Learn how our Instructors Rejuvenate, Restore and Reconnect

Learn how our Instructors Rejuvenate, Restore and Reconnect

During April, our theme has been “Rejuvenate. Restore. Reconnect.”  Each of these actions helps us to centre ourselves but together, they allow serenity to enter into our lives. 

We wanted to know how our instructors rejuvenate, restore and reconnect, so we asked them for their favourite mantra or meditation.  Here’s what they told us:

Om Namah Sivaya really resonates with me, because it calls on Siva, who transforms and destroys the old to bring in the new. We are all in a process of transformation. When we are able to let go of the old, the new has room to enter into our lives. 

Deborah Lim

So Hum (I am that).  It is simple yet powerful.  Having the curse of a monkey mind, it is the best and simplest way to a peaceful meditation for me.  And it always reminds me that I am enough, as I am that which lives as part of all creation.

 Toni Blay

Meditation from the heart.

Melissa Linton

Keep it real.  I teach yoga to bring more real into the world. 

Kate Graham

I love Ganesha mantras. Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha is a go-to for me. I will use this one to chant japa mala (while moving through the beads of a mala) as it is deeply meditative, but I also believe in its ability to shift the energy and help Ganesha to remove our obstacles!

Lisa Veronese

Om Namah Shivaya (I bow to the Light within me).  I received this mantra in the mid- 1990s from my Guru (yoga tradition spiritual teacher) at the time.  It’s my “go-to” for meditation and for times when I need to slow myself down and harness a calmer breath.

Sheila Gill

A very simple one I learned from Gabrielle Bernstein. Press your thumb and index finger together and silently say the word "Peace." Press your thumb and middle finger together and silently say the word "Begins." Press your thumb and ring finger together and say the word "With." And finally press your thumb and your baby figure together and say the word "Me." The mantra is: Peace Begins With Me. You can do this anytime, anyplace, anytime, when you need a reminder at work or at home that you always have a choice in how you react. Easier said than done, I know. That's why we call it a practice!

Angela Yazbek

Healthy Recipe: Steak Salad

Healthy Recipe: Steak Salad

Barbecue season is coming and many of us are itching to fire-up the grill.  If the weather doesn’t allow it, you can grill your steak under the broiler instead....

Meet Deborah Lim

Meet Deborah Lim

Join Deborah Lim in-studio on Sundays for either Beginners’ Yoga or for Mindfulness and Meditation – or both!

1.      Why is practicing yoga important to you and your life?

Practicing yoga is important to me because it helps me in so many ways in my life. It touches every single aspect of my life because Yoga is not just the asana practice, but a philosophy and perspective on life. It has given me a new outlook on life.

2.      What is your best piece of advice or etiquette tip for students of yoga?

Come a few minutes early to class so that you can connect with people and get to know them - yoga can open doors to a new community. Also, you’ll have time to settle in and get a few extra moments to yourself to relax in savasana!

3.      What is your favourite mantra or meditation?

Om Namah Sivaya really resonates with me, because it calls on Siva, who transforms and destroys the old to bring the new. We are all in a process of transformation. When we are able to let go the old, the new has room to enter into our lives.

4.      What is your biggest motivation or motivator?

My biggest motivation is to enjoy life and grow.  To stay in the same place is not possible. It might feel good to stay the same for a while, but eventually it becomes uncomfortable. We can choose whether we participate in this change, or resist. Either way, change will happen…I’d like to enjoy what I have now as much as possible because it won’t be here forever.

My biggest motivation for teaching is making a positive impact on someone, whether physical, mental, or emotional. The size of impact doesn’t matter, we don’t truly know what impact we have on others until after it happens. The smallest things can make a big difference to someone’s day, week, year, or life!

5.      What are you grateful for?

Most of all, I am grateful for connections with others. It is our relationships we have that enrich our lives, not the things we buy. But, I try to be grateful for everything that comes into my life, because even our difficulties are precious learning opportunities.

6.      How do you cross-train?

Right now, I love dancing. An old love has come back, ballet, and a new love has entered the picture – contra dancing. Walking, hiking, swimming, and napping are pretty amazing too! J

7.      What is your favourite recipe?

I don’t have a favourite recipe because I rarely measure anything and cannot be bothered to follow a recipe to the tee, knowing that a surprise could taste just as good! I love to eat and cook lots of different cuisines and be creative. What I cook changes based on what I feel like eating at that time, so whatever is in season and available in my fridge or pantry is what goes into my dishes. No two dishes ever taste exactly the same J

8.      What would we find in your kitchen/fridge?

There isn’t space or time to list everything! There are lots of ingredients and different varieties of everything, as I prefer to cook my own meals from scratch. Fruit, veggies, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, noodles, tofu, seed butters (peanut butter, tahini, etc.), jams, frozen fruit and veggies, chocolate, spices, and the list goes on...If you’re really interested, come take a look for yourself!

9.      What is your favourite book?

This is a difficult question because there are so many good books out there, whatever I read last is usually my favourite. Mainly it’s a difficult question because I prefer not to be defined in any particular way - I’m always changing. So, I’m way, but especially not by my choice of sometime at any one point in time!

The last book I read (and my latest favourite) is “Gut: An Inside Story of our Body’s most Underrated Organ” by Giulia Enders. It’s an easy read to understand our digestive system, plus it has a bonus feature - illustrations!

Healthy Recipe: Lentil Soup

Healthy Recipe: Lentil Soup

(adopted from a recipe by Chef Ricardo)

red bell peppers, seeded and diced

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stalk

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon of curry powder

5 cups of beef or chicken broth

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 8-oz can of tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 green onions, chopped

Garlic to taste

Salt and pepper

Grated fresh ginger

Plain Yogurt

In a large saucepan, soften the bell peppers and onion in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spices (except the ginger) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper.

 Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Add broth, if needed. Add the cilantro and green onion. Adjust the seasoning.

When almost read to serve, add some grated fresh ginger or powder.  Top with a dollop of plain yogurt.

Serve with papadom or naan bread.

Original recipe:  https://www.ricardocuisine.com/en/recipes/5214-lentil-and-red-bell-pepper-soup

Q&A with Liz McGregor

Q&A with Liz McGregor

On the second Sunday of every month, we will be profiling some of the people behind our studio.  Today, we are featuring our studio owner, Liz McGregor.  Look for interviews with our instructors over the coming months.

Why is practicing yoga important to you and your life?

Two years ago, I decided it was time to live one day at a time. I wanted to be mindful of the moment, of everything that is good in life rather than dwell on the negative and what I cannot change.

As part of my new beginning, I found and started practicing yoga. Now, I take the time to pause, breathe, and reflect. Yoga has taught me strength – emotionally, spiritually and physically.  I am rewarded by a sense of peace that settles on me every time I come through the studio doors or find a mat or cushion.

That impacts every aspect of my life and makes me a better person, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend…

What is your best piece of advice or etiquette tip for students of yoga?

In my view, being on time for class is really important. I know things happen in life and once and a while one will be late. But if you’re running a bit behind please try and wait to come in until the teacher has started it in terms of poses/movement and settle in then.  That way your fellow yogis can remain focused during intention setting at the beginning of practice, which is about being quiet, thoughtful and mindful.

What is your favourite mantra or meditation?

I like to breathe. I still have difficulty settling to visualize or scan, etc. Breathing always works for me.

What is your biggest motivation or motivator?

Good mental health and wellness.  Consequently, the health of my family.

What are you grateful for?

My chance to start fresh.  The love and support of my husband, family and dear friends.

The studio.  My wonderful fellow yogis who share the space with me. It has also given me a new start that I am so grateful for having.

How do you cross-train?

I don’t cross-train enough right now. But I have started TRX. I truly believe this is the greatest fitness workout ever.  As someone who trained throughout my life from my skating years on, I can’t say enough about this training system in terms of taking pressure off your joints and being able to control the amount you can put into the exercise program while doing it. As a result I’m putting the free weights away for a while, maybe for good!

I love to run on the boardwalk. But I have to say I like fair weather running lol! And I bike, both indoors and out!

What is your favourite recipe?

I don’t have one favourite recipe.  I love to eat variety.  If it is chicken, a butter chicken curry dish that I make with roasted peppers. If it’s a fish dish it would be a steamed tilapia with asparagus and spinach that my husband makes. If it is a beef dish, my homemade spaghetti  that I learned to make from my Mom when I was kid. Vegan—I love carrot soup! Maybe I will post each of them for you to try!

What would we find in your kitchen cupboards and/or refrigerator?

Maple syrup. From the Ennis Maple Syrup Farm in Balderson, Ontario, a close friend who’s family has owned it for years. It’s incredible.

 And now I’m a broken record, but variety. We have a young son with a huge, very healthy appetite and we make sure the fridge is always stocked with nutritious food. Veggies, fruits, yogurt.  Fresh pasta.  Home-made food--we very rarely eat out or buy packaged food.

What is your favourite book?

Wow. I’m feeling so indecisive. 

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Helen Keller: The Story of My Life

And, I Love My Hockey Mom.  Written and illustrated by 7 & 8 year old Novice hockey players. Given to me by my son’s hockey team several years ago and a great reminder of what it is all about.

Where do you plan to travel next?

I’m hoping to take a yoga retreat very soon!

Marvellous March Pose: Balance

Marvellous March Pose: Balance

We asked our teachers to reflect on what balance means to them in their yoga practice, and here’s what they said:...

New to Yoga? Our Instructors offer their Etiquette Tips

New to Yoga? Our Instructors offer their Etiquette Tips

We asked our instructors for their best piece of advice or etiquette tip for students of yoga, and here’s what they told us:

Come a few minutes early to class so that you can connect with people and get to know them - yoga can open doors to a new community. Also, you’ll have time to settle in and get a few extra moments to yourself to relax in sav asana!

– Deborah Lim

Arrive to your class on time.

Be aware of how your presence bleeds off your mat energetically to the spaces around you —wearing strong scents, breathing loudly or taking your own practice too far off the beaten path can all detract from the experiences of others. Be conscientious and aware of others, and share your energy in balance.

 – Lisa Veronese

Patience.  You need lots and lots.

 – Melissa Linton

Show up at least 5 minutes before class start time.  Turn your phone off and pack it away.

Let go of your inner judge.  This is your time to communicate with your body and mind.  There is no room for judgement in communication.

 – Toni Blay

Have a sense of humour!  And just as important: come to the practice with incredible curiosity about the way you and your mind/heart/body operate.  In fact, see if you can eventually replace judgment with curiosity. 

Each pose is a chance to become a sort of anthropologist in the study of your own self.  The yoga tradition calls this contemplative practice svadhyaya. 

A successful Hatha practice, in my view, is one where the yogi achieves a subtle awareness, and a compassionate delight in the miracle of this body, in all its life stages, successes and struggles.

– Sheila Gill

Yoga is about You. Your body. Your breath. Your practice.

Contrary to popular opinion, you do not need to be über flexible. You don't need to look like the yogis posting beautiful pictures on Instagram. Don't compare.

You just need to be able to breathe and be open to getting to know your body.

Yoga is not about Lululemon’s and the perfect body.

Yoga is about coming to the mat exactly as you are, how you are, in this perfectly imperfect body with this perfectly messy life. 

 – Angela Yazbek

Just simply…Let it go.  Refrain from judgement. 

Yoga is about moving energy within us, getting rid of “stuff” that we have stored and don’t need.  Inhale what you need and exhale what you no longer desire.

– Kate Graham

Beginning March 12th, we will feature a Question and Answer with one of our instructors on the third Sunday of each month.  We think it will be a great way for you to get to know more about them and about the philosophy we promote at PŪR Yoga Toronto. 



Feeding your courage

Feeding your courage

In recognition of February's theme of "courage", our monthly recipe is a green smoothie.... 

The Book of Liz: The Best Chapter Yet

The Book of Liz: The Best Chapter Yet

Many of you have heard the story of how I fell into becoming a studio owner.  For those of you who haven’t, I will tell it once again:...

Fabulous February Pose: Courage

As we reflect on the various ways to incorporate February’s theme of the month of “courage” into our daily lives, we asked some of PŪR Yoga Toronto’s teachers for their perspectives on a pose which to them demonstrates (and requires!) courage.  Here’s what they said:...

Welcome to our New Blog

PŪR Yoga Toronto believes in a world where kindness, compassion, sharing and giving are core to the values of every person. We believe in community and nurturing relationships between people and the world around them.

It is our hope that members leave the studio feeling renewed, refreshed and more grounded.  This self-care allows them to be better connected with themselves and better able to manage the stresses in their daily lives.  

The intention of PŪR Yoga Toronto is to build and sustain a special energy and spirit that grows in the community and which keeps them coming back for peace and good health, both physically and spiritually.

In keeping with this philosophy, our blogs will offer insight into the practice of yoga and mindfulness.  Visit our website each Sunday to read about yoga poses related to our monthly theme, your teachers' journies, healthy recipes or studio news.  

We look forward to reading your comments on our blogs.  In keeping with our mission to promote health and well-being PŪR Yoga Toronto will accept negative feedback on this site. However, we will remove any inappropriate behaviour.  We reserve the right to take down photos, comments, and other materials that we deem inappropriate.