The yoga studio or yoga Shala (a sacred space) welcomes everyone at any point in their yoga journey. It is your Ashtanga Yoga home away from home. The space embraces both individuals and families from all cultures and is dedicated to ensuring the Ashtanga practice is accessible to communities of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
The yoga Shala is located in the Pacific Northwest of Canada, in the beautiful city of Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria is located on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island and is accessible by air (Victoria International Airport, YYJ) or by ferry (BC Ferries).
Nestled within Hillside-Quadra village, the yoga Shala is easily accessible by public transit, bicycle, or car and is walkable distance from the downtown core.
Free parking is located at the rear building parking lot (entrance off of Wark Street). There is also free 1 Hour parking along Wark Street.
Secure and undercover bicycle parking is located beside the rear building entrance via the parking lot.
Enter from the front lower level building entrance (facing Hillside Avenue) or by the rear parking lot entrance (via Wark Street).
The yoga Shala is on the 2nd floor, accessible by elevator or by the rear stairwell.
The practice and its ability to be a powerful healing tool takes time and patience---Sharmila Desai
(Ethos) The teaching approach at the yoga Shala is focused on the healing aspect of an Ashtanga Yoga practice so each individual can build and experience a practice that is sustainable for life. The yoga Shala is home to many practitioners in different chapters in their life and is continually supported in their yoga journey.
Teachers have three loves: the love of learning, the love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together---Scott Hayden
(Ethos) The yoga Shala honours the lineage and teachings rooted in Mysore, India and Vancouver, Canada. My pursuits to deepen my study of the Ashtanga Yoga practice is never ending. Both are supported by annual trips to India and by continually sharing knowledge with Fiona Stang (KPJAYI/SYC Authorized Level II). The teachings offered here are influenced by both tradition and by the evolution of the practice.
Never underestimate the empowering effect of human connection...---Drishti Bablani
(Ethos) When we feel supported in our pursuit for health, healing and joy it can give rise to incredible things. I am dedicated to providing a safe space for each individual to have the opportunity to learn, exchange, and feel inspired from one another through Ashtanga Yoga. All cultures and life experiences are welcomed here to call the yoga studio their home.
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today---Ancient Proverb
(Ethos) Every individual has their own unique yoga journey and at the yoga studio all practitioners, of any level and at any stage in life, are always welcomed. When we are able to show up consistently and meet ourselves on our mat we are nurturing seeds of awareness and possibility. When we are able to be the change we aspire to be we inevitably inspire others along the way.
Nestled in the south of India, the city of Mysore has now become the source for many teachers and students worldwide to deepen their knowledge about the Ashtanga Yoga method. The Ashtanga practice is learned within a "Mysore-style" setting, named after its place of origin. The tradition and lineage of original teachings from Sri K Pattabhi Jois (student of Sri T Krishnamacharya) continues to be shared today by his entire family: his son Manju Jois , his daughter Saraswati Jois (Director of KPJAY Shala), his grandson Sharath Jois (Director of the Sharath Yoga Centre), and granddaughter Sharmila Jois.
Ashtanga yoga is known as the eight limb path that is described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The eight limb path is a series of guidelines practitioners can live by which can purify the body and can help cultivate a steady mind. It is a practice about moving inwards into the self. Ashtanga is a discipline of yoga that is much more than the physical practice (Asana: the third limb). It can be a therapeutic practice for both the mind and body. When the practice is learned with patience and a healing approach, it can be started at any age and be practiced for life.
The physical practice of Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally learned within a Mysore-style class setting. Mysore-style is a self led class within a group environment. This means, each practitioner moves at their own breath pace with an understanding of the sequence of postures they have memorized and have learned from a teacher. At different points in their practice they will receive individual guidance and support (only if necessary) from a teacher based on their needs.
Here at the yoga Shala, each practitioner receives one-on-one guidance by the same teacher. This allows for continuity and clarity of instruction.
The camaraderie between the practitioner and teacher is one that grows and develops slowly over time. The relationship between the practitioner and teacher is built on respect, trust and honesty. Each practitioner is welcomed regardless of their knowledge of or experience in yoga. Mysore-style class allows for the teacher to support each practitioner, wherever they may be in the physical practice, on that given day and in that given moment. Instruction and guidance is always provided with kindness, compassion, and encouragement. Other than the sound of the breath, minimal talking and silence within the Mysore room is encouraged. This allows for each practitioner s' focus and concentration to be undisrupted and gives them an opportunity to move inwards within themselves.
Ashtanga yoga can be practiced by anyone. The physical practice begins with breath.
There are six series in Ashtanga and each series is made up of a set sequence of postures, each building onto the previous one. Each series is designed to cleanse the body, organs, and nervous system.
The practice is done with a steady rhythm of nose-only breathing with sound. The breath (an inhale or exhale) is linked to specific movements and fixed looking points (Drishti). When a practitioner is able to connect these 3 elements, the physical practice becomes a form of moving meditation. Over time each practitioner has the ability and opportunity to become their own self healers. Practicing the first two limbs of Ashtanga (Yamas and Niyamas) is also important to do both on and off the yoga mat.
These two limbs are made up of ethical principles that can guide how practitioners relate to themselves, to others, and to their environment.
It is important to remember the physical practice takes time and patience. As our lives change the practice naturally evolves with it. All practitioners at any stage of life are welcomed at the yoga Shala to develop and nurture their yoga sadhana.
Traditionally, Ashtanga practitioners will take rest from their physical practice on new moon and full moon days. To learn more about the reasoning behind this, Tim Miller has a wonderful explanation here on Ashtanga Yoga Centre's website .
For female practitioners, it is important to honour what rest is appropriate for you during your menstrual cycle. How one approaches the practice during this time is very individual and does evolve during different life stages. During the period of flow it is advisable inversion postures are left out and to welcome a longer than usual rest after practice. Each series in Ashtanga works directly on the nervous system. It is encouraged all practitioners take ample rest post practice and also ensure they nourish and hydrate adequately.
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I would like to acknowledge that we are on the unceded traditional territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. I am grateful to the Lkwungen (Songhees) and Kwsepsum (Esquimalt) Nations for sharing their land with our growing yoga community and providing a space the yoga Shala can call home.