YGK: Yoga's Great in Kingston!

By Margaret Coughlin

If you arrive in Kingston through Norman Rogers Airport, your luggage tags will read YGK. After my recent whirlwind tour of yoga studios in the Limestone City, I’m convinced that those letters are a secret code to guide yoga seekers to our city.
 
 
As a veteran of many yoga classes at Feel Yoga, I know that this studio offers many choices – 22 Bikram Hot Yoga classes every week, with Kids’ Yoga and Laughter Yoga, bodywork and workshops available as well. You might consider signing up for their Spring Cleaning 30-day challenge today; although it began March 24, the per-class rate for a challenge is unbeatable.
 

After the regular series postures, Andrew and Ingrid showed me some advanced poses.
After the regular series postures, Andrew and Ingrid showed me some advanced poses.

 
 
The room-temperature Stone Room at Feel is used by a number of  instructors, including Daniel Adam, who teaches there Thursdays at 5:30. In a total of 6 locations around the city (I take his classes at both branches of the YMCA), Daniel stresses the importance of breath. I caught up with him at Open Eye Studio for his gentle Viniyoga class. The focus was on asymmetrical movements and sequences to target the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
 
 
Open Eye studio offers a serene atmosphere for yoga practice.
Open Eye studio offers a serene atmosphere for yoga practice.

 
 
I returned to Open Eye that evening to meet Lisa Samuda. Along with fellow teacher James Hughes, she has just returned from Mysore, India, where they furthered their study of the Mysore style of Ashtanga yoga developed by the late Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga includes six series of postures; Lisa’s students were working on the primary series. In the Mysore style, students arrive and leave during the two-hour session according to their own schedule. It was a lovely experience watching students moving through the postures in their own time while Lisa gently offered guidance as needed.
 
 
Mysore students work at their own pace.
Mysore students work at their own pace.

 
Teacher Lisa is available to offer encouragement.
Teacher Lisa is available to offer encouragement.

 
Some students appear to be doing just fine on their own.
Some students appear to be doing just fine on their own.

 
From Open Eye, where students set the speed for their own practice, I moved to Studio 330, where students determine their own fees. I was intrigued by the concept of the studio: all classes are on a drop-in basis and funded by participants’ donations. I joined a 90-minute Power Up class led by Summer Li. An interesting offering at Studio 330 is Nude Yoga on the first Friday of every month from 8 to 9 p.m. Maybe next month…
 
An original thought to inspire Studio 330 students.
An original thought to inspire Studio 330 students.

 
 
After being a bit too enthusiastic in Power Up, my muscles were looking for a slower pace, so the next morning, I joined Kirsteen MacLeod of Lucky Dog Yoga and eight students for their weekly Yin class at Janati.
 
 
Nodding off in Yin class is encouraged.
Nodding off in Yin class is encouraged.

 
 
As Kirsteen explains, “In Yin practice you gently stretch connective tissue around a joint by holding poses for several minutes, and it becomes longer and stronger. Yin focuses especially on long holds in poses that target the spine, low back, hips, and thighs, which relieves tightness and improves range of motion over time.” I can confirm that all of the students walked out of Janati much lighter and looser that day.
 
 
In order to hold Yin poses comfortably for five long minutes, participants are encouraged to use a variety of props
In order to hold Yin poses comfortably for five long minutes, participants are encouraged to use a variety of props

 
 
Is a day without yoga a day without sunshine? If you are one of the many people who would answer yes to this question, and a visit to Kingston is in your future, have no fear. A sun protection factor of 60 might not be enough to handle the blinding light emitted by the thriving community of yoga enthusiasts and the many beautiful studios you will find here.
 
 
Click here for more information about yoga in Kingston!