kelowna yoga

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 ( 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

Okanagan Kelowna Yoga Retreats

Just released!  2015's line up of Vino & Vinyasa Yoga Retreats are here!  Please join me this year in a sumptuous Okanagan getaway in the heart of wine country!  Retreats are being held at Predator Ridge in Vernon, and Summerland Waterfront Resort.  Prices range from $649-$679 based on double occupancy, and an additional $200 if you would like single occupancy.  All retreats include 2 nights' accommodation, 5 meals, a chauffeured wine tour, and 3 All Levels yoga classes with Laura Martini.  Please check the gallery to view pictures of past retreats!

A therapeutic approach to advancing your physical yoga practice

So you've been practicing yoga for a few years now but you can't seem to get into a headstand, or your shoulders hurt in downward dog, or you wish you could deepen your backbends, or your SI joint irritates you in lunges, etc.  Private yoga classes are expensive and you're not sure if your bubbly yoga instructor really knows that much about anatomy and physiology (fair enough).  You want to take your practice to the next level but you're not sure what the next step is.

Enter the Yoga Integration.

For a year now I have been working (and learning…so…much) with a registered physiotherapist to help yoga students like yourself overcome obstacles in their practice.  Your session includes a 45min assessment by a physiotherapist, followed by a private 30min yoga session specifically tailored to your needs.  The wisdom of the physio, followed by skill of the yoga educator is basically a match made in heaven.  And the entire session is covered here in Canada by medical benefits (can I get a hell ya).  The best part is that you don't have to be "injured" to take a Yoga Integration.  You can just be curious; maybe you want more insight into your practice, or maybe you just need some private attention to really help lock down your Sun Salutations.  Whatever the reason, I am super stoked to be able to put my newfound knowledge to work!  To book, please call Neumovement in Kelowna.  Here is what an integration student had to say about her experience:

I am writing to describe why I have been choosing to do Yoga Integrations and what they mean to my body and me. I am not dealing with pain in my body (after working very hard at Pilates). I am, however, working towards some goal postures in yoga and my body seems to limit me and not let me completely go into these poses. I found myself trying repeatedly to stretch or focus on the key spots I felt restricted me. After a while, I started to wonder if there were things going on that I couldn’t see or work through on my own. This is when I decided to work in tandem with my yoga instructor and physiotherapist! By treating my alignment and working on the tightness in my body from a more global set of eyes, I have been able to get my body healthily into postures I had only dreamed about such as wheel pose! I would highly recommend Yoga Integrations to any person looking to advance their practice or work on growing their practice.

— Kate W.

Hope to see you soon!

Rock on,

l.e. martini

Am I less of a yoga teacher because I can't handstand?

Recently, I've succumbed to insecurities I thought I was strong enough to avoid.  I blame social media for the nosedive in confidence, and I know I'm not the only yoga teacher who feels this way.  

Here's the deal.  I CAN'T DO A HANDSTAND.  I'm not even close. I recognize that a lot of practice (including but not limited to: creating new neural pathways in my brain, the release of the fear of injury and ego, the increase of flexibility in my shoulders, and the increase of core strength) would be required to get me to the point of handstand freedom.  Alas, I am in handstand tyranny; a place where I feel the pressure to practice but would much rather spend my time drinking coffee with loquacious fellow yoga students and teachers, hiking sun-drenched mountains with my pooch, and traveling to different cultures.  I accept this, but I can't seem to free my mind from the ego hit it takes every time I see a photo of my favourite yogi doing a handstand on Facebook.

Behold! &nbsp;A highly impressive seated spinal twist!!

Behold!  A highly impressive seated spinal twist!!

Social media has taught me that because of the choices I've made, I will never be a "famous" yogini.  I will never get thousands of followers on Instagram, I will never travel the continent for the sake of leading yoga workshops because society will recognize that I am not as good of a teacher as the instructors who can, in fact, handstand.  

Now I recognize that a lot of you are pissed off reading this, maybe you don't agree with what I'm saying and that's okay.  Or maybe you think I should stop whining and gallivanting and instead put some more time into my practice.  OK, fair, but here's what I've observed: I worked super hard to learn how to do a headstand.  And then, finally, it happened.  The end.  There was no pinnacle moment of enlightenment.  My happiness level did not significantly increase as soon as I learned how to stand on my head.  I learned how to do a pose.  End of story.  Meanwhile, elephants continued to be poached in Africa, there was a political uprising in Syria, and a cruise ship sunk off the coast of Italy.

The conclusion: This is a shout out to all the yogis and yoga instructors who think less of themselves because their practice is not "fancy" or "photo worthy".  It is your choice.  You can do the more challenging postures if you practice, anyone can.  But sometimes you have to practice A LOT.  If this is important to you, go for it.  You can do it!  But if you don't practice, it will likely never happen.  Recognize that this is a choice you make and stand by your decision.  If you spend your free time gardening instead of hand standing, you go girl!  Embrace those flowers!  Your activity is just as worthy!  Ultimately, your practice is perfect, just as it is.  Oh, and so are you:)

Rock on,

l.e. martini

5 ways to piss off your yoga instructor: A rant on yoga etiquette.

I've heard it all.  My nearly 7 years of yoga teaching experience has given me the opportunity to practice reacting from a place of peace and non-judgement many times.  Here are 5 of my most challenging experiences.  Enjoy. 

  1. "I'm 9 months pregnant and my doctor told me to try yoga.  I've never done yoga before.  Is there anything I shouldn't do in this Hard Core Power Class?"  Um. Yes.  This usually happens when I'm teaching a packed class and there's about 20 seconds before the class is scheduled to start.
  2. *cell phone ringing* "Hello?  Ya, hold on I'm just taking a yoga class.  Can I call you back?".  Really?  Please turn your phones on silent ladies and gentlemen.  And never answer your phone during a class.  Ridiculous.
  3. "I feel super sick; I think I have the flu so I thought it would be better if I came to yoga instead of working out at the gym."  Thank you for being compassionate with your body but remember there are usually other people in the class! Please respect the people around you and get healthy in the comfort of your own home! If you are too sick to work, you're probably too sick to come to yoga!
  4. "I have to leave halfway through savasana."  The rules: if you absolutely have to leave before the end of class, leave BEFORE savasana so you don't disturb your neighbours.
  5. "My practice is actually way more advanced than this Easy Yoga class so I'm just going to do my own thing."  Great.  That's not going to distract anyone.  And make sure your head fits through the door on your way out.

That is all.  I feel better now.  As always,

rock on, l.e. martini