Thursday, February 9, 2012

We Want You, Shakti Yoga Studio starts Community Yoga Blog

Written by Mel Squarey

As the life of spring rejuvenates us into the summer season Shakti Yoga Studio is also doing some rejuvenation.Yes, believe it or not, we will soon be trading our winter coats for rain jackets and our winter boots for galoshes. We may even begin to see some grass if we look in the right places.

I’ve been asked to tell you about our very special and very new community blog at Shakti. As the first writer of the blog, I feel very blessed. I’ve been practicing yoga for about 10 years now and I’m currently a yoga-teacher-in-training at Shakti. I’ve been working my own form of Karma Yoga with the studio for nearly a year now and like the seasons my work has changed too.

The new blog is all about community. We would like to invite anyone who has an idea or a love of writing to contribute to the blog along with me and others. The purpose is to share with our community things that we think are worth telling. Keeping us all connected, the blog is about being a digital version of our community.

I invite any of you who would like to know more about the blog to contact the studio or myself with any questions. You can even pull me aside in the studio or on the sidewalk if you happen to see me and I’ll do my best to answer any inquires. From us at Shakti, we want to hear from you!


Melissa Lesley Squarey was born and raised on Southwest Coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Melissa has been practicing yoga for over 10 years, predominantly in hatha style. In 2011 Melissa found Shakti Yoga Studio in St. John’s where she participated in Shakti’s Energy Exchange program. Melissa is the primary writer and chief invigorator of the Shakti Yoga Studio Community Blog. Melissa is also undertaking her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training at Shakti with inspirations from her peers and friends to lead a life serving yoga to others who want a more vibrant karmic plate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shelter of Yoga event: St. John's

In partnership with Yoga Atlantic (, people of Atlantic Canada will share in a one hour yoga practice on April 30th, dedicated to the people of Japan, and their friends and their families around the world.

The St. John's event will begin at 3:00pm, April 30th, doors will open at 2:30.

Location: Cochrane Street United Church (Bannerman Street entrance)

Suggested donation of $10.00. All proceeds will go directly to The Japanese Red Cross foundation. Also, you are welcome to collect donations from sponsors - forms will be available on site.
Please invite friends and family to join in the spirit of the event.

Thanks to the follow studios for their help in promoting and supporting the event:
Shakti Yoga Studio -
Soothe ~ Wellness Spa & Yoga Studio -
The Lotus Centre -
Living Breathing Yoga -
Nova Yoga -
Moksha-Inspired Yoga -
Yoga Atlantic Society -
Ebb and Flow Boutique -
Saltwater gypsYogis - Dance Studio East CBS -

If you want to get involved contact LB at

Yoga Philosophy - Tantra

For those of you that have been intrigued by the philosophy that has made its way into my teaching lately (due to my studies in the beautifully articulate Anusara yoga system) here's an article by Yoga Journal that discusses the Tantric philosophy and how it's a little different than other main branches of yoga.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shakti in Downhome Magazine

A few months ago we were asked to contribute an article to Downhome magazine that would show readers that yoga is accessible to everyone. That was a pretty easy task since the students that attend our wide assortment of classes are wildly varied in their needs. We teach everything from Chair Yoga for Seniors to Power Flow. So if you haven't seen the article in paper form, have a look here for the online edition of the magazine.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Full Circle - Anusara Yoga

When I first started taking yoga classes in 2005 I was hooked almost immediately. From the first class I just wanted to learn more, do more, discover more about this practice that was very different than anything I'd ever experienced. The physical poses felt amazing but more than that it was the attitude of my teachers - comments like "be kind to yourself" and "use the energy of your practice to better your life and the lives of those around you" were so unusual but yet, so intriguing. Not at all like the sports coaches and aerobics teachers I'd had in the past! (although, those people do wonderful work in the practices they've chosen as well - it's just very different)

So once I started taking classes I also began to look for books and dvds and just about any resource I could find that would teach me something about yoga. One of the very first books I bought and read and actively used was Hatha Yoga by Martin Kirk and Brook Boone.

At the time I had no idea who these people were. To me they were just regular people in (kind of funny looking) yoga poses. I studied this book, and from it began to develop a personal practice. I'd do the poses I remembered from class and then I'd look through Hatha Yoga for something new to try.

6 years later and here I am studying Anusara Yoga, a style of yoga developed by renowned teacher John Friend. As it turns out, Martin Kirk, author of Hatha Yoga, is a well-known Anusara Yoga teacher who is highly respected for his teaching and especially his anatomy and therapeutics courses. I opened the book this morning and read through some of the instructions for the poses and sure enough, it sounds like the cues that have become so familiar to me from taking Anusara Yoga classes and studying to teach this style.

So here I am having a little wow moment. In the last year I've become completely infatuated with Anusara Yoga - the style and its teachers speak to me in a way that is perfect for my practice right now, at this time in my life. But in reality it's not completely new to me after all. The alignment I first learned, the sequences I first practiced, all of it came from Martin Kirk and ultimately John Friend, his teacher. So my practice has come full circle and this realization has reinforced that which I was already intrinsically feeling - maybe after many years of trying new styles, learning from a smorgasbord of teachers, and ultimately teaching Hatha Yoga inspired by all of this exploration, maybe Anusara is the practice that will be IT for me. It sort of feels like coming home...

And since I'm feeling inspired by all things Anusara today (and in deep reverence for my teachers past, present and future) I'd like to share the Anusara Invocation - a chant that is sung before most Anusara Yoga classes. It is one of the unique components of an Anusara Yoga class and it's meaning really shows the heart of the practice. In this video John Friend and Krishna Das lead the invocation and are joined by a group of students.

And here's the translation:

I honor the essence of Being, the Auspicious One, the luminous Teacher within and without,
Who assumes the form of Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss,
Is never absent, full of peace,
Ultimately free and sparkles with a divine luster.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Breakfast in India

Here is a photo of the sprouted mung bean and mukti bean breakfast I described in the post below. This is just one of the many wonderful meals prepared with loving hands here at the ashram. The evenings are filled with meals of freshly harvested fruits, vegetables and grains made into delicious curries or raw salads. All meals are served with chapatis or some other kind of freshly made bread. Yoga philosophy says that food only has prana (life force) for 3 hours after it has been prepared so all meals are cooked from scratch immediately before they are served to us. I am indeed very blessed to be able to partake of such wonderful food.

Hari Om From India

After a long flight and the usual harrowing taxi ride from Mumbai to Nashik, I sit here at an internet cafe on the first of the only two days off I will get from my yoga studies this month. After a week of practice my knees are so far surviving the long periods sitting cross-legged for meditation and chanting, as is my neck from the ever increasing periods of time in shoulder stand. However the minor aches and pains from the physical part of my yoga journey are more than made up for by the beautiful views of the countryside from the windows of our asana practice space. We are in the midst of the last half of rainy season so there is a regular refreshing morning downpour that hits the roof as we do our daily sun salutations. I am feeling particularly calm and centered today, possibly due to having just completed the first of several days of silence. Life at the ashram is starting to sink into my bones. It has been a wonderful week of morning and evening asana and pranayama classes with lectures, cleansing practices and karma yoga littered in between. As the advanced students at the ashram, in addition to our regular studies and practices, we are expected to do two hours of karma yoga daily. While I do enjoy the gardening and window washing I am less enamored of the floor scrubbing assignments. Once done though we are fortunate to be fed the most beautiful, natural and nutritious food made by the local ladies in long flowing saris. It is so nourishing and tasty that I almost feel bad enjoying it so much. Imagine waking at 5:00am for chanting, two hours of asana and an hour of karma yoga before finally arriving at the dining hall for sprouted mung and mukti beans mixed with dates, tomatoes and nuts, served with a side of papaya and lemon grass tea. It is heavenly and all, of course, eaten in silence so that you genuinely taste the flavour, experience the texture and feel gratitude to the source as you listen to the chirping sound of the birds and the crickets. This alone is worth a 30 hour transit.
Written by Bobby Bessey, B.Sc. , RYT, Doula