The 1970s brought me to yoga and yoga to me.
I practiced book open on a carpeted floor. I was young, fairly limber, not strong or athletic, however most of the postures came to me easily. I stood on my head with too much ease, but was completely out of touch with myself. I had an entire jury in my cranium. I hated my body and my breath was always bated!
Around that time I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation with my own ʻsecretʼ mantra. The one word mantra stuck like old jello on the walls of my brain but I didnʼt actually like it, and though I desperately needed a compassionate look inwards, I only marginally kept the practice up. The physical practice of yoga showed up as a bracket around irregular jogging, coming and going willy-nilly.
As time went on the way it will, I had good and bad jobs, obtained a university degree, a post-grad certificate among others, raised two sons (or was it the opposite?), art-making happened; the inner parts of my being evolved and a strong desire to align with who I wished to be and what I wanted my life to look like.
I was and have ever been a seeker. Creating visual art has always been a definitive part of the search. And for years now, yoga has embodied it.
As a newly single woman in 2003, I was once again drawn to all things yoga and thus began my journey with classes in Toronto and Southern California. Eventually after developing a personal practice, came the strong desire to teach.
I wanted to share this incredible grounded, alive and open feeling, as a facilitator. That lead to my Yoga Teacher Certification (500CYT) at Yogaspace in Toronto. I constantly strive to increase my knowledge and continue to train and learn.
In conjunction, my meditation practice started to show up and hang around for much longer each time. I read, examined, studied and sat. I have no answers but know I will keep on cultivating mindfulness.
I passionately believe in this healing practice, in itʼs historic and new forms. I confess to often wondering after leading a student, who got more out of that practice, them or me?!
“While I have attended yoga classes over the years, I was always somewhat skeptical of the benefits of the practice. Norma took the time to understand exactly what I was looking for. She developed a personal program to address the physical challenges I have as an avid gardener. She worked with my skill level, while always challenging me to do better. My stiffness has subsided, my flexibility and balance greatly improved and I am much stronger."
— Anne Avery
My approach to yoga is individualized. Your mind, your habits, your practice, as your body and your history is different from anyone elseʼs.
If studios kind of scare you, turn you off, or make you uncomfortable for any reason, you are not alone. My aim is to help create yoga for you, offer you quality instruction and not fit you into a prescribed yoga practice.
You may want to strengthen your bones and muscles. Perhaps youʼre healing from an injury, or have other health concerns, are fatigued and uncomfortable in your body, or simply not wanting to practice in a group.
Yoga is not a cure-all but as an adjunct therapy along with other prescribed treatment can ease your experience.
I have a sincere desire to make yoga and ease in movement, accessible to real people in the world today, keeping our varied anatomy, gene pools and ages in mind, looking at where you are at now.
I believe by inviting awareness inwards and by honouring where we are each at, we can connect to ourselves in ways we never imagined, easing physical and mental discomfort through the breath, the spirit, and the body work of this amazing practice.
Looking to the tradition of Hatha Yoga, we awaken the union of body, breath and mind. Bringing the breath into the practice as sustenance for coming into, holding poses and finding stillness.
In exploring movement as we transition from one asana(pose) to the next, we integrate the breath while discovering and building resilience.
I think of yoga as 'Time-In'.
Private Sessions available in my home studio in downtown Toronto on Queen Street West.
Or I can bring yoga to you, your home or office.
I can accommodate small groups of up to 4-5 people in my studio.
For a group in your home or work place, we evaluate how many can comfortably fit into your space.
- Private sessions
- Special events
- Corporate groups
- Friend and family groups
- Sessions in English or French
I specialize in private and semi-private yoga sessions, at incredibly reasonable rates.
“Norma has been leading weekly yoga sessions at The Globe and Mail’s head office for almost 2 years now. She is appreciated for ensuring that every class is fresh, rigorous and rejuvenating. She is welcoming to participants of all levels, is nourishing and non-judgemental.”
— Jane Avery
“The Tuesday practice with Norma helps me re-energize during a busy work week and helps me feel strong, relaxed and in tune with my body. She is truly a blessing and is filled with positive energy that she generously transfers to me.”
— Irene Dorosh, Account Manager, The Globe and Mail
“In the summer of 2014 I held a creative retreat at my farm merging art projects, nature and various physical activities. I knew that I wanted to begin each day with yoga, and the poolside location was guaranteed to please the attendees, but finding an instructor talented enough to lead a large class with varying skill levels might be tough. When I met Norma I knew she was the right choice. Her energy, her understanding of the vibe I wanted and her attention to each guest’s abilities and needs made the yoga classes the star of the event. While I expected some to stay in bed, the 7:30 classes were packed. Several of the guests, including myself, have gone on to attend Norma’s classes in the city and have become devotees."
— Anne Avery
“I am 71 years old. When friends and colleagues got on the yoga bandwagon, like Madeleine (the children’s book character), I said pooh pooh. But now I am a convert. Thanks to Norma, who was gentle in her persuasion, I decided I should try. I realized when sitting on the floor with my grandchildren, I could hardly get up. Then I thought, I live alone and what would happen if I fell and could not get up. And so what I really think about yoga; it has increased my focus and my understanding that many parts make a whole. I am stronger, breathe deeper, have better balance, and I'm learning to tune into myself.”
— Deborah Cotton
THE GOAL OF YOGA (NO…IT’S NOT THE HANDSTAND) The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal, Standing on your head is not the goal. The goal of yoga is to create space where you are stuck, to unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates.
To make peace with who you are. The Goal is to LOVE, well---YOU. Come to your yoga mat to feel, not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow. -Rachel Brathen
“Norma manages to get me to relax and let go of the daily workplace stresses. Along with this have come other benefits of increased energy, strength, balance and flexibility. Most of all, Norma has created a great yoga experience and a supportive positive environment, she is a true professional and very dedicated.”
— Joanna Sperinck
“The outstanding thing that Norma brings to her teaching is an intuitive and sensitive awareness of her student. This has been especially helpful to me, coming back from an injury. By adapting, rather than imposing a preconceived format, she maximizes the benefits of the practice in a gentle and encouraging way.”
— Margaret Dyer