Blog

Welcome to Spanda Yoga Blog Pages.

Catherine & Valerie will be posting newsletters and blog entries to this section of our website on a regular basis.

You will find the three most recent postings immediately below and you can access older posts and newsletters by using the links on the right side panel.


 

Winter 2019

February

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February 1st marked Imbolc (e-molc) or Ewe’s Milk, the traditional start of the lambing season. Despite our recent spate of bitterly cold weather, there are subtle signs of changes happening on the earth. In particular, our days are getting longer. In fact, we have gained a whole hour of daylight since the Winter Solstice on December 21st! Sunshine coming through the windows is starting to feel warmer. Imbolc is approximately half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox which will arrive on March 20th.

Most of us will be more familiar with another animal featured at this time of year – the groundhog, who celebrated his day on February 2nd. Wiarton Willie didn’t see his shadow so an early spring is predicted. Unfortunately Willie doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to weather prediction and whether he sees his shadow or not, we still have six weeks until the Spring Equinox!

 

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We held our annual Winter Solstice Candlelight Meditation on Monday, December 17th and raised $500.00 for Wellspring Cancer Support Centre – London and Region. Thanks to everyone for their generosity!
 

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“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” – Desmond Tutu

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Winter Class Schedule with Valerie Hobson
 

  
 
At Yoga East Studio – 537 Ontario Street

Gentle Yoga & Meditation

Tuesday       9:30 – 10:45 am       Feb 5th – 26th
                                                      Mar 5th – 26th

Mixed Level Yoga
Wednesday
  9:30 – 10:45 am       Feb 6th – 27th
                                                       Mar 6th – 27th
   
Fees

$50.00 to register for 4 week session
Payable by cash or cheque only to Valerie Hobson

At Redeemer Lutheran Church – 1 Frank Place:

Gentle Yoga Class 
Tuesday      5:15 – 6:15 pm         Feb 5th – 26th
                                                     Mar 5th – 26th

Gentle Yoga and Meditation
Thursday Classes Suspended for the Winter 

Fees
$50.00 to register for 4 week session or $15 Drop-in
Payable by cash or cheque only to Valerie Hobson

To register: contact Valerie at ahimsa1st@rogers.com or 519-702-0534

 
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Restorative Yoga at Yoga East
 
 
Every 3rd Sunday of the month
February 17th, March 17th
1:15 – 2:30 pm  

Modern life is stressful, and studies show that chronic levels of stress can lead to a host of ailments. The antidote to stress is relaxation.  Restorative Yoga is an active relaxation practice designed to unwind deep layers of stress from your body, mind, and spirit leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed like never before.  This class combines gentle stretches, breathing techniques, guided imagery and restorative yoga poses to activate your body’s innate relaxation response.  It is appropriate for everyone regardless of ability, mobility, or experience with yoga.

Fee: $17/class
Payable by cash or cheque to Valerie Hobson
 
Registration is required. Please contact Valerie (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com.

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Day of Mindfulness – Saturday, March 23rd (Note the New Date)

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
RiverBend Golf Community Library, London
with Valerie Hobson and Catherine Heighway
 
The Spring or Vernal Equinox arrives on March 20th, a point half way between the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice. Traditionally it is a time to contemplate equilibrium and balance as we start to move more fully from the inward focus of winter to the outward energy of spring. To support yourself in this transition, join us for a refreshing and relaxing day of mindfulness practices with yoga, meditation and an indoor labyrinth walk. Suitable for all levels of experience. Lunch is included.  
 
Date:                Saturday, March 23rd
Location:         RiverBend Golf Community Library, London
Time:               10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fee:                 $75.00
To register:     email spandaretreats@hotmail.com or call Catherine at 519-871-0661
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Day of Mindfulness – Summer Solstice
Saturday, June 15th, 2019
Quiet Earth, Dorchester, Ontario 

 

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The Summer Solstice arrives on Friday, June 21st and marks the longest day of the year. Also called Midsummer, the Summer Solstice is an opportunity to honour the Sun’s strength and potential. During this time of expansiveness, we can explore the possibilities in our own lives as we move through the vibrancy of summer.
 
Join Valerie Hobson and Catherine Heighway of Spanda Yoga and Retreats for a rejuvenating and relaxing day. The retreat will feature mindfulness practices with yoga and meditation as well as an exploration of mandalas and an indoor labyrinth walk. Suitable for all levels of experience. Lunch is included.  We are delighted to be offering this retreat at Quiet Earth again this year, featuring the rustic charm of a restored barn, set in peaceful countryside close to London.

Date:               Saturday, June 15th, 2019
Location:         Quiet Earth, 1681 Hunt Road, Dorchester, Ontario
Time:               10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fee:                 $75.00
To register:      email: spandaretreats@hotmail.com or call Catherine at 519-871-0661

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Spanda Yoga Book – Yoga Through the Seasons
 
celticmythshow.com
We are happy to release of the second phase of our upcoming book – Yoga Through The Seasons. We have had very positive response to the first section for Winter which was put on the website for November 1st. Each section features Celtic wisdom, alignment principles and a practice for every month including asana (poses), pranayama (breathing), meditation and contemplation. We also offer suggestions for diet along with seasonal recipes and self care following the traditions of Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. 

Click here to see a read only version of the Spring Section – February 1st – April 30th. We will release the Summer Section closer to the Summer Solstice on June 21st. This guide is the result of a great deal of time, effort and love. Please respect our work by using this information for your personal use only.

In the fall, we will be adding more information and printing the book to order. We are taking orders for the book now so please let us know if you are interested. Thanks for your support!
 

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Namaste
Catherine and Valerie

Winter 2018

December

For many, Winter begins on the Winter Solstice, often referred to as the first day of winter. Those of us following the Celtic Calendar understand that Winter began on November 1st and the Solstice marks the half way point of the season. The Winter Solstice will officially take place on Friday, December 21st at 5:22 pm. We will experience 6 hours and 31 minutes less daylight than we did on the Summer Solstice in June! 

This darkest point of the year is a reminder to pause and recognise the great turning of the wheel of the year and of our own lives. The outer darkness offers an ideal opportunity to nourish our inner lives, through yoga, meditation, contemplation, being in nature or perhaps just sitting and enjoying a candle burning in the darkness. The return of longer days though subtle at first is cause for great celebration, optimism and hope.

We are again this year offering a Winter Solstice Candlelight Meditation as a fundraiser for Wellspring Cancer Support Centre. See below for details. It really is a lovely evening so we hope that you can join us!

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Winter Solstice Candlelight Meditation
Monday, December 17th – 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church – Fellowship Hall
1 Frank Place, London, Ontario

 In the midst of holiday festivities, align with the energies of the Earth to welcome the returning light. Join us for a celebration of the Winter Solstice through music, readings, guided meditation and quiet reflection. Chairs are available for this seated practice. Light refreshments will be served. Space is limited so please call ahead to register with Wellspring.

Facilitators:  Valerie Hobson and Catherine Heighway
Donations collected for Wellspring London and Region – Cancer Support Centre

Registration required at Wellspring London and Region – 519-438-7379
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Winter Class Schedule with Valerie Hobson

At Yoga East Studio – 537 Ontario Street
Gentle Yoga & Meditation
Tuesdays 9:30 – 10:45 am
– Dec 4th – 18th
– Jan 8th – 29th
– Feb 5th – 26th
– Mar 5th – 26th

Mixed Level Yoga
Wednesdays 9:30 – 10:45 am

– Dec 5th – 19th
– Jan 9th – 30th
– Feb 6th – 27th
– Mar 6th – 27th

Fees$50.00 to register for 4 week session
Payable by cash or cheque only to Valerie Hobson
At Redeemer Lutheran Church – 1 Frank Place:

Gentle Yoga Class 
Tuesdays 5:15 – 6:15 pm
– Dec 4th – 18th
– Jan 8th – 29th
– Feb 5th – 26th
– Mar 5th – 26th

Gentle Yoga and Meditation
Thursday Classes Suspended for the Winter 

Fees
$50.00 to register for 4 week session or $15 Drop-in
Payable by cash or cheque only to Valerie Hobson

To register: contact Valerie at ahimsa1st@rogers.com or 519-702-0534
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Restorative Yoga at Yoga East

Every 3rd Sunday of the month
January 20th, February 17th, March 17th
1:15 – 2:30 pm  
Modern life is stressful, and studies show that chronic levels of stress can lead to a host of ailments. The antidote to stress is relaxation.  Restorative Yoga is an active relaxation practice designed to unwind deep layers of stress from your body, mind, and spirit leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed like never before.  This class combines gentle stretches, breathing techniques, guided imagery and restorative yoga poses to activate your body’s innate relaxation response.  It is appropriate for everyone regardless of ability, mobility, or experience with yoga.

Fee: $17/class or $45.00 for the series
Payable by cash or cheque to Valerie Hobson

Registration is required. Please contact Valerie (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com.
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Day of Mindfulness
Saturday, February 9th 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
RiverBend Golf Community Library, London

with Valerie Hobson and Catherine Heighway

February 1st is the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Traditionally this day was called Imbolc (e-molk) or Ewe’s Milk referring to the lambing season. We start to notice changes in the quality of light, the air feels fresher and we may even start to hear birds singing again. Imbolc is a great time to take a day for yourself to reflect on the winter and look ahead to the spring. Join us for a relaxing and rejuvenating day featuring mindful movement, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection and an indoor labyrinth walk. Suitable for all levels of experience. Lunch is included.  

Date:                Saturday, February 9th
Location:         RiverBend Golf Community Library, London
Time:               10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fee:                 $75.00
To register:     email spandaretreats@hotmail.com or call Catherine at 519-871-0661
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Spanda Yoga Book – Yoga Through the Seasons

celticmythshow.com

We are delighted to announce the release of the initial phase of our upcoming book – Yoga Through The Seasons. We have been working diligently on this project for quite some time. Each section will feature Celtic wisdom, alignment principles and a practice for every month including asana (poses), pranayama (breathing), meditation and contemplation. We also feature suggestions for diet along with seasonal recipes and self care following the traditions of Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. 

Click here to see a read only version of the Winter Section – November 1st – February 1st. We will release the Spring Section closer to Imbolc or February 1st. Watch for an announcement in the next newsletter. In the fall, we will be adding more information and taking orders for our book, which will be printed to order. Stay tuned! This guide is the result of a great deal of time, effort and love. Please respect our work by using this information for your personal use only.
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 ​Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Catherine and Valerie

Fall 2018

 

As we transition through August, we can begin to notice subtle changes in nature. The days become slightly shorter. The air takes on a softer quality. Markets are laden with produce – peaches, blueberries, corn, new potatoes, tomatoes in abundance. Fall flowers such as sunflowers, asters and chrysanthemums begin their annual show.  
 

While we still have several weeks of summer weather to enjoy, in August our thoughts naturally begin to turn towards autumn. In the Celtic tradition, August 1st marks Lammas or Lughnasadh which is the first of three autumn harvests. Lammas or “Loaf Mass” honours a time when bread made from the first harvest of grain was offered in gratitude for the power of the sun.

Many consider the fall to begin right after Labour Day when school is back in session. It’s hard to ignore all of the ads for Back to School!

The Gregorian Calendar has fall beginning at the Autumn Equinox, which will occur at 9:53 pm on Saturday September 22nd. September brings with it the second of the fall harvests, primarily that fruits and vegetables. The Equinox is a time to contemplate balance on all levels.

Whenever you may feel that fall begins, it is a time to return to regular routines and perhaps start something new. To assist you in your fall planning, here is an update of our class schedule and upcoming retreat.

 

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Class Schedule with Valerie Hobson 

 

 At Yoga East Studio – 537 Ontario Street

Gentle Yoga & Meditation

Tuesday       9:30 – 10:45 am       Sept 4th – 25th
                                                      Oct 2nd – 23rd
                                                      Oct 30th – Nov 20th   
                                                      Dec 4th – 18th
Mixed Level Yoga
Wednesday
  9:30 – 10:45 am       Sept 5th – 26th
                                                       Oct 3rd – 24th
                                                       Oct 31st – Nov 21st
                                                       Dec 5th – 19th
Fees
$50.00 to register for 4 week session
$37.50 to register for 3 week session in December

Payable by cash or cheque only to Valerie Hobson

At Redeemer Lutheran Church – 1 Frank Place:

Gentle Yoga Class 
Tuesday      5:15 – 6:15 pm          Sept 4th – 25th
                                                      Oct 2nd – 23rd
                                                      Oct 30th – Nov 20th   
                                                      Dec 4th – 18th

Gentle Yoga and Meditation
Thursday     5:45 – 6:45 pm         
Sept 6th – 27th                                                    
                                                       Oct 4th – 25th
                                                        Nov 1st – 22nd 
                                                        Dec 6th – 20th
Fees
$50.00 to register for 4 week session or $15 Drop-in
$37.50 to register for 3 week session in December or $15.00 Drop-in
Payable by cash or cheque only to Valerie Hobson

To register: contact Valerie at ahimsa1st@rogers.com or 519-702-0534

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Restorative Yoga with Valerie Hobson at Yoga East
 


Every 3rd Sunday of the month
September 16th, October 21st, and November 18th

1:15 – 2:30 pm  

Modern life is stressful, and studies show that chronic levels of stress can lead to a host of ailments. The antidote to stress is relaxation.  Restorative Yoga is an active relaxation practice designed to unwind deep layers of stress from your body, mind, and spirit leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed like never before.  This class combines gentle stretches, breathing techniques, guided imagery and restorative yoga poses to activate your body’s innate relaxation response.  It is appropriate for everyone regardless of ability, mobility, or experience with yoga.

Fee: $15/class or $45.00 for the series
Payable by cash or cheque to Valerie Hobson
 
Registration is required. Please contact Valerie (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com.


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 Day of Mindfulness – Samhain – Summer’s End
with Valerie Hobson and Catherine Heighway

Saturday, October 27th
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
RiverBend Golf Community Library, London

 

Samhain on November 1st marks the beginning of winter on the Celtic Calendar. Nature has slowed down and the earth has begun to contract towards the dark time of the year. It’s a reminder of the need to nourish ourselves after the busyness of the summer and the harvest season to prepare for the coming winter. Join us for a relaxing and rejuvenating day featuring mindful movement, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection and an indoor labyrinth walk. Suitable for all levels of experience. Lunch is included.  
 
Date:                Saturday, October 27th
Location:         RiverBend Golf Community Library, London
Time:               10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fee:                 $75.00
To register:     email
spandaretreats@hotmail.com or call Catherine at 519-871-0661
 

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Fall Practices
 

Fall is a time when vata or the air element begins to increase as we move from the intense heat of summer to crisper temperatures and stronger winds.Some signs of a vata imbalance include nervousness, a feeling of being ungrounded, insomnia, dry skin and hair, muscle stiffness and muscle aches.

Establishing a simple daily routine is one of the best ways to calm vata. Get up early to benefit from the stillness of the early morning. Before you shower or bathe, massage your skin with warm sesame oil to counteract the dryness affecting the skin and joints at this time of year. It is a good time of year to use a neti pot for nasal washing. Put a few drops of oil in the nasal passages to lubricate the sinuses and calm the mind.

In your yoga practice, use standing poses such as Warrior Poses – Virabhadrasana I, II and III and especially standing balance poses such as Tree – Vrksasana, Dancer – Natarajasana and Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana to help align hips and shoulders while encouraging grounding. The cooler weather invites a more vigorous practice using back bends such as Locust – Salabhasana, Cobra – Bhujangasana and Bow – Dhanurasana. Square Breath or Sama Vrtti pranayama is recommended as well as a longer Savasana to help ease the mind as the winds of seasonal change increase in their intensity.

As the weather changes, switch from the light cooling foods of summer to the warm, moist and cooked foods of fall. Include in your diet cooked or stewed fall fruits like apples and pears, seasonal vegetables particularly root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets and plenty of high quality oils from nuts and seeds. Ghee or clarified butter is also recommended.

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 Namaste

Catherine and Valerie