Summer Yoga Practice?

A summer yoga practice can be a time where you find more time for practice in your schedule or less… depending on your lifestyle and family commitments.  You might attend yoga classes when you normally don’t, or attend more often. Or you may prefer to commit to a home practice.

A few ideas to help you find time for your summer yoga practice –

  • Commit to attend a yoga class
  • Leave your yoga mat rolled out or partially rolled out somewhere to remind you to get on the mat for even a few minutes each day
  • Allow more playfulness in your yoga practice – maybe add a little rhythm or dance movement.
  • Explore poses – let go of specific sequences or try different variations of specific poses. Perhaps variations of arm positions in Triangle pose. Perhaps choose just one or two poses that day to explore and notice sensations.
  • Take 5 minutes to breath – practice pranayama
  • Practice with friends
  • Practice outside in your yard or in nature.
  • Lengthen your time savasana – perhaps this becomes your whole practice for the day – a guided relaxation. 

Remember your practice can be a few minutes a day or a mini home retreat. Enjoy your practice and your summer!



girl s white and blue dress


Another year, another opportunity to reflect?

Self-reflection or Svadhyaya is the Niyama of Self-study.  The ending of one year and beginning of another is an opportune time to practice self-reflection, though it can be a more constant daily practice or journaling or meditation. Or as simple as noticing the exhalation as an invitation to let go and our inhalation a chance to begin again.  Take time to honor the previous year – lessons learned, physical or spiritual growth, relationship with self and others, where you have been and what you have done, your work, what went well and what didn’t – not congratulating or judging self, but just observing and acknowledging.  Without self-study our yoga practice can become quite empty or feel meaningless.  An asana practice can help us feel fit, strong, and supple which are wonderful, but the deeper rewards are a greater sense of ease and contentment when we realise we are not alone.  Acknowledge and honour that you are enough. Your intention need not be more than an intention to begin, to bravely step forward into the day. There is no need to over-complicate it by attaching our elaborate stories that we hold dear to. Acknowledge the story, the shadow, and step bravely forward to the new possibilities of the day.


Preparation includes recharging or replenishing yourself.  Sometimes we feel all used up and need a little self-care before embarking on a brave step forward.  This may mean reviewing and adjusting your diet to healthier eating habits or eating mindfully, getting enough sleep, getting exercise to improve or maintain stability and suppleness and balance, yoga practice, breathing practices to improve respiration and focus, meditation to be more present.  It could mean finding a better life balance in work and play, spending time on relationships, or on creative or spiritual pursuits.


To renew means to give fresh life or strength to, to revive, regenerate, revitalize, reinvigorate, rekindle, and revivify. I feel revivified already just listing those words! From the solid ground of self-reflection and replenishing we can renew or begin once again.  Every breath, every moment is a chance to begin. You might ask yourself – what do I want from my deepest heart? what can I let go of that I no longer need for this new beginning? What can I do or practice to commit to this new beginning? Your commitment may be a yoga practice, walking, getting up 15 minutes earlier, time management, 5 minutes of stillness, saving $10 a week for vacation, coffee dates with friends, calling a family member, donating your time, … the commitment is yours to know. Give fresh life or strength to the new year. Renew your intention to step forward bravely into the day.

Happy New Beginning!


Reflection and Gratitude

Happy New Year!  This is a great opportunity to give some thought to what you would like 2018 to be for you, but before setting intentions for the New Year it is worthwhile to reflect on 2017. Spend a little time to pause and ponder before moving forward. Here are a few questions that might help you in your reflection.

  • Is there anything that might be blocking me from moving forward in the New Year? What haven’t I fully acknowledged or processed?
  • What can I celebrate?   – family, goals achieved, something that went well or I did well, how I helped others
  • What can I be grateful for? – maybe something negative that turned into a positive, something or someone that makes my life richer, small things in daily life.
  •  Who would I like to celebrate or honor?  – someone in my life or someone I don’t know who inspired me or cared for me
  • What did I share with others in 2017? – my time, a smile, love, abundance, ideas
  • Have I learned anything about myself?
  • Am I where I would like to be?  Am I who I want to be? Be okay with whatever arises, whatever the answer is.  This may help to create a little energy to fire up  intentions for the coming year.
  • Is there something I need to let go of?  – a habit, belief, idea, relationship, stuff.  Can I simplify my life, decrease mental stress?

After contemplating the previous year, then consider your intentions for the new year. Perhaps for 2018 you might focus on gratitude and compassion rather than material goals.  Practicing gratefulness has been positively associated with overall well-being by improving optimism, increased feelings of belonging, and motivates physical health.  This practice also increases empathy for others.  Whatever your new year’s intentions are, may your heart be full of love and peace.

Peace, Gail


Why Yoga?

20170621_172304This is a question I revisit every now and then.  My answer may change each time I contemplate the question depending on where I am in life at that moment.

There are many reasons we may be drawn to our first yoga practice – from wanting to touch one’s toes again, improving balance, relieving chronic pain, improving strength, and stress relief, to name a few.  Whatever the reason, we are all looking to initiate some sort of change in ourselves.

If you continued with yoga practice beyond the first few classes, over time you probably noticed more ease of movement, an improved steadiness in body, better posture, freeing of ‘tech neck’, improved breath awareness, feeling better in your body, and feeling better mentally. Though yoga is not a cure-all, a yoga practice can do all of these things, and there are some significant studies that have been done showing some very positive results of a steady yoga practice for specific types of issues.  What I love about yoga is that it does do a lot of what we come to yoga hoping it will do.  You generally leave yoga class feeling better than when you left or perhaps having learned something about yourself.  We all want and need different things from our practice.  You may only want a good stretch from yoga or a lovely savasana to de-stress and may never need to go beyond that.  Or you may continue delving into the subtler essences of yoga – lines of energy, soma, prana, vayus, mantra, meditation, philosophy, etc.   Either way – it is your yoga, your Truth.  There is a practice for you.

What I have come to understand so far in my yoga practice and study, is that it is a practice of self-awareness – progressively learning to tune into the subtler levels of awareness.  Listening with the inner ear and seeing with the inner eye.  Tuning in with beginner mind.

Namaste, Gail

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training


soya logoWith 20 years of experience training teachers and guided by the highest standards, SOYA gives students a diverse and broad exposure to many styles, lineages and philosophies. Ever evolving, SOYA’s Teacher Training is designed with flexibility, accessibility and transformation at its heart.

With its roots in the Sivananda lineage, the training is inclusive of many styles of hatha yoga such as Ashtanga, Sivananda, Yin, Restorative, and Vinyasa all while incorporating thorough study of yoga philosophy. This outstanding aspect of the SOYA Teacher Training embraces unity in all yogis, regardless of their paths and styles of yoga. SOYA holds dear to its heart the words of Swami Sivananda, “The paths are many but the Truth is One.”

Our 200 hour yoga teacher training program helps students to understand the roots of yogic wisdom while developing teaching skills and class designs.  It is life changing and a beautiful foundation for an amazing journey ahead as a yoga teacher.

Both SOYA Yoga Teacher Training Programs begin at home where students  complete anatomy, a number of written philosophy assignments and a focused personal practice during the months leading up to program start. Ongoing support is offered during home study through a facebook group, email and phone calls.

Daily sessions include detailed instruction and practice in various styles of Hatha Yoga such as Ashtanga, Sivananda, Flow and Yin. The SOYA training is known for its in-depth study of philosophy, meditation, mantra, pranayama, anatomy, asana and teaching skills as part of the comprehensive curriculum.  Lessons completed at home are reviewed, discussed and put into practice. Students design a series of  Class Lesson Plans. Students practice teaching throughout the entire program, developing confidence and expertise in their teaching skills and the ability to modify asanas for most people’s needs.

Students will receive a 200 hour certificate and be eligible for registration with Yoga Alliance as RYT200 (Registered Yoga Teacher – 200 Hr) upon completion. Registration is recommended two months prior to the training to allow time for the written assignments to be completed.


Intention vs Resolution

The New Year is upon us and with it comes renewed possibilities, resolutions, and pledges on areas in our life we would like to improve or bad habits we would like to eliminate. But often our good intentions fade with failure of our first attempt.  Deepak Chopra suggests an accessible alternative to setting New Year’s resolutions instead in the form of intentions offered to the universe. These intentions move from body, emotions, and mind to spirit. He explains that there is a natural flow to life and that we are trying to replace disorder and resistance with this natural flow. He suggests sitting quietly for a few minutes each morning to offer these intentions: I want a joyful, energetic body. I want a loving & compassionate heart. I want a restful alert mind. I want lightness of being… and between each intension pause and listen for a response. Don’t judge the response – be it negative or positive. And if you feel troubled or stressed throughout the day, repeat one or all of these intentions again.

I find this approach much more in alignment with the yoga practice.  Setting these universal intentions will help clarify how you want to live your life – more fully, in love with life, without fear. Sit quietly in stillness, offer the intention out to the universe, listen with your inner ear, and non-judgment of response. This is similar to Erich Schiffmann’s approach to meditation – sitting quietly, getting still, opening your mind to Big Mind (the universe), asking a question and waiting for a response, with no judgment of the response.   Whatever method of intention or resolutions you may practice, be forgiving of your stumbles on the way. Let your stumbles make you stronger, more determined, and more fearless.

(REF: ,

NOTE: Erich Schiffmann will be in Sorrento, BC this June for the Annual SOYA Conference.  Check it out at

Interested in yoga and yoga philosophy? Check out SOYA 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training extended program this spring out of the Creston Valley Yoga & Movement Studio.

SOYA Yoga Teacher Training 200 HOUR Extended program : Feb 27-June 21, 2015. Weekend meetings twice a month
South Okanagan Yoga Academy is a Registered School with Yoga Alliance and the Canadian Affiliate for the International Yoga Teachers Association
For more information:
And Gail Thompson at and

January classes…

Just a quick note regarding January yoga classes before I head out of town…

Hatha Yoga (Intermediate) – Mondaysstarting January 12th 
5 – 6:30 pm, Creston Yoga & Movement Studio on 15th Ave.

Hatha Yoga – mostly floor! (all levels – moderate) – Wednesdays:   January 14th
5 – 6:15 pm, Creston Yoga & Movement Studio on 15th Ave.


Interested in learning more about yoga and yoga philosophy?  SOYA YOGA TEACHER TRAINING – 200 HOUR


Feb 28-June 21, 2015 in Creston at the CV Yoga & Movement Studio.  Weekend meetings twice a month.
Lead Trainer – Gail Thompson.  For more information check out my website below or the SOYA website. SOYA

My wholehearted wish for your to have a lovely holiday season and a heart brimming full of love and joy,
Namaste to you,


Though this is the season that tends to have us rushing to the stores to shop for gift-giving, another way to practice the seasonal refrain of love and giving is to be kind to others.  In yoga practice we call this Ahimsa or non-harming – essentially to be kind to others.  Every day we can practice being kind in thoughts, words, and actions by being friendly and having a thoughtful, considerate attitude towards others. This may be a far greater gift than any material gift…the giving of yourself – be that a friendly thought and smile, kind words and an understanding ear, or helpful acts of kindness.

I will be holding our annual Yoga Charity Event on the last class of the fall session – December 17th.  We will have a short yoga class and then enjoy a friendly cup of tea, a few treats, and goodwill.  Donations to the charity are encouraged but optional.

Fall Classes 2014

Hatha Yoga, Intermediate level -Mondaysthrough Dec 15  from 5 – 6:30 pm
Moderately advanced to challenge your body and improve mental focus. Evolve and grow while understanding your body’s adaptations to the deeper layers of asana and pranayama practices.   Classes will incorporate flow/vinyasa, sustained holds, intermediate variations of poses and of pranayama, meditation, kriya, mantra and yoga nidra.
Previous yoga experience recommended. (not appropriate for new beginners)

Hatha Yoga, Moderate level  – Wednesdays:   through Dec 17 from 5 – 6:15 pm
A balanced practice to stretch and strengthen the body and the mind with slow flow, sustained holds, more mat work, and yoga nidra. Emphasis on breath and mindfulness.
All levels welcome. This practice is more accessible for those dealing with wrist or shoulder pain/injury.

*Pose variations and modifications offered to suit student needs whether for beginners, injury/illness or to challenge.
If you are unsure whether a class will serve you, please contact me.


You can purchase Fall passes at class –
$55 – 5 class pass
$95 – 10 class pass
$12  – drop-in per class
Passes apply for both of my classes. ***Expiration date for Fall passes – Dec 31, 2014***

Winter 2013 Classes

Intermediate Yoga – Mondays, 4:45 – 6:15 p.m. 

January 14 – March 25, 2013  – 10 classes (excluding Family Day,  Monday Feb 11th)

A comprehensive class for those wishing to deepen their practice. Moderately advanced to challenge your body and improve mental focus. Vinyasa/Hatha Flow and sustained holds with intermediate variations in poses and pranayama. May also include kriya and mantra. Previous yoga experience recommended.

All Levels Yoga – Wednesdays, 4:45 – 6:15 p.m. 

January 16 – April 3, 2013 – 12 classes

A balanced practice that will explore mind-body awareness, action & ease, building strength, increasing flexibility, and improving steadiness of body and mind.  Some Hatha Flow and sustained holds.

Pose variations and modifications offered to suit student needs whether for beginners, injury/illness or to challenge.  If you are unsure whether a class will serve you, please contact Gail.

Classes held at Creston Valley Yoga Studio, 1017 Canyon St., Creston, BC.  For more information or to register for a session, please email Gail Thompson, Certified Yoga Instructor (SOYA,eRYT,IYTA) at