Our Teachers

Robyn Bowman

Creator / Director

Robyn first began her exploration of yoga in 1993, well before the current yoga trends had begun.  Her first yoga class was taken just for fun with a couple of her girlfriends.  Something in the movement, the breath and the mindfulness spoke to her and she began to search out new classes and teachers.  Her practice slowly began to grow.

After working closely with her teacher Helen Duquette, she decided to dive into an intensive two year, 500 hour teacher training at the Helen Duquette Yoga Studio.  She discovered that with an intense study of yoga philosophy, human anatomy and through deconstructing each asana her practice deepened and became more fulfilling.  Sharing her yoga through teaching was an obvious transition that she was happy to make.

In 2007 she opened Creating Space Yoga Studio in Oakville, Ontario.  It is here that Robyn continues to be creative and finds that she is always inspired.  Creating Space Yoga Studio has become a unique studio where each student has the opportunity to move mindfully and to explore their own body wisdom.  Creating Space Yoga Studio continues to support the Oakville community with compassion and kindness as it uses its platform for charity work and awareness.

Although a full time yoga teacher, Robyn never loses the desire to be a student.  She continues to practice deeply with Helen Duquette, yet she also seeks out guidance from other teachers.  Robyn has worked with Judith Lasater and is a certified Relax and Renew Restorative Yoga teacher.  She has worked intensively with Susi Hately and continue to explore the use of yoga as a means of yoga therapy to help her students move with ease and without pain.  Using yoga as a means of therapy has been a current focus of Robyn’s work and teaching.

Inspired by the work of Dr. Stephane Treyvaud, Robyn has organized and developed a very successful Mindfulness Lecture Series featuring Dr. Treyvaud.  She continues to be a consultant to Dr. Treyvaud for all matters related to yoga and functional movement.  She guest teaches regularly in his widely attended Mindfulness Meditation Groups.

Robyn continues to be influenced by the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli, Helen Duquette, Katy Bowman, Amy Matthews and Barbara Bainbridge Cohen.

Robyn teaches with an openness and enjoyment that is obvious in all of her classes.  She shares with her students her years of teaching experience, her deep yoga knowledge and her creativity and zest for learning.  Her deepest wish for her teaching is that each student walks away from their mat listening to the whispers and how the body is communicating.  She hopes that in each practice, or pranayama, or sitting meditation that each student will see a glimpse of what is possible and learn to move and live with a greater sense of ease and appreciation for their own bodies and inner wisdom.

Read an Interview with Robyn Bowman
Thinking It Through…thoughts by Robyn

Helen Duquette

Helen Duquette has creatively combined her experiences in the Kripalu and Iyengar methods with the approach to Yoga taught by Vanda Scaravelli.  Her eclectic background in Yoga allows her to bring a curiosity and a respect to her practice that opens the door for her students to experience the same joy and delight that she has found on her path.

Helen began her Yoga studies in 1969. The knowledge that she has gained in Canada, the United States and Europe has provided a dynamic and exciting experience in her Hatha Yoga practice. Her understanding of, and relationship to the work has been strengthened through her studies of the modalities of Syntonics and Authentic Movement.  She also has studied Tai Chi and continues to work in the Feldenkrais method of movement.

Helen has been teaching for approximately 40 years, has owned/operated her own Studio for many years and designed a two year Yoga Teacher’s Course which she taught for 12 years providing a solid foundation for those interested in sharing their Yoga knowledge with others.   She has become a mentor to many yoga teachers and works with them on a one-on-one basis and takes pleasure in continuing to teach at Creating Space Yoga Studio.

She teaches a gentle yet demanding form of Hatha yoga, which concentrates on developing core strength through releasing tension and creating length in the spine. It is a seemingly soft but powerful yoga, which uses the breath and gravity to allow the spine to unfold, allowing an opening and energizing of the whole body.  It asks that one pay attention, to be mindful and alive.  It asks that that both teacher and student work with integrity.

It is with the understanding that “our bodies are willing to change if invited to do so with an affectionate, affirmative approach” that provides the grounding theme of her work.  It is this philosophy that Helen brings to each class and shares with each student.

 

Cheryl Smith

Cheryl signed up for her first yoga class in 1998 and loved it immediately.   She was at the University of Toronto at the time, slogging through the last phase of a graduate degree, and looking after an infant daughter; the yoga was a chance to get away from her desk and get some much-needed personal time.  She had always had an interest in fitness and dance, but in yoga she found a wonderful mix of the physical, mental, and spiritual.  It was a practice that offered a sense of wellbeing from the first class, yet it also offered enough challenges for a lifetime.

Right away, she found teachers (Matilde Delgado, Helen Duquette) and a yoga style (Hatha) that suited her perfectly from the outset.   This yoga was not about forcing oneself into the poses to look like the yoga models in books – it was about moving slowly, gently, working toward the poses, and the delight of seeing how much a body could do, if given a little space and time.  It was about how good it felt after the class, and the next day.

After a couple of years, Cheryl wanted to go deeper into the study of yoga, and signed up for Helen Duquette’s 500 hour/2 year teacher’s programme at her Mississauga studio.  The programme included courses in human physiology, yoga philosophy, practical aspects of teaching, and apprenticeships with working teachers.  She graduated in 2003, and has been teaching yoga in the Oakville area for the past 12 years, the last seven of them at Creating Space Yoga.  Cheryl continues to learn from Helen Duquette, a very gifted and creative teacher, and has also studied with Susie Hatley (therapeutic yoga), Jason Crandell, and Bo Forbes.
In addition to the regular classes at CSY, Cheryl’s teaching over the last few years has moved into more specialized areas, including yoga for people with arthritis and osteoporosis, yoga for men, yoga for young singers and dancers, and yoga for people with MS.   In November 2013, Cheryl attended an eight-day intensive training programme at Duke University in North Carolina, and received a Certificate in Therapeutic Yoga For Seniors from Duke’s Integrative Medicine programme.  This very special programme brings together a small group of experienced yoga teachers with key members of the Duke Medical faculty, who discuss common seniors’ health problems and the potential benefits of yoga.  Yoga poses are discussed and adapted over the course of the week by the group, under the guidance of two leading yoga therapy practitioners, Carol Krucoff and Kimberly Carson.  Cheryl enjoys the challenge of bringing yoga to every student, no matter what physical limitation they may have.

Blog Postings by Cheryl

 

Natalie Suhanic

Natalie Suhanic is a Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher graduating from Sunlilyoga’s 200 hour teacher training program. She completed additional studies with Judith Hanson Lasater in Restorative Yoga and with Jayelle Lindsay in Yoga for Better Bones and modifying yoga for osteoporosis and is an ongoing student of Helen Duquette. Also a certified Kripalu YogaDance teacher, Natalie continues to deepen her practice as she works towards her 500 hour level of  teacher training under the guidance of Aida Neves.

Natalie was an elementary school teacher for the Halton Board of Education for 10 years before staying home to raise her two daughters, now teenagers.  She began  studying and practicing yoga in 1999, exploring many different yoga traditions before falling in love with the Kripalu tradition of Hatha yoga.

Her style of teaching is gentle and heartfelt.  She seeks to encourage her students to practice compassion towards themselves and to honor the innate wisdom of their body and heart.

Marook Sidhwa

Marook was exposed to yoga from a very young age and clearly remembers watching B.K.S. Iyengar teach her mother and other yoga students in Poona, India.  Following in her mother’s tradition of teaching, Marook developed an interest in yoga after having her first child.  She has been teaching for the past 17 years, with over 500 hours of experience. Having graduated from Sheridan College’s, Yoga Teacher Training Certification program, she has been an instructor with the program since 2001.  Marook teaches at a number of private and public facilities including Hot Yoga, Yoga for Men, Intermediate Yoga, Chair Yoga for Seniors, and Yoga as Therapy.  Her teaching focuses on breath awareness and integrating the concepts of “sukha” (comfort/ ease) and “sthira” (steadiness/alertness), in all yoga work. 

Marook is a graduate of the University of Toronto, having a double specialist degree in Sociology and Urban Studies. She enjoys running and cycling and recently completed her fourth 200 km, “Ride to Conquer Cancer”.   Marook has been a part of the Oakville community for the past 28 years where she lives with her husband and 3 teenage children.

Nicole Patton

Nicole has been a student of yoga since 1998. As a personal trainer and teacher of mainstream fitness classes for many years she initially began taking yoga as a way of broadening her background. She was amazed to discover how much it resonated and fit with her approach to life. As a result of this deep appreciation she chose to increase her understanding of yoga through Helen Duquette’s 500 hour/2 year teacher training program, and became a 2001 graduate.

Nicole’s approach to yoga has always been playful yet respectful, challenging yet gentle. Her focus is to undo the layers of tension that lie beneath and find freedom through breathing and releasing. She encourages students to enjoy the natural movement that their bodies allow and apply it to any activity they love. She also has a focus on understanding the movement of the pelvis in yoga and the need to maintain a strong core to support the postures. To deepen this work Nicole successfully completed pilates training and weaves core strengthening work into her personal yoga practice and classes.

Nicole remains dedicated to the style of yoga that was influenced by Vanda Scaravelli. She continues to study with Helen Duquette and other yoga teachers whose style speaks to her. She has trained with Rodney Yee, Diane Long, Natasha Rizopoulos and Judith Hanson Lasater. Nicole became a certified Relax and Renew Instructor in 2010.  She has also completed advanced Mindfulness Meditation training and has completed her Masters of Education degree with this focus in mind.

She looks forward to sharing knowledge and inspiring an interest to listen to your body’s wisdom.

 

Substitute Teachers

Occasionally you will arrive at the studio ready to take your weekly yoga class and discover, to your surprise, that a different teacher is there ready to teach your class.  A natural response maybe to feel apprehension or disappointment but with a new perspective it can be viewed as an opportunity.  While substitute teachers can be different than your regular teacher, they offer the student a new beginning with a new teaching voice and perhaps a slightly different approach to the same yoga.

Please have every confidence that if one of your favourite teachers is away, they will have worked to find the most suitable substitute till they return.  The substitute teacher will always have a strong stamp of approval from both your teacher and the studio.

594 Chartwell Road
Oakville, Ontario
905.337.3598
www.creatingspaceyoga.ca