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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Scott Davis on Aadil Palkivala.

“”To teach, never cease to learn.” These are the words that most come to mind when I think of Aadil Palkivala. From my first meeting with Aadil in San Francisco in 2009, I was struck by the breadth of his knowledge. Later on I found out that as someone committed to learning he holds degrees in law, physics, mathematics and naturopathic medicine, as well as being an author and lover of poetry. I felt that I was in the presence of a true renascence man, commitment to learning and the practice of yoga as a healing tool. His ability to bring in all these aspect of knowledge and depth come through in every class he teaches. For me Aadil has been a real inspiration and role-model on the power and potential of yoga that comes from the heart.”

– Scott Davis
co-owner & director of Octopus Garden Yoga Centre




For information about upcoming workshops with Aadil Palkivala, click here!

Tune In.


“Feeling is the essence of life.  Without feeling, we are not quite human.  The real value of our asana practice is that, as we do pose after pose with awareness, we are inviting more sensitivity into our bodies and our lives.  We are learning to tune in and feel.  So we not only feel better, but we feel better.”

~Aadil Palkhivala
from “Fire of Love”

Spring Deliciousness

springsaladvegan 3637   Warm Spring Salad

Warm Spring Salad

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or try speltberries for a twist)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced into rounds or half moons
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced strawberries (optional)
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt & lots of pepper, to taste
  • lemon zest, for garnish

1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and place into a medium pot. Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth (or water) and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover with tight-fitting lid, and cook for 15-17 minutes, or until fluffy and all the water is absorbed. Fluff with fork, remove from heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, grab a very large skillet or wok. Sauté the leek and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add in the asparagus and sauté for another 5-10 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender, but still a bit crisp. Stir in the strawberries (optional), peas, and parsley. Heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat.

3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt) to taste. Pour dressing onto skillet mixture and stir in the cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper & enjoy! This would also be lovely with nuts or seeds sprinkled on top.

Read more:

Source: Pinterest via octobermoon

Source: Pinterest via octobermoon


And he’s coming to OG!! In May! Which is so soon!
Details here!

Yoga: Restorative Medicine for Body, Mind and Soul

Source: Pinterest via A.L.M

Source: Pinterest via A.L.M

Yoga has been around for several millennia, and North Americans are relative newcomers to its practice. Yoga is a holistic technology that balances mind, spirit, and body and is central to Indian health practice. Many North Americans consider yoga to be a substitute for Pilates or a good workout — just another form of exercise. New research demonstrates that yoga has many positive and measurable health benefits from helping with lower back pain, anxiety, depression, moods, stress, mobility and has been shown to play a role in preventing illnesses. In other words, it’s medicine without all the nasty side effects. As I typically work in the area of psychological well-being I will focus on how my yoga practice has helped my ability to reduce stress and make way for a regular meditation practice.

I came to meditation like a lot of other people: in crisis mode. In 2005 I was diagnosed with cancer. My routine and my life were tilted upside down; my equanimity had vanished. Trying to regain a solid footing, I tried meditating and experienced just how difficult it was to clear my mind. Focusing on just one thing, be it your breath or a mantra, takes an enormous amount of practice and discipline. I’ve tried it alone, in groups, sitting up, lying down, with music, in silence, from books, and from teachers, with uneven results.

As a life coach, I often recommend meditation for the benefits it brings, especially to my clients who suffer from anxiety, mood swings, or stress. Until recently, I haven’t had what you would call a rigorous practice. I felt like a hypocrite recommending it when I don’t practice regularly myself. Although I am a very calm person, there are times when I really need to be practicing on a daily basis.

When I successfully clear my mind, I have far less stress, I’m more relaxed, and I’m happier with more equanimity. Clinical research on meditation indicates that it is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, great for relieving stress and it promotes a feeling of well-being. Unfortunately, those most vulnerable to stress and anxiety find meditating particularly difficult. I have a client whose chest is so tight he cannot breath deeply nor can he hold his breath for more than a few seconds, which severely limits his ability to relax.

Which brings me to restorative yoga. Although I’ve been practicing various forms of yoga for the past 13 years, I recently discovered the practice of restorative yoga at Octopus Garden. To be honest it sounded to me like yoga for seniors. Although I’m getting on in years I wasn’t ready for yoga that sounded like it was safe for old people. The studio offered a free month of yoga so I tried it out and I’m hooked. I go three or four times a week and it has changed my life.

Restorative yoga combines supported yoga poses with the opportunity to meditate four or five minutes at a time. Support comes in the form of sitting or lying down on a bolster, block or blanket. The poses can be challenging but rather than flow yoga where you are basically doing calisthenics, we hold a pose for five or more minutes. This give the body time to adjust and muscles time to stretch and relax. Holding the pose for so long gives me time to clear my thoughts and focus on my breathing or often on the place(s) being opened up.

Each pose has a purpose in stimulating different organs in the body. Ed, a fellow student, claims that yoga has helped him reduce his high blood pressure without any other intervention in a period of a few months. I’ve notice that I’m much more in touch with my body, I’m calmer, more joyful, more patient, and I feel mentally and physically healthier. As a bonus I don’t feel like a hypocrite when I recommend meditation!

Restorative yoga came into my life at a time when I really needed to feel grounded. I was in crisis again. My mother was in hospital for months and she wasn’t getting better. I needed something for me. Restorative yoga was just the ticket and I am working toward a daily practice, one that will keep me balanced, grounded and joyful. If you find meditating difficult and feel you want to try something different, I couldn’t recommend restorative yoga more.

At the end of a good class I feel, well, restored. My mind is clear and my body feels vibrant. I feel lighter. Even though my life is calm these days, I plan to continue my practice because I know a new stressor is bound to appear just as certainly as the sun rises tomorrow. For me, yoga is good medicine for body, mind, soul and spirit.




Written by Bradley Foster
Giant Steps Coaching

Lessons of 2012 – 300hr Teacher Training Graduates


On the eve of our upcoming 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training program we thought we’d check in with our previous graduates and ask them two questions:

What is a lasting lesson you learned during the 300-hour program?

What is something useful you learned that you apply to your teaching or life?

Here is what they wrote:

“A lesson I learned from the 300-hour program is to observe the stories kept in your shadows, and connect with your unique samskaras (life scars.) We can offer a special strength to our community from these struggles. Each path is different from the next; let’s bring the lessons from our path to meet, share and support each other!   Another lesson I took away that I have been able to apply to my teaching is connecting with the energy flow in myself and my students. I am expanding my ability to practice empathy for others in life/off the mat, and also in asana practice. This is a useful skill to develop as a teacher: trying to imagine the felt experience of the student’s body, can assist one to understand where an adjustment (verbal or contact cues) would be most helpful!”

-Martha Richardson

“Most important lesson for me is that there is no such thing as right or wrong…. Just a different effect.  This view allows me to be all things and experience all things. It fosters creativity and an open willingness for all the poses, people, places and circumstances… but more importantly, it takes away judgment and labeling. It gives me the gift of aparigraha – the ability to let go and to invite all things: positive/negative; pleasure/pain; victory/defeat; life/death. This is yoga!”

-Kelly Dominato

“I learned to “take the seat of the teacher”.  This to me means, listening in to my own experience, finding my authentic voice and offering my interpretation of yoga as a gift to others.  Not everyone will like me as a teacher, but my responsibility is to show up fully and teach from my highest place.  This takes courage and faith.  Pat and Scott held me accountable and provided space, guidance and support to work through this process.”

-Lisa Mitchell

“The balance between playful/expansive and steady/grounded is a huge lesson I took away from the 300 hour training. Basing my teaching on the qualities of sukha and sthira (sweetness and steadiness) has given me the foundation to create safe and playful space in my classes. The more we ground, root and centre ourselves the more expansive, bright and curious we can become.  Pat and Scott embody both of these qualities in such brilliant ways and have inspired me to keep my own practice as well as teaching rooted in both of these beautiful qualities.”

– Megan Marie Gates

“You must throw yourself into the river and start swimming to find the teacher you will grow to be. There is no miracle lesson or right point. Just practice, practice, and start speaking as you move. It’s already in you and has been growing there since you fell in love with yoga. Have faith and have trust. What you are learning to do here is find your voice. And you will.   So much consideration was given to being an effective communicator in the 300-hour program that I find myself applying much of what I learned to my corporate job, even if it has nothing to do with yoga on the surface. How to listen and to offer compassionate, effective feedback. Present complex ideas and movements in a manner that allows others to be themselves yet find the core thread of what matters to many. Generate workable solutions out of differing interests. This impacts in my professional interactions positively every day.”

-Anne Cloutier

“The endless possibilities to grow and learn as a teacher. The practice of learning non-violent communication. The course provides a safe, nurturing environment to learn and explore. Great sense of community and trust and respect amongst peers.”

-Barb Hill

“The single most important thing that I take away from my 300-hour experience is that the learning will never end. If you are a committed teacher, you will constantly hone your craft, rethink things, relearn things, try on many hats and forge a path toward your authentic voice. This path will be messy, by necessity, but the mess is life and I’m so very game to live it.”

– Taryn Diamond




For more information about our upcoming trainings, click here!