Spring 2016 Contributors
Violet Pasztor Wilson
Founder and CEO, Canadian Yoga Alliance
Both an esteemed contemporary folk singer-songwriter and an accomplished yoga teacher, Calgary’s Amy Thiessen combines her passions for music and healing into Project Sundari a one-of-a-kind live music experience—captured also on record—that deftly avoids new age tropes.
Equipped with a guitar, keyboard, simple drum machine and loop pedal, Amy collaborates with other yoga teachers, who lead classes through a sequence of postures while Amy performs partially-improvised, trip hop-inspired riffs on both traditional and original devotional music.
Her work features traditional AND original mantras in Sanskrit and English combined with trip hop; tastefully synthesized atmospheres; organic piano and guitar and pure authentic folk vocals. The record version presents the work in a conventional song format, while the live version sees Amy improvise around a basic structure.
Amy comes from a contemporary folk and pop background, where innovation and originality are the litmus tests of greatness, and her combined backgrounds in music and healing have always been her calling card. She is known for beautifully cliché-free original songs that explore spiritual and emotional depths. Her ability to wrestle fearlessly and comfortably with her shadows has earned her wide acclaim.
CBC host Russell Bowers wrote, “an Amy Thiessen performance is an hypnotic blend of words and music that is at once spiritual and fun.” FFWD wrote, “It’s rare that a musician will push the limits of their respective genre while still promoting a relaxed atmosphere.”
After working tirelessly to deepen her yoga practice, sharpen her songwriting skills, and establish herself as a musician and performer, Amy has found a way to bring music and performance into the yoga practice itself.
For yoga devotees, it’s a luxurious way to practice, with music transporting them to new mental and spiritual states. For music fans accustomed to tearing it up on the dance floor, it’s a whole new way to move to music, a novel listening experience and a beautiful break from the bar scene.
Kulvinder Nicky Sehra
Kulvinder Nicky Sehra is a graduate of History & Corporate Communications and Public Relations in London, Ontario. Nicky is a modern day spiritual woman who enjoys the simple pleasures of life and being in the company of her family and friends. She loves to teach yoga, travel and to inspire and empower humanity through her writings. Her aim is to leave everyone she meets with a sparkle of kindness, peace and love!
Oda has been involved in yoga for quite a while and has been teaching it for about two decades. She studied yoga in India, Europe and North America and loves philosophy, pranayama and movement. She has been living for the past five years in Southern Ontario, in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Allana Plaunt is the 36-year-old mother of two very sweet and very busy little boys. She lives in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, where she was born and raised. She has a double degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of Calgary, which is where she came to realize her passion to learn, practice and teach yoga. She first came to yoga in 2003 and, with the exception of a few lost years, has been practicing ever since. She is a 200 hr. RYT of Power Vinyasa Flow but her heart belongs anywhere on the mat and within any tradition of yoga. It is through yoga that she has learned to embrace the serenity in discomfort that is life. And, it is through motherhood that she has come to appreciate just how wonderful that discomfort can be.
Yogacharya Dr. Binod Baral
Dr. Binod is a medical doctor with M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. After being trained in Hatha yoga by swami Shree Krishna Shaharsha Buddhe of Bombay, in his early student period, he achieved the highest level of spirituality. While in Europe, he was invited by Dr. Narayan Dutta Shrimali to his Ashram in Pitampura, Delhi.
Link to Ashram
In 1997, he was blessed by Shrimaliji with Shaktipaat and much other secret Tantric knowledge.
Yogacharya Dr. Binod has attained success— so called "Siddhi" in 2 pairs of Sadhanas and is the only disciple of Shrimaliji to represent Swami Nikhileshwaranand Ji Maharaj in North America at the present time.
In his “Healing Yoga” teaching, Yogacharya Dr. Binod applies the secret knowledge of Kriya Yoga, pranayamas, mudras, meditation and Tantra to strengthen the overall power of the body to resist infection. Some of his major successes are in the control and treatment of migraine, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, anger control and enlightenment.
When asked how it is possible for him to help people, he says, "I use complex methods combined from different parts of Esotericism. Simply speaking, a ball with cosmic energy is formed from the space and is directed to the sick organ, mentally, through the various breathing techniques (pryanayamas) and yogic poses”.
Joanne Preece, Editor
Primary Teacher, BaH. ERYT-200, RHN, E-RYTGold
Cindy Stockdale is a Registered Yoga Teacher and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Archaeology. She has always been fascinated with the inner world of the psyche and how that has evolved over time. Cindy has been teaching yoga for almost 10 years, 8 of which she has spent studying with Christine Selda. She strongly believes we all have an innate ability to heal and works to inspire and empower others to be agents of change in their own lives, acknowledging the deep remembrance that we are all connected and any healing that we do for ourselves is healing for all. Cindy believes her earth walk is to help others remember who they are and that, no matter what, they are loved deeply, connected fully and belong to the family of all things.
Colli is a personal/professional achievement coach and educator conducting professional seminars called The Courage to be. She is also a yoga instructor. Through yoga, specialized kinesiology, neuro-linguistic programming and metaphysics, Colli assists people in discovering their uniqueness and living their passion with excellence. Colli has a Masters degree in Communication and is the creative producer of a television documentary entitled The Zone of Excellence and two feature films, The Tabor Light and Lady Deborah Moore. Colli can be contacted at email@example.com
Nathalie Marie Sauvageau
Nathalie Marie is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Conscious Breathing Instructor, Life Mastery Coach and International Spa Therapist. Together with her life partner Sion Thomas, they went and trained in Spain to become Aero Yoga therapists.
Co-creators of Bodi Balance Wellness located on Vancouver Island, they are passionate about sharing the unique experience of Air Yoga, combined with modern fitness, dance and pilates, through their classes, retreats and, soon, on-line classes.
Nathalie Marie and Sion are known for their inspiration to push people to their limits to transform their lives into a healthier connection of body, mind and spirit. Their mission is to turn everyone’s world upside down!
Love is in the air with BodiBalance.ca
Samantha was born in Montreal and now lives in Lebanon. She holds yoga workshops and classes internationally. She began practicing yoga and meditation in her late teens and has been teaching since 2000. She is an avid practitioner who respects the core technique of the Krisnamarcharya lineage.
Her study is one rooted deeply in traditional yogic teachings while being true to many streams of influence, which have deepened her experience of yoga. Tantra, Kundalini, Bhakti, Tao Shiatsu and Shamanic healing arts—many gurus of the past and present shine light along her path.
A student of both Eastern and Western philosophy, she incorporates various traditions into her classes while always being true to traditional wisdom. From the scriptures to the yoga mat, Samantha’s creativity and sense of joy can be seen reflected in her training and teaching.
A mother of four young children, the candles of awareness, balance, harmony, intuition, acceptance and freedom light her journey… In her teaching she strongly relies on her own practice, intuition, philosophy and spirituality as influences. She intuitively fuses her knowledge of the past to innovatively and spontaneously illuminate her present.
Alongside yoga, she holds a B.F.A. in Fine Arts, from France, and works as a painter and sculptor. This artistic ability is part of what makes her workshops and classes unique. She is an innovator. Her works such as Chakra Cleanse, Yoga Nidra, Tibetan Tantra, Gong Bath are some of her many ideas which are being widely used and adapted for their healing and transformative abilities.
She is a co-founder of One Yoga Academy (formerly Shiva Shakti Yoga Academy), a comprehensive yoga teacher training program, providing internationally recognized certification—the first of its kind in Lebanon. Training is available in Montreal, U.K. & Lebanon.
Heidi Joffe (M.Ed.,A.T.) lives in West Vancouver with her two children and two Norwich terriers. With a background as a drama teacher, a yoga instructor, art therapist and textile artist, she investigates the wonder and boundless potential of our perceptions and manifestations.