Testimonials about the Studio, staff, classes and workshops
I was fortunate to discover Esther Myers and her lovely studio on Dupont St. in the 80’s. I came to yoga initially to ease my back pain which had been through tough times picking tobacco, building a cottage, moving rocks and acting like my body had no limitations. Learning about the spine, the benefits of stretching, and breathing techniques helped me through serious illnesses including cancer, a heart attack and the normal challenges of aging. Esther’s caring approach inspired me to become a yoga teacher and I had happy years teaching in a local seniors centre. At 97 I’m still able to get in and out of a car, and am grateful to Esther and her team for passing on their wisdom and love of yoga. We lost Esther too soon, but am delighted that her studio is still here and thanks to the great work of all that have kept her memory and teachings alive.
I wanted to tell you and all the teachers at Esther Myers Yoga Studio how very much I have enjoyed the classes. January flew by with the yoga study and the contemplation of many aspects of the practice.
Julia’s class was brilliant. Her creativity to do Sun Salutation even lying down, her thoughtfulness and care and energy are inspiring. I always know I will feel safe and have fun experimenting with all the movements from simple to the most complicated. Delightful!
Hi Tama — I wanted to let you know I‘ve just finished your recorded practice for the upper back from last year and loved it, like the first time I did it. Good things are meant to last. It is a beautiful, slow and thoughtful exploration, and I’m grateful for it.
I really enjoyed Lauren Anastasi’s walking meditation series based on Thích Nhat Hanh’s work. His words are so simple and deep and that enhanced our walking. Lauren touched on many things to focus the mind while walking. I feel I have a better relationship to my body and emotions because of taking that time to listen, to walk and to be present.
Monica, thanks so much for the inversion preparation classes. When you first talked about the anatomical differences in the hand positions in class last week, it blew my mind. I have never had anyone describe the arms positions as you did. It’s allowed me to better understand my body structure, why I find forearm balancing so challenging and how it affects the posture. It’s changed how I experience being in headstands and how I ground myself.
One of the things that I love about classes with you, and Tama, is that I’m tapping into a deeper sense of curiosity with myself and my practice. Thank you!
A few months ago, I had a medical assessment that included a fitness portion. It required me to stand barefoot on what looked like a scale, however this contraption measured body fat.
Once completed, I proceeded to put my socks and running shoes on while standing. I pulled my socks over each foot one at a time extending the lifted leg long in front of me and the standing foot rooted to the ground, I repeated this process while putting on my running shoes. I then tied the laces on my right foot (while lifted) and then on my left (while lifted) all in a standing balance position. No walls or chairs to hold on to. I put my socks and shoes on in this fashion out of the mere attempt to preserve my dignity. I simply did not feel comfortable bending forward or kneeling down to do the simple task of tying my shoes while having someone standing behind me. Much to my surprise, I did not realize that there was a small audience down the hall witnessing this exercise. The whole interaction between myself and those around me was very innocent. I heard a voice call out, “That was impressive, I hope that I am not asked to do that by my practitioner!”. A burst of laughter followed. The whole event was simply yoga off the mat and out into daily life.
Sometimes while in our yoga class, on the days that I find myself to be a bit more tippy and topsy turvy in our standing poses, or a little more challenged in poses that I have done hundreds or thousands of times, I think to myself, “Strange, why the struggle today? You’ve done this so many times, should you not have gotten this by now?” I gently bring myself back, remind myself again and again the grace and the sweetness of putting on a pair of socks and tying my shoes. Reminding myself this is just a practice. We are practising yoga, exploring the body in relation to our world, breathing into the body, and grounding into the earth. In pure simplicity, this is why I practise yoga.
I am very appreciative of all the various modalities of yoga I have encountered over the 28 years of my yoga journey. They were important and necessary experiences and only part of the pieces to the puzzle. I have found the approach to yoga offered at the Studio is key to the overall longevity of physical health and mental wellbeing. The approach to the postures is taught for the benefit and health of the body in a manner that allows the body to release tension gently and with ease, physically, mentally, emotionally on all levels. More profoundly though, this expression of practice encourages, gives permission and allows space for each and every practitioner to go within at their own pace, in the personal space of their own mat without judgement, respecting the individual and recognizing that each and every “Body”, is unique with its own history, its own story, its own individual and personal journey. We are all yoga practitioners, all on our own respected paths together.
With gratitude to Tama, Monica, Mar Jean, Paola and all those who periodically make guest appearances via workshops – thanks for your continuous generosity in sharing all of your gifts. The decades of experience and knowledge are evident. Teaching from a place of real compassion and loving kindness. Daring to be different and offering practices that are true.
Esther Myers Yoga Studio has been a huge influence on my life. Back in September 2001, I took my first weekend training to become a yoga teacher. I was unsure and nervous and thought, can I actually do this? And I did!
I have met wonderful people travelling to Toronto for classes, also Tobago, Iceland and India. Amazing!
As we stay safe and protected from this virus, using Zoom to connect has been wonderful. Thank you, for all that you do, thank you for sharing your wisdom and understanding, bringing me joy and happiness.
I want to let you know how much I enjoyed the “Awaken the Shoulder Girdle” series this past week with Julia Juhas. I learned a lot about shoulders and mine have never felt so released and relaxed! Each class was a perfect blend of information, instruction, and helpful feedback in a safe and friendly space. I hope you’ll offer this series again, and other early morning series with Julia.
As usual with your workshops (Monica), I was surprised at how deeply my body responded to what might be perceived as a non-strenuous practice. I will be looking at the interaction/interdependence of spine and limbs in my practice now; I felt the difference of working from the spine or initiating movement from the limbs but have yet to conclude what the difference signifies.
Personally, taking two classes a week with you has always been a goal for me. I find your classes are beneficial long after they end, and that they provide a sustained sense of peace which is invaluable. Your teaching is open ended enough that I can adapt the classes to my own needs. If I need to focus on a particular issue I can use the exercises you provide as a jumping off point for that purpose.
I must thank you (Tama) for the very fine workshop you offered us in Kamloops, B.C. the past weekend. I find myself, even walking about the house, differently, slower, and more deeply into the steps. And surprise, surprise, my hips feel better. You gave so much wisdom that really resonated for me.
I would like to thank Tama (Soble) for a great workshop delivered on Thursday at the Yoga Show and Conference! I learned a great deal and have really been thinking a lot about much of the content.
I really related to the Moro reflex and the psoas muscle and how each asana could help to release some of the tension caused by consistent stress and anxiety. Tama took us through many postures that focused on hips/sacral plexus, spine and pectoral/shoulder girdle.
Thank you again for a great workshop!!
Just a note of thanks for yesterday’s class. The focus on feet, and by extension on hips, was so helpful… I found myself walking much more freely last night. And I’m still feeling looser today.
Thanks for a great, very topical class. My shoulders thank you.
One day after attending many yoga classes with Monica Voss, I was in my studio working as a visual artist and I reached down to pick something up and suddenly much of what we had been talking about in yoga class made sense to me. I could feel my arm stretching out, I could feel the muscles, I could feel my legs as they bent to accommodate my posture. Everything I had been learning about yoga postures came together for me and I could connect them to my day to day activities at home.
A really great teacher instructs something that you may not understand in the moment but then you go out into your life and find yourself connecting with what you have learned.
I find this way of teaching leads to an open exploration of movement and body awareness. The grounding is so helpful in learning how to relax and truly move from a natural organic place. I like that you don’t have to hold postures rigidly but are able to experience and explore the poses for yourself and make them your own.
Monica and Tama are gracious, generous, compassionate and wise. Their classes are always enlightening: elegantly devised, safe, sophisticated and mindful of their students’ physical abilities, emotional needs and intellectual or spiritual concerns. They’ve taught thousands of students over the years, young and old, in Canada and around the world. And they never cease to refine their technique or their deep understanding of yoga.
“Breathing, grounding and elongation of the spine” is the mantra of their yoga. And, as it turns out, for living.
Hi everyone, thank you so much for a lovely informative and inspirational weekend! You have a beautiful facility and an open and welcoming community!
Dear Monica and Tama,
I so wanted to write to express my appreciation to you both for creating such a beautiful and rich yoga community. I appreciate so much the deep commitment, integrity and wealth of knowledge that you each bring to the co creation of such a vibrant community!
The recent workshop with Peter Blackaby was wonderful and such a great example of that!
I have felt so fortunate to be able to have the excellent training opportunities that you have offered.
What a great class today! Just loved the energy in the room. There seemed to be great curiosity, openness and wonder, and a shared love of the learning.
We loved the combination of useful information and suggestions in the Labour Preparation workshop, and the style of delivery – a combination of a calming, knowledgable, non-bossy nurturing style. We appreciated that the workshop focused on the role and feelings of the coach.
That was a wonderful, challenging, informative, and reassuring Labour Preparation session! Thanks so much.
I would like to say how much I appreciate your teaching style, Tama (Soble). It is likely not possible for one teacher’s style to work for everyone, but I must say that I find your style to be gentle and welcoming, with so much valuable information and a knowledge of the area that appears to be very deep. Your approach of providing detailed tools and options and having people find what works for them I find to be very appealing. You offer things to folks without judging them and it makes me feel welcome. It also seemed to be working very well for people of different levels, which I would expect could be a challenge for a teacher.
I feel privileged to have had a teacher with such strong facilitation skills as you have. While I don’t have too much experience with yoga, I have experience in different learning environments, and I don’t think I am over-stating things or being dramatic when I say that you are a gifted teacher. Thank you for your guidance and leadership on this continuing journey.
Thanks so much for the EMYS Teacher Training Programme Alumni Day, such a stimulating, warm and friendly day! I enjoyed all 4 classes and never get tired of what is taught and shared at the Studio, and what we learn from each other! This is such great community to be part of!
Monica and Tama are gifted and generous educators. They have a deep understanding and knowledge of yoga practice, human anatomy and hands-on learning. My yoga journey has been profoundly enriched through their thoughtful guidance.
Monica’s gift of yoga is one to be savoured. Her connection to the human body brings not only the practice of yoga, but everyday movement to a whole new level… Monica’s retreats to India and Italy both inspired me and instilled a sense of wonder for continuous exploration. I highly recommend Monica’s teachings no matter what your level of experience. She is a true master…
I enjoyed today’s class very much because of your extensive commentary about the relationship between movement and relaxation. Some of your comments were quite profound and will require further exploration as I continue my practice. I am always thankful that you take the time to express your thought processes and reflections on various aspects of different poses and concepts as it helps to keep things interesting and to provoke further learning, especially as a teacher in training.
It was lovely to be back in the studio again. Just what I needed. I especially loved getting to know my collar bones and their movements – so cool!
You seem to surprise me with a new experience every time I attend. Thank you.
The breathing focus was a good entry point for me towards gradually and gently bringing my yoga practice fully back into my life. All 4 classes I attended this month stimulated learning for me, but the mudra class was particularly impactful. I experienced each of the 4 mudras in the first set as strongly connected to an emotion or a resource. I realized that I could use these mudras to call up one of those emotions or resources when I needed it – grounding, openness, nurturing, intellect. It sounds so simple and rather obvious; how could I have missed it until now?! Readiness…
From the first beginners’ class I took the teachers’ clued in to my persistent lower back problems. The culture at this Studio notices individuals, their aches and pains as well as their abilities and potential. Teachers always offer tips for adjusting poses. You don’t need to worry – as I certainly do in aerobic classes – about straining areas: back in my case, shoulders, knees, wrists, whatever.
Of the many things I love about yoga classes here, top of the list is the effort teachers invest in each student to reduce her/his body damage and stress.
This is to thank you again for the four day intensive. It was a well rounded series from which I was able to take a key aspect each day to support exploration in my practice. Inspiring!
I knew that I missed taking classes over the past number of months and after the first class I was reminded of how enriching it is to be a student. You have an extraordinary gift in using metaphorical language that touches the body. I look forward to returning to classes on a regular basis.
I wish to thank you for the prenatal classes and all the support we have received from you! The birth was an amazingly powerful experience, and all the practice in grounding, breathing and staying present definitely helped.
Now that I am a mommy, you were so right about the arms and head being in one position all the time, and the stiff shoulders, and the lost hips. There is barely any time to squeeze in any stretches, but I try.
I just wanted to say a big thank you to each of you for the classes and intensives I attended this summer. As a teacher myself, even though I was on holiday I couldn’t help reflecting on the pedagogy at the Studio, and I wanted to share this observation: you are each so effective at tuning in to your students in your own distinct ways. I experienced such a range of paths into my body, mind and spirit in your classes, yet it is clear you all share that fundamental skill of compassionate, genuine attunement to your students.
Many thanks for all your brought to your teaching – your humour, insight, and student focus.
I look forward to seeing you in the fall.
With respect and gratitude,
Each class is, for me, a beautiful, liberating, even mysterious journey into my body and into stillness, places that I have not been encouraged to explore much in my life. I always leave feeling strong, calm, and empowered. You are doing important healing work for me, and I’m sure many others. I’m very grateful to have discovered yoga, and your particular take on it.
When I retired I realized it was essential to keep going, to keep working on flexibility in order to prevent all the things that can happen if we are not mobile as we age. Aging is not an easy process, but the yoga can be very helpful in all aspects; physical, spiritual, emotional. And there are a lot of different ages and bodies in the classes I go to, very encouraging.
I like the companionship of the mat and the different activities that are offered. I found in doing the teacher’s training I developed a whole new “career” so to speak.
I came because it seemed a good way to expand my physical universe…unwind, stretch my body, and feel better about myself. It makes me feel relaxed and energized at the same time! A combination of moods I previously would not have put together.
Slowly over the last few years my body has seemingly become stronger. The Studio encourages you to trust your body and your senses…and to listen to that small voice inside your head….something I hugely appreciate.
I love the accepting philosophy…the idea that there is no rigid right or wrong…
just something that may be right or wrong for your body at a specific period in time.
I also really appreciate that the focus is on movement….and keeping the body/spine fluid. I like the idea that we can unblock tension and become more at ease. It allows for the possibility of growth and development….physically and mentally.
That’s a wonderful feeling for someone getting older…instead of feeling less capable, or less limber,
I feel more able…and more willing to try new things!!
I’ve been going to Esther Myers Yoga Studio for over 10 years. I am always impressed by the uniformly high quality of the teaching and the profound respect for the uniqueness of each individual learner that all the teachers demonstrate in their classes.
As I engage in Yoga practice I am lead into a deeper knowledge of how to breathe, how to enter into and be still in the moment. I ‘ve also developed a deep sense of wonder about the gift of the human body. As a breast cancer survivor of 22 years, Yoga has helped me discover and develop the innate potential of my body for health and healing.
In all my years of yoga study, never have I met teachers so competent and supportive as the ones I experienced at your Studio. To this day, in my yoga practice, I use what I learned from Monica and Esther.
This is just a little note to say thank you so much for your calm and positive and peaceful Pre Natal Yoga classes during my pregnancy. I gave birth to a lovely baby girl, and the labour was a better experience for your help. I’m excited to bring her to postnatal classes with you in the next few months!
I can’t say enough about Monica and the Parents and Babies class. The quiet space (figuratively and literally – I loved those tatami mats) was such a blessing and a time to be myself with the second babe. I rave about the class to all my friends. It is just a bit of magic and Monica is really the gentlest guide through a sometimes wild new adventure in your body.
Mary is a psychotherapist practising in Toronto
As my body is aging and I feel the changes in flexibility and endurance I want to keep stretching and embracing the changes rather than resisting them. Yoga helps me do that! I always feel encouraged and respected by all your teachers and never judged and I really enjoy the community of “sister” travellers.
A few years ago at my annual check-up with my physician I discovered that I had grown a half inch!! She did not seem very curious so I decided to share with her the benefits of yoga as I believe that my “growth” was the result of a regular practice.
I came to Esther Myers Yoga Studio eight or so years ago when I retired because I loved your style of teaching. I appreciated the opportunity to continue to grow in my yoga but in a safe and accepting atmosphere. I love yoga and I love the classes at EMYS. I believe yoga has kept me healthy and peaceful.
In an atmosphere of genuine care, the practice of safe yoga is shared. A true privilege to attend. Definitely a 5 “namaste” (5 star) Studio. With an attitude of gratitude.
For those who have done yoga for 30, 40 years but are aging and for for those who start in their 60’s, the approach at Esther Myers Yoga Studio is accessible and enjoyable. That is why I joined at 65, did the Teacher Training and will continue for years to come.