Power of Movement 2011

Back in my Simply Switch wrap-up post, I alluded to a new yoga venture I’m participating in. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to tone down the continuous high intensity exercise and swap it out for more yoga classes.

Growing up in New Brunswick, I never had much of an opportunity to practice yoga. I was first introduced to it in university with free Iyengar classes at my campus gym. I liked it. A lot. From there I started going to BodyFlow classes at my gym 1-2 times a week. But they always left me wanting more.

It wasn’t until I came to Ontario that I started going to real yoga studios. Places that dedicate themselves to yoga and its philosophy. I’ve tried Yin Yoga, Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Power Yoga, Bikram, Moksha, Restorative and everything in between.

I love everything about yoga. I love how strong it makes me feel and how it tunes me in with my body. At the same time, it continuously challenges and humbles me.

Up until this point in my fitness journey, I’ve been all about the high intensity. Sprints, intervals, dumbbells, barbells, and hitting max heart rates. I thought I was doing my body a favour. While it has improved my strength and cardiovascular fitness, I truly believe regularly practicing yoga has improved my daily functioning more than any of the above.

It was with this in mind that I came across Power of Movement.



Power of Movement is the world’s largest yoga fundraiser to benefit the Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation. It wasn’t just yoga that attracted me to this, but the cause.

My mom has arthritis in her hands. And my Papa did before her. Something I could very well start seeing signs of by the time I’m in my thirties. Thankfully, she doesn’t have intense regular pain, but it does affect her day-to-day life hugely. She can’t pump her own gas. She can’t open jars. Even manoeuvring a TV remote can be difficult.

Suddenly, the choice to participate became a no-brainer.

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On February 27, I’ll be one of 500 people attending a yoga mega-session here in Toronto. In the month leading up to the date I’ll be doing daily yoga challenges. Everything from practicing yoga itself to incorporating the philosophies into my day. I love the idea of combining a high-movement exercise like yoga to support a condition that hinders everyday movement.

I’ve also set one major goal for myself to complete during this  challenge. My friends, on February 27 I want to be able to do the wheel.


I’m already halfway there. I can get the top of my head on the floor. I can do it holding on to the ankles of the instructor. But I just need a liiiitle more flexibility in my shoulders to pull it off. So close!

I know everyone is operating under tight budgets, but I’m hoping to get enough $5 donations to reach my fundraising goal of $250. It’s not much, but worth it if it makes people like my mother’s experience with arthritis better. Or even my own, as it seems to be genetic.

Click here to donate. OR if you’re in Canada, sign-up! Every little bit helps. If I reach my fundraising goal, I’ll take a picture of me doing the above pose and the end of the challenge to share :)

I’ve also added a widget on the right-hand side bar that you can click to donate as well. Just in case you need to come back later to do it.

Thank you in advance for your support and constant encouragement. Now I encourage YOU to get out there and move your body. That is of course, after you donate five dollars ;)


Question of the Day: Yogis! What is that one pose you’re trying to reach? I also aim to someday to a perfect dancer pose, king pigeon and headstand!

Posted on January 30, 2011, in Challenges and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Wheel makes your back feel AMAZING! And I’d love to be able to do crow someday :) Good luck Susan, you’re awesome for participating in this!

  2. This looks amazing! I did a yoga fundraiser once called Yoga In Motion which was for breast cancer and it was such a beautiful event. This one looks quite similar. I’m going to look into signing up. Good for you for supporting this endeavour and fulfilling your yoga goals at the same time.

    As for me, I would love to be able to do a headstand for more than a few seconds! And there are a whole bunch of other poses that I would love to be able to do…crow being one of them. :)

  3. I’m in!
    As someone with an autoimmune form of arthritis and had to give up yoga for 2 years due to chronic pain in all of my joints, this type of event is very close to my heart. I’m grateful to have my RA under control and be back at yoga.

  4. Just read about this event yesterday! It sounds so amazing. I will definitely be signing up, once I get my Reading Week travel plans figured out!

    Hmm there are so many poses I am working towards…I guess the main one would be handstand, but I need wayyy more core and shoulder strength before I’ll be able to do that one, heh.

  5. What a wonderful cause. As a yoga instructor, I obviously have a soft spot for these sort of things

    Head stand is actually really simple if you do it correctly. I actually feel the most confident in that post and I don’t even need a wall anymore. But there is no pose I’m working towards. I think I do what I can when I feel like it. Yoga is not a “working” towards type of thing for me like a marathon or number of situps. I suppose I’m just “working” towards just being present ;)

  6. It took me forever to get into wheel, and then one day I just did it! It is such an empowering feeling when you get into wheel! I can’t wait for you to experience it!

  7. I want to be able to do peacock pose, the one where you are on your forearms. Liek a headstand/handstand but on your forearms. I can do a headstand, so I am getting there!

  8. wheel… is one of my favorite asanas ever! it opens the heart and throat chakras, it strengthens the back, abs, legs, it’s just…amazing!

    tip: keep walking your feet in, and hands in. Keep bringing them closer together. #1 reason people can’t get up very well is their feet are too far “out”. Keep walking them backwards, towards your butt. This is your virutal online yoga teacher talking :)

    • I’ve only ever been able to do it assisted and it feels soooo good once I’m up! Will keep inching my hands and feet in… thanks for the tip :D

  9. This is awesome! Best of luck with your fundraising!

    My current dream pose is crow. I also want to improve Birds of Paradise.

  10. I donated. I remember raising money for Team in Training for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, it’s tough but worth it…Good Luck.

  11. My Feb health challenge is going to be to do yoga, every single day! I love it, and I really need to incorporate it in my routine more. Hopefully this month will do it. It’s great for body and mind!!

    I LOVE the idea of the Power of Movement! I will definitely give you some $$ but I should look into it myself! I did a yogathon here in TO last year, and I think I’ll be doing it again! I love doing things for good causes :)

    And I really, really want to do crow!


  12. Headstand without a wall! I’ve been working on it for a while. I am getting close.

    Wheel is one of my favourite poses!

  13. I can do wheel but I don’t hold it as long as I’d like! When I was really little I used to be in gymnastics and I’ve been super flexible ever since. Even as out of shape as I am now! lol! The yoga pose I’d like to do is scorpion. I could do it when I was about 40 lbs. skinnier so maybe one day I’ll get there again.

    I think it’s awesome you are doing yoga for such a great cause. My favorite aunt has RA and it’s crippling.

  14. Despite doing three levels of yoga teacher training, peacock pose still stymies me. I think it’s the inverted hand position:
    Sounds like you are well on your way to cracking the wheel! Here are some tips if you want to practice at home:
    1) do the wheel using an exercise ball ….it will help get your body used to a) being inverted and b) stretching your spine backwards. If you can hook your feet under something (sofa?) that will help with the safety aspect re: possibly slipping off. Or wear running shoes for more floor grip.
    2) if you have a step, or yoga blocks, put them against the wall (shoulder width apart for the blocks) and put your hands on them while you are doing the wheel. The added height can compensate for lack of shoulder flexibility. If you can do it holding your teachers’s ankles, I’d say you could do it for sure with some added height. People are usually amazed at how easy it seems with a couple of inches of help :-)
    Good luck!

    • Oooh, thank you for the tips Ali!! I am going to start practicing with the props at my gym. As a trainer, people are used to seeing me do strange things :P

  15. That’s an awesome challenge, and so pertinent! I bet doing yoga will actually help you stave off arthritis in the long run, too. Good luck with the wheel- you are a better woman than I. :)

  16. Very cool Susan! I think I’m going to register for the Vancouver fundraiser – it’s a 15 minute walk from my place!

    Some very good tips on doing the wheel in the comments here. I would echo that practicing using an exercise ball is a great way – and you can just lay on it and relax for 10 mins. You may also want to lay on your back in reclined goddess pose (http://www.now-zen.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/yoga-get-grounded-pose.jpg) and bring your arms over your head to rest on the floor above you, however is comfortable. I find this HUGELY opening for the upper back and shoulders, as well as grounding and opening for the hips.

    • Lovelovelove goddess pose. We used to do that one a lot when I went to Iyengar. Also, didn’t know you had a new blog! Love any lady who lifts ;) I did the whole 6 month New Rules of Lifting program a few years ago and have nothing but great things to say about it.

  17. The wheel is tough! I can only hold it for a bit. I want to have a strong half moon and twisting half moon. I can do it (barely) but I wobble all over.

    That sounds like such an amazing event and wonderful cause!

  18. Susan. What a great idea! Arthritis has touched my family too (cousin unable to move) and rheumatoid arthritis is also tied in with Crohn’s. I love what you are doing! Wellness Foods would love to donate … will email you directly. Cathy

  19. P.S. You can TOTALLY do the wheel! I know it seem intimidating, but if you can bridge, you can wheel! Good luck!

  1. Pingback: Things I Learned in the First Month of 2011 | The Great Balancing Act

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