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Teaching the practice

8 alumni yoga teachers offer insights to their experience with the ancient art
February 18, 2015
By Louise Morgan

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Founding director at Yoga Bliss, downtown Montreal

Teaches: Bali method (hatha-based therapeutic yoga)

Years practising: Over 75 (at 91 years old, he’s still practising!)

Best thing about yoga: “It can improve the quality of our inner and outer lives, bring happiness to our relationships, focus and creativity to our jobs, and create healing and wellness.”

Favourite posture: “Sarvangasana [shoulderstand] and halasana [plow] nourish the brain and recharge our cellular batteries, which get run down with mental chatter, stress and emotions.”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “I studied comparative religion — more the philosophical aspects of it. I just wanted to understand why humans suffer and to gain better insight into the whole process to try to solve the riddle of life.”

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Jennifer Maagendans, BA (human environment) 00

Owner, director, teacher at Luna Yoga, Old Montreal

Teaches: Jivamukti and Yoga Flo

Years practising: 15

Best thing about yoga: “It’s grounding. It brings you back to the present moment and reminds you to appreciate life. It also helps in dealing with stress. Plus it’s a challenging and fun practice that keeps the mind and body strong and flexible.”

Favourite posture: “Baddha konasana [butterfly or bound angle pose] is a simple, yet deep hip opener that I could stay in for a long time. It just feels good!”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “Concordia taught me to work hard, be persistent and get out of my comfort zone. My education in environmental studies has a strong influence on my teachings — our connection to the earth is a huge part of yoga.”

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Dawn Mauricio, BComm (marketing) 05

Senior teacher at Naada Yoga, Montreal’s Mile End

Teaches: Hatha (inspired by ashtanga, Iyengar and vinyasa), mindfulness yoga, Vipassana meditation

Years practising: 14

Best thing about yoga: “No matter how long you stray from your practice, or how tight or imbalanced you may be feeling or have become, the practice is right where you left it — and it doesn’t judge you when you come back.”

Favourite posture: “Adho mukha vrksasana [handstand] because it requires strength, courage and playfulness — valuable qualities for the everyday, not just when practising handstand.”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “Being a yoga teacher is like running your own business in which you are the brand. My marketing degree taught me the importance of consistent branding — in my online image and with what I teach and how I live as a teacher.”

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Melanie Richards,
BA (comm. studies) 02

Founder, owner, teacher, director at HappyTree Yoga, Westmount, Que.

Teaches: Hatha, yin and gentle yoga

Years practising: 13 years

Best thing about yoga: “Yoga is a doorway to a deeper and more meaningful connection with myself, the people around me and life.”

Favourite posture: “Surya namaskar [sun salutation], seated meditation and matsyasana (supported fish), especially after a long day hunched at the computer!”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “I studied communications, and loved every minute of it! It taught me to see a project through in a team setting. That’s the basis of what I do every day, developing teacher training programs and marketing strategies for my studio.”

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Yasmin Fudakowska-Gow, BA (comm studies) 04

Owner, director, teacher at Yasmin Yoga Loft, Old Montreal

Teaches: Ashtanga and ayurvedic yoga flow

Years practising: Nearly 20

Best thing about yoga: “It provides an opportunity to train the body, focus the mind and free the spirit. It’s like going to the gym, doctor and temple all in one!”

Favourite posture: “It changes depending on the day, but I’d say virasana [hero’s pose] most consistently because it is a very comfortable pose for meditation, good for digestion and helps improve posture and healthy movement in the knees.”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “My background in journalism and communications gave me the confidence and skills to write efficiently, speak in front of people, produce professional yoga videos and work well with others.”

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Rebecca Halls, BFA (contemp. dance) 09

Founder and and director of Hoopurbia, and teacher at her home studio in Los Angeles

Teaches: Vinyasa, Iyengar alignment focused, Ashtanga inspired

Years practising: 12

Best thing about yoga: “It is a great reminder of the inner world, return to true self, calmness and tranquility. I also find it fun!”

Favourite posture: “Eka pada rajakapotasana [king pigeon pose] provides hip opening, shoulder opening and a backbend all in one — ultimate freedom, liberation and relaxation all at once. Feels great!”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “I have studied many different styles of yoga and movement and, with my skills learned during my dance studies, I have been able to weave them into something unique and truly my own style.”

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Terri McCollum, BA (religion) 09

Teacher at Ashtanga Yoga Montreal, Sattva Yoga Shala and Le Studio de Wanderlust, Montreal

Teaches: Ashtanga with a technical/ alignment focus

Years practising: about 25

Best thing about yoga: “Its many, many layers and challenges. There is so much to learn and experience.”

Favourite posture: “I like postures that challenge. I don’t mean physical contortions necessarily; sitting in a comfortable seat can be incredibly challenging. I like it when I am confronted with a mental or psychological challenge and have the opportunity to go deep inside to understand the discomfort.”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “I studied Asian religion and South Asia studies, so what I learned I use every day in my teaching.”

Madan Bali, BA (religion) 80

Brian Tuck,
BA (hum. rels.) 11

Teacher at HappyTree Yoga, Enso Yoga, Victoria Park, Loisir Vista Senior Residence, Montreal area

Teaches: Hatha, hot, flow, yin and chair

Years practising: 10

Best thing about yoga: “It literally healed me. As a young adult, I had an illness that affected my kidneys and lungs. Doctors said I may never be able to run for a bus again. That’s when I started yoga and today I run half-marathons. I’ve never been healthier and I owe it to yoga.”

Favourite posture: “At the top of my list to practise more are the postures that aren’t my favourites, like utkatasana [chair pose] and adho mukha vrksasana [handstand].”

How did Concordia help your yoga career? “My BA in human relations taught me how to work with people: communication and conflict-resolution skills, how to lead groups, identify my own limitations and improve.”

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