About The Yoga Element
Sir Ken Robinson, in his book The Element, explains the title as the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at The Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired to achieve at their highest levels. For many years, I was most in my element when on my mat, immersed in a practice that brought both joy and challenge.
When I read The Element I imagined how passion combined with the right knowledge could yield a life and career dedicated to what comes naturally; for me, that was yoga. Since then I have discovered that true growth and evolution isn’t necessarily found in what comes naturally. It’s found on the edges of our comfort zones, in the places where we have yet to tread confidently. Without the opportunity to confront our fears and uncertainties, would we ever experience what it really means to be in our element?
The Yoga Element is about discovering one’s true nature through exploration. Whether in a group class or a one-on-one private session, we use the asana practice as a common language through which to delve deeper into how the body is designed to move, integrating alternative approaches to strength and mobility from outside the yoga discipline. It is my intention to ignite the spark of curiosity in my students, exposing the hidden potential that lies within each of us, waiting to be discovered.
Yoga has given me the ultimate gift—the ability to wake up every day feeling good about what I do for a living.
I began practicing Ashtanga yoga in 2003 and have studied with outstanding instructors throughout Canada and the world, including Jody Manley (Halifax), Ron Reid (Toronto), Mark Darby (Montreal), Nancy Gilgoff (Maui), Petri Raisanen (Helsinki), and Emil Wendel (Goa, India).
I completed Downward Dog Yoga Centre’s renowned teacher training program in 2008, where I have been teaching group classes to practitioners of all levels since 2009. I led Downward Dog’s morning Mysore program from 2011 until 2014, and was welcomed as a faculty member into the Teacher Training program in 2013.
Inspired to bring yoga to Muskoka, in 2009 I created Lake of Bays Yoga, a studio that operates during the summer months, providing daily classes in an idyllic lakeside setting. As a studio owner, I’m honoured to contribute to a thriving community of yogis whose ceaseless enthusiasm and dedication make it hard to call what I do “work”.
For nearly ten years, yoga was my sole form of physical activity. In 2011, a full-time teaching schedule combined with an advanced Ashtanga practice began taking its toll on my body. In response, I augmented my practice with strength training, using powerlifting, kettlebells and bodyweight training. I sought out new teachers from other movement disciplines such as Ido Portal, Shawn Mozen and Sara-Claire Lajeunesse (Agatsu Inc) who introduced me to the larger picture, where strong, fluid, and pain-free movement is the all-encompassing whole of which yoga can be a significant part.
Today my asana practice and my teaching are informed by what I have gained from other movement disciplines. In group classes, private lessons, and on retreat, my goal is to share information that will change not only how students practice, but also how they feel in their bodies. I hope to inspire others as my teachers have inspired me—to move, both on and off the yoga mat, with awareness, a sense of play, and an unquenchable curiosity in what our bodies are capable of.
I have been a student of Cecily’s for the past five years. She is a gifted yoga teacher who holds space for each member of her class. Cecily’s classes have the perfect combination of spirit, technique, pacing, and generosity, along with her intuitive sense that gives each student what they need. I always leave her class uplifted with a better understanding of how my body works.Nikki Alexander, Lake of Bays Yoga student
What is so unique about Cecily is the precision and clarity with which she leads her class through all the poses. Whether you are new to yoga (as I am) or experienced, you will feel comfortable under her instruction. She emphasizes the importance of working at your own level yet challenges you to extend yourself. Her sense of humour makes the class fun and I always come away invigorated and energized.Bunny Segal, Lake of Bays Yoga student
As an avid cyclist I have had a number of muscular issues and found Cecily extremely helpful in one-to-one sessions. Her knowledge of the body, her professionalism and her ability to zero in on the root of the issue are unparalleled.Brian Segal, Lake of Bays Yoga student and private client
Never in a million years did I think that I would “like” let alone “love” yoga. Cecily has changed all of that. She is a fabulous instructor, who does not take no for an answer. She pushes you to do so much more than you think you can. Now I cannot wait for our weekly sessions!Kiki Delaney, private client
Cecily is the best coach and athletic professional I have ever seen in action. She has a unique gift for providing superior verbal cues, personalized coaching and is always 110% prepared for class. She continuously keeps it fresh with new information and ideas, motivating her students to work hard within their means. I am always astonished at what I can accomplish under her guidance. My strength has increased, my balance is better, and my technique is more refined. I would highly recommend Cecily for private lessons, classes, workshops, retreats and special events.Illoana Smith, Lake of Bays student
As a older individual with a professional background that provides me with a comprehensive understanding of the human body, Cecily has been the perfect practitioner to guide me in developing a life long yoga practice. Over the past 2 years, she has grounded my practice in the yoga basics, while working to breakdown old movement patterns; rebuilding in my body greater muscle balance, flexibility and overall strength. Her commitment to meeting my needs, her adaptability to my ever changing body and her constant presentation of new techniques make our weekly sessions invaluable.Carol Damp Lowery, private client
I can’t speak highly enough about Cecily’s enthusiasm and unique style of teaching. Her ability to motivate and captivate the interest of her students is second to none. Most importantly, her professionalism and attitude, as well as her ability to accommodate the individual needs of professional athletes places her in a class of her own. I would recommend her services without any hesitation!Carmelo Lobue, Head Athletic Therapist, Toronto FC