Thursday, 26 June 2014

Chris Duggan

Enjoy this weeks blog from Chris. He is an inspiring, talented teacher and we are so thankful for his teachings and for being him. Check out his class and video at the end. Love.
(he is also the guy that made those cool mat bags you see us with) 

My Journey from Damaged Athlete to Yogi:

I thought my story might be beneficial to people unsure of yoga's "power".  Back in '78..... Yeah '78, I started my first serious sport.... Basketball. By '84 I was the top recruit from my city. I played a bit of University and City All-Star, but I knew it was pretty much over for me. I had taken it as far as I could, so I switched my focus to Beach Volleyball. And in just two years I played in the Labatt's Pro Beach tour. Needless to say all the jumping took it's toll on my knees and lower back! I never really stretched, even when I was weight training...... I never really thought about it.

Winter's were tough in Ontario and I hated them, until my friend Stefan took me snowboarding!

I moved to Whistler 6 months later where I absolutely fell in love with everything snowboarding offered. We played B-Ball and V-Ball in the summer, but my entire focus was snowboarding. Living in Whistler is "All Extreme"!

After riding 100+ days a year for 5 yrs. my body was WRECKED!

To date I've broken 9 bones and am waiting for my knees to be operated on.

My left femur break in '97 was my catalyst for leaving Whistler. With my knees, hips, and back messed up, I moved to Vancouver. Here I joined a great gym and took dance classes. My body slowly transformed but I still didn't focus on flexibility. I have had many friends mention yoga to me and one of the Pro snowboarders, Martin Gallant did yoga every morning and he is still at it. He's had sponsors for over 20yrs. and still rides, bikes, and surfs at a high level........ I saw the power of yoga.

So on my 40th birthday I took my first yoga class. It was really embarrassing but at the end of the class, I was hooked! It took me another 3 years to sit crossed-legged, but every class I noticed changes and improvements. I was taking 1-3 classes a week and about a year into it, the teacher didn't show up. I said: 'I've been practicing at home.... Would you like me to guide you through my practice?' And the other students said: "Sure, we came here for a stretch".

Then, shortly after, my friend Josh came to teach and he said: "I'm the most un-flexible yoga teacher you'll ever meet". It was the best thing I could have heard and I thought you really don't have to be the master to teach, you just need to be passionate about the process. And that I was!!

My next step was to find a teacher training that clicked with me. My tattooist Steve Moore took me to Eoin Finn's class at Kit's house......

And I had found my teacher. I got my teaching chops at Kitsilano Workout where I taught Power Yoga, Hip Hop, and Dance Yoga Mix (My creation...... Now called "Hip Hop Yoga")

Since then I have added One Yoga for the People, Chopra Yoga Centre, Exhale Studio, and YYoga to my resume. I am also running workshops, yoga and surf retreats, and making beautiful yoga bags.

Teaching fulltime is a very physical but incredible experience. It reminds me of my team sport's days, when the room is electric, and

everyone is practicing with passion!! It's really incredible when some days you show up for class, and you are down and sore....... And the students pick you up, and you leave feeling amazing!!.......... Everyone is a teacher and a student.

It's truly amazing how diverse the Vancouver yoga community is!! I tend to be more drawn to the powerful and playful side of yoga. I take a lot on inspiration from Ryan Leier, Dustin Fruson, and Danny Paradise with their Ashtanga backgrounds Eoin studied Ashtanga as well, but he added a flowy "surf" vibe to his classes, which drew me in.Then after practicing with Christine Price-Clark, Sjanie Mcinnis, Suzanne Slocum-Gori and Natalie Rousseau..... The Anusara flow felt really juicy too!

I love to remix the styles and add creative sequencing to my power class............ Keep it challenging but keep it fresh and fun.

September 25th 2014 will be my 10th year and I'll be 50...... Wow

Many times I have pushed too hard in class and caused setbacks!! For the "A-type" athlete, sometimes just slowing down and taking the "yin" approach is really what's necessary (Thanks Danielle Hoogenboom). Lately I have been adding more "long hold" postures into my practice (Thanks Slava Goloubov).

Slava said in class the other day: "How you do anything is how you do everything". That really resonated with me and seemed to help quiet my mind allowing me to focus on a deep healing breath....

I'm still waiting to get both of my knees "scoped out", to clean meniscus tears and scar tissue. My amazing physiotherapist Sharon Spinder is untwisting my hips from snowboarding, and helping me release my extremely tight lower back, the result of heavy weightlifting.

But as the years roll on, my practice keeps improving. When my back's too inflamed I focus on my hips. I am so much more in tuned with my body now... Less ego and more compassion.

We have our good days and bad, but the most important thing is to make time to be on your mat. Over time it's amazing what you can accomplish if you just be consistent... Nothing has to happen yesterday!!

While Danny Paradise was doing an incredible long arm balancing sequence, he said... "It get's easier when you get older"!!!

He's in his 60's... I have some work to do!

Practice and Breathe

 A class with Chris
A class with Chris

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Enthusiasm Goes a long way

Carol Wray & her daughter Alisha
4 times a year I lead yoga teacher trainings at the Vancouver School of yoga, I'm the director of their foundational training (200/240 hr courses). I absolutely love educating people on yoga. You can totally call me a "Yoga nerd".

Most of these trainings are done in an intensive setting, so it's common for people to feel overwhelmed and for me to be supporting emotional release within the trainings. Let's be honest, yoga invites deep self reflection, so it's common to experience intense and sometimes uncomfortable feelings in yoga, whether you're in an intensive training or in an hour asana class.

What I notice most in these trainings is the power of enthusiasm. Whether it be my own ability to show up enthusiastic about the topic I'm introducing or the teacher trainers enthusiasm when teaching to the group. Enthusiasm lifts you up when you feel uninspired or fatigued. Enthusiasm opens your eyes and softens your heart. Enthusiasm is contagious. Think of the last time you were around an enthusiastic person? Remember how attractive that person was? How much you wanted to be around them, get to know their story, soak up some of their energy.

If you can't seem to remember the last time you were around an enthusiastic being, than just go to your nearest or busiest park and watch the kids play. Children are naturally enthusiastic. Whether it's climbing a tree, jumping in puddles when it rains or greeting you first thing in the morning. It's always with some level of joy and enthusiasm.

A common assumption in regards to enthusiasm is that it always needs to be big and loud. However the origin of Enthusiasm comes from the greek word enthousiasmos which means "inspiration by a God", to be moved by the divine. When I read this, I hear inspiration, passion, devotion. 3 aspects of life that I know drive us all to move towards the light (Joy). Those areas of our life that motivate us to put action towards our dreams and aspirations. It's enthusiasm that motivates us to live life fully.

So how about you add a little enthusiasm to your day/week/month. Here are some suggestions on how to do that; Get out in nature and be inspired by your surroundings. Rekindle your relationship with your inner child and be playful, get curious and greet everyone (including yourself) like they're your Best Friend who just came home from a year of travel. End each night with a moment of gratitude, where you acknowledge all that you're thankful for. Smile often. Take time to celebrate even the simplest of tasks. Practice Self love.

"Nothing Great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Ralph Waldo Emerson

With you on this path,

Thursday, 12 June 2014


All this is full. All that is full.
From fullness, fullness comes.
When fullness is taken from fullness,
Fullness still remains.

om shanti shanti shanti

-The Upanishads-

As we experience a full moon, this beautiful prayer reminds me that all in the universe is full and we are all full. If we strip away all the layers we are still full. Fullness remains in us.

Though the moon may seem dark from our perspective some nights, it is still full. It is still beauty and exactly as we need it to be.

May you all see the beauty in your own fullness.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Because sometimes we even take our YOGA too seriously!

In the honour of play and a good Friday Laugh we hope you enjoy this short video.


The team