Outdoor Yoga is back!

Red Owl is teaming up once again with the Edmonton Arts Council to celebrate summer in the city with free outdoor yoga classes in the heart of downtown.

Starting May 3rd, join our instructors above Tix on the Square in Churchill Square every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 to 12:50 pm. The sheltered upstairs patio area can be accessed via the outdoor staircase next to the building. Please bring your own yoga mat and dress for the weather.

See you in the Square!


Light Your Inner Fire with Red Owl Yoga’s Six-Week Challenge!

Are you looking to take your practice to the next level? We’re stoked to offer a great way to challenge yourself and incorporate a regular yoga practice into your life with our 6- week yoga challenge. From February 8 to March 18, practice at least 3 times per week with Red Owl Yoga and reap the benefits of a stronger, more balanced you. All students who successfully complete our 6-week yoga challenge will also receive one month of free unlimited yoga classes PLUS a special discount on registration for our upcoming Red Owl “mini-retreat” in Edmonton on April 24th.

Here are the details:

  • Register in person at one of our classes or via email at info@redowlyoga.com;
  • An investment of $140 is due upon registration (cash, cheque, or e-transfer to eileenchan23@gmail.com). Please note that this payment is non-refundable.
  • Challenge participants will have unlimited access to all Red Owl Yoga classes during the 6-week challenge timeframe (February 8 to March 18).*
  • To successfully complete the 6-week challenge, participants must attend at least 18 Red Owl Yoga classes during the 6-week challenge period. You may attend multiple classes in one day if you wish.
  • Participants are responsible for signing themselves in during each class they attend. A special sign-in sheet for challengers will be provided.
  • Participants who attend at least 18 Red Owl Yoga classes between February 8 and March 18 will receive one month’s worth of unlimited free classes from March 21 to April 20, inclusive. That means you’ll have access to 10 weeks of unlimited yoga for only $140!
  • If you have any other questions, feel free to ask any of our amazing yoga instructors or email us at info@redowlyoga.com

We can’t wait to see you on your mat more often!

*Please note that our Friday Karma class at 11:30 is by donation only. Challenge participants can still attend and receive credit towards their challenge goal; however, we ask that challenge participants attending Karma classes make a small monetary donation to support our fundraising efforts for the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund.*

Teacher spotlight: Chris

Last day of TEACHER SPOTLIGHTS! We finish off with Chris.
What is your favorite yoga asana? “That’s tough. Every day I need something different — sometimes I need to dance, sometimes I need asana, sometimes I need to make love, and sometimes I need to simply sleep. So ask me one day and the answer might be anahatasana. Another day it might be to stay in bed a little longer. If you begin to look at yoga not as a system of static poses, but rather as an expression of your life force, the notion of a favourite asana really begins to dissolve. In fact, the notion of a formal class starts to seem a bit strange too!
What do you like most about teaching? “What I love about teaching is the sharing of knowledge that happens — not only from teacher to student, but from student to student and student to teacher as well. I like to think that we are all holding pieces of one another, like pieces of a puzzle. If we drop the guru/disciple, teacher/student, elder/child etc. relationships and meet each other as equals who happen to be playing different roles, then it opens up limitless possibility for personal fulfillment. Suddenly, my greatest insight in life may come from a janitor. A spiritual guru on a pedestal may suddenly become irrelevant. When we can get past this idea that any one of us knows more than the other, we can share all of our puzzle pieces freely. When we share freely with one another, the larger picture of our own life, as well as what’s happening collectively, becomes clearer.
“What is your favorite non-yoga activity? “Just like my favourite asana, this changes on a regular basis. Some days it feels right to get on my bike and ride. Sometimes it’s cooking. When there are so many possibilities, it can just be about what feels best in any given moment.

One thing we don’t know about you? “I really only fell into teaching yoga by accident. As I like to say sometimes, a case of “Whoops, I succeeded!”. Serendipity has been an enormous force since — it keeps me inspired in all kinds of great ways, sometimes large and sometimes small. The wonder of the present moment is a gift that’s continually opening.”

Teacher spotlight: Eileen

Day 8 of teacher profiles and its time to check in with the yogi who started it all; our mamma owl Eileen!

What is your favorite yoga asana? “My favorite asana right now is tadasana. It’s the basis of so many postures for good alignment. It’s seems so easy to get into but there is so much happening when you start to break down the posture. I love the strength I feel when I am standing in my mountain and the focus I settle into while in the posture.”

What do you like most about teaching? “Meeting and getting to know the yogis and yoginis that show up on their mat is my favorite part if teaching. I have made some many amazing friends on this journey ♡ ”

What is your favorite non-yoga activity? “My favorite non yoga activity is eating!! I love to bring people together and sharing delicious food and drinks. ”

One thing we don’t know about you? “As much as I love to eat, I am a terrible cook.”

We are so blessed to learn and be inspired by Eileen the creator and owner of Red Owl every week on the mat.

Teacher spotlight: Mathius

Day 7 of teacher spotlights and it’s time to chat with Mathius!

‘My favorite yoga asana is Virasana, as it is a deeply meditative pose for me. I like the gratitude I feel when my students are overjoyed with their practice! My favorite non-yoga activity is spending time with my fiance Clara and our puppy Duke.  I can write a fantastic poem from time to time!”

Catch Mathius on the mat subbing for his fellow owls as well as Fridays for Karma Yoga.

Teacher spotlight: Clara

Teacher spotlight day 6! Let’s check in with Clara.

What is your favorite yoga asana? “Agnistambhasana (log pose). I LOVE anything that opens up the hips!”

What do you like most about teaching? “I didn’t become a yoga teacher on purpose (ha!). I went to India in 2014 solely for self exploration and to enhance my Ashtanga practice. I came away a teacher! What I love most about teaching is that I am supporting others in their attainment of health and wellbeing. As a teacher I also love that I can share what yoga is to me, which is less about moving the body and more about developing our consciousness as human begins.

What is your favorite non-yoga activity? “Mathius and I just got a puppy (Duke), so my newest activity is potty training and taking very slow walks because Duke’s ears are longer than his legs and he trips every couple of steps :-)”

One thing we don’t know about you? “Aside from teaching yoga I work as a birth doula and childbirth educator. I have a strong passion for women’s rights and their right to give birth where, with whom, and how they choose. The current system of birth is plagued with negative messages, policies, and professionals who have lost sight of the natural strength and intelligence of the female body. My work is to support a shift in consciousness so women go into birth feeling educated and in control of how their child enters this world.”

Teacher spotlight: Carie

Day 5 of TEACHER SPOTLIGHTS! Today we check-in with the talented Carie.

Favorite pose: “My favorite pose is savasana. I always joke about how I’m a lazy yogi because I love this pose so much, but in reality savasana used to be one of the hardest poses for me because I would either fall asleep or lay there wishing it would just end so I could move on to whatever I had planned to do after class. It took many years of practice to be comfortable just laying there with myself doing nothing, with no demands on my body or mind. Now I savour savasana because it may be the only 5 minutes of my day that I have to myself.”

Something people don’t know about me: “I am a Yogakids apprentice teacher and love teaching yoga to children whenever I can. I think it is important for kids to be involved in activities that are completely non-competitive so that they can develop empathy and compassion for their fellow humans, rather than always striving to be better than the kid next to them. I will be finished my Yogakids certification by April 2016 and look forward to bringing yoga into schools across Edmonton.

What do you like most about teaching? “Being totally present in the moment.”

What is your favorite non-yoga activity? “Volunteering at my daughter’s school – I like seeing the kids learn new things (and learning a few new things myself!). Last year we did City Hall School and this year we get to go to Zoo School!

One thing we don’t know about you? I was a competitive 5-pin bowler.”

Teacher spotlight: Johnny

Day 4 of TEACHER SPOTLIGHTS. Get to know our newest member of Red Owl Yoga – Johnny!

My favorite Asana… “I actually don’t know the name of it. A teacher friend of mine called it Phoenix when she saw me do it the first time, but google does not agree. Essentially, it starts as crow, but then remove the legs from the equation and send them out behind/above you… so you’re just balancing on chatarunga arms. As my float back to chatarunga developed, this just sort of happened, and I realized that I can hold it there. Really fun way to float back… now if I can only figure out how to breath at the same time!! Haha!”

What I most like about teaching… “I’m really enjoying the thought process before the actual class right now. I’ve been told that I care too much, but I plan my sequences before hand and then work through a sadhana or 2 with the plan to see how the flow of it feels. I’d like to think that this effort is part of the reason that I see big smiles on the faces of students as they’re leaving.”

My favorite non-yoga activity… “Camping!! Realistically, it’s more like “glamping” (glamorous camping) but whatever. My daughter and I have decided to make sacrifices in other parts of our world in order to live a minimalistic life… in a van down by the river! We spend from early May until mid October living in our camper at a campsite. Maybe one of these day we’ll do some actual camping… up a 4×4 trail and with a tent, but for now… we “Glamp”. Campfire and marshmallows almost every night… life is good!”

One thing you don’t know about me…. “Hmmmmm… I kind of stumbled into my YTT. Given my work schedule, I never in a million years expected to find a teacher training that would fit into my life. I had at one point expressed interest, combined with slight disappointment… and suddenly a very dear friend of mine was putting on a teacher training with 2 schedule options… BOTH of which fit into my world (aside from having to miss some time with my little girl). Naturally I felt like it was meant to be, so I signed up with the sole intention of deepening my practice. That intention grew, and I had a desire to explore and “teach a class or 2″. I then desired to have a full circle effect and teach one class at the main studio that I’ve attended. Within a week after completing my TT, I had accomplished all of these goals (the practice will continue to deepen I’m sure), yet I desired more. Now, I have the desire to (as a 20 year teacher friend of mine says) “Share the Yoga Love.”

Thanks for sharing Johnny! Check the schedule to see when you can join Johnny on your mat for Karma Yoga Fridays 11:30 – 12:20.

Come Celebrate With Us! Red Owl’s Community Party is this Saturday, October 3rd at 6:30 pm

It’s our 2nd birthday and we want to celebrate everyone who makes Red Owl possible! That means YOU!

On the evening of Saturday October 3rd, we’ll have a backyard bonfire, food and drink to share, a singalong and/or some mantra chanting, and all kinds of fun. There never seems to be enough time to get to know our wonderful students at class, and we’d love to spend some more time with all you amazing souls.

Bring a loved one (partners, friends and children are welcome), a musical instrument (if you play one) and something to sit on outside.

This event will go ahead, rain or shine. If there’s inclement weather, we’ll move indoors.

This event will also serve as a fundraiser for RiseUp House, a local service helping those who are leaving abusive relationships. Your monetary contribution will be greatly appreciated.

Drop by at 6:30 pm or anytime afterwards. Stay for a few minutes or a few hours.

RSVP on Facebook here (please note that depending on your settings, the facebook event page may show a different start time).

See you Saturday, yogis!

What Is Yoga Worth?

Yoga and capitalism have an uneasy relationship, in my mind at least. In ideal circumstances, the business side of yoga flows organically and with ease, and in alignment with the core teachings of yoga (e.g., nonviolence, nonattachment, non-greed and truthfulness). Before I started teaching, I never considered myself an entrepreneur or a marketer, yet I truly enjoy spreading the word about what Red Owl is offering and helping our classes meet the community’s needs.

For the past few years I have been blessed with the best possible teaching arrangement with Red Owl. I teach the yoga I feel called to share, whenever I want. I can provide as much or as little energy and labour as I want, whenever I want, and always feel appreciated and compensated for my time. Eileen’s the best. 

Occasionally, though, I am asked by others to teach a class for no financial compensation. These requests can take many forms: anything from an acquaintance or colleague who’d like me to share some teachings in my free time, to an event organizer looking for presenters.

I’m grateful that the concept of “energy exchange” and valuing one’s own time and skills was covered in my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training course. Our teachers encouraged us not to give our teachings away for free. How can we expect others to value a yoga class when we place no value on it ourselves?

Fair compensation doesn’t always have to mean monetary payment. Sometimes the best exchanges don’t. But it still has to be fair.

When I was first teaching and looking to fill my practicum hours, I’d teach to groups of friends in exchange for their feedback, referrals or a home-cooked meal.

I’d teach in people’s homes or I’d rent studio space and ask for donations just to cover my costs. I’d team-teach for the benefit of working with and learning from other teachers. Once I auditioned for a spot on a studio’s schedule by teaching an unpaid class.

I’ve taught many karma classes to raise money for or offer services to organizations that I believe in. I will continue to offer service-based yoga whenever I see a need I can fulfill.

I also aspire to be a part of a true sharing economy. Not the one that Uber or Airbnb is sellling you on, but one where humans can trade skills and resources for the benefit of all. I’d be over the moon if I could share yoga classes for bodywork, nutritious food, business accounting, instruction in home repair, a photo shoot, you name it. (Seriously, let’s talk!)

All of the situations described above are a fair exchange, whether for resources or something less tangible but equally valuable like experience, growth or service to something greater.

But I will not teach for free. I have a steady enough schedule and studentship that I don’t need to teach uncompensated classes to “get my name out there”. And I won’t make financial arrangements that I believe undervalue my contributions or undercut other teachers.

In this groupon-centric world with a yoga studio opening and closing on every street corner on a weekly basis, it’s not easy to make a fair wage from drop-in classes. But I won’t forgo payment “just til we get up and running”, nor will I accept half the going rate that I was paid in 2009.

To my fellow teachers: Value yourself, and we will all be valued.

To my fellow students: Value the teachings you are receiving, and the teachings will be valuable to you.