- Our Town
Yoga is about feeling good while we're here
The teacher doesn’t mind if you don’t pay too much attention during Friday morning yoga sessions at the yoga studio at Artisan Square. It's also okay if half the class is babbling, ignoring the poses all together. Like most yoga classes, the Friday session ends with Child’s Pose and a Namaste, but there’s also a good amount of focus on snuggling.
“I’ve got a toddler myself so I found I needed something to do Friday mornings,” says Chantal Russell about the Mom & Tots yoga class at Bowen Yoga. “Its not about a hard-core yoga practice, its about getting out of the house, connecting with other moms, and moving.”
Russell’s been directing Bowen Yoga since September, and has plans for more kid and family oriented yoga classes, as well as nutrition workshops.
“I’d like to see it become something of a lifestyle and wellness hub,” she says.
She’s been teaching yoga for eight years, and is a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Toronto. She says she’s dedicated her life to the study, practice and teaching of healthy living, and this fact made a cancer diagnosis following the birth of her son Ben (almost 2) an acute shock.
“I was almost angry at yoga, and everything to do with it, because I felt like it had let me down somehow,” Russell says. "I think I looked at yoga, and everything to do with it, as some kind of pill for immortality."
Lymphoma typically strikes young, healthy people. It is an aggressive form of cancer, but it is also highly treatable.
“One of my doctors told me, ‘Think of this like a virus, a flu. You will get through this.’”
Russell attributes positive thinking and healthy habits to the fact that she got through her cancer treatments “relatively well.” And once she was strong enough to do yoga, she started teaching again, and she says that helped her re-build her strength. The experience she says, has changed her perspective on practicing yoga and made her a better teacher.
“You never know [what will happen in life], but my focus has shifted now it’s not about trying to perfect ourselves, but trying to enjoy it and feel the best we can while we’re here.”
Russell says with this approach yoga can be a great tool for kids.
“They can learn to appreciate the simple things in life, like their breath. They can learn to focus, and to relax.”
Bowen Yoga held the first of what Russell is hoping will be a monthly workshop for kids between the ages of 3 and 8 last weekend.
Incorporating more family-friendly programming into the yoga studio is just one idea Chantal as she moves forward in her role as director. She's also looking for community input and is hoping that people will fill out the survey on the studio's website: www.bowenislandyoga.com