Committing to an Intentional Practice by Meagan Santa


My daily practice is something I look forward to. It allows me to feel grounded and clear. Some days it looks like rolling out my mat at home or in the studio. Other days it includes meditation and free-writing. The idea of experiencing as many benefits as possible from my practice led me to note ways I could be more intentional about my practice especially since it’s become such a staple in my life. I believe this feeling is relatable after many conversions with other friends who practice yoga or meditation and even students at In Fine Feather.

I invite you to take a moment and reflect on what you’ve learned from your dedicated time on your mat.

For myself, I’ve noticed how after a yoga flow I seem to have a more authentic stream of consciousness come through in my journal writing and how I can fall into a meditative state with more ease. When I look ahead to the coming month I’ve asked myself what I needed to receive from my practice to show up as my best self. Did I need more gentle flows or would an intermediate/advanced practice serve me better by challenging myself? Was their lifestyle habits I could invite in more regularly? Was I inspired by a mantra or quote that I felt called to unpack and meditate on longer? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

One of my favourite pieces to reflect on is how am I taking yoga off my mat?

Yoga is more than the asana aka the sun salutations and poses. This idea is inspired by the 8 limbs of yoga, specifically the yamas. How can we selflessly share the practice of yoga with others? You can learn more about this yoga philosophy HERE. Was I volunteering? Could I donate items I no longer was in need of? Was there an opportunity for me to create space for a friend? My practice became more fulfilling when I was able to share it without the expectation of a return. If you already do some of these acts of service, then you are taking yoga off your mat and practicing without realizing it!

Do we collectively celebrate our successes enough?


Do you give yourself a pat on the back for showing up and rolling out your mat even if it was a bad day? Have you recognized your personal growth and the lessons you’ve learned in the last season? Gosh, this is so important! Give yourself the well-deserved recognition. This practice isn’t easy. Every day your body is a little different. Your headspace fluctuates and we live through different experiences. When we practice in the studio and actively share space, we are coming together to breathe and move no matter how different we are from each other. Are you celebrating our differences as a community? One thing I love about our community is every student and teacher arrives with a different story. I see students of various backgrounds, beliefs, body shapes, physical abilities, etc chatting and smiling. That is special and it is certainly worth celebrating.

How can we guide you further?

Helena McKinney and I collectively designed a super helpful guided journal to use as a resource to answer all of these questions and go even deeper. I invite you to commit to a more intentional practice for yourself! Use the guided journal HERE and either print it out to write or use the digital version and write the answers in your personal journal. I hope this has got you thinking and reflecting on your own experiences on and off your mat.

More About Meagan

Meagan is a graduate of the In Fine Feather Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training Program, the assistant manager at the studio, a lifestyle coach and yoga instructor. Learn more about Meagan HERE. Come meet Meagan on the mat at In Fine Feather Yoga by checking the class schedule HERE and find her bio HERE.

Committing to an Intentional Practice. A Guided Journal Experience.

Now is as good a time as any to commit to an intentional practice! We’ve created this guided journal experience for you to check-in and see where your practice has taken you so far, where it might go and what you'd like to receive from your practice going forward. We provide prompts that allow you to lovingly reflect on your practice while setting future intentions. We also give you space to explore what taking yoga off your mat has taught you and how you can do more of that followed by an opportunity to celebrate your milestones! Let's cultivate intention through this self guided meditation, reflection and journalling opportunity with In Fine Feather Yoga!


A Reflection | Namaste Niagara and local Hamilton yoga studio, In Fine Feather Yoga

A reflection, as the season comes to an end with Namaste Niagara and local Hamilton yoga studio, In Fine Feather. 


A message from studio owner, Helena McKinney. 

Another incredible season of Yoga by the Falls comes to a close. First, we want to send a huge thank you to Niagara Parks for hosting the event of a lifetime and for inviting us back to Journey Behind the Falls this year. Not only were we honoured to participate again, we hosted 9 weekends and 18 classes right on the platform by the falls, connecting with people from all over the world to share this experience. If you had the chance to make it to a session over the summer, you know the feeling we are talking about- water rushing, heart beating, breath full and mesmerised by the view of this yoga class. This class changes you forever! Yoga on its own is transformational but combine the powerful force of Mother Nature and The Falls right in view, you can not help but surrender and be in awe at the same time. I have had the opportunity to host this class 3 times, each practice has been different, whether the sun is shining down or the water is rushing in. Each time I meet myself on that platform I feel brave, I feel oneness, I feel honoured, I feel powerful, I feel alive but I also feel humbled, serene and at peace with where I stand. It’s remarkable and I can not wait to be back on the platform next year. 

Instructor Michelle Smith, from In Fine Feather Yoga guided classes at The Falls and we wanted to share her sensation from the weekend. 

“The magic of Namaste Niagara is in the surrender to the elements and the pure connection created. Walking onto the platform and being so close to the power of the falls is breathtaking. One day can be sunny and warm and the next can be cold and rainy from the spray of the falls - there is a beauty in showing up to the unexpected and immersing yourself in the experience. My favourite part of the class is the seated savasana - where you can feel the flow of your breath link up with the sound of the waterfall, you can feel the sun, rain, wind on your skin and feel the interconnectedness of it all.” 


Nicole Catenazzi, one of our other Yoga instructors felt a similar passion for teaching this class. 

”Doing yoga behind Niagara Falls was one of the most exhilarating experiences. It's hard to find the words for what it's like to practice next to the powerful energy of the falls... the roaring sound of the current almost becomes part of you as you move and breathe on the platform. Sheets of mist soak you at just the right times to remind you not to take yourself too seriously. The sun pokes out from behind the clouds as if reflecting your own light back at you. Namaste Niagara offers a rare opportunity to feel at one with nature's wild beauty." 


Brunch with Niagara Parks Restaurants! 

Following the practice, we indulge in an incredibly satisfying brunch hosted at the Niagara Parks featured restaurants, Queenston Heights and Whirlpool Restaurant. We have the opportunity to meet our students and connect with them about their experience on the platform. We laugh at how remarkable the class is and how it is so much more than you can expect. We share our story about how In Fine Feather came to be apart of something so special and how grateful we are to be engaged with the yoga community outside of Hamilton. Is anything better than yoga and brunch? Yes! Yoga by The Falls and brunch that is sourced from locally harvested food. Namaste Niagara is the most unique event we have had the privilege to be apart of. We are currently planning some interesting winter events, without saying too much, we see snow shoeing, yoga, mulled wine and of course the delicious cuisine…so stay tuned. 

Thank you to everyone who makes this event possible and to Niagara Parks for partnering with the In Fine Feather Team on this, 

With Gratitude, 


Yoga Teacher Training | My Takeaways from Learning Meditation by Lisa Kiss

My consensus of Module 3 in a sentence…Meditation is hard.


Module 3 was what I was most excited for in this YTT journey but, personally ended up being very hard for me to get through. I don’t know if it was because we were getting to the end of our learning before summer break or because I became disinterested in the subject. Regardless of my personal feelings toward meditation I learned a lot and will hopefully start a meditation practice in the future. The most valuable thing I learned was the difference between meditation and a mediation practice:


“The state of meditation is a full connection with the inherent spontaneity of all existence. The connection that happens beyond all of the layers of the personality, beyond all of the layers of our conditioning. True meditation is more of a state of mind.” You are choicelessly aware of the influences about you and free of every influence you come in contact with.

Meditation Practice

There are many philosophies as to the purpose and function behind meditation practice but, all with a common underlying goal; training the mind and heart to meet the present moment as it arises. It is thought the practice of meditation that we learn to see and work with our conditioning.

My Meditation Practice

Everything I learned in the 20 hours with Steve was extremely helpful but, my meditation practice is still something I’m working on starting. Through my YTT thus far, and I think just from practicing yoga consistently I have become much more aware about a lot of things including my body, mind and external awareness. However, I discovered that our thoughts usually relate back to approximately 3 themes. I figured out what my 3 were and am currently trying to understand why they keep popping up in my mind. A meditation practice would probably help but, it’s something I struggle with. For now, I acknowledge those thoughts and allow myself to return to the present moment.

How you can start a Meditation Practice

1. Find or create a quite environment

2. Pick an object of concentration (sound, breath, mantra)

3. A passive attitude toward content – Equanimity

4. Comfortable position (my feet used to always fall asleep by changing my seated position I was able to stop this and sit longer)

5. Take 4 breaths on purpose (Steve’s way of starting guided meditation)


Starting a meditation practice sounds very simple and it is physically simple to prepare for mediation; usually an asana practice before helps. The hard part is preparing your mind. During the training I was able to sit for 5 minutes comfortably. However, the 20-minute meditation was very hard for me to mentally sit through. So, if you’re just starting, set a timer for 5 minutes or go to a guided meditation class so your facilitator can help bring you back. Shelley is wonderful and teaches every Thursday morning at 11:15am.

And remember to always come to back to your breath.

Peace & Love,


More About IFF’s Yoga Teacher Training

Click here to learn more or contact Helena McKinney here.

More About Lisa Kiss

Find out more about Lisa Kiss, read her blog and explore her services here.

My Karma Yoga Experience by Sara Nixon

This summer at In Fine Feather Yoga, all the students enrolled in our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training course took the summer months off. Which meant they were out of the classroom and putting their training into purpose and action. They had a number of assignments and self study projects to complete throughout the summer, one of which was 5 hours of volunteering within the community. The intention of this exercise was to bring the moral principals of the Yamas and Niyamas into the volunteer work they did with an organization or charity that was not related to yoga. Specifically, looking to explore and exercise these principle to help guide them through the experience of volunteering. We felt really inclined to share Sara’s Karma Yoga exercise because it is the embodiment of how the Yoga practice should be lived and explored everyday to enrich our personal growth but also our connections to other people. If you aren't very familiar with the Yamas and Niyamas, you will still love this article, but we've also provided you with a link HERE to do some background reading if you feel included to know more about the philosophy.

A big thank you to Sara for allowing us to share her experience with the IFF community!


My Relationship to Asteya

I currently volunteer at the YWCA Hamilton Senior 55+ Active Living Centre. My volunteer work here is a directly result of my contemplation of the yamas and niaymas during Yoga Teacher Training. I came to this organization through my intent to practice aestya, or non-stealing. I’d like to share my story of how I got to this place: I came to yoga teacher training feeling restless and discontent. I had a hard time coming to terms with why. If I was to look at myself through the eyes of an observer, I would see a privileged life. I am married to the most loving and supportive partner and together we own a house and have a family of adorable cats. I have a career directly in my field of study, and not only is it fulfilling and rewarding, but I am paid benefits and have a pension. I travel and hike and camp and garden and surround myself with family and friends who love me and constantly build me up. I am living the millennial dream.

And yet, for many months leading up to YTT, this relentless voice told me I was not enough and that, in order to be enough, I needed to take more. I spent about a year almost obsessively searching for and applying to what seemed like better, more important and impressive careers. I’d get some interviews but never did I get the job. I also applied to volunteer boards and committees that I thought would look impressive. I wasn’t successful in these either. This was hard on my sense of self-worth, and further perpetuated the illusion that if I took more, I could be more. 

Connecting it back to Asteya

Asteya is not only concerned with stealing things that are tangible, but also stealing emotional, cultural, and social space. As a privileged, white female living the millennial dream, I take up a lot of this kind of space. Yet, through contemplation, I realized that my discontentment came from this compulsion to take up more space, and to ensure my spot at the centre of it. This was unhealthy and led to feelings of inadequacy, jealously, judgement, and competition. Instead of focusing my energies on taking up space for myself, I am now more mindful to consciously and thoughtfully give space to others who need it more than I do. This has become my practice of asteya.



I stopped applying to jobs and impressive committees, and instead applied to volunteer with the YWCA Hamilton Seniors 55+ Active Living Centre. I help run the outreach programming for the Senior Outreach Community Connections program, where older adults living in long-term care facilities all over the city are transported to the YWCA for a morning of singing, dancing, games, and other interactive programming. Older adults living in long term care facilities often feel isolated and forgotten. This program aims to connect older adults with others, to explore new things in a supportive environment, and to have fun.

I will also be delivering my own programming at the centre in Fall 2019, where I will lead conversation-based sessions on different aspects of local Hamilton history focused on memory-sharing and storytelling. In these programs, older adults will be at the centre, where they will have the opportunity to share, reminisce, and connect to one another. My role will be to facilitate and to listen – to create space for others. I do this work to engage members of the community who do not hold adequate social, cultural, and emotional space. I do this work to create a supportive space where older adults feel heard, appreciated, and valued. This is my practice of asteya.

More About IFF’s Yoga Teacher Training in Hamilton

Click here to learn more or contact Helena McKinney here.

IFF Has A New Home!

So we’ve been waiting to share some big news with you for awhile.


You’ve maybe seen Helena walking around the studio with a measuring tape and telling you about the BIG PLANS she has. THIS IS IT! In Fine Feather has a new home. As of September we will be relocating to 249 Ottawa Street North on the upper level!

Our new home offers us the space to grow our practice and build our community. We can’t wait to open the doors to you all and celebrate our 6th anniversary together. Helena feels honoured to share this evolution.

A message from Helena:

“This journey has been incredible for me. I never thought in my wildest dreams that this would be the life we get to cultivate as a family. A sneak peak into the new studio... natural light, exposed brick walls, two class rooms, more practice space and a location to foster our vitality. This move was some what unexpected but provides us with a comfortable, supportive space to grow. As the owner of In Fine Feather, I always want to ensure we have the best space to do this type of work and this is it. I will miss our studio at 219 beyond words can express. This is where my passion came to life, where my purpose become my service and where I found myself as a young female entrepreneur doing what I love. To have this opportunity to move forward and to continue on my path is an honour! I live for In Fine Feather, it’s my heart and soul. Thank you! Thank you for showing up and trusting in the guidance of our teachers. Transitions are always tough but they also give us the chance to become even more then we are. It’s always that much easier with the community support that I feel everyday. Join me on this new adventure and all my love and gratitude... always. Xo Helena”.

Next Steps

Join Helena for our LAST CLASS at the current location on Friday August 30th at 10:00am. The studio will be closed over the long weekend to prepare for the GRAND OPENING of the new space on Tuesday September 3rd! Stay tuned for all the surprises to come!

Use these hashtags to share our news! #iffnewstudio #iff249 #iffemerge #iffnextchapter


My Karma Yoga Experience by Kelsi Salisbury

This summer at In Fine Feather Yoga, all the students enrolled in our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training course took the summer months off. Which meant they were out of the classroom and putting their training into purpose and action. They had a number of assignments and self study projects to complete throughout the summer, one of which was 5 hours of volunteering within the community. The intention of this exercise was to bring the moral principals of the Yamas and Niyamas into the volunteer work they did with an organization or charity that was not related to yoga. Specifically, looking to explore and exercise these principle to help guide them through the experience of volunteering. We felt really inclined to share Kelsi’s Karma Yoga exercise because it is the embodiment of how the Yoga practice should be lived and explored everyday to enrich our personal growth but also our connections to other people. If you aren't very familiar with the Yamas and Niyamas, you will still love this article, but we've also provided you with a link HERE to do some background reading if you feel included to know more about the philosophy.

Thank you Kelsi for allowing us to share your experience with the IFF community!

I chose to take this opportunity to volunteer with an organization that has been a big part of my life for the last 3 years. 


The Hamilton Victory Gardens is a not-for-profit organization that turns otherwise vacant spaces into flourishing gardens, growing organic vegetables to be donated to local food banks and hot meal programs.  When I first found this organization a few years back, I unearthed my love for gardening and interest in food security. While I have been privileged enough throughout my life to not have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, this is not the case for many Hamiltonians.  In further, the nature of food banks results in many donations consisting of canned or boxed food items with little room for fresh and local produce. The Hamilton Victory Gardens works to fill this gap, to increase access to healthy fresh fruits and vegetables for those in need. Organizations like this cannot independently disband food insecurity while cost-of-living and the housing crisis are prevalent issues at the forefront, however they play a vital role in supplementing the immediate need for improved access to nutritious options in our community.

My Past Volunteer Experience

For the last two years, until December of 2018, I became very involved in the Hamilton Victory Gardens.  I was so passionate about the efforts of HVG that I took every opportunity to try to help - I organized events and fundraisers, liaised with new volunteers, managed the web platform, curated social media and newsletter content, and completed large grant applications.  While I held this volunteer role very close to my heart, there came a time when my plate began to overflow from volunteer responsibilities, my full-time job, and family obligations. As much as I loved contributing to the organization, I found it was my health and personal well-being that was being compromised.  At that time I became detached from the reason why I started volunteering and the pressures of all my responsibilities, and felt it was best to step down from my active role within the organization.

Connecting the Yamas & Niyamas


I spent my 5 hours volunteering at the Cancord Site behind the food basics on Barton & Mary.  Reflecting on my mornings gardening I felt a number of the Yamas and Niyamas were applicable. For me, Svadhyaya was the most prevalent for a number of reasons.  I was able to once again unearth my passion for gardening - which is something I truly miss now living in an apartment with only a few window herbs at my disposal.  I had forgotten how meditative a morning with the plants can be, how much I enjoy being outside, giving back, and learning about horticulture. I also found this a peaceful recluse to quiet my thoughts as I worked through the mundane tasks of pulling weeds, turning soil, and up-rooting plants that had gone to seed.  I applied the Niyama of Tapas as I pulled the various types of weeds.  I allowed myself to really be able to feel the  pricks of Dandelion poking through my gloves, the sensation of extracting a deep root, the hot sun beaming on my skin, being fully aware of each individual task I was completing.  Ishwaraprandihana was another relevant principle as I honoured forces larger than me that play into the success of community gardens.  As much as humans like to say “look what we did!”, there is so much more playing into the equation here. In my own belief, Mama Nature is the ultimate dictator of the success of each plant; the amount of sunlight, the quantity and frequency of rain, the nutrients in the soil, the insects or animals are present are out of our hands.  We, as gardeners, can help plants by creating a supportive environment, but the greatest part of the work is done between the plant and its immediate environment. Therefore, rather than focusing on the pride in what we have grown, the success of the harvest we reaped, we really should be taking more time to be grateful to the sun, rain, earth, and surrounding life that support the growth of our food.  The more time we spend in our gardens, we reinforce a better our connection to our food, and better our connection to the Earth.


I am grateful for the Karma experience to allow me to re-explore this closed chapter, and re-visit the reasons why I found myself so heavily invested in the gardens in the first place.  This opportunity provided some closure for my decision to step-down, where I had been harbouring feelings of regret and guilt. Becoming more aware of the Yama Ahimsa - I feel more reassured that it was the best decision for myself at the time to make the conscious decision to be ‘non-harming’ to my own well-being.  

I am looking forward to continue visiting community gardens across our amazing city!

More About IFF’s Yoga Teacher Training

Click here to learn more or contact Helena McKinney here.

Yoga as an Effective Cross Training Tool by Meagan Santa

I’m not the only one who has been spending more time outside than on my mat. Summer always encourages me to go on more hikes and walks on the beach. Many of my yoga friends and students have been sharing how sore they are from cycling or running the stairs. It’s great that we are physically active outside but it also means our bodies are using muscles that may not be put to work this hard year round. The solution: yoga.


My fitness routine includes primarily yoga and home workouts that range from strength training to cardio. I use yoga as a means to recover my body and keep me feeling grounded. Even athletes like Lebron James have shared how including yoga into their training regimen has enhanced their performance - physically and mentally. So let’s consider how cross-training with yoga 1-2x a week minimum will benefit you!

Mental Focus

Breath is a huge focus in vinyasa yoga where we move the body with the breath. This type of concentration keeps us present in the moment which allows us to practice mindfulness and increase our mental focus. If you’ve ever gone on a run or cycled a long distance, you know how it feels when the negative thoughts begin to flood in. Practicing yoga can help you overcome negative thoughts which is a huge benefit at the end of a marathon or half way through your sprint up the stairs!



Muscle fatigue is not uncommon when you are more physically active or using muscles you wouldn’t normally. Yoga is an incredibly healthy avenue for recovering the body. In higher impact forms of exercise, your body absorbs shock and repeatedly contracts muscles in use which causes a shortening in the muscle group. If not recovered properly, this can lead to injury. When following a well-rounded yoga class, the muscles will have been lengthened out and lactic acid removed. Many students leave class feeling like they have more space in their body because the shock wave absorbed has been able to dissipate.

If you include any inverted poses in your practice like legs up the wall or supported bridge, you are allowing the body to rest the valves within the circulatory system and encourage a fresh return of blood to the heart.

It’s important to keep in mind that yoga is about tuning into your self to find out what your own body needs on that specific day. There will be times where you can push yourself and other times where gentle movement would be more beneficial. This distinction is vital to know on a recovery day!

Additional Benefits

Pairing any other type of movement with yoga allows you to improve your strength, endurance and flexibility in both. Flowing from pose to pose with your breath as a guide trains your cardiovascular system for endurance and teaches you how to best communicate with your body. Yoga is also known to reduce inflammation at the joints and muscles, increase heart health, strengthen the nervous system, increase muscular strength, fight memory degeneration and oxygenate the blood.

I hope this information will encourage you to roll out your mat at least 1-2 times a week for all the health benefits above and to increase your performance in other sports and activities. If you can’t make it in studio as often as you’d like, check out In Fine Feather’s online classes to do from home HERE.


Fit Flow Class

Additionally if you aren’t someone who is regularly active off your mat or you just need a good sweat, fit flow is a great class to add to your schedule. IFF offers it twice a week - Tuesday evenings at 7:00-8:00pm with Andrea King (community class) and Saturday mornings at 8:30-9:30am with me.  Save your spot online HERE or arrive to class 10-15 minutes to get comfortable.

Fit flow will make you sweat and challenge the way you look at modern vinyasa yoga. This class will move through vinyasa flows with focus on the muscle groups that help strengthen your practice in a more obvious way. Feel the entire core engage, pulse through squats and lunges, and elevate the heart rate through higher intensity sequences. Don’t let the word FIT scare you, trust that your Fit flow is here to help strengthen your body and your mind and their connection in an unconventional way. Flow and sweat to fun playlists and leave feeling like you’ve left everything on the mat.

More About Meagan

Meagan is a graduate of the In Fine Feather Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training Program, the assistant manager at the studio, a lifestyle coach and yoga instructor. Learn more about Meagan HERE. Come meet Meagan on the mat at In Fine Feather Yoga by checking the class schedule HERE and find her bio HERE.

Yoga Teacher Training | My Takeaways from Yoga Philosophy by Lisa Kiss

I had no expectations going into Module 2. I was most excited for Module 3 and had just experienced a plethora of knowledge from Nat J in Anatomy. I ended up really enjoying Module 2 because every weekend was something different. As someone who gets bored quite easily, I loved that every weekend was a new yoga adventure! We covered quite a few topics which allowed me to decipher what I enjoy most about yoga and maybe some continuing education opportunities post YTT.


Knowledge and Topics:

  • Yoga Philosophy

  • Ashtanga Yoga and the 8 Limbs

  • Pre and Post-natal yoga

  • Ayurveda

  • Karma

  • Sanskrit

  • Metaphysics, Mindfulness, Astrology and Lunar Yoga

  • Life Path and Numerology

  • Yoga Nidra

  • Gods and Different Styles of Yoga

  • Business of Yoga – Community

  • Interaction at Sew Hungry, Ottawa St Food Truck & Street Festival

Reflection | Takeaways from Module 2

  1. Yoga Philosophy is not me for to continue to study. I’ve never been a fan of any kind of philosophy and I’ve learned I’m still not. I now have a basic understanding of the linage of yoga I practice and at this time that is enough for me.

  2. I’m stronger than I think. I survived the Ashtanga Class with Tim Smith. Probably the most challenging and longest practice I’ve experienced. I discovered that I can do certain poses, I had just never tried them before. Yoga practice is the place to experiment and challenge yourself to grow (on and off your mat).

  3. Ayurveda was the topic that has piqued my interest the most! We didn’t spend much time on it but, I was very drawn to it. I discovered that I have a deep curiosity to explore this ancient method of healing and other nutritional studies. I think I may get my Holistic Nutrition Diploma next year.

  4. I’ve always liked astrology as I really resonate with my sign, Gemini! Rachel’s weekends were my absolute favourite because we got to dive deeper into Astrology, the moon, and numerology. It’s very interesting to see how they all connect together and have influence over your life. I now let my intuition free and do certain things depending on where the moon is.

  5. If I teach, I will teach the more restorative, gentle and yin style classes. My style of yoga presentation was on restorative yoga and enjoyed researching the benefits and past of the practice. Helena knows I have a gentler approach when it’s comes to my practice, so it was nice to get a gentle style of yoga. During the presentation I lead a mini practice while I shared information on restorative yoga. It would take some getting used to (teaching only 7 poses in an hour) but, I would prefer to teach a slower paced class. I think it matches with my personality nicely.


I think I covered everything! Like I said, every weekend was different, and this was the most jam-packed module! In all honesty it ended up being my favourite. I explored a lot of topics of interest and have an idea what I want to continue exploring and educating myself on post YTT.

Peace & Love,


More About IFF’s Yoga Teacher Training

Click here to learn more or contact Helena McKinney here.

More About Lisa Kiss

Find out more about Lisa Kiss, read her blog and explore her services here.

Local Love for Farmers Markets by Catherine Switzer

One of my favourite things about living in downtown Hamilton is being in walking distance to the Hamilton Farmers Market.


Coming into the warm weather I instantly get excited about the abundance of fresh and local foods that will soon be on market stands and you should too. It has become a joke in our home that I want to be the unofficial queen of the market because I love the social aspect of visiting the people that literally grow my food. But what I love more is seeing the hustle and bustle, the options, the local foods, the surprise when you forgot that it was all of a sudden blueberry season. It’s a mindful practice that I cherish. Not only does local produce taste exceptional there are many reasons to benefit from taking the time each week to select and enjoy your food.

Nutrient Density

When you choose locally grown, vine ripened foods you are obtaining the utmost nutrient content from them. You see, the longer a fruit or vegetable has to ripen on the vine, the more nutrient dense it becomes. Once picked from a garden, a piece of produce slowly starts to lose its nutrient content. Combine that with imported produce that is harvested unripe and “ripens” on its way to a final destination, the beneficial nutrients are somewhat depleted.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can still benefit from fresh foods, but when you live in an area like southern Ontario why wouldn’t you want to reap the benefits while you can. Not to mention we all know how delicious that Grimsby Peach is when you sink your teeth in.

Here are some nutrients you may receive from fresh local produce:

  • Antioxidants

  • Calcium

  • Fiber

  • Folate

  • Iron

  • Magnesium

  • Potassium

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin Bs

  • Vitamin C

Should you buy Organic?

I think it is important to understand why we choose organic foods. To narrow it down, conventional farming and grown produce lives in environments that use hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or are GMOs to ward off disease, insects and protect against environmental factors. Even though these practices have been deemed safe for human consumption, they are also known to put tremendous pressure on the natural detoxification processes in the body.

Shopping purely organic can be costly. There are a few things that I follow that can help ease the pressure on your wallet while nourishing your body.

  • Follow the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15!

  • Get to know your local farmers practices, as some are not certified but may practice sustainable farming

  • In peak season eat, preserve & freeze

  • Frozen foods in off season are a great choice as they are frozen during peak ripeness

Healthy Economy & Ecosystem

By supporting local farmers you not only are supporting the economical impact on your small community businesses, but it enriches the ecosystem that surrounds us. Healthy soil has a domino effect in providing nutrient dense foods, safe habitat for birds, critters & more. Preventing erosion of the land and healthy water for us all.


Local Markets

I love checking out all the different markets in Hamilton and surrounding area. I encourage you to check them out too. Here is a list of our local markets! *please note that most markets are seasonal

Hamilton Farmers Market

35 York Blvd, Jackson Square

Tues, Thurs & Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 7am-5pm

Ancaster Farmers Market

37 Halson St

Wednesday 3-7pm

Durand Market

165 Charlton Ave W

Wednesday 3-7pm

Dundas Farmers Market


Hatt St & Millers Ln

Thursday 3-7pm

Heritage Green Farmers Market

360 Isaac Brock Drive (the Family Church)

Thursdays 3-7pm

Ottawa Street Farmers Market

204 Ottawa St. N

Saturday 8am-2pm

Waterdown Farmers Market

79 Hamilton St N

Saturday 8am-1pm

More About Catherine

Catherine is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Labor & Postpartum Doula, 200Hr Certified Yoga Instructor (with IFF!) and owner of BabyBeets. You can find out more about Catherine at or on her Instagram here. You can also find her teaching at IFF occasionally and hosting many yoga programs in the community.

Why I Love Yoga in the Park So Much! By Helena McKinney, Founder of In Fine Feather Yoga 


I grew up in the Gage Park neighbourhood. 

I have very vivid and fond memories playing in the park as a child. I remember my favourite tree to climb, which no longer stands but I know its exact location. I remember riding my bike there with my brother and sister and getting ice cream after. I saw some of my favourite bands there as a teenager and my older sister even got married in the greenhouse. This park brought to life my imagination and a playful freedom that every kid thrives from. Every summer we gather in the park to practice yoga, I feel as if I get to foster or nurture little kid Helena who just wants to play at the park with her friends. Through yoga in the park my community of friends has grown immensely; I love meeting new people and reconnecting with people from my past. My heart is invested in this park like it is a part of my story or history. 

The park is vibrant and alive on a Sunday morning. 

With the sun coming up and the temperature just right for mid summer, it is ideal for doing yoga. The park also brings out people walking their dogs, riding their bikes, kids playing at the splash pad or going for a quick jog. It feels good to be apart of an active environment and to have a presence within it. If you have never done yoga before, this is especially the practice to try. I know walking into a yoga studio can be intimidating. Checking out a class at the park gives you the capability to join in, observe what’s happening or pass by and consider coming the next week. Yoga can come off as this exclusive practice for ‘fit’, ‘flexible’ people but at In Fine Feather you will see, it is for students of all ages, abilities, ethnicities and genders and they are all doing what they can on their mats that morning. I truly hope to create the most encouraging and inviting space to come practice so that everyone can receive the body-mind benefits of conscious movement. 


Yoga in the park is the best way to start the day.

By committing to the one hour practice you receive time outside in nature, physical movement, energetic relaxation and then you have the rest of your Sunday to enjoy from this space. Connection, connection connection! All the warm hellos and sweet faces I am blessed to see; babies and mamas and past students, new students, high school friends, neighbours, cousins, sisters and my old dance teacher to name a few! If you have been to this class before, you have probably met my little niece who helps hand out class cards after! I feel so full after this class and ride the waves of that good energy all day. 

Make a whole day of it. 

I know how much this event means to me and I have often heard students say that it is the highlight of their summer. You can make the most of the day and enjoy a picnic in the park after with your kids or friends. Invite someone to join you and go for coffee after. There are even festivals running in the park over the summer that you can check out following the class. This class gives us the opportunity to celebrate the summer season, engage with our community and be apart of something that makes us all feel good. Please join us at Gage Park this summer for a mindful practice and an opportunity to feel vibrant and full of spirit; to feel In Fine Feather. 

Much love and gratitude, 


Event Details:

We are so thrilled to be hosting Yoga in the Park again. Each year this event becomes more and more vibrant and empowering. With yogis coming from all over the city to enjoy one of Hamilton's most beautiful spaces, Gage Park. This is a beginner class and everyone is welcome to join. We love the simplicity and serenity of this class; coming together to savour the morning light and the coolness of the air, moving mindfully through the postures taking in the sounds and energy of the park. A gentle reminder to bring your own mat, bring water and try to find a shady spot by the trees. This is one of our favourite events of the year and we cant wait for you to join us! 

Dates: Sunday June 23rd- Sunday August 25th
Time: 10:00am- 11:00am 
Where: Gage Park by the Rose Gardens 
Cost: Pay What You Can