS YOGA (Thea): Get silly with your little one! Through play and adventure, we learn yoga poses & breathing techniques. 

12:00 YOGA (Thea): A fun flow class that starts out chill, builds to something stronger, and winds it down at the end. Re-start your day on your own terms and feel great all afternoon. 

5:30 FRIDAY FLOW (Megan):  A fun, high energy flow with a few challenging poses and a playlist that is sure to have you dancing through your poses.

SATURDAY:

10:00 YOGA (Julie): Get your blood pumping and your body moving to prepare you for your Saturday adventures. Enjoy an active practice to energize you for the weekend ahead. 

11:30 PRENATAL (Thea): Connect with your breath, make some space, get stronger, stand taller, feel calmer. This hour is about taking care of you.

SUNDAY:

10:30 FAMILY YOGA (Christine): After the busyness of the week, Sunday morning Family Yoga is an ideal way to play, be active, and reconnect with your child. Act out an adventure, make your way through movement games, and explore partner poses together. End class with guided breathing and rest to help calm little bodies and minds.

1:00 YOGA (Christine): Sunday afternoon yoga offers an opportunity to cap your weekend with active self-care. Enjoy a slow and mindful practice that helps build strength and body awareness. Learn how your tendencies and postural habits can affect how you feel, and re-set yourself for the week ahead.

7:30 FLOW & SLOW (Julie): Why not have it all, enjoy a moderately active practice to get your body moving and then slow it down with some gentle restorative relaxation to help you take on the week ahead.

So what sounds like exactly what you need? Sign up for your next class here while you're thinking about it, because time never magically appears. We have to seize it. 

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What is Restorative Yoga?

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What is Restorative Yoga?

{by Tiffany Howes}

At the end of most of my classes I say something along the lines of  “I’m happy to talk to you about what we just did, or about anything else.” I, very much, mean it when I say that; It’s helpful to hear about students’ experiences &/or questions.

So I was excited when recently, after a Restorative Yoga class, a student approached me to ask how I would describe the differences between a “regular” yoga practice and a restorative yoga practice. Such a great question! One that I typically don’t delve too far into right before students (who are often in a Restorative class to release and relax) are about to practice, but one that could be helpful to learn more about.  

Here’s what I had to say (& some thoughts that have come to me since that conversation):

Supta Baddha Konasana

Restorative Yoga is different than most other yoga practices in that, instead of supporting your own body in active poses, your body is supported by a variety of props that encourage you to let go of all effort. Rather than building physical strength, restorative yoga postures can provide a reset to the body by allowing it to be held effortlessly.

The slowed pace and supported postures can help to bring the nervous system into parasympathetic mode which allows for rest, digestion, repair, as well as slowed heart rate and breath. Many of our day to day lives keeps our nervous systems in sympathetic mode (fight, flight, focus); most of us could benefit from more time resting, digesting and repairing.

Restorative Yoga can be great when you are feeling tired, weak or stressed from your daily activities. It can also be helpful during/surrounding major life events or transitions, or when recovering from injury.

(This post only skims the surface and is intended as a starting point. There are many resources online or in print about Restorative Yoga and its effects on the nervous system &/or pose suggestions. One that I return to often: Relax & Renew by Judith Lasater.)

Hope to see you in class soon!

Tiffany Howes

Tiffany teaches Restorative Yoga on Thursdays from 7:30-8:30pm. She also teaches Gentle Practice, an introspective yoga class that arcs between easeful exploration, gentle movement and supported postures, on Wednesday evenings from 7:30-8:30pm. Save your spot here.

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What Family Yoga is all about

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What Family Yoga is all about

Kids Yoga - tree pose

The primary focus of family yoga is promoting bonding between family members, while still having the opportunity to soak up all the other benefits of yoga practice. Yoga helps equip children and parents alike with tools to help them balance the stresses they face in life. Yoga helps to improve your confidence, optimism and, of course, your sense of humour; I frequently incorporate humour into our family practices, whether that be through stories or laughing at ourselves when we tumble over! More points!

Family yoga provides a space where there is some structure, yet there is space for each person to explore and find their voice. In performing partner poses communication is key and continually encouraged; sometimes it may even require some problem solving if the pose is toppling or one body is significantly smaller than the other. It encourages you to consider how other people may experience the pose and how your actions may impact them and the pose you create together. Shared family recreation time has been documented as an important factor that supports resilience. Family yoga helps to develop child social skills and cognitive skills; it improves the families’ cohesion and adaptability.

Make family yoga your family’s ritual and see first hand the benefits of strengthening your mind, body, spirit and family unit. Amma Yoga classes help foster community with space to play, snack, and chat before and after classes. We also encourage dialogue during classes, to foster connection. Hope to see you in a class soon!

Family Yoga happens weekly on Wednesdays from 6:15-7:00pm & Sundays from 10:30-11:15am. Email thea@ammayoga.ca with questions! 

Written by Kendra Hinton

Kids Can Meditate

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Why it's important for everybody to know that every BODY is welcome!

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Why it's important for everybody to know that every BODY is welcome!

{by Julie Raineault}

As you know, Amma strives to create an environment where everybody, every BODY, can come and enjoy the services we have to offer. Whether you are expanding your family in our prenatal classes, spending time with the ones you love in our family classes, or taking a break in a grownups only class, the general consensus around here is that Amma welcomes you as you are with a wide open heart.

We've all heard the song: "Oh my god Becky, look at her butt!" (Now you are probably singing it.) Maybe at some point in your life you overheard some nasty comment from someone whispering behind you. The world wants us to want to change ourselves, to try some fad diet, to buy some magical pill, to put ourselves through the ringer over and over and over to try and be something that looks like an airbrushed picture in a magazine that is not even realistic for most people.

How about instead we focus on the truly important message in that song, the truth that Sir Mix-A-Lot was getting at, the fact that his anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun!

It doesn’t matter what you look like, what size you are, what clothes you’re wearing, or how your butt looks in those pants. We want you to do you and to love whatever it is that you do. We also want the world we live in to love you too. So let’s embrace our buns and show the world that every BODY is beautiful.

We're excited to be a part of the Self-Care Marketplace at this wonderful event on Tuesday, April 25th: a special screening of the film Embrace at the Princess Twin Cinemas in Waterloo. Tickets are available online HERE and all proceeds from will go to support Women's Crisis Services of Waterloo Region.

You'll find Julie teaching a class that feels great and makes you laugh on Tuesday evenings at 8:45pm, Saturday mornings at 10am or Sunday evenings at 7:30pm.

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Pieces of Me: gaining insight with scissors and glue

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Pieces of Me: gaining insight with scissors and glue

On Feb 2nd, 2017, Catherine Mellinger will be partnering with amma yoga to create our first Postpartum Mood Disorders (PPMD) Awareness Day, coinciding with an exhibit of artworks in our community space created by the Postpartum Therapeutic Arts Group at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre (KDCHC). Here, Catherine tells us more about why the arts, in this case specifically collage, provides a necessary outlet for mothers experiencing PPMD.

Pieces of Me is a community embedded collage project engaging women challenged by Postpartum Depression and/or Postpartum Mood Disorders (PPD/PPMD) in partnership with the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre (KDCHC).

Offering collage as a method of artistic exploration marries beautifully with the topic of motherhood in its sheer abundantly printed form. Magazines exist to speak to us about what being a mother "should" or "could" look like. The glossy images show us mothers who are well dressed, have clear skin, clean clothes, who are smiling and happy (usually caucasian). These women are secure in their marriages (mainly heterosexual), and connected to their partners (mainly husbands). For many mothers, these images do not tell their true stories. There are little images that do. This project exists to allow women to create their own narrative of motherhood and share those narratives with the community.

Postpartum Art Therapy

When I first realized I was not well after my son Leo was born, I didn’t think I fit into the category of Postpartum Depression. I was not depressed - I was highly anxious and my daily existence was one of being terrified. I felt burdened by my son. I felt too afraid to leave him with anyone, yet I felt afraid of being left alone with him, for fear something might happen to one of us. After my husband went back to work, I made him call me every half hour to make sure I was still OK and didn’t need him to come home. The half hour became an hour and the hour became checking in at lunch, but not a day went by that I wasn’t stalling calling him to come home and be with me. I couldn’t sleep because the noises my son made echoed in my ears, and even if I put him in another room, they became louder and my fears more pronounced. What if when I finally fall asleep he stops breathing and I don’t notice? I lay awake and started making lists of people I thought I could give him to. Maybe he would be better off without me. Maybe this was all a mistake and I was never meant to be a mother. My husband felt helpless and exhausted, having himself spiralled into a depression. I didn’t share the depth of my feelings because I didn’t want to scare him. Finally, one day after noticing me struggle for nearly 5 weeks, my dear friend who served as my life line in those early days said the words I couldn’t say myself: “I think you should call your midwife, you don’t need to feel this way.” And that’s when it all clicked. This was not what motherhood was “supposed” to be like, but it was what it was like FOR ME. And there were supports out there that I needed to find to help me get through it.

Catherine Mellinger

Since gaining more insights into my own experiences through services in the Life Stages program at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and returning to my centre - collage - I’ve begun to desire to connect further with others; not just mothers, but their partners, their families, their children - through that core of cutting and pasting. By doing so, my eyes have been opened to what a unique experience motherhood brings, as well as the mental health challenges that can come along with it. No one’s postpartum mental health struggle is the same. Yes, there are a list of core symptoms to watch for, and general consensus around when a mother needs support, what risk factors to look out for - but each women’s emotional journey is as unique as she is. Postpartum Mood Disorders comes in all shapes and colours. Depression, anxiety, birth trauma, pre-existing mental health struggles, neglect, abuse, detachment... When you sit with art supplies; scissors, glue stick and a gamut of images, you follow your instincts. It isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about what image speaks to you, and how those images help to tell your story. An ugly story, a beautiful story, a full story, a strong and powerful story. It’s about working the small and large muscles to tap into the calming effect of mobility on your nervous system. It’s about the chatting and sharing and listening and connecting that goes around the circle as magazines are passed from hand to hand, even as sometimes so are the babies.

It’s about offering. Offering an alternative to your experience. Offering another way to learn more about yourself and what you are feeling. And it’s about doing so with others.

Postpartum Art Therapy

To learn more about the Postpartum Therapeutic Arts Group, see the pieces on display and engage in a discussion about Postpartum Mental Health, please join us on Thursday Feb 2nd for one of the three classes listed below. After each class, there will be some time to see the pieces and Catherine will share some first hand information about the group. After the Mom & Baby Yoga class at 3pm, we will have time to gather and share stories, ask questions, be together. (Feel free to just come at 3pm, if you don't want to partake in the yoga.)

  • Moms & Movers 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Yoga 12:30-1:30pm
  • Mom & Baby Yoga 2:00-3:00pm

We recommend you register online for the class you’d like to attend, as some classes can fill up. Limited childcare is available - please email thea@ammayoga.ca

Bring yourself, bring your baby, your toddler, your partner, your sibling, your parents, your caregivers. All are welcome. The more we talk, the more we decrease the stigma, the more we open the circle. 

For more information on the project, you can also visit Catherine’s website: http://cargocollective.com/catherinemellinger/Pieces-of-Me

Catherine Mellinger is an artist, arts facilitator and certified Expressive Arts Therapist living in Waterloo. She has been facilitating arts groups with marginalized populations since 2007, and moved her practice to Waterloo after having her son Leo in 2013. Having experienced severe postpartum anxiety stemming from a pre-existing condition of clinical anxiety, she began the journey into finding new strategies for coping. Through clinical support and her own studio practice, she realized three years postpartum that it was time for her to extend her community and share the therapeutic benefits of the arts to other mothers who have had similar experiences. She has been facilitating the Postpartum Therapeutic Arts Group at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre (KDCHC) since September of 2016, thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Postpartum Art Therapy Group

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