martini 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 (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

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!

Now is the time to stop seeking.

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We live in a culture of epic quests.  Perpetually unsatisfied with the present, we go on lengthy pilgrimages to discover "who we really are".  We pay hot self-help superstars thousands of dollars, we fly to remote locations, we prescribe to insane and methodical lifestyle regimes, we join new religions, all so that we can crack the code to happiness and discover once and for all the meaning of life.

Many people come to yoga for this reason; they have recognized that they are suffering and need someone/something to fix it.  Yoga will not.  This is a myth.  Nevertheless, yoga has the ability to shed light on the reality of the situation; everything you are seeking already lies within you.  Yoga can not help you avoid grief, or pain, or depression.  In fact, the core lesson of yoga is that we need to stop avoiding what we're feeling; now is the time of allowance.  We must become present to recognize that there is an inherent wisdom within each and every soul on this planet.  Here is how we do it (I credit my Kripalu teachers Harshad and Uchita Thomlinson of Tandava Yoga for this knowledge):

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1. Breathe.

2 Relax

3. Feel

4. Watch

5. Allow 

Now I can't tell you exactly what will happen when you practice these 5 steps (they work most effectively when done in this order), I can promise you that after continual practice, your reaction to stress will change and you will become more aware.  This is key.  You must become more mindful to know who you really are (and who you really are is actually pretty darn cool).

So that's it.  BRFWA.  Memorize that like your life depends on it.  Because it does.  And stop looking for the answers outside of yourself.  Get on your mat and get on your meditation cushion for the sole purpose of getting to know who you really are.  No one (no matter how intuitive) can tell you who you really are but you alone.


Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga Playlists

Cheers and Namaste!  As yoga instructors, it is almost a bit embarrassing to confess to the power of the playlist.  As much as we'd like to think that the quality of our classes depend on our skill, experience, charisma, and compassion, our playlist has the serious ability to effect the tone, or "bhava" of our class.  Here is my current Vinyasa playlist which I use for my Power and Happy Medium Yoga classes, as well as a Hatha playlist which I use for my Easy and Yin Yoga classes.  The playlists are around 1 hour in length.

Vinyasa Playlist:

Hatha Playlist:

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