We are so excited. On Saturday April 11th we have TWO Guest teachers to give you an amazing movement experience.
Introducing: Mara Richardson, who will creatively move you through transitions that connect you to body and spirit in Yoga Flow at 10 am, AND; Emily Love who will work your body hard but mindfully in Pilates Flow at 11:15am.
Without further ado....
For Mara yoga, is a daily practice of surrendering to the power of now and honouring one's truth. Mara's teaching style is an artistic flow that inspires a curiosity about the body and invites an internal feeling of awakening. Mara believes in the value of slowing down, to cultivate strength and understanding. Students can expect to be given helpful alignment cues - that connects a line of communication between mind, body, and spirit. With a passion for dance and music, Mara teaches a slow pace flow with heart felt rhythm!
Mara is a graduate of the 500 hour yoga teacher training, and 40 hour restorative teacher training at Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Studio. Mara's teachers are Pat Harada Linfoot, Scott Davis and Jesse Enright. Mara has mentored with Scott Davis and is currently mentoring with Pat Harada Linfoot. She is deeply grateful for their continuous gifts of knowledge, wisdom and support.
Emily is a life long athlete who started practicing Pilates after experiencing a back injury which led to chronic pain. Pilates changed the way she approached fitness, especially through the mind body connection it encourages. The detail and focus of Pilates not only challenge the body athletically, but encourage correct movement patterns to preventing and rehabilitate injuries. Emily also loves how it translates to every day life, and can especially help improve performance in so many sports like tennis, running, golf and cycling.
Certified in Mat Pilates from Body Harmonics, and TRX certified Emily loves to challenges her clients while encouraging technique and body awareness.
Recipe: Whitefish with Tomato, Capers and Arugula.
This is a great (and easy) recipe for a post pilates protein packed dinner. The recipe is brought to you by Nutritionista and Pilates lover Andrea Sarjeant. You can find more of her healthy AND delicious recipes here.
The fish gives you that protein punch, which is needed to repair your muscles after an asstastic and abtasstic Musemovement workout. The greens provide you with alkaline and anti-inflammatory chlorophyll, which is needed to combat the oxidative stress that working out puts on your bod.
Eat this on its own and feel virtuous post-workout, or pair with a glass of crisp white. Enjoy!
1 large fillet (or two small) white fish, such as whitefish, halibut or cod
8 cloves garlic
8 kalmata olives, pitted
1 tbsp capers (optional)
Handful cherry tomatoes
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
2 lemon wedges
4 big handfuls arugula or spinach
Handful roughly torn Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 350. Drizzle olive oil in a baking dish and place fish on baking dish. Arrange tomatoes, capers, olives and garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and a grind of pepper overtop and place in the oven. Bake until fish is flaky and tomatoes are about to burst, 10-15 minutes.
Divide arugula or spinach among two plates. Top each with half the fish, tomatoes, garlic, olives and capers if using. Sprinkle some parsley overtop, serve with a lemon wedge and an extra pinch of sea salt and pepper. Serves 2.
Keri and Andrea
WARNING: This will burn.
I have a friend, her name is Caitlin. Like all the ladies that I have the pleasure of meeting and knowing both in friendship and in my work she is strong and beautiful, intelligent, complicated, feisty and real! Caitlin, who grew up as an athlete has spent much of her adult life struggling with her weight. In the last year has lost a whopping 100 pounds and has rediscovered her inner athlete and goddess. She started coming to MuseMovement is the first month of the studio opening. She mentioned that she was in the maintenance stage with her weight and was nervous to stop almost obsessively going to all the combat and cardio classes (not to mention her Jillian Michaels videos) she had been attending that had helped her lose the weight and come back to her body. I offered Caitlin a free month at MuseMovement Studio, confident in the guarantee of a regular practice of both yoga and Pilates. I wanted to show her what it could do for her body in this maintenance stage and perhaps in relieving some of that internal fear. It has been a delight and a pleasure watching Caitlin's practice develop. She brings a determination, and eagerness to learn, to her practice that is both inspiring and contagious. Caitlin has successfully maintained her weight but something else, something magical happened as well. In her own words.....
“Communion urges us to come again and again to the place where we can know joy, to come and to celebrate, to join the circle of love”
"Who wouldn’t want to try as many yoga and Pilates classes as time would allow over the course of a month? To be honest, a year ago, I would have said no. Largely due to a discomfort I felt, a feeling of disconnect between my mind and body. The person I am now, said yes, and cannot say enough about what I discovered at MuseMovement Studio.
I have found a space to come again and again to access communion between mind and body, and to feel a sense of community. Let me explain, because there is a backstory. After a year of hard work, of using my body as a tool, I have lost close to 100 pounds and reached my goal weight. I have regained a healthy relationship to my body by remembering how to use it, to tame it, in turn rediscovering my inner athlete. I spent a year driven by mind over body, a relationship of domination you could say. What was missing is the opportunity to find communion, an experience of mind in unity with body. I was reaping the benefits of improved health, but I had not experienced the sensation of harmony, one that accesses spirit. Ultimately, and with great joy, this is what I have discovered at MuseMovement. Now, I can safely say that it is my happy place, and I urge you to come and know this joy too.
Housed in the Artscape Youngplace, a building bustling with community and creativity, the MuseMovement space itself has a simple elegance and warmth reflective of the owner herself, Keri O’Meara. There are art installations adorning the halls that seem to change weekly, encouraging patrons to leave with food for thought. Whether enjoying a morning class under beaming natural light coming through the windows, or whether delighting in an evening class under luminous candlelight, a view of the C.N Tower in the background, I find a welcoming energy in every class.
The reception one feels is not simply about the space, it is about the wonderful teachers who inhabit it. In my month of discovery of all that MuseMovement has to offer, I was guided in my practice by skilled women, whose teaching styles are diverse in tone yet share a common mood. Each teacher has energy and style all her own, while keeping the atmosphere of grace and warmth that is MuseMovement’s vibe.
Against likely the richest soundscape you’ll have the pleasure of hearing in any studio, I tried a variety of yoga and Pilates mat classes offered at the studio, and treated myself to the experience of reformer classes that open a whole new level of enjoyment. I challenged myself in different ways, from Yoga Flow or Pilates Flow classes in which the movement is more dynamic, playful even, to Yoga Deep or Pilates Deep mat classes in which the movements and poses are longer held to access stability and a deeper opening up. I have found that I really love the mat class called Harmony, which blends the two practices, drawing on Pilates exercises to prepare for yoga poses. Whatever the class, I was sure to experience a rewarding workout. Having kicked up some heat, and calmed my mind, I would leave feeling a sense of wholeness. The coolest experience, though, is definitely found in the reformer classes, which include a Cardio Reformer class. The ability to add resistance and weight in the workout adds challenge and precision, and the machines are sleek and so fun to use, which makes the workout feel like a treat for yourself, one you want to commit to making part of your ritual. I am not the only one who loves the reformer classes, and demand for them is high, so I encourage you to sign up online to ensure a spot.
In all the classes, I was encouraged to learn about my body in more ways than one, again because of the guidance of skillful teachers. I revelled in Keri’s knowledge of anatomy and her ability to share this in a manner that is accessible to the new student, to use it to help us to visualize how to access the muscles in movements and stability in poses. I was guided to use my body as an entrance point in opening my mind and spirit, using breath to create calm or verve. The teachers all have a way of creating a safe space that encouraged me to move in ways I didn’t think possible at first. In taking healthy leaps in the movement of my body, I was able to open my mind to what I was capable of doing – I was reminded of how thought can impede or inspire action, and MuseMovement inspires you to know joy in mindful effort to stir your body. In doing this, in turn, you get to celebrate your spirit – creating a sense of communion that rejuvenates – one you can take with you beyond the studio.
Whether being moved to feel those lovely happy tears evoked by endorphins, or to feel that good muscle soreness the next day, I found that I was regularly checking the schedule to see how quickly I could return. In the end, my experience this month, and this kind offer from Keri O’Meara, is by far the best gift I have ever received – one I am grateful to have been in a place in my life to accept. So whether you are new to yoga and Pilates like me, or practice regularly and are looking to make a new studio part of your routine, I urge you to come to MuseMovement; it is a wonderful space where you can commune with your mind and body, experience warmth of community, and find great joy. "
This was the first MuseMovement Playlist I made so I hold it very dear to my heart but wanted to share it with you all. I made it lying in bed with the flu a couple of weeks before the grande opening of the studio. It lifted my spirits and made me so excited to move. I hope it does the same for you.
When people walk into MuseMovement Studio for the first time there are, across the board, two initial remarks or variations upon them. These are: “what a beautiful studio,” AND “this is such an interesting building, I’ve been meaning to come for a while,” OR “ I didn’t even know this existed, what is it exactly?”
Artscape Youngplace is one building among many across Toronto, belonging to, and being transformed by, Artscape, "a non- for-profit organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities through creative place-making." While all of these projects are pretty spectacular, Youngplace is particularly special to MuseMovement. Located in what Vogue Magazine names as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, Queen West, (and bordered by the vibrant Ossington Village) "Artscape Youngplace is a community cultural hub…, with 75,000 square feet of space devoted to artistic inspiration, learning, growth and expression."
The building was once a public school. Fun and intimate fact- a school that my step bother and sister attended. In 2000, the Toronto District School Board shut the school down because of low enrollment. The building sat empty until 2010 when Artscape took it over. It is very relevant that the neighbourhood and it's various community's had a lot of input into what would go into this building. In it's own words, "Artscape Youngplace nurtures creation, learning and collaboration through innovative programs, experiences and events in an inspiring, social environment in order to strengthen and grow our community." And this is palpable when you walk into the building. It feels accessible, like a place where you will run into friends and neighbours, a place you want to explore and hang out in, that has something for
everyone and where you will be sure to leave feel inspired.
The building was renovated and resorted but still has the appearance of an old school. But not a school that you drag your feet to, one that your are excited to go to every day, to learn and discover. And there is lots to discover. Every three weeks or so new exhibits are put up on each floor. The Koffler Gallery on the first floor has longer running exhibits and even the stairwell walls are home to changing artists creations. In keeping with this spirit MuseMovement has dedicated one of it walls to display the work of various local artists. We had to save the other walls for handstands, legs up the wall and other inversions- after all, these inspire creativity in the mind, heart and soul.
This is just the tip of the iceberg though, there is so much happening at Artscape Youngplace. And its not just that there is cool stuff to look at on the walls. The buzz of the building is created by those inside it as well. It's the couple that bring the paper and their two dogs and sit in the Coffee Pub on the Mezzanine every Saturday morning; it's the Youth from Sketch (SKETCH is a Creative Enterprise Hub in Toronto engaging young people homeless and on the margins, ages 16-29.) practicing their performances in the hallways; it's the pop up markets in the flex studios; it's the university students hovered over their laptops soaking up the free wifi in the Urban Lounge; it's the kids filtering in to attend their hip hop dance class or myriad of other weekend and after school programs and activities; it's the new moms and babies coming to the College-Montrose Children’s Place drop in centre or gathering together for a tea; its the creative programming and planning going on the third floor where Luminato has its offices. And of course, It's people coming to get their yoga and Pilates on at Musemovement Studio, where we have built our own little community within the larger Artscape and Queen West neighbourhood community.
And that my friends, is just a little bit about Artscape. Hope that makes it a little clearer and or entices you to want to come check it out. It really is something that you have to experience to understand its awesomeness.
MuseMovement will be holding a free drop in Yoga class (4:30 March 12th) for all levels as Part of Artscape Youngplace's RECESS -a community open house featuring
Art * Live Music * Creation * Conversation * Performance * Arts Market * Food & Drinks
Thursday, Mar 12, 2015, 4:30 – 10:30 pm.
Here is a new playlist for you all to enjoy. It was made for my Soulful Summer Retreat this past summer. So, may you dream of yoga by the lake, the sun embracing you, long hot days and sensual summer nights while you listen.
Move body, mind, heart...
Six years ago my dear friend, Helen, did her 200 Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Space here in Toronto. It transformed her. I saw a woman who had been anxious and a bit wayward, gain confidence, and focus, and demonstrate deep passion. At the time I was doing a lot of Pilates and was really interested in how it all worked. Seeing Helen post-YTT was the push and the inspiration I needed to take the plunge and sign up for my Pilates teacher training and I have not once regretted that decision. I remember, so clearly, thinking if this is the certainty a training can bring- thats it’s so tangible I can see it’s effects on my friend, then I really have nothing to lose. Those years ago (and the habit lingers as I am sure it does for many of us) I was so ready to dismiss my desires because they did not fall into some idea of what I thought my life ‘should’ look like. But seeing Helen’s growth fuelled my desire so much I could no longer ignore it. Once I made that decision the Universe opened up for me. I experienced real synchronicity, all signs pointed to ‘this is the right and best decision.’ And it was, as any one who sees how excited I get when I teach can attest to. That summer, after Helen finished her training and just before I did mine, we had a blast. We would meet every day in the park, with other friends and we were just so happy being and hanging and giggling, and there was plenty of yoga in the park, especially airplanes, we loved airplanes. We still do.
Helen took her life in a different direction and decided not to teach and actually ended up as a reality television producer. We’ll save that story for another time. But her path brought her back and she recently completed her second YTT, this time in Costa Rica. This time around Helen is ready and excited to teach. And I am so delighted to announce that she will be joining the MuseMovement team. Again, it feels like the Universe is lining up. The woman who inspired me and encouraged me to dive in, do my training and become a teacher is now teaching at my studio. I feel blessed, so incredibly blessed.
I tell this story as a prelude to an introduction to Helen but also as a reminder to do what it is you are passionate about. If you put out there in the world what it is you want from it, from life, it will come back to you- it may be unrecognizable and not what you expected, but it will come back to you and you should grasp it if you are ready and not force it if you aren’t. Movement will help you do this. Movement brings clarity and helps make our dreams palpable. I don’t want to preach or sound like I am reading lines from an Eckhart Tolle classic, but just remember that when you move your body, you move your mind and your heart opens right up- as do possibilities.
Helen believes this as strongly as I do and her enthusiasm shows in her teaching. You can check out her gentle, yet challenging, Yoga Deep Karma classes (drop ins only $10) Wednesday at 7:45 and Sundays at 4:30. Without further ado:
Having completed two 200hr teacher training programs Helen can’t wait to finally start teaching. In 2004, anxious and barely able to touch her toes, Helen walked into her first yoga class and a love affair began. Ten years later she’s found strength, flexibility and peace through her practice and believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of yoga. As a result of her own physical and emotional journey, she is an approachable and compassionate teacher. Having studied under the guidance of Kathryn Beet, Patricia White and most recently Paula Tursi of Reflections Yoga NYC. Helen’s classes promote stability, acceptance and strength on and off of the mat. Through her slow yet challenging style her classes are designed to encourage expansion and release in body and mind.
Welcome to the team Helen. We look forward to meeting you on the mat.
This Sunday, February 22nd from 2-4pm Jackie Odette (see bio below) and I, will be teaching a workshop at MuseMovement Studio: Pilates for Yogi's. This workshop is the first in a series of three (who knows maybe even more) that explores how using Pilates exercises, principles and language can actually strengthen and rejuvenate our yoga practice. In the first of these workshops we will be discussing the core. I am talking abdominals, psoas, multifidi, but mostly abs- cause who doesn't love abs? In the next workshop we will look at the "overlooked core"- the muscles and exercises that stabilize and mobilize the femur bone in pelvic socket. In the third of the series we will dig into the shoulder complex. I am so excited about this workshop for so many reason's beyond the fact that I get to nerd out and talk about anatomy and movement for two plus hours. I am stoked to be working with Jackie Odette, whom I mentored many moons ago and is now one of Toronto's most in demand, and awesomely talented, Pilates teachers. But most importantly, I am excited to marry these two ways of thinking about, and moving, the body. Jackie and I have heard from so many yogi's that doing Pilates has transformed their asana practice by creating more strength and stability which translates into a safer and more balanced practice. By finding the containment and fine-tuning of a Pilates practice you can actually create deeper expression in your yoga practice. Its kind of like life, if you are grounded and focused, the possibilities of the universe open up to you a whole lot more.
There is so much stuff that we are going to cover in this two hour workshop, in which we will get you moving and practicing, thinking and questioning- and where all questions are good questions. And speaking of questions: a while back, when I was doing the Ask A Teacher segment on this blog (which I am starting again so please email all your burning yoga and Pilates questions to firstname.lastname@example.org) I got asked by a yoga teacher "What's the different between neutral and imprint?" Here is the answer as a little prologue to Sunday's workshop. If you can't make it this time we will run it again so keep checking the events page on this website and all of our social media for updates.
Neutral v. Imprint:
Our bodies are beautifully designed to function. The natural curves in our spine are created that way to be the least shock absorbent. In Pilates- and in yoga- this is the position from which we want to work to create the most stability and therefore most efficient mobility in the body. To be sure, there are many exercises where you are not in a neutral spine but we always want to come back to neutral. However, we are not all robots with the same build. So we use imprint to protect our lumbar spine if we have excessive inward arches, or convex curves. The action of imprint is just a gentle tilt by way of the abdominals so that the front hip bones move to the rib cage and the lumbar spine lengthens and moves towards- rather than away -from the floor. We might also work in imprint when we are lifting the legs off the floor as we are lying on our backs. Often, if we have weak abdominals or lower back stabiisers, or tight psoas muscles, the weight of the legs will pull us further into that convex curve into an over exaggerated neutral which will hurt and compromise our lower spine (and often our neck too). Here, we would use imprint to support the low back. The goal however is to strengthen the abdominals enough that we can support a neutral spine when the legs come up. This, and so much more, will be clarified further and discussed in more detail. You'll just have to come to the workshop to learn more. In the meantime meet Jackie Odette my co- teacher.
Jackie O was born and raised in Toronto, ON. After practicing yoga for several years she found herself curious about other movement practices. This curiosity, love for movement and mindfulness brought her to Pilates and she has never looked back. Her classes are fueled by creativity. They are energetic, challenging and fun! She can always find a little humour in a bit of hard work. Jackie O prides herself on creating safe, challenging and accessible sequencing. After taking her class you will be sure to feel stronger, leaner and more connected to the way your body moves. Jackie has her Mat intensive training from Body Harmonics and reformer training from Misfitstudio. She is constantly learning by taking workshops and classes to help educate herself and her clients through movement.
We look forward to moving, teaching and learning with you. You can register for the workshop here.
Move body, mind and heart.
I've figured out the muscular and movement stuff (tho of course its always evolving) for my body, but food, my digestive system, hormones etc.. still baffle me. Luckily Holistic Nutritionist and Food Guru, Andrea Sarjeant is a dear friend of mine and is always happy to give helpful advice. This gal just wants everyone to enjoy food and have happy healthy bellies; I'm not the only one that gets free consults. In fact, next week she is offering a Free Spring Countdown Cleanse, which I will most definitely be partaking in. And you can too. All you have to do is sign up for her newsletter and she will send it out with instructions to your inbox. How awesome is that? And, even more awesome is, at MuseMovement we are offering a free mat class for everyday of the cleanse. In other words add movement to your free cleanse for free. All you have to do is come to class and tell us what was on the cleanse that day, set up your mat, move your body and have fun. And for a little further reading check out her interview with me about my journey into healthy living on her informative and enjoyable blog.
Move. body, mind and heart!
If you don't know what a reformer machine is or have never been on one they can seem a little intimidating. But do not be afraid, they are not torture devices, as the name might suggest, but brilliant equipment designed to universally reform the body. Like Pilates mat work, the exercises on the reformer will help you build overall strength; increase mobility, flexibility and, endurance; promote optimal balance and alignment and create healthy joints and a happy spine. While Pilates on the mat sees the body working against gravity, the reformer machine takes it up a notch by adding springs to create further resistance to challenge the body.
Joseph Pilates created the first reformer prototype at an internment camp in Germany, during WWI. You see, Joseph Pilates was obsessed with physical health and fitness and he aggressively encouraged everyone to participate in his exercise regimen. Bed ridden soldiers not excluded. Pilates used springs from their beds that he attached to bed posts to create a pulley system which allowed the infirmed to exercise. This helped lead to the healing of injured limbs by strengthening and increasing circulation and mobility. This also lifted spirits. And the reformer will lift your spirits too. It is still used for rehabilitative purposes but also: it gives you a super fun and kick ass workout.
While, for many of the reformer exercises (and there are hundreds) you lie down on what is called the carriage, the reformer is no longer a bed but a sophisticated piece of equipment that has you working out creatively and in various different planes. Because of the added resistance the springs provide, the reformer tends to give your limbs a more challenging workout then the mat and is ideal for building muscles and bone density. Think sculpted arms and legs and increased mobility and optimal joint alignment. It also creates a better scenario to increase the heart rate so that you get cardio training in your Pilates workout.
Adding reformer to your Pilates practice is like adding whipped cream to a sundae. It was already so good but it just got even better. The cherry on top: practicing on the reformer will -guarantee- make your yoga practice stronger too.
So jump on the carriage and give the reformer machine a spin.
A couple of years ago someone from Elle Canada contacted me to get the lowdown on some armshaping Pilates exercises. I sent her my faves- if you come to my classes you will recognize this series- and then never heard from her again. I wasn't aware that my arm gem secrets had indeed been published on the world-wide web. The other day one of the MuseMovement teachers, Alwynn Taylor sent me an email with the subject line: Gurl did you see this?, with a link to "How to Tone Your Arms with 8 Simple Pilates Moves." So there it is, tone away. We've added some pics of our lovely Amanda Sheather doing these exercises, incase you are more of a visual learner. Enjoy.
Peace love and Pilates,
Welcome to MuseMovement Studio.
Doors open tomorrow on Saturday January 10, 2015 and I couldn't be more excited, it feels like Christmas all over again.
I am Keri, the Studio’s creator and director. My vision for MuseMovement is to build community and to create a safe and joyful space for people to grow through movement. A place where people are excited to connect to, learn about and love their bodies.
I am so looking forward to seeing old friends and faces and welcome new ones into this space.
We have some amazing teachers that I am personally so thrilled to be working with and I know you will all enjoy them as well. For those of you that know me, you understand my high standards coupled with my need for humour and a deep knowledge base when it comes to teaching, so you can be sure that I handpicked only the best for y’all. What all of us have in common is a passion for movement, and we cannot wait to share this with everyone that walks through the door at MuseMovement Studio.
Yoga and Pilates
Reformer, Saturday's at 12:30
Pilates Deep, Sunday's at 11:15
Reformer, Sunday's at 12:45
Yoga and Pilates
Harmony, Tuesday's at 5:30 and Friday's at 6:30
Reformer, Tuesday's at 6:45 and Friday's at 5:15
Yoga and Pilates
Movement Lab, Thursday's at 10am
Yoga Flow, Wednesday's at 9:15
Baby Mama (Bring, Your, Own, Baby), Wednesdays at 10:45
Nicky will not be teaching with us until the end of March as she is off on teaching -travel adventures, but we look forward to her joining us then. And for all you Mama's you can start pre-reg for her Bring Your Own Baby class in February.
MuseMovement Studio is in Artscape Youngplace, which is an awesome building, open to the public, that is full of buzz, art, creativity and community. The building is a former school and the studio itself is in a converted classroom. As the MuseMovement philosophy contains a commitment to teaching and learning it feels so damn right that we are at school and in a class. Also, in honour of the building and with a commitment to inspiring creativity we have a small gallery space in the studio. Every few months we will change the artist and creations that grace our walls. If you want to buy something you see at the studio or display your work email email@example.com
Our inaugural artist is Nicole Bruun-Meyer, a photographer trained in both architecture and film who has honed her observation skills all over the world, collecting moments of every day beauty through her lens. A Year in Pixels follows Nicole in 2012 when she took a photograph everyday, creatively and thematically cataloguing lifes' moments. The photographs displayed at MuseMovement are a collection from that year, which focus on the interplay between light and shadow and the spaces that are created through this relationship. You can find the full anthology here.
As MuseMovement moves with 2015 into its first month we set the intention of making your experience with us the best it can possibly be. If you have any suggestions, comments thoughts or insights, please share them with me personally: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the very bottom of my full and grateful heart, I so look forward to moving with you.