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 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

Spring 2018

Spring

After the contracted darkness of winter, we welcome Spring’s longer hours of daylight, more warmth and the stirring of new life from the ground up – plants, insects, animals and birds! Keep reading for a description of practices that can help support us as we transition from the heaviness of winter to the lightness of Spring.
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Class Schedule with Valerie Hobson

 
At Yoga East

Gentle Yoga & Meditation

Tuesday       9:30 – 10:45 am        April 3rd – 24th
                                                       May 1st – 22nd
                                                       June 5th – 26th

Mixed Level Yoga
Wednesday
  9:30 – 10:45 am        April 4th – 25th
                                                        May 2nd – 23rd
                                                        June 6th – 27th
 

Please note that Valerie will not be teaching the last week of May (from May 28th to June 1st)

Also Valerie will not be teaching at Yoga East in July and August.

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

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

At Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church
1 Frank Place, London, Ontario 

Gentle Yoga Class 
Tuesday      5:15-6:15 pm             April 3rd – 24th
                                                       May 1st – 22nd
                                                       June 5th – 26th

** New Class beginning in May at Redeemer Church**
Gentle Yoga and Meditation
Thursday     5:45 – 6:45 pm           
May 3rd – 24th
                                                        June 7th to 28th

There are no classes during the last week of May (from May 28th to June 1st).

Fee: Students may either pay $50 to register for 4-week session or if they know they have to be away some weeks, pay a drop-in rate of $15 per class. 

Payable by Cash or Cheque only to Valerie Hobson

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

 
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Day of Mindfulness – Summer Solstice
with Valerie Hobson and Catherine Heighway

Saturday, June 23rd
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Quiet Earth, Dorchester, Ontario

 
The Summer Solstice marks the time of the sun exerting its maximum power upon our part of the earth and the longest day of the year. Celebrate the abundance of Nature and your connection to it, through the ancient wisdom of yoga and meditation. Join us for a relaxing and rejuvenating day featuring mindful movement, yoga, meditation and an indoor labyrinth walk. Suitable for all levels of experience. Lunch is included.  
 
Date:                Saturday, June 23rd
Location:         Quiet Earth, 1681 Hunt Road, Dorchester, Ontario
Time:               10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fee:                 $75.00
To register:     email spandaretreats(at)hotmail.com or call Catherine at 519-871-0661
 
 
We are excited to be offering this retreat for the first time at Quiet Earth, just outside London featuring the rustic charm of a restored barn, set in the peaceful countryside. 
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Spring Practices

This season is all about new beginnings and renewal. It is the perfect time to cleanse both ourselves and our physical space to shed the stagnation of winter and make room for new growth.

1) Clean Your Home.
Cleaning your space will help you de-clutter your mind. Start small with a closet, a cupboard or even a desk drawer. Aim to use natural cleaning products and avoid harsh chemicals.

2) Cleanse Your Body
Twists and hip openers can be wonderful at this time of year to bring a feeling of refreshment and energy to our physical selves. Organs in need of support in the spring are the liver and gallbladder. Give your body a rest by cutting back or eliminating things such as alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, red meat, fried foods and/or sugar for a short period of time. Drink more water and eat more alkaline foods such as green veggies, fruits, whole grains and olive oil. Bitter greens such as arugula, mustard greens and dandelion greens have a cleansing effect on the liver and gallbladder. A cleanse or change in diet is best done in consultation with your health care provider as not all recommendations may be suitable for you.

3) Simply Breathe!
Pausing and making room inside ourselves through the breath is like opening the window to spring. Find time in your day for a short breathing practice, such as Ujjayi (Ocean Breath) or Kapalabhati (Shining Skull Breath). Sit or rest with your legs up the wall for several minutes after finishing your breathing practice.

 
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Photo from: Eric’s Home and Garden Blog by Eric Lawton
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
 
 
“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
–  Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time, 1926 
 
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Catherine and Valerie