[dropcap]Maxine Druker, is one of the sweetest people you will meet. She is calm and caring and has created a wonderful home studio that is inviting and as lovely as she is. She is new to Kelowna and we are very lucky to have her here. Maxine works to grow the yoga community wherever she is, and Kelowna is no different Look for Maxine around town or make a trip to visit her for a yoga class or massage at her studio. Here is a little insight into Maxine Druker.[/dropcap]
Yoga is like gravity, it creates a foundation for life to build strength, focus and stamina.
It provides physical, emotional and spiritual grounding to live life to the fullest.
It’s also about connection. It is the union of body, mind and spirit but mostly to me it is connection to each other and community. It is about living a life of compassion and connection to everything that is alive.
Yoga is about being in the moment while always striving to grow. It is a journey that never ends. It connects me to my core and my truest purpose in life.
2 When did you start yoga and how did that come to be?
My grade two teacher Mrs. Clarkson taught me yoga after school and that’s when my love for it began. I loved the yoga postures and the laying down visualizations. She had a book called the Yoga Companion and it was written by Swami Sri Sivananda whose lineage of yoga I have continued to follow throughout my life.
3 Where and with whom did you study?
I obtained my teacher training certification in Val Morin, Quebec at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram, which was the first place established outside of India to train yoga instructors.
I have taken Yoga of the Heart training with Nischala Joy Devi for teaching yoga to people with life threatening illnesses (heart disease, cancer, depression). I am a certified Thai Yoga Massage Therapist certified andI am a
certified Nia Dance teacher . I’ve also spent time at Sivananda Bahamas Ashram,
There are so many reasons and they have grown with time. Yoga brings “Sanga” community into my life. It keeps me going and when I practice in a community or class I feel connected to others energetically. It’s just as important to show up for others as it is for myself. Yoga benefits me by giving me a strong body, massages my internal organs, and sets the tone for my day and my life.
It gives me a deeper connection to life and living in everything that I do and helps me operate from a place centre. It keeps me in the present moment. Yoga has certain qualities called Gunas that I integrate into every aspect of my life from walking, riding, cooking, hiking, and making life decisions. Practicing ahimsa nonviolence allows me to connect with every living being, myself and the divine.
6 How has your practice evolved?
Over the years I have had the great pleasure of practicing all types of yoga which I continue to integrate into my practice. This ranges from classical Hatha to, Ashtanga, Kirpalu, Anusara, Moksha, Kundanli, Vinjana, Power, Yin, Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga.
With this diverse practice, my yoga has evolved from beginning as strictly a practitioner, to now being a teacher. As a teacher, I’ve evolved my yoga practice to address the varying needs of the people I support and am always looking for new ways to integrate yoga into many situations ranging from personal lifestyle to addressing medical needs of my students to introducing yoga to children.
A few years ago I spearheaded Yoga4Kidz, a not for profit organization which introduced yoga to school aged children and raised money for UNICEF’s “Unite for Children against AIDS” Campaign.
7 How might you and/or your life be different if you hadn’t found Yoga?
It’s hard to imagine my life without yoga because it is integrated into all aspects of it. Yoga provides me serenity, physical health and strength, balance and so much more that are essential to my life.
Headstand, Headstand, Headstand .. Sirshasana
I’m a headstand junky! It’s considered the King of Asanas. I love seeing the world upside down, although usually my eyes end up closed. For me it taps into deep spiritual energy and offers grand benefits for the brain and heart. If there is one posture a day you can do this is the all in one to me!
Everywhere I’ve travelled in the world I take a headstand, from the Serengeti to jungles and beaches in Trinidad as it helps ground when arriving in new places. I love getting to the top of the mountain and doing headstand. It’s also my way of giving gratitude to a place I visit.
I also am very passionate about teaching this posture because many people are hesitant about it and I love watching them learn the correct foundation and watching them grow.
9 Tell us about an asana you struggle with.
This changes with time but right now it’s Trikonasana – Triangle Pose. I believe that the postures we struggle with are the ones we need the most so I never shy away from a posture that is challenging.
10 You inspire so many, who inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many. My students and children practicing yoga. People who face challenges and strive to live meaningful lives in spite of them. My 83 year old mother inspires me.
Learn the foundation of yoga first to allow you to take your practice everywhere and drop in to any class. Learn correct alignment from the start to prevent injury. Study with a regular teacher where there is progressive learning – it will enlighten your practice greatly. Eat a healthy yoga diet. Foods that speed you up are not conducive to a focused peaceful practice or lend themselves to calming the mind for meditation.
Don’t overdo it.
Breathe. It starts to warm the body up from the inside out so that you can stretch and become more flexible.
12 How about guidance for beginning teachers?
Focus on what you know not what you don’t know.
Don’t talk too much and be aware of your student’s needs.
Teaching is also a practice, show your true self.
Integrity is key. Be a good role model on and off the mat.
Teach your students about the three part breath over and over and over again.
Know your space is sacred for people to come and do this work. Set the stage for somewhere safe for your students practice.
13 What few steps do you think a yogi can take today to tremendously improve their practice?
It’s so easy to make mistakes and harm your body. So take the time to learn it right especially the right alignments and foundation. Learn about proper breathing and bandas (locks) in the body. Then you can enjoy a variety of styles and practice everywhere you go!
Many people fear yoga believing they’re not good enough. Everyone can do it and deserves a healthy body. The breathing alone in yoga improves the body, mind and spirit.
14 Where are you teaching now and how can we find out more about you?
I just opened up the Little Country Wellness Centre in Glenmore in Kelowna.
We are offering Yoga, Meditation, Thai Massage, Nutritional Consulting and Workshops.
Small group classes and private sessions available for all levels and abilities.
Specialized classes and offerings for people with physical and emotional illnesses including Heart Disease, Cancer, HIV, Depression and Anxiety.
and “Yoga-in-the-Saddle” for Horseback Riders. Check us out.
Maxine combines her experience and certification in both yoga and Thai Massage to offer the deepest form of massage and deepest form of yoga through her Thai Yoga Massage. Building on her certification in Sivananda Classical Hatha Yoga and Yoga of the Heart, she has also been trained and certified with the International Society of Traditional Thai Yoga Massage in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Traditional Northern Thai Nuad-bo Rarn Massage, from Phuket Health Spa Training Center for Thai Massage. During her travels, Maxine has taught yoga in the Bahamas, Africa and Mexico. She is specialized to teach yoga to people with life threatening illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, HIV. Maxine is inspired and has studied many other aspects of yoga including Vinjana, Ashtanga, Power, Hot Yoga, Gentle”Yin” Yoga and Anusara. Maxine is also a trained instructor of Nia, a transformational dance and movement practice that draws on aspects of the dance arts, healing arts and martial arts done in barefoot to great music! Strength, flexibility, centeredness and stress relief are some of the benefits of this dynamic joy of movement. Maxine applies her experience with yoga, dance and massage to offer clients a spiritual and sacred experience resulting in a sound, healthy body and a clear, peaceful mind. Off the mat, Maxine is a social issues fundraising and marketing specialist, spearheading non-profit organizations for several decades, such as Western Canadian Pediatric AIDS Society, Camp Moomba and the Yoga4Kidz Society.