The School of Yoga Therapy and Natural Medicine, many people avoid "OM" as a meditation device.
"I don't want to do any chanting, or any weird sounds," they say. One of Melanie's favourite students admits she loves Yoga, loves the benefits, yet proclaims, "There's no way I'm every going to OM!" Luckily, OMing is purely optional.
"OM stimulates various parts of the body," Melanie explains, "While studying Yoga Therapy in India, the mantra 'OM' was used for people with heart trouble as the vibration helps to heal tissue and regulate blood pressure."
The founder of Urban Roots Yoga, Melanie believes Yoga can heal and transform your life. CAMH (The Canadian Addiction and Mental Health Centre) for youths in the Concurrent Disorder Program and the Yellow Door Learning Centre (operated by Seeds of Hope Foundation) certainly agree. Offering, at no charge, several 16-week Kundalini Yoga for Addiction Recovery programs to participants (in life transition) who visit the house for arts and wellness programs, Melanie's community support changes lives every day!
Toronto businesses such as Sunlife Insurance, Toronto Western Hospital, Flight Centre, Children's Aid, Wellness Inc., MCIS, Hansa Language Centre and Embody Fitness reflect the diversity in Yoga, and its benefits for both young and not-so young clientele.
Originating in India, Yoga (derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj' meaning connect or unite) dates back approximately 10,000 years. "The script of the Vedas," Melanie states, "Eludes the idea of practicing a Yogic Spiritual Lifestyle. Over 2,000 years ago it was written and described in full detail by Patanjali.
With over 194 aphorisms, Yoga Sutras (otherwise known as Yoga Darshana, the vision of Yoga) express the art and science of traditional Yoga meditation for Self-Realization. Patanjali, credited with writing the Yoga Sutras, presented Yoga as Ashtanga Yoga, meaning 8 limbs. "It's eight different aspects for leading a Yogic Lifestyle," explains Melanie, "Which leads to enlightenment."
"Yoga creates a sense of space in the mind and body, allowing you to find clarity."
"Growing up in a small town, my thirst for spirituality and a connection wasn't being quenched," recalls Melanie. "Always searching for a higher meaning, I had a deeper longing for something more." Realizing a turn down the wrong path was a blessing in disguise, Melanie changed direction after a brief interlude in a little church courtyard. "During this dark time, I had an epiphany. I was to study and teach Yoga, passing these teachings on to others."
Finding the truth within is a spiritual aspect of Yoga. "Truth leads to trust; in the universe and within ourselves." remarks Melanie. Knowing we're all connected, she believes Yoga will help achieve the "understanding of a higher power - a spirit, in the world around us; in other people." Whether religious or non-religious, Yoga benefits everyone.
Click here to view our interview with Melanie Woosley.