Integrative Yoga, Yamas & Niyamas, Therapeutic Retreats, YTT
I have wanted to help people with their healing my whole life, and I’ve been a anatomy and psychology junkie since childhood. With a biology and health psychology focus in university, teaching anatomy to my peers throughout my degree, leading functional fitness, yoga and TRX classes while working in recreation and health, I have come to believe that the body has what it needs to heal inside. I believe that it is our awareness that opens the doorway to move towards healing. I teach from the inside out, considering not just the physical, but ALL of the aspects that affect how we are in our bodies and minds. So much of how we move comes from what we think about ourselves and how we approach life.
My style of teaching is holistic, and I see yoga as the tool that allows us to step into our Truth. This used to sound hokey to me but as I have learned to speak mine over the last decade, and to live it, not only on my mat but in my life, I can say that being embodied is the greatest joy I have felt. Embodied practices (whether yoga, meditation or any movement style) are the way to less pain and suffering; they open the door to freedom and peace and with awareness, so much change becomes possible in our lives.
When I witness students being 'lit up' with insight, awareness and integration during practice, it fills me with gratitude for the tremendous gifts that yoga gives us. My teaching style is gentle but firm, inquisitive and promoting self-responsibility and self-advocacy. It is one that prioritizes compassion and love as fundamental to truly healing. I provide students with a safe space, an anchor point to begin, a stable footing to grow and feel, and a powerful platform so you can build your movement practice in strong and supple ways.
My relationship with Yoga was born in 2000, as I was looking for rehabilitation to support healing from a severe lower back injury. As practice became consistent, my back began to feel better, and I could feel a greater connection in my body and my breath. Through an immersive study of Yoga philosophy, I began to look deeper into many areas of my life, and recognized that I had some work to do! It was here that my yoga practice really became a life practice, and living consciously became my mission. Through daily self-reflection, journaling, meditation, studying and truth seeking, I felt an internal awareness emerging that brought wisdom. This intuition is a gift, illuminated through the practice, and I felt compelled to help others discover it too.
Upon completion of my degree in 2006, I began studying with Jennifer Pritchard, completing a 250 hour, Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program through the Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Victoria, BC. Upon graduation, I began teaching immediately at various studios as well as at the University of Victoria and for the Victoria Police.
My study and practice has deepened immensely since 2006, and I have been inspired by learning & studying with many teachers, including: Jeff & Harmony Lichty, Maria Garre, Sadie Nardini, Madhuri Phillips, Deborah Adele, Matthew Remski & Liz Koch. In 2009, I began studying with Susi Hately of Functional Synergy, and these teachings sparked in me a deeper passion for yoga as a therapeutic health modality.
In June 2015, I completed my 1000 hour Yoga Therapy Certification with Functional Synergy, an internationally accredited school for Yoga Therapeutics. I also completed training in Rhythmic Movement Levels 1 and 2 and in 2016, I completed a one year immersive study program with Deborah Adele in Samkhya Yoga Philosophy and Mind study.
I am a co-owner of Fierce Studios, a member of faculty with the Canadian Institute of Therapeutic Yoga, and a volunteer with The Arthritis Society (TAS). In working with the TAS, I help with providing education and resources for those struggling to manage their diagnosis of Arthritis or other auto-immune diseases. Being someone who lives with Ankylosing Spondilitis, I personally know the challenges of living with chronic pain.
I am committed to helping people connect to their truest and highest Selves. In one on one therapy work, I dive deep into supporting you directly with your goals and healing, it is all about you! Group sessions often incorporate music, and I love teaching combination classes blending stability, strength and gentle movement while cultivating compassionate awareness.
Tanya Gita Roberts
Mobility & Stability
I discovered the benefits of practicing yoga over 19 years ago. I began to practice in university as a way to alleviate stress and anxiety and yoga has stuck with me through all of my ups and downs. Through the years, my practice has evolved to become the corner stone for all aspects of my life. The practices and philosophy of yoga weave through my life on and off the mat. Yoga is not just the physical poses, movements, and breathing we do on our mats – it is a way of moving through life with greater connection to both ourselves and everything around us; a way of connecting to the profound peace, equanimity, and light that exists within us all.
My personal practice gives me the tools I need to stay grounded and present with life as it happens and has been instrumental in my recovery from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have found that it is in my daily life that I experience the greatest gifts that practice has to offer. In the words of TKV Desikachar: “The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our lives and our relationships”. As my teacher, Baba Hari Dass, has said “if you work on yoga, yoga will work on you”.
I believe that the practice of yoga is accessible to everyone and every body. When we slow down and give ourselves the opportunity to tune into the innate wisdom of the body, we can use mindful movement, breathing, and meditation to improve our overall quality of life. I view all the different practices or techniques of yoga as ways of cultivating connection to the inner peace that is ever present at the core of our being.
Drawing on my background in Classical Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Yoga Therapy, I focus on alignment, breath, and the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in my classes. My teaching style emphasizes connection to the breath, introspection, and self-reflection. My intention is to provide an inclusive, non-judgmental, safe space for others to connect deeply with their inner resource of well-being, peace, and joy.
I completed my 200 hour training at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga in 2011 and a 500 hour training at the Mount Madonna Centre in 2014. I am in the final stages of completing my certification in Yoga Therapy (C-IAYT) through Ajna Yoga College.
Maria’s classes are a mix of traditional yoga, therapeutic movement re-education and always a bit of fun. After taking her first training in Nepal in 2016, Maria continued her studies with Ajna Yoga College as a Therapeutic Yoga teacher. Maria specializes in working with neuro-yoga and working with chronic injuries and conditions.
Maria grew up dancing competitively with movement being a part of her life, expression and healing. It was through yoga practices that she was able to dive deeper and support her healing from various injuries, anxiety and an autoimmune condition. Slowly layer by layer, she uncovered more about Yoga, the practice, and herself. Although her yoga roots are in Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga, it has been through personal discovery and formal therapeutic training she has learned to work with the body as it is to inspire well being, personal advocacy and present moment awareness and acceptance. It is from this place she teaches, offering tools and support and applying Yoga and movement practices relative to whatever you are experiencing.
“My practice is never done, never complete. That is beautiful in itself. I am always learning and unlearning within my own body and if anything, the practice of yoga gives me a ground on which to let that be okay no matter what. A landing place to move forward from, that is why it is a continuous practice. The work is never done for any of us. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Am I “Healed”? No again! The reason I teach is to help others through the frame work of yoga to cultivate presence, not perfection. Because that is where the magic truly unfolds.”
- Maria Brownlow
"Through the practices of yoga, we release from the attachment, the suffering, dullness and pain of life to embody and experience bliss, joy, light and love in every thing"
–Tatah Dvandva Anabhighata. Yoga Sutra 2.48
Sarada Jagannath Pranav
Classical Hatha Yoga
My life’s journey spanning India, America, and Canada has made me realize the answer to the question: What is yoga? —it is an experience.
I come from a family where yoga and ayurveda is an integral part of our daily life. Growing up as a kid in India I was introduced to these sister sciences by my grandfather who is an ayurvedic doctor. He used to teach me simple yogic and ayurvedic practices to stay calm and balanced, which helped me immensely as a growing adult.
I have my Masters in social work and counselling psychology. I see how our mind, body and breath are strongly connected and experienced for myself how my body and mind felt after my yoga practice and how diet influenced my mind.
I did my 250 hours teachers training course in Hatha Yoga from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthna (S-VYASA) in Bangalore, India in 2011. It is the only yoga university in India which does research about the therapeutic benefits of yoga in a scientific way. Belief in this ancient knowledge system inspired me to incorporate it into my counselling profession to share healing practices with my clients whenever possible. Clients used to share their experiences and the benefits of including these practices and that further strengthened my belief.
My respect for these sister sciences has deepened with each passing day, and when we moved to Syracuse, New York I started teaching yoga at studios and elderly living homes. In 2013, I did a 250 hour teacher training course in Hatha Yoga from Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanawantri Ashram. In this ashram people from 80 countries came to do their teachers training and I was so happy to see the universal acceptance of these sister sciences. In the same year I also did my Ayurvedic Wellness certification course from Sivananda Ashram.
Bringing together my intrinsic knowledge and professional certifications in these sister sciences, I was able to teach and offer ayurvedic wellness and cooking workshops in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I did approximately 40 ayurvedic cooking and wellness workshops in the 5 years that I lived in the US and it was one of my most satisfying and beautiful life experiences.
In 2016, I moved to India and continued teaching yoga, yoga therapy, kids yoga and ayurveda to different communities.
I believe destiny brought me to Victoria in February 2019—a place where yoga and ayurveda are being adopted as a part of every community’s well-being. As I engage with communities and interact with individuals here, I am convinced that this ancient knowledge system from India belongs to everybody and every-body. There is a happiness deep in my heart rooted in my belief and practice of yoga and ayurveda that I wish to share with the communities here in Victoria. I am excited to begin this journey at FierceHeart Yoga studio.
Join me in this classical practice and together let us nurture healthy and happy communities. Om Shanti Om.
When it comes to health practice, I believe our chosen methods are often a reflection of the way we live. I believe movements can be fluid, natural and sustainable; that training ought to be light-hearted, sustainable and fun. My mission is to bring people together on an adventure toward mutual self-discovery through health, movement and introspective practices. I especially enjoy sharing with other dedicated learners who are seeking a richer experience of themselves and their community. My classes typically involve joint mobility, breath-work, movement science, mindfulness, creative expression and flow. I hope to leave everyone feeling open, relaxed, focused and empowered.
My personal practice began 15 years ago with Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qigong. Beginning martial arts at such a young age had an enormous impact and ignited an ongoing passion for health and longevity. After receiving my black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu, and seeking to make a bigger difference in the lives of others, I completed my Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) education in 2010. My experiences as a first responder provided me with a deep understanding for the importance of preventative medicine and a holistic approach to healthcare. This awareness was the driving force guiding my decision to pursue a B.Sc. in Kinesiology, which I achieved in April 2018.
I have been inspired by many instructors, and have received formal training in a variety of both eastern and western disciplines. I currently hold certifications in strength and conditioning, first aid instruction, emergency medicine, sports nutrition and Tai Chi instruction (700 hour). Today I am proud to share Yang Family Tai Chi, as passed on by Lineage Holder, Sifu Michael Paler (Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs), descendent of Master Wei Shuren.
Yamas & Niyamas,
I have been a fitness professional since 2004 and have been teaching yoga since 2009. I completed my Yoga Therapy Certification with internationally recognized therapeutic yoga teacher Susi Hately of Functional Synergy in 2014 and have been teaching privates, semi-privates and therapeutic group classes since.
I am passionate about the benefits of yoga and helping people move with more ease and awareness. I have had personal experience with pain and know how it feels to be resigned to that way of living. Therapeutic Yoga has brought me relief from pain and a greater sense of who I am and what I want in my life. I feel so fortunate to be able to share these lessons with others in my courses and retreats.
If you have chronic pain or pain that goes away for a time but always resurfaces; if you'd like to improve your posture, look younger, have more flexibility and ease in your life - my classes may be for you. You don't need to bend like a pretzel to do yoga, yoga is for everybody, not just the bendy ones.
After my classes, you may feel relaxed, uplifted, lighter, longer, taller, more at ease, less stressed, we may even have a few laughs - after all, who needs all that tension?