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. 

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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.” 

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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." 

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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, 

Helena 

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.

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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.

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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,

Lisa

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.

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

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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. 

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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, 

Helena

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 

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