New Yoga studio located in Brandon’s West End, coming soon

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Coming soon to Brandon a new yoga studio called Luna Muna which will be owned and operated by Chelsea McCrimmon. “It was the name of a hostel I saw in Peru and also means free spirit and secret and joy” McCrimmon told bdnmb.ca when asked where the name came from. Located in Brandon’s west end, Luna Muna will offer a variety of yoga classes in an intimate studio setting!

How did you get into yoga?

It’s funny, before I got into yoga I worked as a lawyer. I always joke that it seems like something out of a movie where the person becomes newly single, quits a job and then travels somewhere to find themselves, which is literally exactly what happened, but it took a lot longer than two hours!

I actually originally started yoga at the encouragement of my family and counsellors because I used to have very bad anxiety, starting as young as age seven after my grandpa passed away. As a teen and young adult that also included struggles with body image, eating disorders, negative self-talk and so on. I literally found myself almost annoyed that people were suggesting yoga to me, because it seemed so simple. Of course, nothing happens overnight and very long story short it was the principles behind yoga that really started to change things for me. There’s concept in yoga “ahimsa” which literally means to practice “non-violence”, and when I got deeper into practice I realized I wasn’t doing a very good job of that when it came to the thoughts and words I “spoke” to myself. That was sort of my gateway, and I just got more and more into the whole practice from there. 

What are your yoga credentials?

I’ll start by saying there are tons of ways to train, but I am 500-hour RYT, which basically means I have 500 hours of Yoga Teacher Training (after that hours aren’t necessarily tracked the same). I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to do immersion trainings in some very cool places, Hawaii, California and more recently Peru. So, “immersion” just means that you go to your teacher training and are there for several weeks literally immersed in yoga. I found it transformative because you manage to go so deep into the practice. In Hawaii there was a hurricane so we didn’t even have power or cell service, we would literally rise with the sun, completely disconnect, go bed early, it was very freeing! All it took was a hurricane.

In addition, I’ve done a lot of interactive online trainings ranging from yoga anatomy to yoga philosophy which, unless you’re a yoga teacher, won’t sound very exciting, but most recently I did one through Yoga Medicine on mental health and wellness, it was pretty amazing, and very timely given the start of Covid and the toll that’s taken on people’s mental health.

Is there yoga for “old, fat, inflexible men?”

Almost a direct quote of something that I am often asked! And you can substitute pretty much any perceived limitation into that question, the answer is yes.

I am NOT just saying this, when I say it’s for anyone! It is our role as teachers to find the poses for you! You don’t have to “fit” into a certain shape or pose, the goal of yoga is to breathe, to listen to your body, to (attempt) to quiet the mind, one way of working towards these goals, is through the poses, which I can assure you, like most things, do not look like what you see online or on tv (my own personal Instagram included).

For the large majority of those practicing yoga one of the main goals is achieving more ease of movement throughout the day, maybe a few less kinks upon waking, less time having to massage your neck after watching Netflix the wrong way, that sort of thing.

If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of challenging yoga poses, and I’m happy to teach those privately, or to give options to build up to those in group classes, but 99.9% of people aren’t looking to do a handstand, or learn the splits. Think of your body as a machine, if you give it proper maintenance you (hopefully) increase the chance of it continuing to carry you through life.

For anyone who feels nervous to try a group class, or has injuries or cranky areas of the body, I would recommend doing a private class first, that way we can find modifications to poses, or in some cases I will recommend a completely different pose that can be taken during class. I had an amazing lady in one of my group classes before, she had given birth, and had essentially torn all of her core muscles, she was one of the most dedicated women in the class, showed up each week, she knew that when the class took downward dog, she did a pose against the wall and so on. After only a few weeks she gradually began to do versions of poses she couldn’t have attempted before.

I have so much empathy for those who are reluctant to go to a studio because I was that person! I was so nervous I wouldn’t even practice yoga in front of my mom. I bought into every yoga stereotype, was stressed about not having the right clothes, not being flexible enough etc. Despite what we see in the media, you can practice yoga in something other than tights and a sports bra. Not that I don’t love a good pair of tights, but, you can wear sweats, a t-shirt, literally anything that you can move comfortably in and not trip over!

I’m not trying to be misleading, in my personal practice today I am always trying increasingly challenging poses that do require quite a lot of flexibility, but that is my practice, and only one small part of it. Each person’s yoga practice is going to be different, and we all have different goals or reasons for practicing which can range from reducing anxiety to improving mobility.

I’ve said this before, but I find it to be very important, you can do the splits, a handstand, whatever, and never actually practice yoga, meanwhile, you may never touch your toes, but practice yoga every day. It is not just the poses. The poses are what we see, and they’re great, I don’t want to appear to be discount that, but they’re not the whole picture.

What type of classes will you have at your studio?

At Luna Muna, we will offer a variety of in person and online classes, more information can be found on the website, but in addition to in person classes we will offer a livestream of select classes, as well as an online gallery of saved classes that people can choose from. The online gallery is nice, because that way we can offer more “niche” classes, like, “handsfree yoga”, “yoga for runners”, that sort of thing, as well as various classes built around a certain posture for those who are looking for more of a challenge.

Aside from group classes, we will also have private classes for those who want individual or small group sessions.

As far as the types of classes, I kind of liken it to a “menu” of yoga to choose from. We have power, yin, gentle, seniors and then a more classic mixed flow. Except for the power class, which will be a little more physically demanding, all of the classes are suitable for all levels. Each class will have modifications and the opportunity to take more or less challenging versions of postures.

I’m super excited about the fact that we are also going to have yoga silks for aerial yoga! So aerial yoga is amazing because you can achieve a greater variety of poses without having to put any strain on the joints. You also obviously also get the pleasure of being cocooned in your little silk which is as amazing as it sounds.

We open January 3, so we don’t have a firm class schedule up on the site yet, however on average there will be anywhere between three and four classes a day, most days, in addition to the online gallery. So my hope is that there will be something for everyone.

We will also offer “Free Spirits” which is a free in studio and online class that will pop up once every week or two. The time will vary, with the hope that a greater variety of people will be able to squeeze in a class, since the world could probably use a little more yoga.