Moss Yoga ready to open new studio here soon

In the modern, fast-paced world of all work and no play, stress really can take a toll on the mind and body of just about anybody.
Luckily, the Indian tradition of yoga has been brought to our Western culture to help ease us into tranquility.
Jen L’Hirondelle (nee Krag) began offering yoga in Fort Frances a little while back under the name Moss Yoga to do just that, and she’s pleased to announce she’ll soon be opening up her own studio come September.
She previously had been offering yoga classes at the Métis Hall and also out at Seven Oaks, but now she’s ready to move into a studio at 279 Scott St. (beside The Den).
L’Hirondelle said this move is for the best because now she has more control over the colour and overall feel of the space. Before, she was powerless to make the space her own.
“I’m definitely going for calm and peaceful,” she said, adding the new studio currently is being painted and renovated.
“I have a Fine Arts degree, so I am definitely putting a lot of thought into the colours—how they make people feel and what they mean,” L’Hirondelle remarked. “There’s also going to be dimmable lighting and in-ceiling speakers.
“I am really going to try and create a really calm atmosphere,” she stressed.
While admitting the outdoor space under the trees at Seven Oaks made for a really nice atmosphere, she said having to rely on the weather made it
too unfeasible.
When she initially started setting up outdoors, for instance, there were many different ideas of what constituted a “nice day” and so some people would come to Seven Oaks while others would end up at the indoor site at the Métis Hall.
This way, with everyone meeting in the new studio all of the time, it’s just much easier to be organized, L’Hirondelle noted.
That being said, classes will resume at Seven Oaks until the studio is ready to be used.
L’Hirondelle started doing yoga when she was living in Vancouver and began practising Bickram yoga, or “‘Hot Yoga,” where the class is held a room with a temperature above 100 degrees F.
“It’s really intense,” she said. “For most people, it’s not a very gentle or relaxing practise because you are dripping sweat within the first couple minutes.
“It really stretches you out, though, because of all of the heat,” she added.
Eventually she began practising Hatha yoga—the more popular form that is more like “exercise yoga.” This style is very westernized, and focuses more on health and body wellness versus spirituality.
“I just felt so good after all of the classes and I was like, you know, I wish I could do this every day,” L’Hirondelle recalled. “But I didn’t have access to it every day so I started asking [my instructor] where she got her training.”
She eventually found herself in a training program called YogaFit Training Systems, which is run out of the United States but actually offers yoga training worldwide.
“This YogaFit seemed like it was going to work with me and my schedule, and it was good for location, so off I went.
“I’ve never looked back and I’ve never been happier,” she smiled. “I’m so glad I did it.”
L’Hirondelle is trained in the yoga style called Hatha Vinyasa, which again means the westernized “exercise style” while Vinyasa means “flow.”
In this style, every movement flows into the next so instead of moving from one asana (pose) to the next, you are moving through each pose and all of the movements in between.
To match all of the fluid movements, L’Hirondelle explained that proper breathing probably is the most important thing to focus on during your yoga routine.
“Breathing is definitely the most important,” she stressed. “If somebody were to come to an intermediate class and just sit in a child’s pose, or just sit on their mat and breathe for the whole hour, that would be just as successful as anyone who was doing all of the poses.
“[Breathing] is what it’s all about. It’s just concentrating on your breath and relaxing and taking that time for yourself.”
She added another crucial aspect of practising yoga is listening to your body and not being afraid to take breaks when they are needed.
Yoga sometimes can be an intense workout and if your body can’t handle doing a particular move or holding a pose for a particular length of time, L’Hirondelle assured there is no shame in resting (in fact, rest is actually recommended).
L’Hirondelle also promotes a practise that’s free of judgment and expectation. She encourages everyone to see that yoga is a personal experience and that the only reason you do it in a class is to keep yourself on the right track.
She really emphasizes that yoga is not about competition, but rather about personal improvement.
And personal improvement definitely is something a regular yoga routine can deliver. The list of benefits that come with yoga really is a long and comprehensive one.
“From reduced stress, increased flexibility, increased strength, increased stamina, virtually any condition or disease you can think of, the symptoms can be alleviated by yoga,” vowed L’Hirondelle. “Anything you can think of, yoga can help it.
“Yoga is also a really active detox process with all of the twisting,” she added. “Actually, through yoga, if you are doing a full class, you massage every organ in your entire body. And I know there’s a couple of organs [e.g., prostate, various internal glands] that there’s no other exercise you can do to massage or stimulate them.”
L’Hirondelle explained that often when people think of detox, they think of pills and diets. But really, yoga is the best form of detox and is natural. Because of the vast number of health benefits connected to yoga, it really is something that’s great for everybody.
She already has a few males who attend classes, but L’Hirondelle really wanted people to know yoga is for everybody—not just females.
“A lot of guys are into sports and they don’t know that yoga is really a great complementary practice [to these sports] as it helps in flexibility and strength,” she remarked.
In fact, she expects to hold a father/daughter or couples class sometime soon so that men can get an opportunity to get out there and try it. She encourages teens and tweens (aged10-18) to come out and try it, as well.
She previously had done a class at the Fort Frances Public Library with a group of 12-year-olds and while she didn’t expect they would understand the complex concepts, she was pleasantly surprised to see them actually do well with it.
“I would really like to say it again, because kids are often also involved in other sports. yoga really is a good complement to other sports,” L’Hirondelle said. “Whether you are a squash player, a hockey player, or if you play golf, it can really help out with anything.”
Under 10 years old really is too young because they youngsters still are interested in playing games and having fun, but 10 and older really is a great age to get started with yoga.
To sign up with Moss Yoga, you can pick up a $40 membership and then a $100 punch card that let’s you attend 10 classes. There is no registration as everything follows a drop-in format.
She didn’t want to have people feeling as if they are trapped into anything. Nor does she want them to pay a lump sum where if they miss a scheduled class, they also miss out on money.
L’Hirondelle aims at being accommodating and flexible to schedules that often can change at the drop of a hat. As such, she hopes this way, just getting your card punched if and when you show up, people will really get their money’s worth.
To buy a membership or a punch card, all you have to do is drop in for a class and she will be more than happy to get you started.
Until September, classes will continue to be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:15 p.m. at Seven Oaks.