Michael found yoga over a decade ago when it was suggested as a way to heal injuries incurred through sport. But it was the mental and emotional impact of practice that kept him coming back to the mat. Michael loves yoga because it is a learning practice—one that offers a limitless number of teachings about body, mind, and spirit.
For Maura yoga is an exploration of movement and stillness. By using the body and breath we dive deeper into the present moment. Yoga can be deeply introspective and yet at the same time can help us to draw out curiosity, playfulness and understanding of the world around us.
Feeling rather disillusioned and seeking something more, Niki walked into her first yoga class some 20 years ago. She was immediately enticed by the practice. The feeling of being calm, grounded and at home in her body was a great pleasure. Honing skills to be more adaptable, practicing the art of letting go, learning to listen and pay attention—it was all too much for her to resist.
Marc is currently working toward completing the requirements for the 200-hour Yoga Fundamentals Program at Octopus Garden. A teacher with the Toronto District School Board, he is bringing a mindfulness and yoga program to his school this fall. Marc has a deep and longstanding interest in Zen Buddhist meditation, psychology, ethics, and social justice. Currently, he is particularly interested in the neuropsychology of mindfulness practices for stress reduction, insight, and transformation.
YuMee Chung (Padmani) is a former securities lawyer who left a busy practice to engage more deeply with life. More than a decade later, she is an Advance Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher who also offers classes in the Yoga Tune Up method.
Heather was introduced to yoga in 1997 following a back injury, when it was recommended as a way to manage her symptoms. What began as an intervention to heal the body eventually also became a way to calm the mind and nurture acceptance for what she was capable of on any given day, physically and mentally, on and off the mat.
Taryn is an energetic and inclusive instructor, drawing from experience in facilitation, gender analysis, and a commitment to social justice. Having practiced yoga for a decade, Taryn began sharing her love of yoga upon completing over 500 hours of Yoga Education at Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre in 2012.
Studying Peace and Conflict, and International Relations led James to work with the medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in some of the most difficult conflicts in the world. After leaving MSF, determined to bring HIV treatment to the most vulnerable populations in low-income countries, James co-founded Dignitas International. Witnessing overwhelming suffering over decades left him with a heavy heart.
David Good believes yoga is a way to discover your hidden potential and find the truth of who you are, on and off the mat.
David’s classes range in intensity and focus, from vigorous sequencing to supportive restorative work. Offering rich alignment cues and heartfelt humour, David aims to create an inclusive environment that nurtures the soul and leaves students feeling like they’ve learned something about their bodies in the process.
Pat sees the practice of yoga as an opportunity for physical, psychological, and spiritual inquiry. With compassion, generosity, and humour, she encourages students to maximize their potential. Themes from eastern philosophy, psychology, and everyday experience have been informing Pat’s teaching for the past 20 years.
Jennifer discovered yoga as a dancer in her young twenties. At her very first yoga class, the experience resonated so deeply within that she knew then how meaningful and important yoga was going to become in her life.
Krista’s approach to yoga is to create space to cultivate strength, empowerment, and empathy. Krista started seriously practicing yoga after a health issue temporarily limited her ability to engage in her regular physical activities. The safety and freedom she discovered on the mat led her to expand her diverse teaching practice to include yoga.
After an injury ended Marshal’s martial arts practice, he sought a healing practice that would keep him strong, mobile, and active through the rest of his life. He found yoga.
Lisa Messina creates a safe place for people to deeply listen and courageously dive into the true nature of being. A dancer from the age of three, Lisa’s life work has been exploring and sharing her passion for movement through a broad range of modalities, including dance, Pilates, and yoga.
Lucy was introduced to yoga in her early teens and what started as a recovery tool for her training as an elite triathlete quickly became so much more: a creative outlet and healing modality. Inspired by yoga’s ability to balance both strength and restoration, she enrolled in Octopus Garden’s Teacher Training and completed over 500 hours of Yoga Education while attending high-school. Shortly thereafter, Lucy began sharing her passion for self-inquiry and intelligent movement—the ability to trust breath and allow one’s body to find its natural alignment.
Nicky Poole, a mother of two originally from New Zealand, has been enmeshed in the study of yoga since 1999. She founded the first yoga studio in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2004 and cultivated a unique community on the banks of the Saigon River until moving to Canada in 2009. Calling Toronto home, Nicky has established herself as a highly sought after teacher trainer and pre and post natal specialist in the city.
Riki Richter D.O.M.P., D.Sc.O. has been teaching movement for 23 years with a focus on its rehabilitative applications. She is an osteopathic manual practitioner trained in Pilates and yoga, is a Franklin Method educator and is currently studying DNS. She opened Synergy Sports Medicine in 2011 with Dr. Raza Awan where they incorporate movement based rehab.
Kristy has been practising yoga off and on for over ten years but became truly devoted after she found aerial yoga. The playfulness and whimsy of aerial yoga combined with fleeting moments of fear (often immediately followed by moments of exhilaration) keeps the mind completely present with the body leading to a practice like no other. She believes the beauty in aerial yoga lies in the ability to connect with the inner child, to be playful, to be curious, to be silly and unafraid of the unfamiliar; qualities as adults we often as deny ourselves.
John believes that learning is an exchange, and he endeavours to treat all those who practice with him with respect and equanimity. Drawing on more than 15 years of practice and teaching, John derives inspiration from the many layers of yoga. He is most energized and excited when philosophy, psychology, and anatomy swim together in an engaging practice. Diligent but playful, his unique classes reflect his insatiable curiosity about the “whys” of practice, and he encourages lively dialogue around all aspects of yoga.
Maddy White was introduced to the practice of yoga at a young age by a physiotherapist who recommended it to help with her scoliosis. Like many people, she started practicing as a way to stay active in a lifestyle that didn’t involve much movement, but soon she began to see the other benefits of yoga. Yoga became crucial to managing the stress that came with attending university and it provided a means for self-inquiry and self-acceptance.