Resilience Yoga Member

When I moved to Clarkson in 2018, I looked for a studio nearby. Resilience Yoga was the second one I tried and I loved its friendly atmosphere and skilled, accepting, warm teachers. I am stronger and much more flexible. Thank you so much for your online classes in the present time. I am so grateful to have this supportive practice as I get older – and feel it’s a life-long adventure.

Resilience Yoga Member

Resilience Yoga Member

Resilience Yoga has been my home base for years. It’s an incredibly welcoming studio that’s dedicated to providing quality instruction. Practitioners feel comfortable being who they are and work where they’re at regardless of where they are in their yoga journey. The instructors are well-versed in their discipline and are always open to questions and seeking feedback. One of the recurring themes at Resilience Yoga is to see “cueing” as invitations rather than instructions. This yogic mentality is essential and it allows all classes to be available to all students, regardless of their level. Having practiced for a decade and a half, I find myself continually challenged at Resilience Yoga – all the while in a safe environment.

What type of classes do you offer?

Our hatha-based yoga classes have a strong focus on alignment. Hatha is a generic term referring to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Some of our teachers also have training in Anusara, Ashtanga, Iyengar, vinyasa/power yoga, meditation, Yoga Nidra, and restorative yoga, and will bring elements of that training into their classes. We also offer a variety of fitness classes, such as mat Pilates and barre or yoga with weights, to build strength.

Do you offer hot yoga?

We offer only regular-temperature yoga. The room temperature is approximately 21-22 degrees celsius.

Can I just drop in at the studio without booking?

The studio is only open for a short time before and after each class, so we require all yogis to register and pay for their classes before arrival.  This helps us ensure everyone has signed the necessary waivers and speeds up the admission process/reduces crowding at reception by eliminating the need to complete paper forms or process payments before class.

Are classes for all ages and levels?

Most of our classes are suitable for those over 16 and for all levels as indicated on the schedule. For those who are new, a gentle or restorative class is a good place to start. It won’t take you long to build up a strong practice if you attend classes regularly. Some teachers are also naturally more gentle than others, so email to ask for recommendations.

I’m not flexible – can I do yoga?

Yes! In fact, you are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s a bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible. This new-found agility will be balanced by strength, coordination as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

I have an injury. Should I do yoga?

Yoga can be one way to heal your body, but yoga teachers are not medical experts. You should always check with your healthcare provider before beginning to exercise, especially if you have a recent injury or surgery. You should also inform the teacher of your specific issue so he/she can make recommendations for adjustments and alternatives during the class. Yoga should not be painful: if it hurts, stop and rest, or mention your pain to the teacher and see if there is something different you can do.

What do I need in order to practice yoga?

For in-person classes and virtual classes, you will need:

For virtual classes at home, you will also have a space large enough to move your body in all directions, both lying down and standing up.

Do I need any special props for mat Pilates or classes with weights?

You will need your yoga mat and, as with yoga, it’s always helpful to have yoga blocks or hard-covered books/soup cans to bring the ground closer.  Mat Pilates and other fitness classes may make use of light hand weights (1lb or 2lbs generally) and a Pilates (“squishy”) ball.  When offered, Barre classes are designed to use the back of a sturdy chair as a barre.

Alternatives to hand weights are soup cans or full water bottles. Alternatives to Pilates balls are a yoga block or a small firm cushion. Yoga Seven carries mats and blocks in our online store.

What should I wear?

Clothing that is comfortable and allows complete freedom of movement. Bear in mind that if you are doing inversions such as a handstand or headstand, you will want a fairly tight-fitting top that won’t ride up! The more closely fitting the clothing, the easier it is for the instructor to check on your alignment. You may want to have an extra layer such as a jacket or sweatshirt and socks so you can stay warm during the final relaxation (Savasana).

Do I have to buy a membership?

You can purchase a single-class pass or a 5-class pass. However, Prana Warriors members can get benefits such as unlimited classes, discounts on workshops, and access to the on-demand video library.  Please note that you must register and pay online for any in-person class before coming to the studio.

But whether you have a single class pass or a membership, you must book your class in advance and follow all COVID-19 protocols.

We are flexible and resilient. We act to create a strong, stable foundation in our lives. We keep our minds and bodies fit and healthy. In the face of chaos, we calmly focus on the present. We step fearlessly beyond our comfort zone, inviting change and growth. We seek fellowship with like-minded individuals. We celebrate playfulness, creativity, and fun.

In 2013, when the yoga studio that they’d been attending for several years closed down, Ginty Burns & Joanne Heaney decided that they couldn’t just let it (and its community) go. Together they began the process of starting a new studio in its place. The initial journey had its setbacks: unable to move into the same space (the landlord wanted to sell the building), they spent many hours exploring other locations in the Port Credit area, looking at floor plans, and hunting for furnishings and fixtures. They were about to sign a lease and begin construction when, at the 11th hour, the original landlord had a change of heart. All plans were abandoned and it was back to the original location with an opening date of April 1, 2014.

The studio opened under the temporary name of Port Credit Yoga and within a few months became Yoga Seven. Offering yoga and fitness classes, as well as special interest workshops and fun events (nutrition, mala making, vino & vinyasa, meditation, Thai massage, couples yoga to name just a few), the studio provided a welcoming and non-judgmental oasis for a thriving community of yogis.

Camel pose is an energizing upright kneeling position that provides a deep stretch throughout your body and provides relief to your lower back. The Sanskrit word for Camel pose is “Ustrasana”, which comes from the words “ustra” meaning camel, and “asana” meaning pose. This posture dates back thousands of years and has been found in ancient yogic texts such as the Sritattvanidhi. Today, you will find Camel pose or Ustrasana in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha and Bikram yoga practices.

Despite looking simple, this yoga pose can be challenging both mentally and physically. It is a heart-opening posture that requires a deep backbend. However, even if you can’t make it into the classic Camel pose, there are variations for beginners so you can tailor your practice to whenever you are in your journey.

Camel pose in yoga

Camel pose is a heart-opening backbend that provides a deep stretch throughout the entire front section of your body including your chest, rib cage, shoulders, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors. It is a great posture for people with a sedentary lifestyle, as it can relieve tension in your lower back and increase flexibility in your spine by providing a bend that is the opposite of slouching at your desk all day. 

People of all fitness levels will benefit from backbends like Camel pose. Poses like this stimulate the spinal cord, leading to optimal nervous system function and overall health and vitality. 

Step-by-step instructions for Camel pose (Ustrasana)

To reap the health benefits of Camel pose, start with a neutral position and slowly make your way into the posture by following these steps.

  1. Come into a kneeling position with your knees hip distance apart
  2. Tuck your toes under, or leave the tops of your feet flat on your mat, then push them into the mat.
  3. Release your shoulders down and, on the next inhalation, start to arch your back and lift your chest to the ceiling with a long spine. The crown of your head should be pointed towards the back of the room. Keep your hands on your hips, or the palms of your hands on the small of your back, with your fingers pointing downwards, as you move into this posture.
  4. Exhale as you come deeper into your backbend and, if you feel comfortable, slowly release your hands down to the heels of your feet or your ankles. Don’t drop your head: keep your neck in alignment.
  5. Engage your glutes so your pelvis stays parallel to your knees, keep your inner thighs engaged, and continue to bring your shoulder blades together.
  6. Stay in this yoga pose for a few breaths, and then slowly come out of it by placing your hands on your lower back or hips and then lowering yourself into a thunderbolt (seated kneeling) position with a neutral spine.

If you are practising with others, never compare yourself. Everyone’s body and yogic journey is different.

Variations of Camel pose

Camel pose is an intense backbend that relies on the strength of your front side to control the posture as gravity pulls you to the ground. Never force yourself into a position: always go slowly and do what is comfortable for you. 

Beginner variations

If you are new to this posture and you can’t reach the heels of your feet, place blocks on either side of your feet or ankles. Otherwise, keep your hands on your hips or placed on your lower back with your fingers facing down. Experiment with what feels good for you. 

Opening your chest is one of the main reasons we do this pose. If you are having a hard time keeping your shoulder blades together, consider adding a strap around your forearms. You can also add a strap around your thighs to stimulate the awareness of the internal rotation of the thighs. 

Throughout the practice, notice if you have stopped breathing and resume it at a steady pace. It is common for new practitioners to hold their breath through challenging postures.

Another variation involves performing Camel pose against a wall. Start the pose facing the wall, with your knees up against it, then follow the step-by-step instructions to make your way into Camel pose. Once you have lifted your chest, push your thighs forward against the wall so you can feel how your hips should align in this position. 

Advanced variations

When you are comfortable with the full Camel pose, you can bring more movement into your yoga practice with a half-Camel pose variation. Once secure in your Camel pose, lift one arm to the ceiling so that each arm is placed in the opposite direction. 

Then switch sides with each breath or hold each arm up for a few breaths at a time. To open your chest and shoulders further, cross your forearms and grip your opposite ankles.

Benefits of Camel pose

Ustrasana is not only physically good for the body, it is also known as a posture that can provide incredible emotional and spiritual release on the mat. 

Physically, Camel pose is designed to increase flexibility in the spine. It also improves digestion, energy levels, mobility and posture.

Camel pose stretches your chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors, as well as strengthens your back muscles, hamstrings, and glutes. This posture improves circulation, nervous system function, and blood pressure. 

Camel pose is linked directly to your heart chakra. As it is a heart-opening posture, you might feel emotions, anxieties, and slight discomfort swell up within you as you open up your heart centre. However, by moving through it you can achieve mental and emotional clarity to take with you off the mat.

The heart centre is related to self love, love for others and feelings of kindness and compassion. By stimulating your heart centre with heart-opening yoga poses like Camel pose, you will be able to let more love in and move towards a place of belonging, where you can give and receive love with ease. 

In a safe and healing space, heart-opening poses can take you out of your comfort zone. It is not uncommon for people to experience emotion or tears when moving through this posture, so if this happens to you, be gentle with yourself and let yourself move past this emotional block. Practicing yoga is much more than just asanas, after all. 

Preparatory poses for Camel pose

Always warm up before attempting Ustrasana. Sun salutations are a great way to gently lengthen and strengthen the main muscle groups in your body.

Camel pose is considered an intermediate level yoga pose. If you are preparing to start practising Camel pose, it is helpful to start with gentler backbends and front stretches to prepare your upper and lower body for this pose.


Reclining Hero pose

Reclining Hero pose gives the front of the body a deep stretch and opens the hip flexors. To start, move into a seated hero pose with your body in an upright kneeling position and your sitting bones on the ground between your knees. If this is too much on your knees, sit on a block. Then slowly lower your upper body onto your back to deepen the stretch in your thighs. If it is too much to lie directly on your yoga mat, then lie back on a bolster. 

Upward-facing Dog pose

This chest-opening posture is performed by lying on your stomach with your toes pointed and then lifting your chest with your elbows pointing towards the back of the room, slightly bent. With this yoga pose, you’ll squeeze your shoulders together, lift your hips, and open your chest with a gentle backbend to prepare for Camel pose.

Bridge pose

Bridge pose has similar benefits to Camel pose. To perform it, lie on your back and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle at hip width apart. Slowly lift the back of your thighs and your glutes off the yoga mat and clasp your hands together on the floor to squeeze your shoulder blades together. You will be more than half way to achieving Camel pose at this point.

Boat pose

In backbends, the core needs to be activated to protect the lower back. Perform this ab-strengthening yoga pose by sitting on your mat with your legs out in front of you and your back straight, then lift your legs and recline at a 45-degree angle with your arms straight alongside your body. Breathe through the exercise.

Precautions for Camel pose

As with any posture, if you push yourself too far you could end up with an injury. Pay attention to how your body feels throughout your practice.  If you feel any pinching or discomfort in your lower back or neck, then come out of your pose slowly. Never collapse onto your lower back if you feel yourself collapsing into the posture.

Don’t perform Camel pose if you have a neck injury. If you have stiffness in your neck, keep the chin tucked in towards the chest or follow the recommendations of a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing back pain, talk to your doctor before attempting this pose. 

It is always best to learn this pose and other deeper backbends with your yoga teachers before attempting them on your own. At the end of your practice, take some time in savasana or “corpse pose” to rest your body and relax your mind. Remember that everyone is a beginner at the start, and you won’t be there forever. 

Other deep backbends

If you have mastered Camel pose or you love deeper backbends and you are looking for another challenge, try one of the poses below.

Scorpion pose

This advanced inversion combines a balancing forearm stand with a deep backbend. For it, you’ll need sufficient shoulder and core strength. To start, find your way into a forearm stand, then bend your knees so they are shoulder width apart, and guide your feet towards your head. 

Wheel pose

Wheel pose is a total body stretch. It consists of lifting your body off the ground, so you are on all fours with your ribcage and pubic bone pushing up towards the ceiling. It requires a degree of strength and spinal flexibility but is extremely rewarding and invigorating when it is achieved.

Counter poses for Camel pose

Counter poses are advised to help balance your body after a particular posture.

Child’s pose

This yoga pose is great for relaxation and gently stretches your thighs, hips, and ankles, as well as lengthening your spine. The bend is opposite to what you experience in Camel pose. Your knees will be bent, with your forehead on the mat and your arms out in front or along the length of your body next to your heels. Relax into this posture with your eyes closed.

Happy Baby pose

Happy Baby pose consists of lying on your back with your thighs hugged in towards your armpits, your knees bent so your shins are at right angles to your thighs, and your hands holding the outer edges of your feet. Feel free to rock gently back and forth. This pose will open your chest and stretch your hamstrings, thigh, and groin. 

How to deepen your yoga practice

Committing to your practice is one of the best ways to deepen it. Practicing Ustrasana daily, along with other poses, will keep your body supple and your mind clear. Explore the other 7 limbs of yoga (or our 7 Fs) and invest in yourself by signing up for regular classes.

Through regular participation and commitment to your own health and wellbeing, you will experience moments of peace, joy, acceptance, introspection, and gratitude. You’ll also be rewarded with tips and tools to help you navigate life in a richer, more abundant, empowered way.

Explore Yoga Seven’s online and in-person memberships to never lose sight of your practice. You’ll also have access to an on-demand video library from anywhere, on any device, wherever and whenever you want.

We use symbols every single day to process the world around us. Brands use logos to explain who they are, street signs give us direction, and we communicate through symbols such as a hand waving hello.

Symbols exist in all cultures. As human beings, we search for deeper meaning and ways to understand each other and ourselves. Yoga symbols come from various spiritual beliefs, and many cultures have used these symbols for centuries.

Although some people simply use these symbols as a means of self-expression, they also have their own meaning within the context of the yogic tradition. Yogis use these yoga symbols in their spiritual practices to bring understanding and insight into their meditation practice.

What are yoga symbols?

Symbols are visual representations of ideas and concepts. In the context of one’s yoga journey, a yoga symbol visually represents a spiritual or emotional concept. It can also help to channel one’s own prana or the energy of the universe.

These representations lend us a deeper understanding of the unknown. Each one has symbolic meanings that help us connect to an elevated form of consciousness.

Ultimately, these symbols are important tools for yoga practitioners who aim to go deeper into the spiritual journey that yoga offers. They can help us gain a greater understanding of ourselves, other people, and the entire universe.

The meanings of 10 common yoga symbols

Although these symbols are commonly used in yoga practice, their origins are diverse. These symbols come from various cultures, religions, and spiritual practices.

Both within and outside of yogic practices, the meanings of these symbols are complex and layered. Their meanings can change depending on context. Like the world itself, these symbols are nuanced and require deep contemplation to understand.

1. Om (“Aum”) Symbol

The Om symbol represents the sound or the vibration of everything in the universe. It is the first sound of creation and exists throughout the cosmos.

This is one of the most common yoga symbols that people encounter when starting their yoga journey. Om (or Aum) is usually chanted during the beginning and end of a yoga class.

It is a mantra from Hindu culture and is also often chanted at the end of Sanskrit prayers. 

The belief is that one can open the third eye chakra by chanting Om and meditating while focusing on the symbol.

Each sound of the Aum symbol is significant:

● A is our waking state of consciousness, where we experience bliss through existence within the universe.

● U is our dream state, where we experience spiritual benefits outside of the physical world.

● M is a deep sleep state, where the connective forces of the universe are experienced.

The Om or Aum symbol represents the ultimate goal of spiritual connection with the universe — uniting the mind, body, and spirit in complete harmony. The vibrations produced from this chant can create feelings of peace and tranquillity.

2. Mandala Symbol

The word mandala roughly translates to “circle” in Sanskrit. The mandala symbol can come in an infinite number of designs, colours, and patterns. This represents the intricate beauty of the universe.

You can see another layer of the universe represented with each new layer that branches out from the center of the mandala symbol. It can symbolize our oneness with the universe: we are a small, essential part of a large system.

The mandala exists as a beautiful reminder of the harmony and unity of the cosmos. If you meditate on the symbol, you can start to see it represented everywhere: in the circle of life, your circle of loved ones, and even the lunar cycle. Everything exists in harmony.

3. Lotus Flower Symbol

The lotus flower yoga symbol is found with different meanings in several cultures. However, one of the most common interpretations of the lotus flower is through the Buddhist tradition.
Buddhists consider the lotus flower to represent the blossoming of the mind and the heart as they open to the divine. An open lotus flower represents one that has opened to all possibilities, while a closed lotus flower bud is seen as the potential for growth.

You may recognize the lotus flower through its more common name: the water lily. In the Buddhist interpretation, the lotus flower demonstrates how one can move from suffering and into the light just as a lotus flower blossoms from muddy waters.

In Buddhist culture, the colour of the lotus flower is particularly significant.

The lotus flower is also an important symbol in Hindu and Egyptian culture. In Hindu culture, the lotus is often representative of fertility, prosperity, and feminine beauty. In Egyptian culture, the lotus is seen to symbolize reincarnation and life after death.

4. Hamsa Hand Symbol

The Hamsa symbol is an important part of many cultures. In the most basic interpretation of the Hamsa hand, it is seen as invoking the hand of God to protect oneself from the evil eye. The Hamsa symbol is said to bring protection from negative energy and the evil eye of people that would wish you harm.

In Hindu and Buddhist culture, the five fingers symbolize five out of the seven chakras. The pinky finger represents the sacral chakra. The thumb represents the solar plexus chakra. The middle finger represents the throat chakra. The index finger represents the heart chakra. The ring finger represents the root chakra.

5. Buddha Imagery

Buddha imagery is one of the most common yoga symbols in the world. It is a depiction of Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. He became Buddha due to enlightenment meditation that caused his spiritual awakening beneath a fig tree.

Today, Buddha represents attaining intellectual and ethical perfection. Buddha is a spiritual guide for others, with unbounded compassion and love for all living beings.

Buddha is one of the important spiritual symbols representing the three tenets of Buddhism. These tenets are to not be ignorant, not to hate others, and not to get angry.

There is some discussion over respectful usage of Buddha imagery. Some people find statues depicting only the head of Buddha as opposed to the entire body to be disrespectful. This is due to the legacy of colonialists who would behead Buddha statues as a sign of disrespect.

Ultimately, the choice is your own. It is important to use Buddha imagery as a sign of reflection and contemplation instead of an aesthetic choice in home decor. It is an important sacred symbol.

6. The 7 Chakra Symbols

Chakras are specific points found within the body. These are places where energy can flow throughout your body. Chakras can either be deficient in energy, excessive in energy, or in perfect harmony.

Together, all the chakras should act in unison to balance the self. Too much or too little energy flowing from any chakra can cause the self to be thrown off-kilter. Yoga practices can help one bring the chakras into harmony.

Don’t perform Camel pose if you have a neck injury. If you have stiffness in your neck, keep the chin tucked in towards the chest or follow the recommendations of a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing back pain, talk to your doctor before attempting this pose. 

It is always best to learn this pose and other deeper backbends with your yoga teachers before attempting them on your own. At the end of your practice, take some time in savasana or “corpse pose” to rest your body and relax your mind. Remember that everyone is a beginner at the start, and you won’t be there forever. 

7. The Number 108

The number 108 is one of the fascinating yoga symbols and holds spiritual significance in several religions. It typically symbolizes the spiritual wholeness of all creation.
Interestingly, the number 108 is also a popular symbol in astronomy.

The distance between the Earth and the sun is 108 times more than the diameter of the Earth. Similarly, the distance between the moon and the Earth is 108 times greater than the moon’s diameter. In an even stranger coincidence, the sun’s diameter is 108 times greater than the diameter of the Earth.

This number demonstrates the harmony that exists throughout the universe. It is often honoured through mala beads, which typically feature 108 beads.

8. Gyan Mudrās

Mudras are hand symbols commonly used for simple yoga poses. You have likely done this in your own yoga or meditation class.

This symbol, also known as the “OK hand symbol,” connects the index finger to the thumb, with the remaining three fingers in a straight position. With legs crossed in a comfortable position on your yoga mat, place your hands on top of your knees. This is the Gyan Mudrās yoga pose.

This hand symbol represents the unity between the human consciousness and the consciousness of the universe itself. By using this symbol, you open yourself to a higher state of consciousness.

9. Mala Beads

Mala beads are meditation beads. They typically feature 108 beads and one prominent Guru bead that is larger than the others.

The Guru bead is used to mark the beginning and end of your meditation. Mala beads are used to count mantras. Each time you complete a mantra, you can move your hand along the thread onto the next bead until the cycle is complete.

Mala beads can be made from several materials with different symbolic meanings.

These are just a few examples of the many symbolic meanings of the materials from which mala beads can be crafted.

Mala beads can be a helpful spiritual tool. However, if you want to eschew material objects in your spiritual practice, they are not strictly necessary.

10. Namaste

As with the Gyan Mudrās hand symbol, namaste is physically formed with the hands. By joining the flattened palms of your hands together, you can create the namaste symbol.

This is one of the most common yoga symbols and is often completed at the beginning and end of yoga classes. Namaste means “the light in me acknowledges the light in you” and signifies recognition and regard for ourselves and those around us.

This symbolizes respect and gratitude for the people with whom we share our spiritual journey. Namaste is considered the ultimate sign of respect as you acknowledge another person’s equality.

The namaste gesture can also be performed as a bow, with your hands placed above your heart chakra coming to meet your third eye chakra.

How can I use yoga symbols to deepen my yoga practice?

Yogic tradition borrows from several cultures and religious beliefs instead of conforming to a specific rigid belief system. There are many ways to use yoga symbols within your own yoga practices.

Some simple ways to incorporate these yoga symbols into your practice would be to open and close your yoga flow by chanting Om. Another way would be to meditate using mala beads or while staring into a mandala.

Be mindful of your chakras and take the necessary steps to keep them acting in harmony. Inner peace does not happen overnight. Yoga studios are great places to connect with other people who can share your spiritual journey.

Explore Yoga Seven’s online and in-person memberships to never lose sight of your practice. You’ll also have access to an on-demand video library from anywhere, on any device, wherever and whenever you want.

Get started today.