I don’t come to Abbey to get a workout. Burning calories is an added bonus. I come to Abbey because her yoga experiences help me deepen the connection with myself and the Universe, they move me from a place of fear and anxiety back into a place of love and alignment, and they put my mind at ease. They shift me on a spiritual level and remind me that I can trust myself, and that I am always worthy of feeling good.
It’s not just about moving your body in physical space. It’s not just about self-care. When you are in her yoga experiences and continue to attend, you deepen the connection with yourself, with your truth, your knowing, and your inner wisdom. You are given permission over and over again to take life easy, to feel your feelings, to be present and to stay aligned. And the best part is: the more you go, the better it gets. The more you start to build supports for yourself off your mat. The more you experience true presence, gratitude and the ability to focus on one singular thing at a time. Being in the space and moving in a way that feels like self-care is a gift that spills out onto other aspects of your mind, body and soul.
Through her guidance, Abbey provides a safe space for any body. She is a person who has recovered from an eating disorder. She gets it - all of the fear - and it is so evident in the way she gently guides her classes that everyone is welcome, no matter what age, size, gender, class or race. Her energy attracts like-minded people who are all there to collectively find peace and maintain their practice. There is a sense of safety about the space she creates and there is no room for judgment. She describes every pose, presents multiple options for each, and explains beautifully how to get from one to the next, so you can really choose which way works for your body without shame. She will come around and do gentle adjustments or enhance a stretch with your consent. She also offers virtual options, so you can tune in from your own space if you’re not comfortable with in-person sessions. The virtual classes still promise all of the goodness that comes with the in-person classes, however I personally get more out of it from attending in-person.
Abbey’s experiences fully engage all the senses. The physical body and inner energy get to move and shift into a new vibration. The music alone is enough to put one’s mind at rest. The sounds of the crystal singing bowls that she plays herself at the end of class is transformative. As the pitches weave in and out of each other, they send soundwaves throughout your entire body that help with physical pain, deep relaxation and healing. It’s truly the dessert of the practice. From the rejuvenating smells of incense and sage, to the passages from the Oracle cards and Journey to the Heart, you’re in for a full blown spiritual adventure that will leave you feeling embodied with your truth, integrated with your senses and connected to peace.
One of my favourite things is that no class is ever the same twice, so it demands your mental presence and attention. It never gets monotonous, and it never feels like too much of the same thing. It’s always different, engaging, refreshing and restorative. Her yoga experiences are gifts that I carry with me on and off the mat, and I plan to continue attending for a long, long time.
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Samantha Marchionda is a Niagara-based singer, theatre performer, mental health advocate and entrepreneur. Her work focuses on normalizing discussions about mental illness, addiction and recovery, and empowering people to be their own best resource through one-on-one consulting, workshops, and speaking engagements.