Our sweet little Canadian Leanne has a passion for all things health. She graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2011, Strala Yoga Teacher training in 2014 and Karma Teachers for Vinyasa Yoga in 2015. She is also a registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist with NRCHI to boot - this is one fit, healthy smart lady!
Her yoga teachings are innovative, always encouraging, and tend to include fun explorations of poses. Her classes work up a sweat and greatly aide in confidence building and strength. We sat down with her recently to ask about her yoga journey and what advice she has for new yogis. Read on!
I first started yoga in 2012. It was just a Groupon that I found online. Everyone in Canada kept talking about hot yoga, and as a runner/gym goer, I thought it would be nice to do something warm in the winter. I hated it the first 7 times! One of my boyfriend's sisters bought me another pass for Christmas which was the only reason I continued on, or else I bet I wouldn't have. It definitely grew on me!
What has helped you stick with it?
After taking about 15 classes, I started to see changes in my body. I couldn't touch my toes before! I was a classic 'work-out-and-not-stretch' type of person. Having been athletic all my life, I really liked learning new postures and learning to move my body in different ways. It was strictly physical for a couple of years but I absolutely loved it! Why I still stick with it now, and why I always have, is the same reason - there is always more to learn. Whether it be history, philosophy, meditation, asana or off the mat lifestyle... it's a lifetime of study which gets me excited.
Which pose is your favourite and why?
Favourite postures change alllllllll the time. Currently my favourite is Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose). It's such an expansive pose. I feel like I've been working on it for 4 years and am only now starting to notice the subtle details in the pose. There's still so much work to do. Love it.
What is the biggest lesson you've taken from your practice?
Trust the process. Ishvara Pranidhana ... which is to surrender to the experience and trust it is meant to be the way it is. I say this but it is still super hard to implement.. I'm still a recovering-controller!
Would you say that yoga has changed your life?
Haha, yoga has changed my life in every way! I don't know why I decided to take yoga in as such a big influence in my life but who I could have been without it is someone totally different. Yoga grounds me. Its given me so much direction.
What is your favourite thing about teaching at Stretch?
Stretch is super versatile which is great. I mean the community is vast and everyone is keen to learn. Students have many different interests within yoga, so it allows a lot of room for creativity and self expression. The owner is kind of a babe as well, so that helps ;)
What 3 poses would you recommend a beginner to do daily?
My recommended 3 postures are:
1. Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged forward fold) - if done properly, this pose can help out not only hamstrings, but hips and lower back as well. Don't hyper-extend your joints! Bend a lot at first, allow the head to hang heavy, and prioritise the lower back flexibility first. Everything else will come in the pose with much less force.
2. Plank - I know this isn't a traditional yoga posture but it helps with so many others. It strengthens nearly everything!.. Wrists, shoulders, core, quads, etc. Round the shoulders, push the floor away from you, tuck the tailbone, hug the triceps together, plant the limbs but draw the hands towards the feet, and the feet towards the hands to engage the whole body.
3. Can I say Pranayama (breathing exercises)? Yep, 5 minutes every morning. Life changing!