Teacher Feature; Joanna Poblocka

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It’s a wonderful thing when yoga can be used to help us through a stressful time. For Joanna Poblocka, that was exactly the case. “I started taking yoga classes back in 2003, at a gym during my lunch hour,” she says, “I was going through a stressful period at my work, and needed something to help me to cope with the demands of the job. I was also experiencing anxiety, and yoga has really helped me with lowering anxiety and stress levels.”

As time went on and her practice grew, Joanna became more fascinated by the philosophy of yoga. “I took Western philosophy courses in university,” she continues, “But when I started to get more familiar with yoga history, philosophy and texts, everything just ‘clicked’, and I knew I had to continue on.”

That’s what originally led her to teacher training. Although Joanna was originally unsure about the goal of becoming a teacher, she says that her deepening of the practice eventually led to her wanting to share her knowledge with others. “I needed something of my own, where I could develop and learn about the relationship I have with myself, and then in turn with everyone and the world around me,” she says, “My main source of inspiration were my teachers and friends that I made during my training, and they continue to be the major source of inspiration. My belief is that yoga is a relationship, and through these relationships, we learn.”

Joanna’s Teacher Training was completed in 2010 at the Yoga Space in Toronto, a program led by Patricia White, Kathryn Beet, and Hali Schwartz. With this training, she had the opportunity to work with a variety of styles. “My teaching style includes elements of Hatha, Hatha Flow, Vinyasa and Restorative and Therapeutic Yoga, interwoven with meditation, philosophy and breath work,” says Joanna, “Making yoga accessible to everyone is the most rewarding, I find. I have also been taking Pilates classes regularly, and I like to bring some of these elements into class with me. My belief is that yoga is a relationship, and through these relationships, we learn. This belief is inspired by the teachings of Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad.”

In key with the belief of yoga as a relationship, Joanna speaks to how to maintain that relationship in your practice. “Be consistent with your yoga practice, and see what you can ‘undo’ in the body and mind, rather than try to ‘force’ the body,” says Joanna, “Take the time to experience all sensations, physical, mental and emotional as you move through your practice; allow the intelligent flow of energy to occur through the breath, creating a sort of rhythm. This idea has been inspired by the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli, which I got to know through my teacher Patricia White, at the Yoga Space.”

In the same vein, the amazing staff of Yoga Tree has afforded Joanna many opportunities to grow and expand in her practice. “Yoga Tree is an amazing community of teachers and yogis, and I feel honored to be part of it,” she gushes, “I am grateful for the Yoga Tree for the opportunity to teach here, and for allowing me to grow and learn as a teacher.”

When it comes to beginners, Joanna claims that it is all about compassion for your body and staying consistent. “Be consistent with your yoga practice, and see what you can ‘undo’ in the body and mind, rather than try to ‘force’ the body,” says Joanna, “Take the time to experience all sensations, physical, mental and emotional as you move through your practice; allow the intelligent flow of energy to occur through the breath, creating a sort of rhythm. Find that balance between feeling stability and strength in the pose, and at the same time softness and release. Your body will let you know what it needs. Listen to it, so that you can continue to stay safe and happy in your practice and on your yoga path.”

As for her favorite asana, the joy is in the back bends. “Each asana challenges me in different ways, but I do tend to really enjoy backbends,” says Joanna, “Camel (Ustrasana), Full Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana), Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), and hip openers, like Pigeon pose. I like the sensation of freedom, the deep movement of the breath, and the openness and lightness of back bends.”

Be sure to treat yourself to one of Joanna’s classes at our Downtown location and let her help you find the joy in all of your postures.


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