Happy Friday!!

Please welcome my very first guest blogger,  Melanie Younger. Among her many amazing skills, she is a certified yoga instructor. I asked her to talk to us about the best kind of yoga we can do as women, as moms, as business owners, as busy people with busy lives. Grab a coffee or tea, get comfortable and have a read…

My upcoming Yin Yoga For Deep Restoration workshop is designed with slow movement focused on allowing relaxation of the central nervous system, decompression of the joints and restorative support for the musculature and connective tissue in the body. I really believe that we live in a culture that encourages striving in all aspects of life and some of this attitude of push and pull within ourselves has made its way into the yoga room. One of the most therapeutic ways to take advantage of the practice of yoga is to allow the body to be relatively passive, to support the body in opening and to encourage the breath to be primary in creating a dialogue, allowing it to feel safe.

This push-pull factor might also be felt internally, because sometimes when we actually relax and sit with ourselves or move with our bodies in slow ways that facilitate opening, we are confronted with the desire to distract ourselves and to turn away from what’s there.

The Yoga Sutras explain for us the 5 reasons we remain stuck in life. These 5 reasons are called the Kleshas and they are identified as: Ignorance, Ego, Attachment to Pleasure, Aversion to Pain and Fear of Death .Yin Yoga is especially good at giving us time to practice watching Attachment to Pleasure and Aversion to Pain.  As we move very slowly drawing out the holds in our asana practice, sometimes aversion arises. If we resolve to stay with the posture, focus on the breath, and allow, we find we are able to watch the aversion come… and eventually go. When we  release the posture, we are flooded with pleasant sensations. We want to stay and linger in this feeling of release and comfort.  We have an opportunity to, on our yoga mats, cultivate this skill of observing our aversion and attachment, and use it in other situations in our lives. We begin to recognize our inner tendencies. We notice aversion and attachment. Knowing these are constantly arising, we can consciously choose not to react to them or selectively choose when to react to them. Now, because we are aware, the choice can be made at will instead of by default. Our reactions are no longer automatic. This expands our freedom.

Beyond this internal conversation with the body, the yin practice is an excellent antidote to some of the chronic strain we put on our bodies through sitting at desks all day. We work to support openness in the legs, to unhunch our shoulders, to create softness in the neck, and to unclench the jaw and the belly. This practice is about allowing yourself to feel fully safe and supported, and then to allow the body to finally release all the clenching, tension and pent up feelings that might have built up over time.

Through an excess of doing, pushing and exhausting ourselves we create a huge need for conscious restoration. That’s what this class is about. Letting yourself be soft and seeing what is there that needs your attention.

– Written by Melanie Younger


1. If you could tell people to do one thing that could potentially change their lives, what would it be?
Add green juice to your diet, get a colonic, learn about Chinese tonic herbs, go have at least one session with a shamanic practitioner. Green juice can massively increase your energy levels because you gain access to vital nutrients in a way that your body can absorb them no matter what is going on with your digestive tract. That brings us to the colonic – colon hydrotherapy is something that I would recommend to ANYONE, but particularly to folks who are struggling with sluggish energy, skin break-outs, food allergies and digestive issues. It’s not as weird as it seems, if you find the right practitioner it can be a really healing experience and will leave you feeling refreshed and ease your digestion. I have immune issues and learning about Taoist tonic herbalism CHANGED MY LIFE! There are some super easy teas you can make and take daily that increase immunity and super-charge energy levels. I went from years of feeling exhausted and constantly getting sick even when I was eating clean, to having boundless energy and feeling great ALL THE TIME. I didn’t even know that was something that was possible for me. Everything you need to know about tonic herbalism is available here: Get at least one session with a shamanic practitioner, just trust me on that one. If you have an issue that is blocking your life or if you’re feeling “stuck” or emotionally burdened, shamanism is the thing for you.
2. What’s your favorite smell?
Vanilla, Cloves, Coconut & Sandalwood. I like to smell like a hippie eating a cookie on the beach, basically. HA!
3. What do you do when you’re feeling low?
I have undergone a big shift in the past year or so from “treat-based” coping to “healing-based” coping mechanisms so now when I’m feeling low energy or bummed out, I take my Chinese herbal tea, make a green juice or a superfood packed smoothie and I do an ass-kicking workout. I am a super Yin person and I love to keep my yoga Yin but what I have realized is that my “low” tends to come from feeling anxious or nervous and the best way to get through that is by getting active and burning that energy off. I NEVER thought I would be the type of person who loves intense exercise but through the magic of the Chinese herbs, I finally have the energy to do it!
4. What is your favorite time of day?Morning but only because I don’t work in the morning so I use that time as my “me” time.

5. Do you have a favorite restaurant in Ottawa? If so, what is it?
I don’t eat out often but I do LOVE The Table and Simply Raw Express. If you need to grab a green juice on the go, Simply Raw Express is the best place ever for that! I recommend their “Glow” juice.

6. What’s your favorite thing about yourself or what do you think others would say it is?
I’m adventurous and adaptable. I really love myself, so I could definitely go on, but I think that’s probably the thing I feel most blessed by – I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been dropped in a situation where I felt I couldn’t make it work if I wanted to.

7. Favorite cuss word? You’re not allowed to skip this!
I like non-gendered swears so asshole or fuck probably. I am one of those people who appreciates the idea of swearing in  a general.

8. What’s your favorite social media outlet?
I don’t really care about social media that much. I use my facebook a lot but that’s because I have friends all over the world and it’s a great way to connect with them. For my business facebook, you can find me at

9. What book or movie should we read/watch right now?
I am SUCH a reader that this is a hard one. I would like to simply encourage people to actually READ in general. I would love for everyone to watch “Waking Life” at least once if they haven’t seen it.

10. Name one person living or dead who has made a difference in your life and briefly explain how.
I am lucky to have an excellent and complex nuclear family. We are so interconnected that I can’t pull individuals apart and offer gratitude to  just one without seeing the organism of my family as a whole. My brother has changed my life by offering me the opportunity to be a much older sister and to learn about myself through having that mirror. We’re 10 years apart in age so it has been an amazing trip to pass on knowledge from what bands are cool to encouraging him to meditate. He’s at the point now where he might be teaching me more than I’m teaching him and I’m so grateful for that. My mom is a creative genius and imbued my life with such magic and an unwavering belief in my gifts and who I am as a person. My dad is a developmental Psychologist and an academic powerhouse – growing up with a knowledge-machine as a father taught me so so much and gave me some excellent and unusual skills that I’m really grateful for. I am mostly grateful for the collective environment of being exposed to the excellence of the people that raised me, that has definitely made a huge difference to my life and the way that I view the world, myself and my place in it.


melanieyounger2 Melanie Younger is a certified yoga instructor in the Kripalu tradition, a certified Reiki master/teacher and a traditionally trained Algonquin shaman. She believes in helping people to cultivate soft and safe spaces in which to heal and approaches her yoga classes with this in mind. Melanie is currently studying Traditional Thai Massage as an addition to the modalities she offers as vehicles for greater wellness. She has a B.A. from The University of Ottawa and has studied at The Alternative Medicine College of Canada & The Ottawa School of Art. 


FACEBOOK:  /littlealtars



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