What is a Yoga Community?

DSC_0122.JPG

By Steph Wall

COMMUNITY. A word I’ve thrown around for years without understanding the depth of its meaning. What and who makes up the “yoga community”? I always thought of it as the width of my social circle, or the yoga teachers or students who I knew of in Glasgow or Kelowna, but I’ve come to understand it’s actually the depth of people brought together, regardless of length of time we’ve known each other, if we know how each other earns a living, the stories of our past....all that “stuff”, the layers, are irrelevant and instead we are brought together through things like yoga, empathy, understanding, pain, similar transformations...

During my time in Kelowna, Canada I’ve fully felt the power of community. Being H E L D by people who don’t care much about me except for who I am deep down, my soul and essence. And will hold the space for me to experience life whether I’m hurting or laughing. AND me to them. And to know deep inside that when I’m experiencing hurt, transformations, highs, it’s for the greater of the community. My experience is theirs. Theirs is mine. No separation, never ever. All connected. Always always”

Join Steph for her Vinyasa Yoga Classes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:15!

stephwall

5 Ways to Invoke the Energy of the Goddess Kali

Written by Steph Wall

kaali-maa.jpg

I will confess when my friend and I decided to name our studio The Kali Collective, we didn’t fully understand the depth of this goddess or exactly we would call on her for, other than the obvious which is self empowerment and transformation. I didn’t even understand the potency or power that would be brought forth by invoking the energy current of this archetype into my life. But my goodness did I ever find out hard and quick shortly after creating a community space in honor of Her. She wasted no time with me. Here is a brief description of her, but do not be fooled, a few lines of description only scratches the surface of her depth, complexity, and power. 

Kali is the Goddess of time, change, and destruction. She is the energy current inside of you that is wild, empowered and all loving.  This energy is deeply involved in the life/death / life cycle to keep you growing and transforming, as does the rich practice of yoga.
The Dark Mother in all her love and ferocity will guide you through transformation by dissolving all forms and time. She will tear things up to help you see what is needing to die inside of you, such as self limiting beliefs or attachments to the past that prevent you from moving forward. These deaths then create a fertile field for growth and creation of the new.
She’s the darkness most of us fear. She is fierce. She is loving. She will transform you.

Kali is not an energy to invoke lightly but from personal experience, I can say she will make changes in your life where they are needed. Examples of how she transformed me were the following:

  • Destroying lifelong beliefs that my voice is not worthy or valuable 
  • Dissolving intense bondages guarding me against vulnerability and authenticity 
  • Opened me up to find a deep, meaningful love for myself 
  • Transformed my habit of living in fantasy and instead helped me find a true love rooted in truth and reality
  • The courage to follow my dreams and run a yoga studio and yoga school in a far away, magical land 

Not bad! My life has been completely transformed but don’t think for a second it was easy. Who I was even 1 year ago is completely different to who I am now and the person I was for so many years was hard to let go of. My life as I knew it completely changed and the pain that came with it was intense. So make no mistake, it’s not as if I named my studio after her, meditated on her a few times and that’s it. It took much more work than that!

Here are some reasons why you would invoke her:

  • Dissolving limiting beliefs
  • Self empowerment 
  • Facing fears
  • Releasing egoic constructs/beliefs
  • Changing perspective on life and death 
  • Liberating yourself from old attachments 
  • Invite the wild, divine feminine into your life 

Ways to invoke Kali:

  1. Meditation - visualise her image and see what arises
  2. Self reflection - ask yourself questions like, where are you suppressing your wild, feminine self? Or, is there somewhere in your life you are playing “nice” instead of expressing a more truthful, angry, enraged self? 
  3. Asana - Take goddess squat and let out several primal roars from the belly 
  4. Offer your negative beliefs to Kali. Visualise bowing down to her and offering her your limiting beliefs for her to destroy. 
  5. Journal with Kali - ask her the following questions: What do you have to teach me? How do you express yourself in my life? How are you suppressed? What do you think needs destroying in my life?

Remember, Kali is not an energy to take lightly but she is loving. If you are ready to come alive, wake up and live your life fully, She is a necessary force to guide you there. 

What is the Core?

StephWallYoga-Mexico2017-JessikaHunterPhoto-22.JPG

What do we mean when we say "core"?

Everything stems from your centre. Who you are, what you do, all that makes you unique starts from the very core of who you are. Our movements should be the same! Therefore, we define the core as the centre of our body, that which encompasses the area around the spine. 

When we take a deeper look at the anatomy of the core we will see that it’s much more complex than thinking it’s just our 6 pack muscle, or rectus abdominus. When we peel back that layer we also see that the transverse abdominus, pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus and obliques all play a big role as well, along with a few others. 

Why should we care about moving from the core?

Because this allows us to move with efficiency and in a way that keeps the spine safe. By having an awareness and access to these muscles we can properly stabilise the spine to take us safely into backbends, arm balances and to flow with grace through our postures. Also, functionally speaking it’s important to have stable core so we can move, run, play and engage in life without worrying about putting our back out. For those of us with back pain, understanding the core and strengthening our stabiliser muscles can really help ease any discomfort. 

Benefits of strengthening your core include:

Improved posture and balance

Help with back discomfort 

Graceful yoga transitions 

Arm balances

Inversions

Functional movement 

Running

Weight training 

And much more! 

 

Why is yoga so good for the core?

In yoga we do many postures that help activate our deep core stabilisers such as plank, cobra, locust and side plank. Almost all of the postures require some sort of core stabilisation so it’s hard to get away without doing core in yoga! 

We love and appreciate the core so much we have dedicated an entire class to it called Core Flow. What to expect in this class are exercises designed to help strengthen your center. By combining practices such pilates, ballet and yoga you will be sure to leave feeling strong and empowered in your centre!