breaking new ground


breaking new ground

When we show up to our mat we come ready to embark on our personal practice and eager to disengage from the busy hectic lives we lead. We set intentions, ignore our limitations and, well, just go with the flow. What is amazing to me is that everyone has their own reason for showing up and that the same series of postures can mean so many different things, and present so many different challenges, to so many different people. While talking with 4 local yogis, I took the opportunity to ask them what initially brought them to their mats and how they continue to push themselves to break new ground.

chloe luce
YYOGA Partner
and studio director

what inspired you to start yoga?
I started practicing yoga in 1999, while I was touring India. After three months of heavy travelling in the south, I dragged my sick-and-travel-weary body into Osho’s Ashram outside of Bombay to rest from bouts of Giardia, otherwise known as Delhi-Belly. Yoga was the doorway back into my body, where I was able to regain strength and mobility.

anything new you’ve tried and accomplished?
I was quite convinced for a while that my body couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t do certain poses, specifically ones like Wheel Pose. With inspiring words from a teacher Ross Rayburn, I realized I might actually be wrong about my body, and decided I just needed to go for it. The first time I tried my head was only lifted a few inches off the mat, and after a panicked gasp of air I came straight back down. Something shifted in that moment. I was now more open visiting that scary place over and over again.


alex mazerolle
anusara-inspired yoga &
pilates instructor at
YYOGA & Exhale Studio

what inspired you to start yoga?
I was injured from dancing, as well as getting over pneumonia and severe asthma. I was looking for a way to heal myself and thought yoga would help. I took one class I was hooked.

anything new you’ve tried and accomplished?
Recently, I have been getting back into running. Having asthma all of my life, it was something I have avoided in the past due to fear of having an attack. Yoga has helped me to calm my mind and control my breath. I love running now, feeling how strong my lungs are and also knowing when to slow down and really listen to my body.




juliana stifelmann
lululemon athletica educator
at West 4th,Vancouver

what inspired you to start yoga?
Yoga was a way for me to get back into an active lifestyle when hectic university life hit me. When I go to yoga I feel my stress melt away and I leave feeling fabulous.

anything new you’ve tried and accomplished?
What intimidated me when I first started yoga was that feeling that people would be watching me try to hit poses and judging me if I didn't look perfect. I realized that yoga is a place to get away from all that and celebrate our accomplishments, not a place where we are judged based on imperfections or struggles. Once I overcame this I was more comfortable with trying new things. I recently managed to hit the “half moon” pose and am now working towards a headstand.


tedi martin
Yoga instructor and kine-
siologist at Tedi Martin Yoga

what inspired you to start yoga?
I was inspired to start because my dad was practicing and encouraged me to try it. I continued, however, because as an anxious teenager I found that it helped to balance all of the changes going on in my life.

anything new you’ve tried and accomplished?
I recently travelled to India which was a challenge because I was nervous about travelling alone. This fear ended up making it the best possible experience because my adventures were left untainted by anyone else’s opinions, thoughts, or distractions. I wandered to whichever experiences were speaking to me at that time and was able to fully-immerse in what the culture and teachings had to offer.

my yoga breakthrough

When it came to yoga for me, I was a skeptic beyond all. I was initially came to my mat mostly through the simple notion that everyone else was doing it. My mom, brother, best friend, and heck, even Jennifer Aniston, were all doing yoga and it occurred to me that there must be something I just wasn’t getting from my stance on the sidelines. I think it was in that first moment when I finally pushed up into downward dog, that I understood why I was there, and why I would continue to come back. I realized that I wasn’t there for anyone but me, and it was my fear of not being any good that had held me back for so long. The realization that it didn’t matter (that it should never matter) what anyone else thought, opened me up to a whole new world of trying without the fear of failing. While talking about breaking new ground, Tedi said something that really summed everything up nicely for me. “In the case of trying something new, you’re giving a lot but will be rich with benefit in the end.”

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I started yoga 5 years ago. I was suffering from severe insomnia and nothing helped. A friend of mine recomended yoga and i’ve been hooked ever since (going 5 times a week. Not only did it help with the insomnia but the physical and mental healing that comes with doing yoga is just amazing.

Comment by Brittany — July 21, 2011 @ 10:40 am

honestly? I started doing yoga to get a yoga butt. However, 9 years later, I realize what an amazing WAY OF LIFE yoga provides for us. I am now in love with the mind-body-spirit connection that yoga gives (yoga butt a bonus…but not necessary). :-)

Comment by brandi — July 21, 2011 @ 10:41 am

Such an inspiring article. Frankly, I started bikram yoga 3 years ago since I was diagnosed with a type of henoch schonlein and I wasn’t able to do any physical activities. My blood vessel was too weak that it will break easily if I stand too long, leaving rashes on my skin. I was gaining weight and devastated, somehow I went across bikram yoga on the internet and give it a try at a local studio. Since then, I begun to develop a relationship in yoga. Yoga let me understand my own body, control my breath and mind, and most of all change the way I look at things. I am not living in yoga yet, but I am loving every seconds that I spent in holding difficult asanas, pranayama breathing and meditating. So I guess Yoga is a serendipity for me.

Comment by Carlita — July 22, 2011 @ 12:09 am

great first post alless. so proud of you bestie! xo

Comment by tiffany — July 22, 2011 @ 8:16 am

I began yoga again recently b/c of a slipped disk in my lower back. It is amazing how much yoga has helped me especially when my back slips out and I am in terrible pain. I used to do yoga all the time years ago and then strayed away from it. I have a new found love again w/ yoga. The breathing and meditation also helps so much in “the real world”. I use it to help w/ anxiety, stress, frustration, you name it. Love it!

Comment by Suzanne Williams — July 22, 2011 @ 8:29 am

I love hearing about what other people get out of yoga! Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to read more from you, Allessia!

Comment by Carolyn — July 25, 2011 @ 6:35 am

Hey less, great post! I can’t wait to get settled in Toronto and start practicing again You’ll have to let me know which are your favorite studios.

Comment by Dan Imbrogno — August 2, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

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