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Celeste In the Media

Celeste on @smalls_creek_ravine




The nature sanctuary in Merrill Bridge Street Park has been a daily oasis for the youth that were attending yoga classes in my yoga studio, at 7 Copeland Avenue.  For ten years, students from the local high schools have been coming for classes to develop skills to relax the mind, quell anxiety and connect to nature.  Forest bathing, an ancient Japanese practice involves spending time in quiet reflection amidst a forest (even this tiny one).  Merrill Bridge ravine was our forest, for our reflection time.   The little creek, (aptly named Smalls Creek) was our backup band. As people walked by, ambling over us on the boardwalk, we would duck our faces so as not to be licked by their dogs.

The Yoga House is a studio that shares in the the delighting pleasure of this ecosystem and it’s many creatures with students of all ages.  Each stage of our life cycle reveals to us the need to connect to nature to feel whole and to know our own true nature. With the construction of a fourth rail and the building of a retaining wall, that will reduce or take out this portion of the ravine, there will be change.  How can the change be less impactful on the creek?

With the removal of trees, on the south side of the ravine housing the descending hill that welcomes Small’s Creek, there will be the loss of the sound of streaming water.  We, as a group, along with their teachers from the high schools, have meditated next to the creek and shared stories about the natural world returning to a sense of humanism that our hurried, scheduled lives often miss

Beach Metro: East Toronto yoga and fitness studios helping people stay active and healthy through online classes



As the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus continues, many businesses that have had to close their doors are adjusting the way they operate.

A number of East Toronto yoga studios and fitness clubs have adapted to these changing times by offering other alternatives for their clients to stay active.

For example, The Yoga House on Copeland Avenue has modified its services by moving classes to online.

Celeste Shirley, teacher and founder of The Yoga House, said she initially began practicing yoga because she found it to be both challenging and rewarding.

Shirley said that as we go through the COVID-19 crisis, people need to make time to take care of themselves mentally and physically.

Doing yoga is one of the activities that can help, she said.

“Personally, it has helped me reset. I felt like my values were in place but I’m understanding how to use my physical and mental energy more effectively,” said Shirley.

“I felt like this was inevitable, we were living such a fast-paced chaotic life that this is causing people to really look at what’s important and meaningful”.

The restrictions being put on people in order to stop the spread of the virus has made many people become more health conscious, she said, and also made them find ways other than gathering in group sessions or classes to be connected.

Shirley has moved her classes online and plans to collaborate with other fitness organizations such as Dialectical Living, run by Julie Hayden.

This will allow both organizations to bring participants from other programs together while practicing yoga and mindfulness.

Through hosting mindfulness workshops, Shirley checks in with each participant and realizes how everyone has altered their everyday life to continue their exercises from home.

Within these online classes, many individuals find it easier to commit as they can move at their own pace, such as taking breaks and moving along with the class when it best suits them with less guilt.

Shirley explained that virtual classes are intimate and personal to every person taking part, as she gets to know each individual and works with them to tackle any challenges they face.

Some challenges individuals are facing during the COVID-19 crisis are anxiety and strengthening their immune system.

Recognizing this, Shirley begins each class with breathing exercises and emphasizes the importance of “forest bathing”, as social distancing does not restrict you from being around nature.

She explained the importance to connect with nature right now because of the feeling of disconnect we are all undergoing. Through forest bathing, there is a resonance of vibration that you attune to by being immersed in nature and this helps strengthen the immune system.

Shirley said it’s important for people to keep busy and stay physically active during this stressful time.

“It is more important to stay physically active and it is more important than the mental because if the physical body is moving then your emotional body is much more resilient. You have much more adaptation to stress,” she said. “That is so paramount right now.”

For more information on The Yoga House and how to access its online classes, please go to  https://celesteinspires.com/

Full article link here: https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/04/06/east-toronto-yoga-and-fitness-studios-helping-people-stay-active-and-healthy-through-online-classes/

Upjourney: How Often Should I Do Yoga to See Results


Celeste Shirley

Teacher & Founder, The Yoga House

Yoga would be categorized in your fitness profile (if you were undergoing a fitness test) as flexibility. The other five components of fitness include agility, power, aerobic capacity, and balance. Yet, yoga also improves balance and agility.

When you do tree pose (stand on one leg) the flexibility improvement lengthens your muscles and soft tissue (tendons, ligaments, fascia) which means you can move quickly with greater ease.

Imagine slipping on a banana peel or your child’s sock they left on the floor. You will find you can catch your balance by quickly (with your agile hip and ankle) stepping your opposite foot down. As an added bonus, you may be calmer and not feel angry at your child (or the banana!).

Flexibility decreases within twenty-four hours after you do a stretch. Now, that’s lousy news, yet, the increased range of motion (ROM) that you gain from yoga in your joints–hips, spinal column, shoulder girdle, knees–will carry on after the twenty-four hour period. You will still be more agile. So technically, you need to do yoga every day to maintain the benefits.

Do yoga every day
I recommend doing yoga, every day not only to maintain your flexibility, but the increased circulation and movement of your muscles will allow you to feel more energy as ATP-CP (Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate) energy system will be more activated.

ATP, if you remember some biology from high school, is the energy system that kick starts your muscles. By practicing yoga you keep alive the activation of this system, and that means it is easier to boot this vital energy system up!

The other fabulous news about doing yoga every day, that I hear from my students, is the more you practice yoga, the more yoga does you!

I can honestly report that practicing yoga becomes addictive. For example, last night I woke in the middle of the night, at the expected time (3 am.–are you with me?) to a sore throat and it was keeping me awake. I intuitively bent my head back into fish pose lying on my back and took deep breaths–doesn’t everybody? (called ujaya breaths).

The sore throat softened and I fell back asleep. So, the great news about practicing yoga daily is you begin to use it as the antidote to stress and symptoms that it is.

Remember, yoga is a healing science. If you practice daily, you learn more each day about your body, and the daily habit will build the stamina to continue to practice daily.


Full article here: https://upjourney.com/how-often-should-i-do-yoga-to-see-results

Learn Grow And Live Interview: Loving Relationships with Celeste Shirley interview

Celeste is interviewed on Valentines in 2012 about how to live in a loving relationship even when you can’t feel the love.

Full Interviews here: https://soundcloud.com/celesteinspires

Toronto Star: One woman’s house is her yoga castle