Karen Robbins

I first came to know the Esther Myers Yoga Studio by attending one of their international yoga retreats in Costa Rica in February of 2011. The trip was co-led by studio owners Tama Soble and Monica Voss and was at a breathtaking retreat centre in the southern Osa Peninsula, not far from a protected conservation area and national park. We practised twice daily on a yoga platform suspended in the rainforest’s tree canopy where the natural bird song and cry of howler monkeys punctuated our sessions. It was simply amazing!

Before the retreat, I had experienced yoga sporadically by taking classes at my gym where convenience unfortunately won out over the quality of the instruction. The focus on fitness was something I only realized later was quite counter-productive to my desire to keep my body strong but also in a state of more deeply-grounded wellness.

Once back in Toronto, I discovered classes at Esther Myers Yoga Studio where my practice began to grow and evolve through a delightful mix of personal and group dynamics learning via the instructor’s guided narrative. Not to mention the supportive atmosphere that was also playful and offered with a sprinkling of humour.

The most important lesson I have come to learn from the teachers at EMYS is to take the time to better understand my own body through my breathing, spinal release and a sense of grounding. It sounds quite simple but it can also be complex and I appreciate how we are coached through an awareness of and a descent into what our bodies are feeling and needing at any given time.

Every time I practise I discover something new about myself in a journey that allows me to ‘check-in’ and understand my body in the moment. This also diminishes any fear I might be having about my aches and pains and in my case, post-hip-replacement ‘twinges’. The classes and workshops always encourage me to draw upon my ‘mind-body-spirit’ connection and to pull me into a more spacious and unified whole. After class I always feel lighter and just happier.

It is especially meaningful to me that the Studio supports me in these positive ways as I move into this “third chapter” of my life, with a strong desire to continue growing and experiencing life events through a spirited, yet self-protective approach to movement and wellness.

I continue to enjoy local and international retreats whenever I can. The retreats have been “gifts to myself”, including last year when I celebrated my “significant sixtieth” in Puglia, southern Italy. What a gorgeous, lingering memory this most recent retreat experience is, especially now that we are in these strange and challenging pandemic times.

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