Yeehaw, am I ever excited about this weekend’s Yoga Festival Toronto (Aug 19-21)! It all starts on Thursday afternoon with a Montreal-Toronto road trip with my Yocomo (Yoga Communauté Montréal) peeps, then a whole weekend of superb yoga programming, along with old friends (and new!), good conversation and tasty healthy food.
I am, of course, looking forward to seeing renowned Ayurveda teacher, Dr. David Frawley, and my fave yogi surfer blissed-out-dude, Eoin Finn. My level of excitement about Mark Singleton’s lectures (and, especially, his conversation with Priya Thomas from Shivers Up the Spine) can only be rivaled by how I felt before seeing The Jesus and Mary Chain at Lollapalooza ’93. And of course, I can’t wait to be on the Yoga Journalists Panel with cyberfriends Carol Horton and Bob Weisenberg ~ meeting them both in person for the first time.
But there’s also a whole line-up of fantastic faculty, mostly based in Toronto and Southern Ontario. These hidden gems may not be “big names,” but they have deep practices, a wealth of information and solid teaching skills. Here are my 5 must-see faculty members (in no particular order): Rosemary Jeanes Antze, Marlene Mawhinney, Laura Sygrove, J.P. Tamblyn and Monica Voss.
Rosemary Jeanes Antze is the senior Canadian teacher in the yoga tradition of TKV Desikachar, and affiliated as a Teacher Trainer with the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation (KHYF) in Chennai, India. Through Yoga from the Inside (www.anaama-yoga.ca) she offers a teacher development and mentoring program, as well as retreats for beginners to experienced teachers. Rosemary began practising yoga while a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada. Community and relationship lie at the heart of her teaching which brings the benefits of yoga into everyday life.
She will be teaching workshops each afternoon, centred on Langhana, Brhmanan and Samana.
Marlene Mawhinney been practicing yoga since 1969 and teaching Iyengar Yoga exclusively since 1985. Marlene holds a Senior Intermediate III Teaching certificate from the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune. In addition to training new teachers, and teaching classes and workshops in Toronto and abroad, she is internationally recognized for her research and expertise in yoga for people with health challenges. Marlene instructs both students and teachers in training in many Special Needs, Special Practices, Back Care, and Cardiac classes. She is also currently completing studies on the effect of Iyengar in the treatment of severe shoulder injury, and on the effect of Iyengar Yoga the case of severe chronic migraine.
She will be teaching morning asana classes, lecturing on pranayama and giving afternoon workshops on Iyengar Yoga for back pain, menopause and knees and hips.
Laura Sygrove is the co-founder and executive director of New Leaf Yoga Foundation, a charitable organization bringing yoga to youth who are incarcerated, gang-involved or identified as “at risk.” After teaching yoga in various settings in Toronto, Taiwan and Trinidad, four years ago she made a decision to dedicate her life to helping make yoga truly accessible in some of the least served facilities and communities. She oversees New Leaf’s eight projects across southern Ontario, and teaches young men at Bluewater and Roy McMurtry Youth Centres.
She is lecturing on Saturday morning on “Taking the Next Step: Yoga and Service to Oneself and Others.”
J.P. Tamblyn has been teaching yoga in Toronto since 2001 at highly esteemed yoga studios such as The Downward Dog Yoga Centre, Breathe Yoga Centre, The Yoga Sanctuary, and The Octopus Garden Yoga Centre. He is the founder and director of Ahimsa Yoga. J-P’s own teacher training experience began at Downward Dog in 2001, under the inspirational & supportive guidance of program directors Ron Reid & Diane Bruni.
He will be offering sun salutation and arm balancing workshops each afternoon.
Monica Voss began her yoga studies in 1978 with Esther Myers, trained to teach with Esther, and has been teaching at the Studio since 1981. She came to yoga with a background in drama and movement and has degrees in English Literature and Education. Monica studied with Vanda Scaravelli from 1986-1998. She draws inspiration from Vanda’s and Esther’s teaching, from the natural world, from complementary modalities, and from interaction and dialogue with students and colleagues.
She will be teaching Friday and Saturday afternoon workshops on The Thinking Body.