Michael found yoga over a decade ago when it was suggested as a way to heal injuries incurred through sport. But it was the mental and emotional impact of practice that kept him coming back to the mat. Michael loves yoga because it is a learning practice—one that offers a limitless number of teachings about body, mind, and spirit. Surrender is the foundation of Michael’s practice, through which he cultivates compassion for self and community. Though he embraces yoga as serious and sacred, he encourages students to practice with a light heart and a sense of play. Already an experienced, if unconventional, high school teacher, Michael completed 200 and 300 hour training programs at Octopus Garden to deepen his connection to yoga through teaching. He has since developed “Yoga4Teens: Exploring Paths to Wellness,” a high school yoga course which he offers in Toronto schools. His own education continues through a daily practice that integrates systems of natural and functional movement and contemplative strategies to find healing and peace. Michael’s classes are marked by a commitment to joyful experimentation. The foundation of his teaching is safe, healthy movement that questions preconceived notions of what yoga can be. Michael aims to support students to build strength, mobility, and balance— on and off the mat.
Krista’s approach to yoga is to create space to cultivate strength, empowerment, and empathy. Krista started seriously practicing yoga after a health issue temporarily limited her ability to engage in her regular physical activities. The safety and freedom she discovered on the mat led her to expand her diverse teaching practice to include yoga. Krista’s personal yoga practice is characterized by laughter at failure, joyful and sometimes ego-dominated attempts to stick a handstand, a deep respect for the art and intelligence of her teachers, and the beauty of learning in community with other yogis. One of her passions is teaching trauma-informed yoga, especially for teens and young adults. An important lesson she has learned from her students is how much courage and compassion it takes to really tune into ourselves and contribute the world around us. Krista credits her yoga practice for keeping her grounded in her other work as a sexual violence prevention educator and gender studies professor. Krista completed yoga teacher training at Octopus Garden (200 YTT, 300 YTT, and Restorative YTT). She has also completed New Leaf Foundation’s Reaching In, Reaching Out: Yoga for Youth Training, with a focus on making yoga accessible for underserviced and marginalized communities. Her classes range from high-intensity, strength based practice that combines creative asana sequences with interdisciplinary movement, to restorative and introspective practice that requires flexibility of body-mind-spirit.