Kristin Bjarnason, RN, our medical consultant, is a Certified Kripalu Yoga and Meditation Teacher. She teaches individual and group sessions in both Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation. Kristin offers a 30 minute chair yoga/meditation session for the busy clients with limited time while fully appreciating the benefits of practising meditation and yoga. Please leave your name and contact information with reception if you are interested in participating.
In addition to yoga and meditation, Kristin has her certification to teach Nordic Walking. A long time lover of the sport Kristin offers introductory classes to Success Weight Loss clients and in the community.
Definition of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu means compassion and is a yoga of consciousness, practised not only on the mat, but just as importantly “off the mat,” as well. More than just a stretch…Posture by posture, breath by breath, the mind/body integration that is Kripalu yoga awakens the deepest levels of self-awareness, for it is through such recognition that a new level of caring and compassion is attained.
Kripalu Yoga begins with listening to the wisdom of your body and then focusing your mind on the awareness of the posture and your internal state, taking into account sensations, emotions, and thoughts.
When practising Kripalu yoga, there is also an emphasis on practising compassion for oneself, developing self-acceptance, being aware of the activity of the mind while practising Unlike many forms of exercise where you may push yourself over your limit or may be exercising without paying attention to signals from your body, Kripalu yoga is practised with full awareness and the ability to honor what your body needs at that moment.
There is a quote attributed to a Kripalu Yoga practitioner – “Kripalu Yoga is less about standing on your head and more about standing on your own two feet”This very neatly sums up the essence of Kripalu Yoga.
Health Benefits you can Expect to Enjoy from doing Yoga Regularly
Yoga is for absolutely everyone regardless of age, physical abilities, shape or size.
Yoga affects and strengthens every system in your body including your endocrine system. It also aids in:
Flexibility: Stretching your tight body in new ways will help it to become more flexible
Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body building strength
Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.
Pain Prevention: Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment.
Better Breathing: Many of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body.
Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future.
Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence
Definition of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a way of staying present in the moment. It is about what we pay attention to and how we focus our mind moment to moment. It is a gentle practice of non-judgemental observation of ourselves and our world and accepting – without necessarily approving – what is present. By practising mindfulness you learn to replace judgement with curiosity and reaction with response, thus allowing a more liberating perspective on life.
Kristin has a passion for teaching mindfulness meditation. She has co-authored a book, “Mindfulness Matters – 7 Minutes to a Peaceful Mind”. You will learn how to practice mindfulness in a simple and timely manner. For many of us life is busy and forever punctuated with unpredictable events – some pleasant and others not so. Paradoxically, the busyness of our lives leaves us with precious little time to take care of ourselves and to learn new ways for this to occur–-ways that may be the very key to living with more peace, ease and acceptance…
“I have been practising with Kristin for almost three years. She has a very gentle way of guiding you during her classes. Along with instruction Kristin reminds you of things to be watching for while doing the pose…your breathing, relaxing your face, having your arms or legs in the correct position. Kristin is by far the best yogi for my style of learning. I hope to continue with her for many years to come and would recommend her for any level of practice.” – Dee M., Union Bay, B.C.
“Kristin’s Kripalu Yoga classes are wonderful. Kristin leads us through the poses with clear instructions and is attentive to any of our special modifications we might need from injuries, etc.. Her voice is particularly soothing and I always leave relaxed, even when coming to class with the “world on my shoulders”. – Sandy L. Courtenay, B.C.
Walk this way
Did you see a mysterious ‘ski-less’ cross-country skier on your way to work this morning? It may have been Kristin. Kristin has been enjoying the sport of nordic walking for several years and teaches individuals and small groups throughout the year.
Nordic walking is a fitness trend quickly spreading throughout Canada. If you like walking, you’ll love the fun and health benefits of Nordic Walking! Increasing numbers of people are enjoying this user-friendly sport that combines the aerobic and strength building benefits of cross-country skiing with the convenience of walking. It has been popular in Scandinavia for over 20 years.
For years, health care professionals have stressed the benefits of walking for personal fitness and well-being. Nordic walking takes walking to the next level. Using specially designed poles provides a surprisingly impressive workout, engaging as much as 90% of the body’s muscles while improving posture, balance, and stability.
- 28% increased cardio workout
- Burn up to 46% more calories compared to ‘regular’ walking
- Core muscle strengthening
- Reduces stress on hips, knees & ankles
- Provides stability & balance
- Improves posture
- Provides resistance training
- Easy to learn and suitable for people of all ages & fitness levels!