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Cheryl Smith

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.