Grounding During Fall Transitions


Photo taken by Troy Ashley (@donttrustthehorse;


As we move through another week, moon cycle, month, season, and year, I’m noticing that so many people I speak to or come in contact with are going through a transition. Changes and transitions are notorious for making us anxious and overwhelmed. And it’s just as easy to get swept up into the Fall transition as it is the Summer one.

Kids and adults go back to school, workloads fluctuate, jobs are quit, lost, or maintained.

Halloween and (gasp!) Christmas plans are discussed more frequently but we also become more picky with our social activities and commitments.

Meanwhile, the hibernation season brings out new relationships. Friendships and personal relationships are formed for the winter months, while all the marriages from the wedding season are tested.We struggle to maintain connection with old friends yet sometimes old ties are cut due to busy lives. In addition, family bonds and strengthened and perhaps even questioned.

Throughout all this transition and with all the people that dislike or are afraid of change, I’d like to pose the questiono to you: what is the one thing that keeps you stable and grounded?

Do you have your daily ritual of brewing a cup of tea and sitting alone with your thoughts under the stars? Do you take breaks throughout your day to be thankful and write in your gratitude journal? Is your routine to get up and move before rushing into your busy day?

Whether you stay grounded with a yoga or meditation practice, or by enjoying time with loved ones, we all need and deserve something that cares for our bodies and feeds our souls.

Perhaps during the next few weeks of October, we can consider and take note of what these grounding activities are for us and how they impact our mental and physical health. Can you actively carve out intentional time for these vital tasks to keep you centred for the next season? In addition, can you encourage others to create their own self-care routines?



Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas below in the comments.


Wishing you peace, groundedness and self-love for the next season,


Posted in: Breathing, Meditation, Mindfulness, Personal Growth, Yoga

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ODY Teacher: Sarita



Read all about Sarita, our resident Smiling Yogi and Radio Show host!


Farah [Sarita] Nazarali: Teacher, student, and seeker!

I have been teaching for over 10 years and in 10 years, I have realized how much more there is to learn!
I consider myself primarily a student and a life-long beginner! I completed the Open Door Yoga Teacher Training program and in 1997, and met my Beloved Guru Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda who opened the door of my Heart. My favourite part of teaching is the satisfaction that comes when student shares with me the results of their practice or when a students offers me their trust and shares with me an intimate part of their life.
Open Door is a yoga community where teachers and students know each other by first name. We practice together and also converse, laugh, and share our lives together.
My favourite Asana is sitting in Sukhasana and practising my Guru mantra and my favourite Thing about Vancouver is being by the ocean and mountains.
My own practice is slow moving and includes Asana, pranayam and primarily mantra meditation. Of all the practices of yoga, I love mantra the most! It has completely transformed my mind and heart.
Sarita has an upcoming Retreat with Hollyhock next month: Ancient Wisdom Yoga @ Hollyhock; September 20- 25 2015. Go here for more info.
Sarita teaches a calming and centring Hatha class at our Kerrisdale Location on Sundays at 8:30am and 10:15am. As well, she will be running a workshop on 108 Prostrations Practice on September 12th at Main & 14th. Go here for more info.
You can hear Sarita hosting the Drishti Point Radio show. Listen to her podcasts here.

Catch Sarita at our Kerrisdale Open House today!

Saturday August 22nd from 2-5pm @ Kerrisdale #303-2309 W. 41st Avenue

Posted in: Pranayama, Teacher Profiles, Upcoming Workshops, Yoga

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ODY Teacher: Georgina

Get to know Georgina, Open Door’s Co-Owner & Founder
What is your name?
Georgina Varveris

What is your position at Open Door?



How long have you been teaching yoga?

17 years

How long have you been practising yoga?


Where & when did you receive your credentials/education/certification?


Prana Yoga

What is your favourite part about teaching?

students and being present

What makes Open Door different than others in Vancouver?

the teachers are very dedicated to the path of living consciously

practicing and living yoga
It is not about the place but the people (students and teachers)

What is your favourite asana (to practice and/or to teach)?


What is your favourite thing about Vancouver?

nature, mountains

Tell us about your own practice?

go to classes at Open Door, practice at home and in nature (weather permitting) , a daily meditation practice 

Are you involved in any other projects?

Open Door’s Yoga Teacher Training starting in October:

Georgina is organizing an Open House at our Kerrisdale Location this weekend. Come on down and meet her in person and check out our newest community & gorgeous studio.


Want to learn more about Jennifer? Check out her Hatha class at our Kerrisdale Location on Mondays at 9:00am-10:15am.

Jennifer is also organizing an Open House at our Kerrisdale Location this weekend. Come on down and meet her in person at check out our newest community & gorgeous studio.

Come and bring your friends! Here is what you can expect:

$99 Intro Pass with FREE $50 Gift Certificate

Win Pass Prizes,

Eat snacks,

Listen to Live Music,

Meet teachers.

Saturday August 22nd from 2-5pm @ #303-2309 W. 41st Avenue

Posted in: Teacher Profiles, Teacher Training, Yoga

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ODY Teacher: Jennifer

Meet Jennifer, one of our fabulous Studio Coordinators and a Hatha Yoga teacher at Open Door.

What is your name?  Jennifer Clarke

What is your position at Open Door?  Yoga Teacher, Studio Coordinator

How long have you been teaching yoga? More than 10 years

How long have you been practising yoga? 20 years

Where & when did you receive your credentials/education/certification? My first certification was with Fiona Stang, then the others were with Catherine Munro with Yoga Works

What is your favourite part about teaching? Seeing people blossom

What makes Open Door different than others in Vancouver?  Open Door Yoga resists trends. It is humble yet reaches out to all communities and supports people in whatever unique way they need.  It supports all and includes all body types, ages, abilities, gender identities and needs from emotional to physical to spiritual.

Are you involved in any other projects? I teach Qigong and am completing a 3 year program in Medical Qigong. I’ve been a movement professional, performer of dance and movement artist for almost 20 years. I have a dedicated movement practise where i use movement as a tool of inquiry, embodiment and to find presence.

How do we find you?


Want to learn more about Jennifer? Check out her Hatha class at our Kerrisdale Location on Mondays at 9:00am-10:15am.

Jennifer is also organizing an Open House at our Kerrisdale Location this weekend. Come on down and meet her in person and check out our newest community & gorgeous studio.

Come and bring your friends! Here is what you can expect:

$99 Intro Pass with FREE $50 Gift Certificate

Win Pass Prizes,

Eat snacks,

Listen to Live Music,

Meet teachers.

Saturday August 22nd from 2-5pm @ #303-2309 W. 41st Avenue

Posted in: Teacher Profiles, Yoga

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How to Start Meditating

Many of us know the benefits of meditation but really can’t get in into it. We practice mindfulness and awareness in yoga class all the time, but when it comes to finding a personal yoga practice of our own, we tend to get stuck. There are so many new studies and pieces of information coming out to support the gains of a regular meditation practice. So why is it so hard to get into it?

We complied a list of tips to start meditating that we hope will help to inspire a regular home practice of mindfulness.


Create space – clear out a corner, clean up an area and plop a pillow down. Decorate with flowers, plants, candles, crystals, anything that makes you happy and excited to meditate. Having an oasis away from the noise and distractions of the rest of your home will make meditating so much easier to get into a space to relax.


Set a timer – many of us worry about the unanswered e-mails, unattended children, or the dinner that is not going to cook itself. Pick a time where you can escape from everything and set a timer so that you don’t worry about escaping for too long. If you can use a smart phone to set the timer, be sure choose some relaxing wake-up music like sitar or nature sounds so that you aren’t rudely awaken by an abrupt alarm clock.


Pick you time – Are you a morning person? Well then integrate your meditation practice into your morning routine between brushing teeth and cooking breakfast to prepare yourself for a positive day. More of a night owl? Sit quietly before bed to let go of the day and unwind. It’s best to get into a routine when you start a meditation practice. But if this is too difficult, allow yourself to take short meditation breaks throughout the day. If one day you “don’t have time,” don’t stress yourself out, our beat yourself up, just fit in a short session wherever you can manage.


Experiment with different types – There are so many different forms of meditation. You can try candle gazing, focusing on the breath, using a mantra, visualizing a place, colour therapy, crystals, diffusing essential oils, anything where you are training your mind to focus on something. You can use YouTube videos, research the internet and books, or download apps to get ideas and to practice guided mediations.


Start small – Don’t assume that you  need to meditate for an hour each day. Start with a simple 2 minute mindfullness for a week and build from there. Add on a minute each day, week, or even month. Whatever you are comfortable with. And know that your practice will be fluid and ever-changing. Be open to what comes up and work with what’s going on for you that day.


Happy meditating!


What are your tips to keeping up on mindfulness and meditation? Share in the comments section below.

Posted in: Breathing, Meditation, Mindfulness, Personal Growth, Yoga

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Open Door YTT

Are you at the point in your yoga practice where you would like to learn more? Do you want to deepen your practice and learn the ins and outs of the base poses? Would you like to add some holistic experience and certification to your resume? Do you want to experience more than a regular yoga class and have one-on-one support?

Consider Open Door’s Yoga Teacher Training and Do What You Love!

We are celebrating 12 years of Certifying Yoga Teachers and guiding students through a life-changing experience through our well-rounded YTT Program.

Open Door’s YTT Vision: A student that graduates from the program will be qualified to teach a comprehensive, safe, hatha yoga class and will have improved their understanding of yoga, teaching techniques, business opportunities, and one’s direction in life. They will be equipped to teach a comprehensive, safe yoga class that nurtures and supports, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth.

Our program is based on Prana and Kripalu Yoga style of teaching and is a well-rounded program where you will learn Teaching Techniques, Teaching Methodology, and get hands-on experience with the Practicums. The program is also Yoga Alliance Certified but goes above and beyond the standard requirements to include teachings on topics such as: Anatomy and Physiology, Philosophy, Ethics, Balanced Lifestyle, Practical Business  Skills, Goal-setting, Ayurveda, Laughter Yoga, Kids Yoga, Yin Yoga, Power Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, plus processes and exercises that will change your life.

The Program is led by experienced instructors that well educated in yoga. One of our March 2013 grads says:

“The variety of instructors provides the opportunity to see various styles and methods of teaching yoga. It is not a cookie cutter program and it encourages the students to think for themselves and figure it out by understanding the asana’s through the contras and modifications.”

Georgina Varveris – Co-director

Hogan Poon – Co-director

Vesna Zdrale – Teacher and Philosophy Teacher

Charlotte Juras – Senior Teacher

Jack Resels – Philosophy teacher

Marjorie Haynes – Anatomy Teacher

Karen Heaps – Teacher


The Fall program is starting in less than two months! The Program will run from Sunday October 4, 2015 until the end of March. The YTT Group will meet every Sunday, 8:30am-5:30pm. The tuition includes a One Year Open Door Yoga Membership!! see Prices and Payment for more details!

Apply Now to change your life and Do What You Love!


Still need more info? We have a great info session coming up this weekend on Sunday, August 16th at our Main & 14th studio.

Click here to sign up and receive 2 weeks free Yoga for attending.

Posted in: Personal Growth, Teacher Training, Yoga

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Guest Blogger: Sharon’s 5 Must-Have Tools for Hormone Health



I was at Sarita’s Hatha Yoga class yesterday, and she spoke of a Buddhist teaching of the body’s four necessities: FOOD, REST, HOPE and CONCENTRATION. The first is obvious – we certainly need nourishing food to sustain us. It seems to me that the last three necessities are provided through yoga.  During our practice, we can embrace the opportunity to REST the body, the racing mind and let go of emotional attachments. With this rest, we are able to change our perspective on challenges we might be experiencing, and have the experience of HOPE. I, personally, have left yoga class with a more positive outlook more times than I can count. Lastly, the moving meditation of the physical practice, as well as guided imagery, pranayama, savasana and isolated meditation practices all improve our ability to cultivate single-pointed awareness or CONCENTRATION.

It seems to me that a lot of us underestimate the importance of these last three necessities to a healthy body and mind. As an example, I work with a lot of hormonal imbalance in my nutritional consulting practice.  Of course I always make recommendations for particular foods and natural supplements to address deficiencies that may be contributing to the imbalance. However, one of the root causes of the imbalance is often stress. Which means that if the stress isn’t addressed, it is difficult for clients to see lasting results, even with clean eating habits. The body will struggle to deal with the chronic stress, even more so as we grow older.

As a nutritionist, I will always suggest a shift away from depleting processed foods to vitalizing whole foods. But part of my job is also to guide clients toward lifestyle changes that are beneficial for their specific condition. When it comes to hormone imbalance, this often involves resolving digestive and intestinal issues, supporting the thyroid and adrenals, but also making recommendations to manage stress, REST, and cultivate more mindfulness!

All of these topics are covered in my new ebook ’5 Must-Have Tools for Hormone Health’.  Whether you experience irritability, difficulty sleeping, anxiety or depression, hot flashes, bloating, difficulty losing weight, abdominal pain, loss of memory, fibroids, endometriosis or cysts – this book can help you take your health back into your own hands! The book focuses on 5 tools that YOU can easily incorporate into your life, including dietary and lifestyle changes (hint: Yoga is one of the 7 suggestions) to support hormonal balance. You can sign-up for your complimentary copy at  And if you know of someone who might benefit from this information, please share it with them as well! Once you have had a chance to take a look, send me an email with any questions you have about incorporating the changes for yourself. I will be happy to answer them for you.



Sharon Pendlington, BSc, RHN, NNCP, RYT
Holistic Nutritionist


Posted in: Eating, Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga

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How to Cultivate a Home Practice

One of the most important parts in a yogi’s life is when a regular home practice is created and held. During busy times and summer holidays, it’s difficult to make it to the studio as often as the cooler months. Carving out an hour or more to practice with your community and factoring in travel time and getting ready can really leave us feeling overwhelmed, especially when there are so many other things going on in our lives. That’s why, taking the time to practice at home can be much more of a relief as it is so accessible and accommodating. Below are some tips for starting up a home yoga practice and sticking to it.


Start small – Dedicate just a few minutes a day to start. From there grow your practice to something well-rounded. Allow yourself that hour or hour and a half to breath and move. When the day gets away from you and you feel like there are no hours left in the day for you to take time for yourself, well, that’s when you really need to make it happen. But don’t beat yourself up if some days you just can’t make the 60 or 90 minute practice happen. Allow yourself the space to have a small 20 minute session if that’s all you can do. Even if you only roll out your mat for a 5 minute Savasana, at least you are keeping up with the practice and listening to what your body needs.

Create space – It’s important to create a space that you can go to for your practice. This might be somewhere that has a door that closes and that is the quiet part of your home. Maybe you need to have a conversation with family to let them know that when you are there, it’s your you time. Perhaps having a “Do not disturb” sign up is something else you will need to maintain your space. Whatever you need to do, allow yourself to be selfish and do it. Add in some items that make you happy and help to relax you and get you in the yoga mood. Some great ideas are essential oils, flowers, plants, crystals, candles, and incense. Some people find that having some yoga books, or putting up some yoga pictures in their space helps them to get inspired. Get the right mood lighting too so you can relax the eye muscles.

Equip yourself – Of course you will need the basics item to get started at home: a yoga mat. It’s not necessary to go all out with home props and equipment, but consider putting a few things aside in your space so that they are always accessible and available in case you need a bit of support. A block, or large book can help with forward folds and balancing in a Half Moon, and a strap or scarf can assist with shoulder openings and seated leg stretches. Other items that are nice to have around are cushions, pillows, and blankets to get comfy and golf balls, tennis balls, or dowels, for self-massage. It’s also important to keep your home mat clean so invest in a natural mat spray or make your own with distilled water and tea tree oil.

Find a routine – There will be days where you won’t feel like practising, but having a go-to set routine that you can always turn to will make those days so much easier. The routine can be the simple foundation poses like Cat-Cow, Down-Dog, Warriors, Forward Folds, and Twists. This can be your rock in your home practice by always being there to stabilize and maintain you. Memorize it or better yet, write it out with pictures and put it up in your space to inspire you. That way, when you have uninspiring, long, tough days, you won’t even have to think about what kind of practice you will have to come up with. No excuses!

Switch it up – Having a go-to routine is great, but try not to always fall back onto it. Consider having a practice where you just move intuitively . Check in with yourself and ask what your body and mind need today and then use that as a guide to creating the perfect practice personally catered to you. Some people have trouble guiding themselves through a practice but it is a great exercise for intuition and direction. Otherwise, there are plenty of resources for yoga videos, sequences, and poses. Explore and find something that works for you and enjoy how your needs change from day to day. Doing something different with each one of your self-taught classes brings more excitement and joy to your home practice.

Be safe – Know the importance of safety when practising at home. You don’t have a teacher watching out for correct alignment and checking that you are not hyper-extending or over-doing it. As well, you don’t have someone reminding you to breathe, and check in on how you are doing. It’s extra important to be aware of any pain or discomfort when you are practising on your own, so really be sure you are listening to your body and backing off when needed.


How do you practice at home? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted in: Mindfulness, Yoga

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Summer Inspiration

When it’s hot and muggy in the city,  it can be a challenge to keep inspired and cultivate healthy habits with all the BBQ’s, weddings, lounging by the water, and other summer events. When we would much rather be lazy and “relax,” it’s difficult to keep up with your yoga practice. We’ve come up with a few easy and do-able tips to integrate into your summer routine and stay inspired and healthy this season!


Spend more time outside Get outside and enjoy the fresh air, warmth, and gorgeous weather! Whether it’s your yoga practice, a swim, a bike ride, a hike, group sports, or a walk around the neighbourhood, get your activities outside and allow nature and your surroundings to inspire your exercise and activities.

Hydrate This one is pretty obvious. If we don’t drink enough water, we can feel sluggish and tired. Start your day with a big tall glass of pure or filtered water. Better, yet, sip on some warm lemon water to flush your liver of toxins and kick-start your body’s functions for the day. Aim to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces by 2pm so you aren’t interupting your sleep to go to the bathroom. Keep a trusty water bottle with you that you like and sip, sip, sip, throughout the day! You can even add herbs, fruits, and a couple drops of essential oils to make your h20 more exciting!

Watch the sunset – or sunrise! How often do you get to gaze at a beautiful pink sky? Get to a good view and watch the sun say goodbye to the world. Even better is to wake up extra early and greet the day and the sun. This naturally wakes up the body and can help with getting us into better circadian rythms. This can help with getting a better sleep at night and being less groggy throughout the day and afternoon. These are also great times to expose yourself to Vitamin D as the sun will not be as strong at dawn and dusk.

Check out a local farmer’s market Enjoy the bounty of the season and get inspired by all the colours, flavours, smells, and tastes. Pick out a vegetable or fruit that you don’t usually buy and find a creative recipe to try out for dinner. Berries and corn are especially sweet and in-season at this time of year. Rather than weigh yourself down with heavy processed foods and salty meats, aim to eat lighter and more plant-based this summer to keep your cool, fresh, and healthy.

Create Find your inner-child and some seasonal inspiration by writing a poem, painting, dancing, or doing something artistic that will uplift your spirt.

Be exposed to inspiration A great way to get inspired is to watch others who are inspired themselves. Some great ideas to get yourself exposed to inspiration are: attend a yoga workshop, see an outdoor theatre performance, attend an art show, take a dance class, head to a sporting event, or head to a local music festival. Seeing others succeed and do what they love can be a very powerful tool to get yourself out of a summer rut. Whether it’s the teacher of the class, the performer on stage, or the artists behind the photograph, these individuals are following their dreams and that is an amazing thing!


What inspires you? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted in: Ayurveda, Eating, Mindfulness, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Yoga

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Summer Cool-Down

This summer in Vancouver has been extra dry and hot, so this week, we’ve put together a list of ways to stay cool and beat the heat!


Find a hidden beach – We all know that beaches in Vancouver can get pretty crowded. Check out this great list of hidden gems within the city and take a dip! But don’t forget to stay hydrated, cover up from the sun, and wear some SPF to avoid heat/sun stroke.

Sip on a Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca –  We love our friend and Nutritionist Sharon Pendlington’s recipe for this awesome cool-down drink. Sharon can also help with your summer nutrition and weight-loss goals. Read more and find her contact info here.

Take a Yin Yoga Class – Yin is traditionally a cooling yoga practice that can help with the fatigue that we experience from the heat. Open Door has plenty of Yin classes to choose from. Including Joan’s Wednesday class at Main & 15th from 4:30 pm-5:45 pm. Take a look at the other Yin classes (in blue) on our schedule here.

Summer Slim Down & Healthy BBQing – We love Claire’s easy, no fuss way of looking at nutrition. Read her latest post on increasing your healthy eating confidence with a summer slim-down. Also take a look at tips for hosting or attending a summer BBQ.

Take a Spa Day – Relaxing is important during the summer months. Take it easy and avoid overexerting yourself but having a calming and rejuvenated at-home-spa. Remember, rose water, peppermint essential oil, and witch hazel is cooling.

Try Ayurveda – This ancient way of living looks at ways to cool down the body during the hot summer months for natural healing and optimal health. Most of these tips are no-brainers: like wearing lighter clothes, and cooler colours and avoiding heavy foods.

Salute the Moon – Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutations) are a great way to continue to enjoy your yoga practice through the warm months while honour the cooler/feminine side of the body.

Cool down with yoga – Open Door’s classes are air conditioned. And we always have a safe haven away from the hussle and bussle of the hot, loud city. Take a break and come relax and rejuivante with us at any of our studios. Check out our class schedule to find a class that suites your needs and feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns.

Bring your practice outside – Take it to the beach, poolside, backyard, park – anywhere! There are endless outdoor classes in Vancouver and what better way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors then to Vinyassa in  nature!? Check out the Outdoor Yoga Meetups and stay tuned for a potential ODY outdoor class too! But again, don’t forget to stay sun safe.

Start a Home Practice –  Too hot to leave the comfort and cool of your own home? Consider starting a home practice to keep up with your fitness and mindfulness goals. A daily home practice is the ultimate step in cultivating daily health. Hogan is holding a Home Practice Workshop at our Main & 14th studio this Sunday July 12th.

Posted in: Ayurveda, Eating, Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga

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