Mike is a 59 year old oil and gas consultant. He lives in Claremont with partner Kylie and their two golden retrievers, Jasper and Molsen (so named after a Canadian beer). Jasper and Molsen often come to the studio with Mike and Kylie at the weekend and love the attention they receive from passers by, not to mention the treats Carol gives them after class. Mike regularly attends 2-3 classes a week and loves restorative yoga, which he finds has a calming effect on his busy mind.

Where did your yoga journey begin?

My mother was a Hatha yoga teacher in Montreal back in the 1960’s. She learnt yoga from visiting Indian yogis and set up her own studio in a hall where students donated what they could afford. She was under strict instructions from my father not to teach men! As a young woman she suffered chronic back pain and migraines. Yoga cured her from these ailments and she still has a daily practice, which now that she is in her eighties, is more spiritual and meditative. I was a severe asthmatic as a child and my mother taught me at age seven the power of controlled breathing. This helped me enormously, and took away the anxiety and panic I felt as a result of not being able to breathe when having an asthma attack. I didn’t really practice yoga poses with my mother, although we did sometimes practice sun salutations at home. I’m certain she would have liked to practice more yoga with me, and my siblings, but the demands of life and our interest was perhaps not so great, however learning to control my asthma through pranayama possibly saved my life. It took me a long time to actually go to a yoga class and my first class was at Glide Yoga in 2017. I had a very different life in Canada, I worked full time in the Oil patch, and was a grain farmer so worked long hours and with five children, I had no time or way of attending yoga classes. Kylie was interested in starting yoga, it was something we had spoken about often. I walked by the studio many times and I really liked the frosting, from the outside, it looked so clean and crisp. We signed up for the beginner’s course and loved it.  I think being able to attend unlimited classes while doing the course really helped us stick with it, and I became more comfortable with the practice.

Tell us a little about your experiences at Glide Yoga

Glide is this amazing oasis in the heart of Claremont. From the moment I walked in, the positive energy in that space became almost addictive. The teachers are so knowledgeable and professional. They have a beautiful spirit that creates calm and warmth. I immediately felt comfortable and connected to Carol and Annie. They make you feel so welcome and it’s really important to feel connected and to be able to trust someone who is teaching you how to get inside yourself. In class I never feel like I’m being judged, I just show up on the mat and give my best and respect that everyone else is doing the same. Everyone is there as their own person, performing to their own level of accomplishment. There is no pressure.

In what way has yoga changed your life?

I have a busy mind, one that needs to slow down. Restorative yoga helps me to relax my body and calm my mind. Learning to meditate, to relax and restore has provided so many positive outcomes for my mind, for my ability to cope with adversity in life. Although I’ve always been fit, I’ve never been flexible and have not always felt at peace. Like a lot of people, I’ve experienced tragedy in my personal life and as a result have felt anger. Yoga, particularly the breathing and relaxation has helped me learn how to control my emotions, so that I can be less reactive and more responsive.   I’m learning through yoga, that a flexible body and healthy mind are paramount to my wellness, and longevity. My mum was such a compassionate mother and I feel so grateful to her for teaching me how to be compassionate.

What would you say to people who are curious but a little hesitant to begin?

Everyone should do it! There are a lot more women at yoga then men, perhaps men don’t want to be shown up in front of women with their lack of flexibility.  To all the guys out there I would say, just do it, you can’t afford not to! It’s an amazing investment in your future. You’ve got nothing to lose and the universe to gain. It’s something special you can share with a loved one. You’re in a comfortable place, no competition, and why wouldn’t you want to get more out of life.