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My practice has changed and ebbed and flowed throughout my lifetime with it. It started with a hot yoga class in freezing cold Winnipeg on a gross carpeted floor with a shirtless man sitting in the back of the class like it was a sauna watching the yoga show. I was mortified and didn’t return for awhile.

 

Then it was an overly incensed Jivamukti class where we roared like wild jungle animals and I almost passed out from the vigorous movements and breath work. I was intimidated by the teacher and was scared not to come. I wasn’t sure what we were doing but was intrigued by the process.

 

This was followed by a more white-washed version of yoga with anatomy as the central concern. I learned many of my arm balances here and my love with anatomy, intelligent sequencing and the body began.

 

Then it was Bikram in another hot yoga room but this time the energy was different. The teacher was skilled, the room was packed and energized and the vibe was good. I was promised a whole new body if I dived into their 30 day challenge so I dove right in. My challenges at this studio felt so good, the sweat was amazing but I didn’t feel or look like I had changed all that much. I didn’t get especially more flexible and I didn’t lose weight (my primary concern at the ripe age of 21).

 

While I played with various lineages of yoga, studios and teachers I also skied, ran, swam, surfed, did pilates, went to the gym and dabbled in crossfit. I’m a lover of movement. While I understood from the get-go that yoga was meant to be different from exercise I still treated it as such. I was there to stronger, leaner and more flexible.

 

I would do hot power yoga as a way to melt these two worlds. I could exercise and work on my spirituality – all in under 90 minutes – how perfect.

 

It took many years for me to understand what the practice could actually do for me. How it could change me. This evolved as I grew and matured both in my practice as well as my age. The more I experimented, studied, and practiced, the more the lessons started to take hold.

I could be a better person. I could be happier. I could serve the world. The body was just a tool. My spirit was always supreme and the light within me was more important than any physical goal I could possibly ever attain.

 

Like many yogis, I would fall in and out of love with my practice over the years. A new fitness program would emerge and peak my interest and yoga would be pushed aside for a bit happening only intermittently throughout the week. If I only had an hour a day to move I wanted to make sure I got a good sweat on. Sometimes even those hot power classes were not “enough.”

 

The more I faced my practice with this mentality – the less I loved it. It become less than. Not good enough. A performance. Entertainment. The further I stepped away from yoga – the worse I felt…….always. Because I was neglecting my spirit and my spirit is where joy comes from.

 

As a lover of movement I’ve learned to satisfy my cravings for sweat but I now balance it always with daily practice. I see them as two completely different but complimentary activities. I work out 3-4x a week and treat it as good solid exercise. I run, I lift weights, I take a fun fitness class. My workouts are for my pitta fiery nature. They are for my abs. For my butt. For my athletic pursuits. For my outdoor adventures. For my postpartum core strength I need after having children. They fuel me. They satisfy me and I just really like to sweat this way. They can be shallow, I can listen to party music or some loud heavy metal and sometimes that just feels so right.

 

But my practice…. is sacred. When I burn through my anxious and fiery nature through exercise I can fully enjoy and sit still in my practice (vigorous or not). I can appreciate fully what it actually is. I can connect to spirit, to the sacredness of ritual and breath and I can strengthen what really needs to be worked on…..

 

My heart. My soul. My spirit.

 

I remove any expectation of my practice to be my exercise. We all love to move for different reasons. We all practice yoga for different reasons. My practice always changes and evolves but right now this is the perfect balance for me. I have removed any trace of “exercise” from my practice. My practice is about awareness, love, healing and spirit. I still move, I still strengthen, I still sweat. But the intention is completely different. Sometimes I just breath for an hour in a single pose. The goal is not exercise. It’s to unite and become whole.

 

Notice if practice has become less appealing to you. Do you make physical goals your primary goal of yoga? How does that feel? What if joy was the goal? What if union and love was the goal? How would that feel?

Make your butt the goal of exercise and just enjoy that. Work on that butt. Run to burn calories and enjoy that. If you struggle with the need to turn your practice into exercise…. try exercising more! My commitment to practice yoga every day stays more true when I also add in exercise a few times a week. My daily practice is now non-negotiable. Its my route to joy.

 

With Grace and Grit,

Karla Treadway

Embodied Yoga

March 10, 2020

What does it mean to embody your yoga practice? An embodied yoga practice means that you make it relevant and real to your life. When you really learn the material and practice and integrate it more into your life. When you realize it’s not just a physical practice and you see it as transformational work.

Yoga is so often practiced as just exercise. We work our bodies so we can become stronger, heal an old injury, become flexible or attain those picture perfect poses we see on Instagram. You’ll get all of these from your practice but I guarantee you you’re missing out if this is where your goals stop.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years for a reason. I know for sure that no sport or exercise program is going to stand up to the test of time like yoga can. People come to yoga because they are looking for something more. They are searching for meaning, they are searching for god they are searching for themselves. You don’t need to practice religion to come to yoga but those who stay in the practice are there because they are searching for something bigger than themselves. They are up to something bigger than just landing a handstand or losing some weight.

Yoga is rich with life lessons that will save us from suffering. Yoga provides us with tools and techniques to heal ourselves. To elevate ourselves. To become powerful. The techniques and tools are taught again and again because they work. If you feel like they’re not working for you ask yourself if you’re really doing the work.

Do you practice daily? Do you apply the philosophy? Do you go within? Do you investigate? Be honest with yourself. Life is busy, this is a discipline and it’s not always enjoyable or easy to commit to getting on the mat each and everyday.

If we use the tools, if we follow the map, if we commit…….the techniques work. It’s been proven again and again. You’ll free yourself of your physical pain. You’ll free yourself from mental struggle. You’ll get over yourself and your laundry list of complaints. You’ll feel powerful again.

If……you do the work.


There’s a thing out there right now called “spiritual entertainment.” It means we are attracted to esoteric, spiritual work, books and practices and we might read and consume the ideas……but we don’t apply them.

Then we wonder why they don’t work.

And this is us just us being human. We need to hold space and compassion for that. No one has to do this practice. No one has to apply it, that’s a choice. But if you’re complaining that the tools aren’t working it’s important to ask if you’re actually doing the work.

We’re opening up our doors in a new way this year. We want to help you really integrate this material. Starting this September is our Embodied Yoga Program. A 12 month yoga teacher training for those who want to learn, or those who want to teach.

You’ll commit to one weekend per month at the studio. You’ll integrate your learned material into your everyday life in between the weekends. You’ll get the chance to dive in a new way. You’ll learn the techniques, you’ll practice the tools, you’ll integrate and apply the material.

By the end of the year you’ll feel empowered, you’ll feel clear, you’ll feel integrated.

Space is limited. Inquire at the studio or email us for more information.

karla treadway strong yoga pose in the sunset in front of a lake

People’s goals for choosing yoga as a movement practice vary greatly. No reason is wrong. No chosen style of yoga is wrong. But the most benefits will be achieved when we see what it can actually do for us when used the way it was intentionally created. A holistic, disciplined, spiritual practice that saturates all aspects of our life.

Yoga teaches us that we are POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE.

That we are one with the divine.

That we no less than or greater than others.

That our thoughts and actions are powerful but that we are not them.

It is an empowering physical practice rich with philosophical musings.

Anyone can practice yoga. We are all seeking the same goal – everlasting love, unity and peace. We will all get to that goal eventually. How much we suffer along the way is a choice we will make.

Modern means of dealing with life’s painful issues can sometimes DISEMPOWER people. We tell them because this has happened to you, because this is your condition – you are no longer capable of choosing for yourself. So here’s your diagnosis, your label, your pill. Here’s something to numb. You are no longer in the drivers seat.

We give people labels. This is your condition. This is who you are now. You are a victim. It’s not your fault – but you will forever be here. We are aiming for compassion but we are unknowingly taking their power away.

Now Medicine – has an important and lifesaving place for people. No one is discounting the very necessary intervention of medicine at times to support imbalances in the body. There are times when we need to numb, endure, cope in whatever way possible. We need to re-balance if chemicals are off. We need the support of medicine or therapists. We need community. We need supportive programs, teachers, coaches, doctors. There is no doubt that these interventions can be LIFESAVING.

But at some point – to heal ourselves fully, those around us and this world – there needs to be internal healing. There needs to be a re-wiring of our thought patterns. There needs to be action.

What differs between yoga and modern medicine:

Modern medicine treats the symptom not the cause and labels a patient as their disorder or condition. You are depressed. You are anxious. You are a victim.

There is a difference between being victimized (this has happened to you) and being a victim (this is you). This is not just semantics. “I have been wounded”, is very different than “I am the wound.”

When we believe that we are the wound, this becomes our label, our identity and the lens in which we now view the world. When we can shift our belief from I am the wound to I have been wounded we can begin the process of healing and moving forward.

Yoga aims to uncover the root of who we are. Through meditation we see that the body is a tool and we are not the body. We see that we are not the mind. We are not the anxious thoughts, the depressive symptoms, the physical discomfort in the body. We are the divine voice behind it all. Things may have happened to this body. To this mind. But we are not that. We are the light behind it all. Our true state is love and nothing about are real selves is ever broken. Its just been clouded by an event or a series of events.

The voice behind it all has no label. We aim to not over-identify with the body or the mind. That causes suffering. Its our dissociation with the mind and body that brings harmony. We are not our thoughts. We are not our condition. We are not this body.

The yogi’s take it a step further…..ACTION

In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna said:

Perform your obligatory duty,

because action is indeed better than inaction.

Even the maintenance of your body

would not be possible by inaction.

Labels can cause inaction. We feel helpless in the face of them. They were meant to provide us with a diagnosis so that we will then take action and pursue the right tools. But unfortunately the label can be so disheartening that we sit with it in inaction.

The truth is we as human beings always have CHOICE. The choice to change is a powerful one and the only one responsible for our lives is us. The truth is that no one can save you from suffering. The only one who can save you……is you.

You can be in control of your thoughts
You can be in control of your actions
Your connection to spirit
Your conscious control of your thoughts and actions, in alignment with spirit – will lead you to grace
This is work. It’s not the easy route. Its brave work. Courageous work. And it’s the path to your own salvation. The yogi’s have laid out a plan for us to free ourselves from pain and suffering.

We practice this in yoga asana when we work to remain calm during challenging poses.

We practice this is in meditation when we can notice our maladaptive repetitive thought patterns and see their source.

When we work hard out of reverence for life – and not show or ego

When we take our yoga practice off the mat serving others and the world.

When we adhere to the guidelines in the yamas and the niyamas learning to treat ourselves and those around us with loving compassion.

When we commit to the discipline of daily practice to heal ourselves.

When we heal ourselves we heal the world.

“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate…our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” – Marianne Williamson

For anyone who suffers from past trauma, anxiety, depression or any other affliction….know that medicine can help, therapists and doctors can help but there is also a very powerful set of tools that you can utilize each and every day yourself. You can break the repetitive thought patterns that cause you to suffer. You are not your thoughts. You are not your labels. You are stronger than you know. The people around you that are suffering – are stronger than they know. We can begin to empower each other.

Healing is always possible. Love for yourself is always possible. You are more powerful than you know.

With Grace and Grit,

Karla Treadway

women doing yoga in studio

I tried yoga a few times before I really enjoyed it. The first class I went to was a hot yoga class in Winnipeg. The room was carpeted, the walls, white and empty. It was sauna hot. I remember the heat being unbearable and there was a large shirtless man in the back corner who didn’t participate in the class but stayed in the back and watched.

I was horrified. I never came back.

A few years later I tried a class in a community centre basement in Ontario. I think we did maybe 6 poses, there was lots of dogmatic talk without explanation that went over my head. The teacher would do one side of the body but would forget the other.

I didn’t try again for awhile.

I can’t really remember the time that it “stuck,” the time that brought me back for good. I think it was at a yoga studio in Whistler. All I remember is that once I was in a class with a good teacher – I was hooked. A room filled with people moving, sweating, and healing together with the intention of growing as human beings. A room led by an expert teacher who knew how to run the room, kept people safe and made them feel comfortable.  Someone who said the right things, and offered the appropriate options.

I was hooked. Once I took the bait, I became a lifelong student. I immediately knew I wanted to learn more. I jumped into teacher training really quickly. I think I only practiced for 6 months before I took my first YTT.

I agonized over choosing my first ‘would be’ teacher trainers. I asked all my friends, I scoured the internet. Did I want to travel to do it, could I do it online? How much money would this cost me??? How many classes would I have to teach to pay for my training?? I felt scared to invest in myself.

I decided on a local training through YYoga in my home town at the time of Whistler BC. My daughter was 8 months old and I couldn’t imagine flying off somewhere without her for 30 days. It was a bit of a scramble still. I came up with the money, I had my mom fly in from Manitoba to watch my daughter during the long days. I cried at the thought of leaving her for any amount of time but it was the best decision I ever made – and only a blip in time, now.

Training blew me away. My teachers were amazing. We had my kind yoga mother Kristin Campbell and my tough (and sometimes intimidating but equally amazing) Rachel Scott who were both highly skilled, experienced and very intelligent. We had to work hard, study hard and I was blown away by the amount of information that I was expected to know.

A new language, an in-depth study of anatomy. History, philosophy, energy work, sequencing, ethics and so much more. If you’re a teacher already – you know how much there is to study. It’s not just about the body.

We practice taught from day 1. It was awkward and uncomfortable but I’m so happy for that experience because it let me safely get my shyness and uncomfortableness out in a safe environment amongst peers.

I shifted, I cried, I opened myself up to a whole new world in teacher training. I was a simply a new person by the end of it with a passion for this practice like never before.

I began teaching immediately out of teacher training. I would study classes, techniques and philosophy every day. Every…. single…. day…. after my YTT. I was so thirsty for more. I learned that there was never an end to learning yoga. It would never be boring and I would never “know it all.” That was so exciting for me as someone that likes to learn.

Since that training, I’ve done a million more trainings, courses and immersions. I’ve taught in 3 countries, 4 provinces, in chocolate shops, on beaches, in community centers, churches, schools, homes, studios, on docks, in parks, first nation healing centers, on stages, in hotels, on skype sessions, at festivals and retreat centres. I’ve run workshops, events, fundraisers, teacher trainings, and retreats myself. I own a studio now too, and I get to do this full time.

My clientele ranges from small children to jocks to the elderly and everything in between. I work with people through their physical pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma. Teaching allows me to share these powerful tools with people through their toughest times.

Teaching allows me to create space for people to access joy and celebration. I get to build community through movement, connection, laughter and grace. I get to have purposeful work and that brings me so much joy.

My world is so expansive now. I can’t believe I ever hesitated for a moment about jumping into teacher training. Those first 30 days seemed like such a big commitment. Had I known what my world would become I never would have hesitated. I have some serious job love! My job brings me joy – others joy – and I get to travel the world sharing these tools while having the flexibility to be a mom, be a wife and be an active partner in my local community.

If you’re thinking about taking a teacher training here are some things to think about

  • Not all trainings are created equally – do your research, especially with international trainings – choose a quality, yoga alliance recognized school.
  • Choose a teacher who is experienced and jives with your personal values (note: you do not have to succumb to someone’s particular dogmatic beliefs if they don’t resonate with you), your chosen style of yoga and is someone that you want to spend 30 days with.
  • There will never be a perfect time to put your life on hold for 20-30 days – choose a time frame that is the least harmful to your personal and familial lifestyle – but know that it will be a shuffle at any time whether you choose weekends, an immersive experience or otherwise.
  • Your 200hr should always be done in person – online trainings are great for continuing education but not for your base YTT.
  • Your 200hr is just the tip of the iceberg – there is infinite opportunity for learning afterwards

* If you don’t want to teach and you just want to learn more – you still get the same amazing benefits as most of this process involves learning more about these tools, and yourself.

* Get ready for some serious purposeful work

~Karla