Advanced Mindful Movement Series Comes to a Close
Over the past few months, our wonderful teacher Queenie has been leading her Advanced Mindful Movement workshop series at our Bay and Dundas location. These workshops were formatted as an extended, 2-hour class to allow participants to dive into advanced asana as well as pranayama and meditation. The last of the 5 classes that Queenie offered as a part of this series occurred in July, just a couple weeks ago, so if you missed them, you can get an insider scoop on what these amazing workshops were all about by reading the interview with Queenie below, as well as testimonials from some of the Yoga Tree members that went to her workshops.
Queenie will also be one of the teachers at Yogathon Toronto this month on Saturday August 20th at Yonge Dundas square! Yogathon is an international event where participants take part in a 108 Sun Salutation challenge and raise awareness and funds for education for children around the world. This year’s Yogathon is supporting a charity called Care for Children, which provides education to children in rural areas of India. For more information visit their website here.
Advanced Mindful Movement: An Interview with Queenie
What made you want to offer this workshop series?
Queenie: “Back when I was living in Asia and in the US, the teachers that I practiced with often had 2-hour classes regularly on the schedule, usually called a ‘master class’ or ‘advanced practice,’ for more experienced yogis to get a full practice in, including pranayama and meditation, on top of a vigorous asana practice. I loved those classes, and wanted to offer the same experience for my students at the studio.”
The workshop description said that participants would be diving deeper into their “inner landscape,” and the workshop was also described as a “Moving Meditation” – can you explain how those particular aspects were characterized in the workshop series?
Queenie: “The focus on the marrying of the breath with movement of the body often helps take the mind off daily stresses and struggles. Two full hours of practice gives us a bit more time to work deeper into each pose, to be able to clear the mind enough to look deep inside as we work through our practice and our thoughts. The time used to reflect in each pose, and to find the connection between the breath and the body, helps enhance our self-awareness (the understanding of our limits during practice; our reaction to external and internal dialogues and interactions; and an awareness of where you are physically, mentally, and spiritually.) Hence, I call it a ‘moving meditation,’ which in essence, should be the goal of every practice, regardless of length of the class.”
What do you find different about teaching this workshop series versus teaching your regular classes? Are there any poses you get to tackle in this workshop that you don’t in regular classes?
Queenie: “I regularly teach arm balances and inversions, but with this series of classes, we can do a bit more of everything, often working on more than one goal pose each class, and also giving me a bit more time to actually teach how to enter, hold, and exit each pose, whereas in the regular classes, we don’t always have the luxury of time… Some poses that I don’t often teach in my regular classes [that we get to in the workshops] are grasshopper/dragonfly pose, poses that involve half or full lotus (because it takes a bit longer to get open enough for those poses), and we always work on fun transitions between arm balances and inversions.”
Iris: “What I enjoy most are the challenging sequences and poses – they certainly kept me moving (and sweating buckets). She had us work with partners for our inversions – which I found interesting because I’m not exactly the most outgoing person, so this pairing up with fellow yogis to help one another with inversions was a surprise for me – a good surprise though!”
Bonnie: “Queenie really challenges us in the workshop to focus on the breath, and focus on how the asanas feel in our body. Rarely does she focus on how the pose is supposed to look. Because of the community that is built in the workshop, students sometimes will stop their own practice to help a fellow yogi out, watching alignment as well as giving verbal cues. What I love about these workshops is that you start to notice the same yogis [going to these] workshops, and you start build and become part of a community of yogis at Yoga Tree.”
Tracy: “I like that at the start of each workshop, she instills the idea that we are all a community. We don’t just jump into the workshop, we sit in small groups and get to know each other as people first. It makes it easier and more comfortable to ask for help when you need it. I feel that at the end of the workshop, I am more in tune with my body from all the poses, but also more in tune with my SELF and my mind.”
Justin: “There is so much joy and happiness when we practice… that it takes your mind out of trying to ‘see’ what the pose looks like and focuses it on what it should ‘feel’ like instead. There are types of classes where you sort of relax and sit in order to breathe yourself into a meditative state, but Queenie allows you to work for that meditative state by physically moving your body into it and allowing our mind to follow or flow into the state of meditation. So in essence you’re physically moving your mind into that meditative state while mentally allowing your body to follow.”
Rana: “Queenie has a wonderful personality and it reflects with her teaching style. She is personable and inspiring, making the workshops incredibly fun and engaging. She encouraged us to try certain postures with a little twist. You’d never think you’d be able to do them, but it’s the journey and feeling of accomplishment that leaves you feeling very satisfied. The workshop can be challenging as you are constantly moving. However, throughout the practice, we were always reminded of staying positive and having an open mind. It made me more motivated and allowed the opportunity to connect with my inner self.”