Laura Martini

Introducing Mandala Studio

Mandala Studio

A sacred space for yoga education <3

The dream for a yoga space of my own began many years ago. I'd been teaching yoga in the studio environment and had just started leading retreats. I found the retreats gave me the opportunity to get to know my students a bit better than the one hour drop-in classes I'd been teaching. I started to crave the intimacy that came with the retreats; I was better able to build a trusting relationship with the people I was guiding through vinyasas. It was easier to personalize the practices for them and I felt I could give them more as they no longer became 'Jenny- the middle-aged woman who's always in the back row and has tendonitis' and instead became 'Jenny- the empath who works with disadvantaged youth, has two Boston Terriers, loves Syrah, has a husband who's a lawyer and travels a lot for work and struggles with depression but feels guilty for feeling depressed because he thinks he should be more grateful for the wealth his job brings him.' Make sense?

Utimately, I craved a greater sense of community and relationship, and through the immersion in the retreats, I was able to find that and saw how when I took the time to get to know my students better, I found teaching more rewarding and I found my students' practice BLOSSOM.

For too many years I was focussed on BIGGER classes, gaining more clientele, becoming more popular, when deep down inside my spirit longed for the connections that sprang up from intimate environments and compassionate relationships. I began teaching private classes and fostering these relationships but when I started struggling with finding space to rent in Kelowna for my private yoga classes, I convinced the hubby that we needed to find a bigger home so I could teach in a space that I could control 100%. I understand that the idea of bringing 'strangers' into your home can freak some people out! But for me, it is the ultimate way to take care of my students; epic hospitality combined with a divinely curated space. Yes please!

Two years ago we bought a house centrally located near the Kelowna General Hospital and in that two years, my hubby has slaved away converting the entire bottom floor of the house into a studio space. Complete with a separate entrance around back, a washroom with a shower, a registration and welcome area, and a 16 person studio, I am so excited to welcome in the first students to Mandala Studio! I'm beginning our first classes the week after Labour Day:) Because there is limited space, all classes are by pre-registration only and are first come, first served. Because I really want to foster intimacy and focus on yoga education, the classes are built like a series; you must register and commit to 6 weeks at a time (and hold yourself accountable!).

This spring I will be offering a Transformational Intensive (two morning classes a week), a weekly evening Vinyasa practice, and a weekly sleepy time Aromatherapy Yin practice. To register, please visit my 'Classes' page for info and pay via PayPal, or send me an email (laura@martiniyoga.ca) transfer. I will contact you to confirm your registration once I receive your payment. I'M SO EXCITED and can't wait to welcome you with open arms!

Thank you for the love,

Cheers and Namaste!

l.e. martini

Computer Yoga

Holy Dina I am suffering with a western world issue.  The switch from PC to Mac this past week has been the most challenging yoga practice for me.  And yes, it really was a yoga practice.  No yoga pose has taught to be this patient, to breathe through this much discomfort, or to overcome this much self-judgement!

After a few days of procrastinating (i.e. refusing to return emails because of an excuse I call "the holidays", ignoring Facebook questions, pretending the yoga retreat to-do list doesn't exist, etc.) my good ol' PC bit it in a slow and agonizing death of random powering-down episodes and refusal to download anything.  Left in a panic, I frantically ran out and purchased a snazzy new MacBook Air this morning.  10 hours later I haven't even figured out how to choose my Home Page.  

Needless to say, I have a newfound respect for geeks everywhere.  The amount of time I could save if I was somewhat technologically savvy is mind-blowing to me.  Nevertheless, if yoga has taught me anything it is to work hard, plug on, and surrender the results.  I am going to let go of the guilt of not getting off the couch for an entire day because sometimes, when put into perspective, these problems are not as big as they may seem at the time.  

There are elephants stepping on land mines in Asia.  NOW THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM.

After a long day of doing what feels like nothing, a few movements brought to us from the tradition of yoga will make everything better.  Here are the best yogic ways to release the tension (both physical and mental) from your body after spending a ridiculous amount of time in front of a computer.  You're welcome.

1)  Take 10 deep breaths.  When you inhale, think "in".  When you exhale, think "out".  

2)  Stretch your wrists.  Find your wrists' full range of motion.  This prevents carpal tunnel.

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3) Roll your neck in a circle.  This is safe to do so long as your spine is straight, chest is lifted, and you create a long distance relationship between your shoulders and your ears.

4) Roll you shoulders forward and then roll your shoulders back.  Take note of any cracks and crunches.

5) Now get away from the computer and do some cardio.  I should probably follow my own advice...

Namaste and Rock On,

l.e. martini

Best Savasana Songs

Ever had the most blissed-out relaxation at the end of a yoga class?

 In the western world, where our Type A culture is always on the go, it can be difficult to find stillness of mind.  Yoga has taught us that contorting our bodies among strangers, breathing in new rhythms, and following the guidance of a new age hippie instructor can perhaps, just perhaps, give us the opportunity to glimpse a fleeting moment of meditative deliciousness.  My teaching experience has taught me that one of the best ways to facilitate a blissed-out savasana is through music.

 Here are my top 3 savasana songs:

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He Ma Durga by Donna De Lory is a song that evokes devotion, compassion, and yearning. A beautiful melody that will inevitably get stuck in your head for the rest of your day:)  Random fact:  Donna De Lory was once a back-up singer for Madonna.

Akasha Ma by Wah.  The most meditative of the savasana songs.  Get lost in a yogic trance listening to Wah's ethereal sounds.

Om Namo Bhagavate by Deva Premal.  The meaning of this song is "Thy Will Be Done" or "Surrender the Results".  Both of which are powerful and appropriate for the end of a yoga practice.  The song is hauntingly beautiful and the mantra also happens to be the most commonly associated with the Kripalu lineage.

May your savasanas be blissful always,

l.e. martini

Yoga in Bali

Save the date!  It’s official!  November 10-24th 2013 I am hosting a Yoga and Culture Retreat in the spiritual, sunny town of Ubud, Bali.  You can choose to stay for 1 or 2 weeks and the cost is $1120+tax per week (early bird rate of $1020+tax if booked by March 1) including accommodation, breakfasts, 4 dinners, cultural excursions, and 3 hours of yoga a day.

I can’t even explain how excited I am.  I was in Bali for 5 weeks last year and left a piece of my heart on the island.  There is so much us westerners can learn from the Balinese people which is why it is so important to me that we get to experience the culture as part of this retreat.  The Hindu religion of the Balinese is deeply connected to the roots of yoga; there is no better place to immerse yourself in yoga than in a nation historically connected to the yogic practice, art, and lifestyle.  In fact, we will be staying in a retreat centre in the heart of Ubud on a street named after the monkey deity, Hanoman.  The same deity that the yoga posture Hanomanasana is named after.


Guru!While in Bali last year I met a Guru who truly embodied the image of Balinese people I had created in my mind after seeing Eat, Pray, Love.  He smiled even while explaining the most serious of concepts, and he was about as jolly as Santa Claus.  After days of researching where I should host my upcoming Bali retreat, I found myself drawn to one particular place that seemed to have everything I needed; it was in the heart of town, had a yoga facility on site, plenty of clean looking rooms, and it had a pool!  After booking the location I googled images of the retreat centre.  Magically, Guru’s face appeared.  Apparently he built the centre to house many of the people who come from all over the world to see him.  It was meant to be.

If you are thinking of coming on the Retreat, here is a sample of a typical day we will experience while in Bali:


7:30am- Sunrise Yoga and Pranayama Practice

9:00am- Breakfast by the pool of Banana Pancakes and fresh tropical fruit with Balinese Coffee or Tea

10:30am- Visit sacred sea temple Tanah Lot 

12:00pm- lunch and 8 limb conversation at funky organic restaurant Clear Cafe (complete with cashew milk lattes!)

1:30pm- Rice paddy hike

3:00pm- Free time

6:00pm-Dinner

7:30pm- Restorative Yoga Practice


Other activities may include visiting the Monkey Forest, shopping at the local market, seeing a Kecak dance, visiting a sustainable chocolate farm, driving to a surf beach, drinking Bintang beers by the pool:)Yoga with a view of sea temple, Tanah Lot

If you would like to attend, I need a $300 deposit to hold your spot.  This can be paid via cash or cheque to Laura Martini (address available upon request), etransfer to laura@martiniyoga.ca, or via PayPal shortly.

Terima Kasih (thank you) and Rock On,

l.e. martini