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, 


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


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 


Yoga Now! Feast Later! At Sew Hungry with Helena McKinney

Join us Saturday May 4th!

Life is all about finding the middle path and aiming for balance right? We are excited to share an afternoon of yoga, live music, sensational food, street vendors and entertainment at this years Sew Hungry Food Truck Rally. Bring your mat and join Helena McKinney, owner of In Fine Feather Yoga, for a complimentary outdoor yoga class. Class will be located on Ottawa Street North, right in front of the main stage close to Barton Street North. This practice will be energizing and invigorating -work up a sweat now to feast later on some of the most loved food trucks Ontario has to offer.

Event Details

Date: Saturday May 4th 2019

Time: 2:00pm- 3:00pm 

Location: Class is being hosted at the main stage on Ottawa Street North near the Barton Street intersection!

Cost: FREE! 

RSVP in the Facebook Event Page here to stay up to date!

About Sew Hungry

Sew Hungry, Ottawa Street’s annual award-winning Restaurant and Food Truck Rally is back! On Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 11am-8pm, over 25 of the most loved food trucks in Ontario will be lining the streets to serve up a mouthwatering variety of food alongside 15+ local Ottawa Street restaurants. You asked and we listened! Not only did we move Sew Hungry to a Saturday, we’ve added a full street closure, live music throughout the day, a kid zone and more! Join us on Saturday, May 5th for a day of food, entertainment, and fun for the whole family!

2019 30 Day Yoga Challenge

Join us this March for our 30 Day Yoga Challenge!


Dates: Friday March 8th - Saturday April 6th
Investment: $160+HST

Join us this March for our 30 Day Yoga Challenge! Everyday feel inspired to roll out your mat and share this yoga journey with the IFF community! This is an opportunity for anyone to strengthen their yoga practice, discover something new on and off their mat while tuning into the motivating energy.

As a challenger, prepare for an extra layer of inspiration via weekly emails with inspiring content as well as weekly challenger-only meetings lead by Nicole Catenazzi. For the FIRST time ever, the weekly emails will include EXCLUSIVE home yoga & meditation videos to provide you resources to use at home when you can't make it into the yoga studio. At the end of the challenge, we'll celebrate your hard work with a closing party potluck, giveaways and prizes!!

We know a 30-day commitment can seem a bit intimidating which is why we've created a private challenger community. And if 30 days isn't attainable with your schedule, change it so you are working towards a measurable goal! Do this for yourself—see what you can do on your mat in 30 days with all these additional tools to encourage you.

You’ll Receive:

  • unlimited yoga for the duration of the challenge

  • invitation to the Opening Party on Friday March 1st to kick it off!

  • invitation to the Closing Party on Friday April 5th with a potluck, giveaways and prizes!

  • weekly emails with inspiration & resources

  • weekly challenger-only meetings led by Nicole Catenazzi

  • private challenge community on Facebook for accountability & check-in’s!

  • PLUS for the FIRST time ever, the weekly emails will include EXCLUSIVE home yoga & meditation videos to provide you resources to use at home when you can't make it into the yoga studio!

Do this for yourself—see what you can do on your mat in 30 days with all these additional tools to encourage you.

If you’re ready to dive in, sign up now before Friday March 8th!

More About Nicole

Check out her latest blog post, 3 Reasons You Should Do the 30 Day Challenge. She shares from her personal experience and where this year’s themes and inspiration come from!

Check Out Our Class Schedule

Explore what classes you can attend to reach your 30 day goal here. Don’t forget about your exclusive home video practices you’ll receive in a weekly email!

3 Reasons Why You Should Do the 30 Day Challenge by Nicole Catenazzi


When Helena asked if I would like to help run the 30-day challenge this year I instantly jumped on board. For me, joining a 30-day challenge several years ago led me to cultivate a deep love and passion for yoga. I was a novice—having only practiced a handful of times before I committed to discovering what I could achieve in 30 days. I was eager and enthusiastic but I made sure to pace myself with slower and restorative classes. By the end of the 30 days, I was hooked and started to explore flow classes. Now that I’ll be leading a group of soon-to-be challengers, it feels like I’ve come full circle!

Whether you’re new to the practice or would describe yourself as an experienced yogi, the 30-day challenge is a fun and inspiring way to bring fresh energy, strength and peacefulness into your life.

So if you want to practice for 30-days or you want to give yourself 30 days to discover what’s possible for you, here are a few reasons why this challenge might be right for you!

You want to try something new

The 30-day challenges is a great way to try out lots of different classes and find out why so many students describe the yoga studio as their second home. You’ll also get a taste of the spiritual and philosophical side of the practice when we gather for weekly in-person meet-ups to round out your practice. In these workshop-style sessions, we’ll cover other aspects of yoga like meditation, pranayama and the chakras.

All challengers will receive a weekly newsletter from me which will include some tips and tools to inspire you that week. You’ll also get access to online video classes, so you can practice in the comfort of your home if you’re unable to get to the studio. Plus, a new 10-minute meditation will be sent out each week that you can do whenever, wherever!

You want to connect with other like-minded people in your community

Even if your reason for joining a challenge is personal, it’s wonderful to know that you’re sharing the space and practice with other people who are invested in their own growth and self-development. When you participate in the challenge, you’ll start to see more familiar faces around the studio and get to build strong relationships with your teachers.

You’ll also be part of a private online community where you can share what you’re up to, and the weekly meetups give you a chance to learn from other challengers and share your questions or struggles.

Plus, the challenge kicks off with a fun welcome party and we’ll celebrate the end of the challenge with a rewarding closing party with prizes and giveaways!

You want to discover what’s possible

If the thought of doing 30 days of yoga in a row overwhelms you, shift your perspective and ask yourself “What’s possible in 30 days?” This line of questioning gives you lots of room to discover what’s possible for you. In 30 days you might:

  • try classes you’ve never tried before

  • get started with a home practice using the online videos

  • create empowering rituals for your mental and physical health

  • develop a meditation practice using the audio recordings.

  • meet new friends in the community.

See?! The possibilities are endless!

Really with a 30-day challenge, you’re committing to yourself. The 30-day challenge is not about mindlessly showing up to practice every day just for the sake of it. It’s about giving yourself 30 days to discover what’s possible. To discover strength, softness, resiliency, and acceptance of yourself both on and off the mat.

IFF Yoga Challenge Details


Dates: Friday March 8th - Saturday April 6th
Investment: $160 +HST

You’ll receive:

  • unlimited yoga for the duration of the challenge

  • invitation to the Opening Party on Friday March 1st to kick it off!

  • invitation to the Closing Party on Friday April 5th with a potluck, giveaways and prizes!

  • weekly emails with inspiration & resources

  • weekly challenger-only meetings led by Nicole Catenazzi

  • private challenge community on Facebook for accountability & check-in’s!

  • PLUS for the FIRST time ever, the weekly emails will include EXCLUSIVE home yoga & meditation videos to provide you resources to use at home when you can't make it into the yoga studio!

Do this for yourself—see what you can do on your mat in 30 days with all these additional tools to encourage you.

If you’re ready to dive in, sign up now before Friday March 8th!

More About Nicole

Nicole first experienced the transformative potential of yoga while on a retreat in Costa Rica. At the time, the retreat provided an escape from the stresses of working in a corporate law firm. Within a year of a dedicated daily practice, Nicole had enrolled in a 200-hour hatha/vinyasa teacher training program with Yogaspace in Toronto. In 2016, she completed an additional 300-hour advanced training program with Zuna Yoga in Bali, which included a focus in meditation, restorative yoga and yoga nidra.   

Nicole credits yoga for bringing immense clarity and calm to her life, and for leading her towards her life’s purpose. She is continuously inspired by the "post-savasana high": that feeling of inner peace after a well-rounded yoga practice. Nicole's goal as a teacher is to help students discover their potential, their power and their peace through yoga: to honour where they are in any given moment. Nicole's approach to teaching invites a sense of compassionate curiosity and present-moment awareness of body and mind.

Nicole currently teaches Rest & Restore Yoga on Tuesdays at 7:00-8:00pm as well as Prenatal Yoga on Wednesday evenings at 5:30-6:30pm. You can check out the class schedule here.

2018 Yoga Gratitude Flashback with In Fine Feather and Helena McKinney!

In Fine Feather Yoga has done some incredible things in Hamilton this year and we wanted to share our rendition of a 2018 Gratitude Flashback!


A Message from yoga studio owner, Helena McKinney!

This idea was shared with me a few months ago and it was an incredible exercise in reflection. I was able to honour my past achievements while eagerly awaiting the future! I sat back and explored 10 things I’ve achieved this year personally and professionally. The second part of this journaling practice was to path out 5 things to look forward to in 2019. Let me see if I can paint a little picture for you, I hope you don’t mind if the year isn’t in exact order!

My Ambassador Proposal with Lululemon!

1) On a regular day in June, I thought I was heading to the studio for a meeting with one of my instructors. Rather, I arrive to a practice room full of balloons and champagne, with the overwhelming surprise of being asked to be an ambassador for Lululemon. This was a goal of mine for years, so I of course said YES! They later went on to tell me that I received this great honour for my work within the yoga community. This type of recognition and acknowledgment was incredibly validating that I am on the right path. We have gone on to create awesome events in the community over the last year, some of which I will share below, but this particular moment meant so much to me.

I Hired a Yoga Studio Manager…Thank You Meagan Santa!

2) This journey started with a particularly ambitious and talented yoga student who decided to take teacher training at In Fine Feather. Megan Santa, now our studio Assistant Manager, approached me about helping with registration forms and answering some emails. Her and I have developed a friendship, a mentorship, an active role for her in the studio and a sisterhood that is invaluable. I often find myself saying… “Everyone needs a Meag in their life”, and I even have a hashtag for her #EveryDayWithMeag! Together, her and I have big plans for the New Year, we can’t wait to share them!

New Yoga Programming and Classes Excite Me!

3) We opened the Wellness Room; our smaller, cozy back room in the studio. This created the opportunity for so many new programs. Yoga is a unique practice, where there is a style for everyone. Opening this second room, we were able to make more styles available to our community.

4) This past April we started offering Prenatal Yoga classes for all the soon to be moms. I look forward to the mamas coming in each week because they bring such an incredible warm energy to the space. I feel as if we have some small part in their journey towards bringing a baby into this world and this is a blessing for our staff to witness. See what people have been saying about prenatal yoga with IFF!

5) Over the last year, when connecting with students, we kept hearing a similar story of elevated stress, anxiety and experiences of difficulty in their lives. This led us to understand, that as a collective community, we would all benefit from having a more regular meditation and mindfulness practice to counter balance some of the challenges we are all going through. We now offer meditation classes three times a week, along with classes that invite us to slow down. Find out more about meditation and how to start a practice!

Community Partnerships and Collaborations are the Key to Making More Happen!

6) Where do I even begin to thank all the incredible community partners we have worked with this past year. It is important to acknowledge the places we’ve been, the people we have connected with and the awesome energy we generated. To name a few; Niagara Parks and the Namaste Niagara events at Journey Behind the Falls. It is truly unreal practicing yoga right beside one of the world’s greatest wonders. We collaborated with Lululemon and Collective Arts Brewery at the Liquid Arts Festival; how hysterical was the yoga and beer class we hosted! We worked with The Hamilton Tiger Cats and Lululemon and practiced yoga on the field before the football game at Namaste Ticats. A very nostalgic class for me because I used to be a Ticats cheerleader back in the day. Who didn’t love the yoga and wine events at Between the Lines Winery, could Mother’s Day be any more beautiful and celebratory? We hosted the most lovely holiday staff party designed, decorated, furnished and catered by a local start up business, Every Golden Moment. We had a magician and everything!

All the while the studio continued to host our annual 30 Day Challenge, our 6th Yogis in the City photo contest, our second round of yoga teacher trainees graduated and we hosted countless workshops and educational programs throughout the year. Busy, busy bees!

Making Yoga History on Ottawa Street North!

7) Sew Hungry, the annual food truck rally was hosted on May 5th and the studio, with Lululemon and the Ottawa Street BIA decided to make something special happen for this event. Yoga Now and Feast Later was the first time a huge group of people gathered on Ottawa Street to practice yoga. Ottawa Street is a historical shopping district in Hamilton and this is the neighbourhood I grew up in. I have fond memories of taking dance classes as a kid on Campbell St, going to the Farmer’s Market with my dad and fabric shopping with my mom. Ottawa Street is not only the location of the studio; its my home, its my heart and I was proud we made this possible for the neighbourhood.

Rebranding and Creating a New Vision for IFF!

8) If you know me, I love when things look pretty! I was craving a rebranded presence for the studio. This gave me a reason to get all the staff together for a photo shoot. The set was beautiful, floral and everything I envisioned. Not only was the website completely reinvented but we redesigned the visuals for the entire studio. The front facade was replaced (we kind of had to because of that epic wind storm), we rebranded our workshop posters and online newsletter. I couldn’t be more please with the fresh look and take pride in how IFF presents itself.

Mindbody Training and Two Conferences in California!

9) Another huge goal for me was travelling and attending these two business conferences. I knew I would flourish, gain huge insight and come back feeling inspired and motivated. I can truly admit that all 10 of these accomplishments might not have been possible if I didn’t invest in this type of training for myself. I had never been to California and the west coast is beyond stunning. The sunshine lit something up inside of me. I was able to bring Meagan with me for the second trip and we had the opportunity to see guest speakers, Michelle Obama and Bille Jean King, as well as many other motivational speakers and leaders in the wellness industry. Mindbody also reached out to myself and IFF to do a social media take over for their company; literally, how incredible to be asked to take part in this!

Celebrating our Five Year Anniversary at Yoga in the Park!

10) We all love Yoga in the Park; students always express that this practice is the highlight of their summer. Celebrating our five year anniversary at Gage Park was an absolute must. On Sunday September 9th, an abnormally cold, windy morning, we were overwhelmed with the attendance and appreciation from the community. So many of you showed up for this special occasion! We did giveaways and acknowledged some of our founding members, reminisced on the journey of the studio and had some sweets and treats. Another huge thank you goes to my community partners at Lululemon for hosting this party to recognize my contributions to the yoga community. 5 YEARS….WE DID IT…as a small business owner, this is a huge milestone.

Five Visions and Intentions for 2019!

1) Hosting our 3rd year of yoga teacher training and graduating inspired instructors who can continue to pass on the traditions of this practice.

2) Launching a new mentorship program for entrepreneurs in the wellness industry and consulting with them to share some of my insight on establishing a successful business.

3) Going on our first yoga retreat, Om in India! We can not wait to travel across the world and experience the birth place of yoga with a group of like minded souls!

4) Creating online programs and classes for our yoga friends that have moved away so that we can maintain a connection even if we can’t see you in the studio anymore! We miss you!

5) This is a big one for me, I would like to develop my career as a keynote speaker. I want to start sharing more about my unique journey and experience of life. Telling my story is important. Every moment that has developed me as a person has contributed to my role as a female entrepreneur and community advocate in my home town, Hamilton.

Hopefully, this time next year I will be doing a gratitude recap on these goals; right now they are just visions but I know that with focus, perseverance and dedication they will be brought to life. I am grateful for the support of my staff, my family and friends but most importantly the community that shows up to be with me. Thanks for giving me strength and for giving me so much purpose. I invite you all to take some time over the next few days to explore your 2018 accomplishments and write them down. Acknowledge your achievements and take that positivity every with you into the New Year! We learn through sharing, so feel free to post your gratitude list online, tag us and #IFFYogis2019

Much Love,
Helena McKinney