A New Chapter for Yoga by Sarah

Hey everyone, it’s April from Yoga by Sarah. I wanted to pop on here today because I have some more exciting news to share with you. I know there’s been a lot of exciting news coming out of the studio over the past few weeks, but we wanted to share these with you one at a time so that folks wouldn’t feel too overwhelmed and you’d have a bit of a chance to process all the information that we’re sharing with you.

So, just to recap, as of September 1st we will begin renovations on the space that is next door to our current Yoga by Sarah location. We will be expanding our studio into this space which will give us another yoga studio of approximately 30 mats as well as office space for our ALIGN team and for my husband Bill who has recently sold his business, Future Access, and is coming on board at Yoga by Sarah full-time for marketing and admin. This will also give us a larger front desk as well as a larger coat closet and reception area to accommodate the extra flow of people in the studio.

Earlier this week we gave you our latest update which was that we have now become the owners of On the Mat in Fort Erie. We are very excited to add this studio to our yoga community. All passes and memberships will be valid at both St. Catharines and Fort Erie locations.

So, with all of the exciting things happening around here, including our new ALIGN program, Yoga for Mental Health, including the expansion of our St. Catharines studio and our expansion into Fort Erie, it became pretty clear that now is the time to rebrand and change our name.

One of the most common questions that I’ve received over the last couple of months, especially in relation to our ALIGN program, is “Who is Sarah?”, and “Why is the studio called Yoga by Sarah?” Of course, for those of you who have been practicing here a long time, you know that Sarah is the founder of this studio. You also know that Sarah is the one who brought yoga to St. Catharines over 20 years ago. We are very grateful to Sarah for the heritage that she created here by Yoga by Sarah. For those of you who are new to the studio, you’ve been kind of confused wondering “Who is Sarah? Why is the studio called Yoga by Sarah?” In fact, I get so many emails that are addressed to Sarah or people think my husband is married to Sarah. So, we thought with all the expansion it was time to change the name and rebrand.

I’ll be honest, I never thought I would change the name. I thought I would keep it. I mean, everyone knows Yoga by Sarah and it’s a nice way to honour Sarah’s heritage. I really didn’t think I would change it, but over the last few months with all of the expansion something has shifted and now is the time.

Now before I tell you what the name is, I want to preface it by saying that I know that change is hard and for some of you you’re gonna be really uncomfortable with calling the studio anything other than Yoga by Sarah and some of you were going to need time to sit with it for a while and some of you may not ever think of this studio is anything but Yoga by Sarah. And that’s okay, I get it. Some of you are gonna love that we’ve changed our name and say “Yeah it finally makes sense, way to go.” Others aren’t really gonna care and be totally indifferent and that’s okay too.

Okay, here goes. Our new studio name is Lost ‘n Found Yoga, and our tagline is “Find yourself on your mat.” We love this name because it is so reflective of what happens when someone is on their yoga mat. So often people tell us that they find themselves on their yoga mat. In this busy crazy chaotic Western culture that we live in your yoga mat is often the only place where you get peace and quiet and an opportunity to self reflect and find yourself, really. It also links in with our ALIGN program because a lot of what we do with ALIGN is help people who are feeling a real disconnect from their bodies reconnect with their bodies and create a sense of embodiment. So we love the name. We think it’s just perfect and a total reflection of what we do here at the studio.

Okay, so here’s our new branding and logo. You’ll notice that we’ve kept the logo pretty similar to our current Yoga by Sarah logo. We wanted to keep things recognizable and familiar and comfortable for our current members.

Please know that it will take a bit of time to transition everything over to the new brand, to Lost ‘n Found Yoga. Some things will happen quickly, like business cards for example or social media handles, but some things like signage could take a longer period of time to transition over. So you might see things in the community that say Yoga by Sarah and you might see things in the community that say Lost ‘n Found Yoga. Know it’s talking about the same place, the same studio and also know that our community here hasn’t changed.

A name change does not change what happens here in the studio. It doesn’t change our class schedule. It doesn’t change who our instructors are. it’s just a new name that is more reflective of this new chapter in this studio. We will also be changing the name of On the Mat in Fort Erie to Lost ‘n Found Yoga. This will create a more consistent brand between the two locations.

We will keep you posted on all of the changes as we roll them out and I hope that you will join me in all the excitement of all of the adventures that lie ahead in this new chapter of Lost ‘n Found Yoga. And even better than that, I hope you will join me in finding yourself on your mat.

April Janzen, MSW, RSW
Owner, Creative Director
Lost ‘n Found Yoga (formerly Yoga by Sarah)


Self Care and Trauma Stewardship

I’ll admit it. When I first saw I had to read an entire book on self-care for the Trauma Sensitive Yoga program I am taking, I kinda groaned inside. In fact, for the first three chapters, I thought “Yeah, yeah, I know all this,” because, really, over my career I’ve read lots about self-care, gone to seminars, etc. I felt like I knew it all intellectually, even though I knew I hadn’t done a great job of embodying the principles in my life.

Then I got to Chapter 4: The Sixteen Warning Signs of Trauma Exposure Response. Uh oh. I knew I was in trouble. It had been 5 years since I had worked in an extremely high stress job as a front line social worker where I had completely burned out. After recovering from burn out, I did some clinical social work for a couple of years and I thought I was good. I thought I had healed and was over it all. But then, I read the 16 warnings signs and realized I still bore the battle scars.

Hypervigilance. Fear. Guilt. Feeling that I can never do enough. Chocolate and coffesque beverages.

chocolate and coffee are not self care remedies

Okay, I know that last one – chocolate, coffesque beverages – sounds funny, but it’s actually an addiction to sugar and caffeine. It’s a way to self-medicate from stress. It’s an addiction. Some people drink copious amounts of coffee or tea to survive the day. Some people need to have a glass of wine or a beer at the end of the day to “unwind” but let’s call a spade a spade – it’s a form of evading the present moment…. an escape. My escape comes in the form of dark chocolate and coffesque beverages.

Even when I was reading the book, I felt myself feeling an emotional flashback. I felt the feelings of overwhelm, discouragement and darkness crowd in on me as I remember feeling helpless to help my clients. Feeling like no matter what I did, I couldn’t break the cycle for them or bring them freedom from the chains that bound them to darkness. Apparently it’s still there lurking in the corners of my mind and heart.

Then I got to the next five chapters: The Five Directions – a method of stewarding trauma to keep yourself healthy and whole. I was curious to see if these five directions would resonate with me or if they would seem kinda “airy fairy.”

The Five Directions:

North – Water – Creating Space for Inquiry – “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”

East – Fire – Choosing our Focus – “Where am I putting my focus? What is my plan B?”

South – Earth – “Creating a community and practicing compassion for self and others.”

West – Air – Finding Balance – “Engaging with our lives outside of work. Moving energy through. Gratitude.”

Space – A Daily Practice of Centering Myself.

These directions all resonated with me to varying degrees. I definitely felt more pulled to West – Air – Engaging with our lives outside of work, moving energy through and gratitude and Space – A Daily Practice of Centering Myself.

So what have I done to embrace self care over the past couple of weeks?

space and alone time is a healthy self care remedy

It’s been small things, itty bitty things but they are making a difference.

I made space in my life. I said no to some requests from others – both in my personal life and my professional life. No to coffee with a good friend was self care last week. No to networking events is self care for me. Everytime I engage in an activity I’m giving away a piece of my energy. Kinda like coins in a bank and as an introvert I need to make sure I have enough alone time, enough down time, for coins to go back into bank. Otherwise, I’ll be empty.

I started breathing. I know that sounds weird for a yoga teacher but I realized I wasn’t really breathing. Owning a busy yoga studio and raising three children is a busy gig, especially when one of them has a severe disability. I was breathing shallow. A lot. This was putting my nervous system into constant hyper alert. So I started to take time throughout my day here and there to remember to take deep breaths. Here and there. At my computer. Driving in the car. Eating dinner. Reading to my kids. Inhale Exhale.

I felt guilt saying no to time with a friend. I felt guilty not showing up to networking events. Heck, I even bailed on Thanksgiving dinner with my in laws because I had bad cold. But the guilt – those are just lies in my head.  Those are lies that come from a world that is in constant overdrive telling me I must not be good enough, I must have failed if I can’t do it all. I’m starting to call the bluff on that. Our culture is full of so much anxiety and stress because everyone is constantly moving at a frenetic pace and I don’t want to partake in that.

I continue to reflect on how I can make more space in my life because that’s my biggest form of self care right now. Space. I need lots of space. Akash as we say in Sanskrit. Akash. 


Everything You Need to Know About Our Consent Cards!

Physical touch. Consent. These are loaded words in our culture today. What place do these words have in the yoga studio?

Some love assists. Others loathe them.

And for good reason.

Touch is Very Personal

hands on yoga assist with yoga instructor. why niagara studio yoga by sarah is releasing consent cards

Physical touch has historically been a big part of yoga but over recent years, abuse in the yoga industry has come to light, making it controversial. Maybe even taboo in some places. Instructors are afraid they may injure someone. Or offend them. Or worse, that their assist may be misinterpreted as a sexual advance.

But some instructors don’t like giving assists for their own personal reasons: They aren’t big touch people. They have sensory issues. The idea of touching someone’s sweaty skin grosses them out. Or, their own personal story involves some difficult and painful experiences with touch.

Some folks have been injured by well meaning but overbearing instructors giving them more of a chiropractic adjustment than a simple, gentle gesture to support their practice. Some folks have been violated during an assist.  And for some, touch triggers traumatic memories they wish they could run from forever.

These are the many complexities of touch in the yoga studio. And it’s time we start the dialogue.

These complex layers should be respected by both clients and instructors, while at the same time holding space for people who enjoy the benefits that hands-on assists can offer. After all, there can be a bond that happens when touch is involved that can be a beautiful and enriching experience for the instructor and student alike.

In the current social climate, touch has become a dirty word. I sometimes wonder if the lack of physical interaction we have with one another might be a contributing factor to, or perhaps a result of, the increasing social isolation in the West. When my son gets in trouble for play wrestling with his buddies at school, something doesn’t seem quite right. Healthy, positive touch releases endorphins that can improve our mental well being. The absence of touch can have profound affects on attachment for both children and adults as evidenced by numerous research studies. Yet in the same way, touch that is unwanted and/or forced can do a great deal of harm.

So Where is the Balance?

yoga instructor helping student with a yoga pose in yoga class. why consent cards are important in yoga. yoga by sarah. st catharines.

So where do yoga instructors contribute to this social dialogue about physical touch and consent? Sure, people come to yoga to get physically fit but the reasons don’t end there. People come to yoga looking for a safe place. A place to heal. A place to seek refuge. Instructors, have the to opportunity to aid in the healing journey of their students by offering them the choice about whether or not they want a hands-on assist.

But empowerment doesn’t end with our clients. Instructors need to be empowered as well.

Instructors, need to feel respected and valued regardless of whether or not they offer hands-on assistance to clients. A “yes” card doesn’t mean that an instructor will give that client an assist. Maybe the instructor doesn’t feel like it that day. Or maybe they don’t want the pressure of giving everyone an assist. Maybe they run out of time. Or maybe they just don’t give assists. And that’s okay too.

Consent is a dialogue and both parties have to agree to it… or it’s not consent! The introduction of consent cards allows us to have this dialogue with our clients without  getting into a potentially awkward conversation. A client flips the card to yes or no. Enough said. And they can change their mind at anytime. Maybe they don’t want an assist during the active part of class but would sure love a little massage during Savasana.

Touch is personal. Consent cards attempt to hold space for people to be empowered – both instructors and clients.



Business After 5 Event

Lost ‘n Found Yoga is excited to celebrate our Grand Opening week at our new Grantham Plaza location by hosting a Greater Niagara of Commerce Business After 5 event on Tuesday, February 6 from 5 – 7pm.  We are looking forward to welcoming the Niagara business community into our beautiful new space to connect with each other and network, network, network! Be sure to bring lots of business cards and remember that the yoga studio is a “shoes-off” facility, so bring some socks or slippers along.

This event will feature delicious appetizers catered by The Vegan Hippie Chick, local craft beer poured by Niagara Oast House Brewers, and Niagara farmhouse red and white wine served by Cattail Creek Winery.

During our Grand Opening week we have all of our drop-in classes on sale for only $10/class, and Saturday, February 10 we are featuring FREE Community Classes all day long! Classes are first come, first serve, so come early to get your spot!


Grantham Plaza location now open!

We’re open! After two very busy months of renovations, we have opened our doors today at our new location for Lost ‘n Found Yoga at the Grantham Plaza in St. Catharines.  The new studio features a beautiful front entrance with more space for coats and shoes, 4 practice rooms, all larger than at our previous location, new change rooms, showers, and convenient parking.  Come and check it out!  We hope that you will love the space as much as we do, and that Lost ‘n Found Yoga will continue to be a welcoming place for your practice.

Our new address is 400 Scott St., Unit E3-4, St. Catharines, Ontario.  We are located in the rear section of Grantham Plaza between Home Hardware and the Water Source.  See you soon!