Ranae Scott Yoga Teacher Training Vancouver

Yoga on the Road

Yoga on the Road

Ranae Scott – Student Story

Ranae Scott Yoga Teacher Training VancouverRanae Scott has been living on the road to rock climb and live simply for three years. After graduating from the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training from the Vancouver School of Yoga in the summer of 2017 she started teaching yoga in an open field under the Stawamus Chief in Squamish and soon after started her project Dirtbag Yoga.

“I love teaching yoga outdoors and offering it in a public space and I’m really passionate about expressive movement and making pathways to health and happiness. Dirtbag Yoga is all about that. I’m bringing yoga to my community and making it accessible and affordable.”

Ranae usually teaches a variety of 1 hour hatha-based or flow classes with a suggested donation of $5. “I might do a morning Yoga to energize the spirit, or an evening restorative class for climbers and athletes who work super hard during the day to release and relax.”

Ranae believes it’s important to think of yoga as a method to explore your own body and your emotional and mental health. “A lot of times you go to a studio and there is a fixation on performance, or the physical expression of the pose. Alignment is important, to an extent. But teach alignment so it’s about the sensation in your body, as opposed to how the pose looks. Every body is so different.’

Ranae Scott Rock ClimberOriginally from Portland, Oregon, Ranae has a background as a dancer, dance instructor and choreographer. “There are many similarities between yoga, dance and rock climbing,” Ranae said. “You have to be open to your body doing things differently than others, and cultivate the self awareness that goes with that. They’re all also all forms of moving meditation, and depend on refined focus. Your entire being must be present, your body and mind must work in concert. Dance and yoga have always been the most direct paths to bliss for me.”

In looking for a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Ranae said it was important to find a holistic program where she could become a really good teacher, rather than a better practitioner.

“You can always learn more about your own physical practice. What I liked about the training at VSY was that I graduated feeling competent in teaching. There was minimal practice, and it wasn’t necessarily fixed on any one school or lineage of yoga. It covered everything from the history and philosophy of yoga, to anatomy and biomechanics of popular poses, to how to prepare speciality classes, like prenatal and restorative. I loved the girls I was learning alongside. We had a really great group and the teachers really facilitated that connection, which was so important.”

Ranae is now in Bishop, California with her partner where she plans to continue rock climbing and Dirtbag Yoga, as well as teaching at local yoga studios.

Experiencing Freedom and Creativity Through Yoga

Kyana Astles – Student Story

A life-long dancer, Kyana Astles starting practising yoga as a cross training method to gain more strength and flexibility. “The more I did it the more I realised there’s a lot more to yoga than just movement,” she said.

Kyana Astles Yoga Teacher TrainingWhile on summer break from her Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in dance at Ryerson University in Toronto, Kyana decided to enrol in the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training at the Vancouver School of Yoga to develop a greater connection to her body and learn more about the practice, history and philosophy of yoga.

“The training was everything I wanted. I feel like I was seeking answers before going and the course really provided. I was dealing with a lot of negative feelings beforehand. Now I have the tools to take care of myself that way I know I need to.”

With a passion for choreography and a background in diverse disciplines of movement practices, Kyana said one of her favourite parts of the course was having the freedom to explore different disciplines of yoga and creating sequences in her own unique style.

“I was really grateful that VSY gave us the freedom to find our own voices through the practice. It’s helped me in my choreographic process as it cultivates creativity in your work,” she said.

Kyana wants to encourage her future students to trust their bodies to go places they wouldn’t normally go and to find freedom and creativity in the practice.

Kyana Astles Yoga“Allow yourself to not think for a few moments, be present with your body, the room and the people with you. If you’re thinking about other things, you’re not going to be able to achieve those more challenging poses.”

Kyana said the awareness she gained through the program is invaluable for the upcoming final year of her Bachelor of Fine Arts. “With BFAs you really have to put yourself into your work. It’s not easy to be so vulnerable. Earlier years I was struggling with that a bit.”

Starting this semester, Kyana will also be teaching a movement class at the Ryerson University Athletic centre for people who are just starting to incorporate movement into their lives.

“I’m very grateful that I can incorporate yoga and dance together to help people to recognize their own bodies, experience freedom, build more fitness and movement awareness.”

Releasing Your Hold on Perfection

Kylie Millar’s Journey from Honeymooning to Yoga School

Kylie Millar, Pemberton Yoga Teacher

Kylie Millar, Pemberton Yoga Teacher

After returning from her honeymoon at the end of summer and finding herself in a slow period at work, Pemberton-based Kylie Millar decided to relocate to Vancouver for 6-weeks to do the 200-hour Immersion Yoga Teacher Training at the Vancouver School of Yoga.

“It was an amazing opportunity that just worked out with my job. They could survive without me in the slow period and my family were very supportive and willing to let me go by myself,” Kylie said.

Kylie always felt an innate ability and passion for teaching but was constricted by the idea that having a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a hard-to-come-by job in the arts field meant there was no room in her life for other teaching pursuits or passions.

“I put myself in a box of what I do and what I’m good at and thought because I didn’t do science or health at school that I couldn’t do anything physical health related.”

Kylie’s husband saw her love of yoga and passion for teaching and suggested a Yoga Teacher Training would be a positive influence on her life, inspiring her to sign up.

“I realised you don’t have to follow the idea that you have to go to university, strive to get that full time job and get married. It doesn’t have to work out like that. You’re an adult and all of the decisions you make are your own!”

Kylie said she was drawn to the Vancouver School of Yoga because of its focus on training excellent teachers. “The program focuses on your ability to feel confident as a yoga teacher, it gives you all the tools you need and doesn’t rush through everything. You don’t just say the sequence in order; you know exactly what you’re taking about and how to do adjustments. I left with the skills to know and do whatever I wanted.”

Kylie graduated in October and has begun teaching yoga pro-bono to her friends, family and colleagues in Pemberton and Whistler. She encourages those taking a yoga teacher training to jump at any opportunity to teach somebody outside the classroom.

“If you’re working with beginner students they might not know the pose names so you have to rely on succinct language to guide them through the asana,” Kylie said.

When teaching – whether that be art or yoga – Kylie always aims to find moments in the room to make people laugh and relax. “Artwork, including yoga is an expression of yourself. You don’t need to be able to draw a perfect portrait. As a teacher I try and get students to let go of their hold on perfection.”

Kylie is now looking for a new way to combine yoga and artwork in a community based program that combines creativity, physical movement and art making.

The next intake of the Foundation Immersion 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training runs January 15 – February 23, 2018. Enrolments are open.


5 Heartwarming Winter Yoga Practices

Article by Rebekka Walker

Warming Winter Yoga PracticesThis time of year can be challenging for many of us. The busy-ness of the season combined with the shortened daylight hours can leave us feeling dried out and depleted. The key to keeping things warm and light during your wind up to winter holidays is to slow down and focus more on what your body/mind/heart are probably already asking for: nourishment, softness, warmth and rest. Below are five winter practices to help to keep your heart fire alight in the weeks to come.

1. Slow moving Asana: think sun salutations in slow motion. Build warmth gradually and allow your bodymind the luxury of sloooowing down.

2. Inversions: headstand and shoulderstand (and any of their variations) are beautiful practices this time of year to move lethargy, warm the soul and settle the nervous system.

3. Twists: wring out our tendency to over indulge this time of year with stablized and seated twists.

4. Strong breathwork: soothe frayed nerves with long Ujayi breaths, then allow your breath to become a salve for your energetic system with practices like Breath of Joy and Kappalabhati.

5. Concious Rest: even if it’s just five minutes,  get cozy and prop yourself into your favourite restorative pose and give yourself the gift of breathing into those deeper spaces.Fundamentally this season is our opportunity to settle into ourselves, through careful attention and the soul warming nourishment of good company.

With blessings for the holidays

Follow Rebekka on Instagram, @rebekkawalker or check out her Foundation Yoga Teacher Training at the Vancouver School of Yoga.

Image: Jenna Heibert - @bearandsparrow

Wherever you are, is enough

Wherever you are, is enough

Grace Siwik – Student Story

Image: Jenna Heibert - @bearandsparrow

Image: Jenna Heibert – @bearandsparrow

Originally from Ontario, Grace Siwik came from a background as a competitive athlete, playing field hockey, soccer and boxing. “I played pretty much every contact sport you can think of. I beat up and got beat up a lot. It was really hard on my body,” Grace said.

After breaking her hand for the third time, a doctor suggested Grace try something a little more relaxing, prompting her to try yoga as an alternative to contact sports and to recover from the injuries.

“I thought yoga was just like stretching where the lights are dim and people are chanting and singing. It was much more challenging than I expected, both physically and mentally. I loved it,” Grace said.

She kept up the practice for several years before moving to Vancouver in 2015 for a sales job in a health company.

“It was pretty stressful. The job wasn’t healthy. I needed a change and didn’t know what to do. My best friend gave me some great advice and I decided to go in the opposite direction and do something more restful,” Grace said.

Looking for a time of healing, Grace signed up for the Immersion 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program led by Rebekka Walker in September 2017.

“Everybody came with such different reasons for being there. It was so beautiful to experience how people from different countries, ages, belief systems and backgrounds can come together through this connection of yoga and just love and support each other.”

Since the program, Grace says her yoga practice has been focussed on listening to her body and not having expectations about how a pose should look.

“We’ve all been in that place where we feel we’re not good enough or we’re not doing it right but who cares how much you can reach your toes in a forward fold! You’re still in the pose.”

Grace says she’s looking forward to encouraging her future students to feel okay where they are, both on and off the mat.

“Everybody needs a place to start. Wherever you are is great, and enough. There’s only room to grow. The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are so many different levels and forms of the poses. There’s always something to work forward towards.”

After graduating in October, Grace moved back to Ontario to regroup and spend time with friends and family while she decides what her next step will be. She hopes to travel, teach and one day move abroad. Follow Grace’s journey on Instagram: @siwikgrace.

The next 200-hour Immersion Yoga Teacher Training Program runs January 15 – February 23, 2018. This Yoga Alliance Certified program is led by the amazing Rebekka Walker and will help you develop your own authentic voice as a yoga teacher.

Grace Siwik Yoga Teacher Training

Image: Jenna Heibert – @bearandsparrow

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Yoga Teacher Training

Creative Director Rebekka Walker shares her top 5 reasons for taking a yoga teacher training.

Rebekka Walker Yoga Teacher


I always tell my students that they aren’t in a training with me by accident. The call to dive into a yoga teacher training may begin as a whisper, but once that call is heard its hard to put off. The longing to share your passion for yoga with others, and to dive deep into this elegant practice is one that calls deep from with in, and shouldn’t be ignored!


Many students come to teacher trainings only aware of the physical aspects of yoga, but once  you embark upon teacher training, the deeper aspects of the practice are revealed. You will learn history, philosophy, biomechanics, therapeutics and how to implement them all in a way that is relevant and deepening to your own practice, and foundational to your students’.

Rebekka Walker Yoga Teacher


The nature of yoga teacher training asks us to be supportive and supported. The friends, allies and connections you make in your training will last a lifetime. They become what we call “kula” a community of the heart, and if you are open to it, those connections will stick around long after you graduate.


It is immensely empowering to stand up and teach in your own true voice. The self work that is inherent in any teacher training allows for an uncovering of many gifts that you may have left hidden. Developing new skill in how you relate to life creates authenticity and confidence in all endeavours, both on and off the mat.


“This teacher training changed my life…” It might sound like a cliche, but I hear it at least once a training. Whether its a change in career, a change in posture, a change of heart or a full life reboot, the more you offer up in your training, the more that you will receive. 22 years in and 2000 hours of teacher training completed personally, I can attest first hand to the power of yoga trainings to heal and transform, both in my own life and in the lives of my students.

About Rebekka Walker

Rebekka WalkerRebekka is currently teaching the 200hr Foundations Yoga Teacher Training Program at VSY. As the Creative Director of Vancouver School of Yoga’s 200 & 300 hour advanced programs; and internationally through her unique trainings; Rebekka has developed a reputation as a teacher of teachers for over a decade.

Read more about Rebekka on our Faculty Page or visit her website rebekkawalker.com

Take Health And Healing Into Your Own Hands

The practice of Yoga Therapy is growing in popularity as it empowers people with the knowledge they need to help heal themselves, rather than relying solely on traditional healthcare practitioners.

Yoga Therapy Chelsea Rebekka

Yoga Therapy Program Director Chelsea Lee assisting Rebekka Walker, Creative Director of VSY.

Chelsea Lee, Certified Yoga Therapist and Program Director of Yoga Therapy at the Vancouver School of Yoga (VSY), says that yoga therapy has been carving its place in the wellness and healthcare industries by bridging the gap between the Western medical profession and Eastern healing practices.

“Yoga Therapy allowed me to heal myself from injury and I think a lot of people are interested in that so they can become less reliant on the western medical system,” Chelsea said.

The 300-hour Foundations of Yoga Therapy Program taught by Chelsea at VSY is unique to Vancouver in its well-rounded approach to therapy. Students receive a strong foundation of knowledge in the physical aspects such as anatomy, physiology, physical assessment and injury rehabilitation, whilst also exploring conditions of mind, heart and spirit.

“There’s lots of great yoga in the city [Vancouver] but what’s unique to VSY is that we’re looking at the person as an integrated whole – mind, body and spirit – and teaching our students how to develop individualized treatment plans for clients based on their unique story, beliefs and body.  It’s a science and an art form.” Chelsea said.

Nicole Marcia

Nicole Marcia, Yoga Therapist

Supporting this vision is a team of carefully chosen, highly skilled faculty members from a balance of eastern and western perspectives who each bring a unique specialization to the program. Among the team of highly experienced yoga teachers and yoga therapy specialists is industry front-runner Nicole Marcia.

Nicole is a Certified Yoga Therapist with a Master’s degree specializing in yoga therapy from Lesley University in Boston, MA. She has worked extensively with provincial health services, trauma centres, military communities, and marginalized populations with a focus on mental health, addictions, drug treatment, trauma and sexual violence.

Nicole said, “It’s a real honor to be playing a role in this innovative program that is elevating the profession of yoga therapy. The combined expertise of such a diverse and experienced group of faculty makes for a high calibre of training for our students.”

Nicole will be working alongside Diane Lee – physiotherapist, March Finch – registered massage therapist, Todd Inouye – yoga philosophy expert, Sylvia Smallman – Later Life Yoga specialist and a host of other industry professionals.

Chelsea said “It’s important for aspiring Yoga Therapists to be able to speak the language of the Western medical perspective so that when they receive referrals from doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists and other health care practitioners, they can talk the talk. Weaving the Eastern practices of yoga while being grounded in Western science is what we strive to bring to our students in order to set them up for success in this field.”

Chelsea Lee Yoga Therapy

Chelsea Lee – Yoga Therapy Program Director

Thanks to the student clinic portion of the program, students have the opportunity to work with clients who aren’t their peers, allowing them to graduate from the program with practical, hands-on skills.

When discussing Yoga Therapy, Chelsea says she often encounters questions around what can occur during a session, and what Yoga Therapy entails. This has prompted the creation of a Yoga Therapy Open House at the Vancouver School of Yoga. During the event, Chelsea will run a yoga therapy demo session and unveil her vision for a brand new program that’s currently in development – a 500 hour Advanced Yoga Therapy Program which expands on the 300 hour Foundations of Yoga Therapy.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to get to really show what yoga therapy entails by demonstrating a live session and allowing the conversation to develop from there. I’m also looking forward to connecting with some previous graduates of the Foundations of Yoga Therapy program to see where they’re at and chat about possible next steps for them with the Advanced Yoga Therapy Program,” Chelsea said.

The Yoga Therapy Open House will be held on September 13 at 6pm. It is free to attend and attendees will receive $100 tuition credit towards a Yoga Teacher Training Program at VSY.

Chelsea Lee on Yoga Therapy – Kent Brun Podcast

VSY’s Yoga Therapy Program Director Chelsea Lee was interviewed by Kent Brun for Episode 111 of the Yoga Professionals Talking Podcast.

Listen to the podcast below:

Chelsea lee – 2017/08/04 by Kent Brun Podcast

Episode 111 Chelsea lee: We Talk About: Yoga Therapy/ Beginners Mind/ Yoga to Empower

Yoga Therapy in Treatment Centres

Richelle1Richelle Muscroft moved to Squamish from Vancouver last year as a brand-new yoga teacher. “I hadn’t even taught a public class yet!” Richelle said, “This year has been quite the ride in a lot of beautiful and difficult ways.”

Richelle said that the driving force that inspired her to get her yoga teacher training was when she learnt of an organization called Yoga Outreach who offered yoga in treatment centres and correctional facilities.

“I lost my dad to addiction and thought a beautiful way to honour him and help others would be by teaching yoga at treatment centres,” Richelle said.

Richelle completed her 200-hour training in 2015 followed by a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training, and then began volunteering at a treatment centre in Vancouver.

“Whenever I left the treatment centre, I felt elated and refreshed. I loved offering yoga in this setting and found it really fulfilling. I was learning more and more about the amazing ways in which you can offer yoga and it felt very empowering and motivating.”

Richelle3After taking a Yin Training, Richelle came across the concept of yoga therapy and the 300-hour Foundations Yoga Therapy Program at the Vancouver School of Yoga.

“Everything I was reading made me think ‘Yes! This is what I want to do with yoga!’”

From her personal experiences with loss, Richelle entered the program with the intention of helping people suffering from grief, depression and addition. “Chelsea Lee [Yoga Therapy program director] and the other facilitators really opened up the doors,” Richelle said. “They showed me the different avenues that you could use yoga therapy. It was inspiring.”

Richelle enjoys the personalised and individual nature of Yoga Therapy and said that through the program, she discovered a new love of anatomy.

“It was really cool to see how much I enjoyed integrating those tangible elements through identifying misalignments in the body and understanding how I can help with that on a physical and energetic level.”

Richelle2In addition to her volunteering, Richelle now works at an addictions and wellness centre in Squamish teaching yoga and meditation. She also offers private yoga therapy sessions and teaches a variety of public yoga classes including Yin, Healing Hatha and Yoga for Men.

Despite all of her success, Richelle says she still has moments of self-doubt and impostor syndrome.

“In those moments, you really have to look at what you’ve done and be proud of that. Squamish is a beautiful community and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to teach and how much I’ve learned and accomplished thus far. I am also so grateful for the practice and how it has helped me on my journey.”

Richelle hopes to continue studying to become a fully certified Yoga Therapist with the 500-hour Advanced Yoga Therapy Program, which is currently in development at VSY.

“It’s been a really cool journey so far and truly empowering for me to be able to turn my experiences into something positive that I can offer others. I’m looking forward to seeing where yoga therapy is going and excited to be part of the team of people pursuing this field.”

Incorporating Alignment & Adjustments

Jada Byun – Student Story

Jada Byan VSYThe first time Jada Byun came to Vancouver it was to perform at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Jada had been a dancer for over 10 years and regularly travelled the globe performing at ceremonies and festivals with her international dance team.

Over time, Jada’s injuries from dancing accumulated and she wanted a way to heal her body. “I’d done yoga for a really long time and after class I always felt my body was more soft and relaxed. There was no pressure or stress so that’s why I decided to learn more about yoga and I slowly began to turn the path of my life that way.”

Jada did her initial Yoga Teacher Training in 2007 in South Korea where she was born and raised. “At the time the style of yoga teaching was mostly focused on the physical aspects of yoga and not so much the spiritual,” Jada said. “We mostly worked on the poses and asana.”

Jada Byan VSYAfter three years of teaching yoga, Jada branched out and got her Aerial Yoga certification in 2015 before deciding to move with her husband to Vancouver, the city where they first met, in 2016.

Despite landing a job teaching aerial yoga in Coquitlam, Jada wanted to know more about the western style of yoga and continued researching different schools and studios.

“I was curious to learn more about the methods taught here and the different styles of philosophy and the Vancouver School of Yoga was highly recommended to me,” Jada said.

Jada enrolled in the May intake of the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program and said her experience so far has been fascinating, challenging and satisfying.

“Here, I feel more free and comfortable. I really love the focus on respecting the student, their energy and their body. I also really love the teaching on alignment and adjustments and how we build relationships with other people and share the class together. There is a beautiful energy.”

Jada Byan VSYJada said her biggest challenge so far in the program is the philosophy. “The hardest part for me is connecting the philosophy with real life. I also have a language barrier so sometimes it’s difficult for me to understand.”

Despite the challenges and the difference in style, Jada said she has already been able to apply the methods from VSY’s training, particularly around alignment, into her aerial classes.

“I’ve learned a lot of new things and have been reminded of some of things I’d forgotten which I’m really appreciative of. The faculty is so beautiful and amazing. I’m really happy to learn yoga here – I love this place!” Jada said.

After finishing the 200-hour training at VSY, Jada wants to continue teaching more classes and hopes to one day have her own studio that she can practise in.