Yoga is Meditation, Meditation is Yoga….

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Happy July! While on my travels, I passed by this glorious waterfall… and here are some thoughts inspired by the present moment quality of nature…

Yoga is moment to moment awareness. This moment here and now is all that we have. Are you fully in it, in all its depth and simple complexity? The mind is powerful; what we think creates our reality, and our mind has the potential to influence our health, moods, vibration, and overall well being. Meditation practices support well being, as they help us to calm the thinking mind and direct it toward positivity and a higher vibration. Meditation also serves to connect us with our essential nature, uncovering truths and opening us up to the wonder and magic that is this very existence. Meditation also gives us tools to face challenge and adversity with grace, and can help us thrive in our lives, re-balancing and easing day to day stress.

Rather than thinking of Yoga as something that you do primarily to move your body into particular shapes, consider it as meditation itself, within stillness and within the shapeshifting practice of postural Yoga. This is one thing that I believe distinguishes Peterborough Living Yoga as unique. In addition to offering Meditation 3 times a week, all of our Yoga classes highlight the practice of presence, consciousness and wisdom teachings. Yoga is the practice of being present, yoga is meditation, meditation is Yoga. They are not separate.

We offer many opportunities to deepen your Yoga and Meditation practice to help you thrive in life.  Browse around this site and check out all the opportunities we offer for exploration of self and unity consciousness.
~ Tiina~

The Heart of Practice: Yoga Retreat for Self Care and Inspiration… and more…

Tiina Kivinen Blog

September 11 – 13 2015 at the Lotus Heart Retreat Centre in Brighton, ON.

Join Tiina and friends for a weekend Yoga Retreat at a beautiful and intentional yoga retreat centre. The weekend will include:

  • 2 nights stay in a lovely B&B
  • Delicious and nourishing vegetarian meals
  • Inspired Yoga and meditation classes and workshops for deepening your practice, open to all levels of experience, including live music yoga and kirtan, Yoga Nidra, and Prana Flow Yoga
  • Spacious time to enjoy nature trails, Spa, salt water pool and the surrounding area

Early Bird Price: $385 + HST
After July 15: $420 +HST
*Please inquire for private room price

I am delighted to announce this ontario yoga retreat! I have loved guiding retreats in the tropics, and know that many of you have wished for a more local option. I have found a beautiful and heart centered retreat centre in Brighton ON, only an hour or less from Peterborough. Retreats can be very rejuvenating and powerful, it’s like another way of being in time. For many of us who have packed schedules, day to day commitments or stress, unplugging and taking a weekend devoted entirely to self care, nourishment, and inspiration can have a profound effect in re-balancing the nervous system, creating ease and peace that you will feel long after the retreat is over. Retreating into a sacred space for deepening your Yoga and Meditation practice, enjoying nature, nourishing your self with healing treatments, and healthy and tasty food… sounds good right? And everything is optional, so if what you need is a nap, so be it! We would love to have you join us!



200 Hr. Yoga Teacher Training

Spaces are filling up for the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training coming this Fall, 2015!

This 200 hr Yoga Alliance approved training dives deep into the transformative teachings of Yoga. Whether you plan to teach or not, this training may be a good fit for you if you are drawn to exploring the multidimensional Self through the inquiry of Yoga; if you are looking for a heightened experience of aliveness, consciousness, and awakening in your current life journey.

We are now accepting applications for this fall’s training, to be held at Peterborough Living Yoga, with a weekend format. If you haven’t checked out the new page about the training, where you can find out more about what past graduates have to say, how the training can be a great experience for personal development, and more details about what you’ll learn, check out the 200 Hr. YTT page here.


Teacher Spotlight! Sasha

Meet Sasha Lambrinos! Sasha has been teaching yoga for 5 years and originally trained with the Kripalu yoga tradition. She teaches a ‘Beginners Yoga’ class at Peterborough Living Yoga Thursdays at 5:30pm, which is a wonderful class for those new to Yoga to learn the foundations of posture, breath and meditation. However, Sasha’s class attracts many practitioners of all levels of experience, as we have been finding that ‘beginners is the new advanced’, since there can be such benefit in exploring Yoga from the ground up. Even if you have been practicing yoga for all of your life, you will love Sasha’s class.

Sasha loves gardening, playing music, and spending time with her one year old son Arjuna and her husband Carsten. Sasha is a lead vocalist and guitar player in our in house kirtan group, the Om Shantis, and will be playing music at the Peterborough Yoga Festival at 3:15pm on the main stage and for the upcoming Sweet Surrender; Restorative Yoga with Live Music. Also, in the fall, stay tuned for a Kid’s Yoga class with Sasha!


Holistic Practitioners
We are happy to be hosting a few new holistic practitioners at Peterborough Living Yoga! Check them out here, book your appointment for Registered Massage Therapy, Reiki, Thai Massage, or Hypnotherapy! Support your local practitioners and Peterboorugh Living Yoga by giving your Self the gift of healing and care. We also have the treatment rooms for rent, part time or full time options available, so if you are a holistic practitioner looking for space, consider joining our team at Peterborough Living Yoga.

P.S. The Yoga Retreat may fill up fast, so see the Info and Registration page to take advantage of the early bird pricing!

Join us at the Peterborough Yoga Festival at 3:15pm!

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Have you heard the word? This Summer Solstice, Peterborough will be hosting it’s first Yoga Festival, at Del Crary Park. It will be a day full of Yoga classes, workshops, Yogi Market, Healing Garden, fun for kids, and more….. Myself, Tiina, along with beloved friends and musicians Sasha, Carsten, Chantal, and Mark will be offering Mantra Magic, a Live Music Yoga class on the Main Stage at 3:15pm. We would love to have you join us. As well, our in house meditation teacher Mark Ross will be offering a Meditation practice at 7:30am, so come early and start your day with consciousness. We will be at a Peterborough Living Yoga booth all day, so come and visit and pick up a summer schedule while you enjoy the festival!

Nature Connection and Yoga… are you interested in an Ontario September Yoga Retreat?

Tiina Kivinen Blog


We are now looking at the weekend of September 11 – 13 2015 for a Yoga Retreat in Brighton ON. Stay tuned for more info coming soon….

lakeWith the amazing blooming flowers and beautiful rains and sunshine days, the urge to be outdoors, barefoot and in nature is strong! This past weekend I spent Mothers day out on the land, mulching the new fruit orchard, swimming in the pond and walking barefoot on the earth. Perfect way to rest the nervous system and prepare for the upcoming week. Vitamin N, ‘nature’, is essential for my happiness and well being, and I am so grateful that we have such an abundance of nature here in this area. Just like Yoga, nature connection calms the mind, balances the nervous system, brings health to the body and inspires the spirit.

How does an Ontario Yoga Retreat in Sept 2015, sound to you for nature connection and Yoga combined?

Announcing Practitioners at Peterborough Living Yoga!

We are happy to be collaborating with 3 new holistic practitioners, so now you can receive registered Massage Therapy or Reiki with Sari Watson on Wednesdays, Thai Massage with Sue Prentice on Fridays, and Reiki with Mackenizie Kirkham on Thursdays. (Times and days may also be flexible!)

More info about our team of holistic practitioners here.

We have room for more, and are seeking part time or full time renters for one or both of our possible treatment room spaces. Contact us with your interest, and know that you will be joining an inspiring team in a prominent location with support for growing your practice!

Equinox Newsletter

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Community as the new Guru

I’ve heard this mentioned throughout the years, that the new Guru is community. Or, as Thich Nhat Hanh put it, the new Buddha is a community, not a person.

In sanskrit, Gu = Darkness, Ru = Light, Guru, also often the word used to refer to a beloved teacher or master, also refers to the movement from darkness to light, or even the balance and interdependence of darkness and light. Interesting to contemplate as we enter the Equinox and welcome the balance of dark and light. As the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the sun’s rays and reaching the tipping point, we can now start to welcome more LIGHT into our days.
As we welcome more LIGHT in our days, we welcome the bursting forth of Spring, and a rebirth in our Selves as we emerge from winter hibernation, or in my case, emerge from sabbatical journey in the tropics …

I recently attended the epic Envision Festival in Costa Rica, and taught a yoga workshop about integrating the

expansive energy of the festival into the body and into present moment awareness: it was such a deep honour to be a part of this amazing world renowned festival. One of the missions of Envision is to inspire community and celebrate the potential that we have to envision and create change on the planet.

I was deeply inspired by the talks, workshops and panel discussions all from amazing game changers on the planet. One of the inspirations that flowed through is how important and necessary it is to be in community. I feel incredibly blessed to have some sweet community in Peterborough, and I feel that we have potential to grow and thrive even more.


My vision for the new yoga space Peterborough Living Yoga (PLY) is to create a gathering space for community to form, beyond a ‘yoga studio’; my hope is that PLY is a space for learning, laughter, and connection, stillness, silence, and contemplation, singing, dancing, and creative expression. I envision a place for deepening our experience of yoga and wellness, for our inner and outer world. YOU, the community, are integral for this to succeed. Please stay tuned for our Spring Offerings.

Some things to look forward to….

  • Opening Celebration on April 10 featuring a Live Music Yoga Class with the Om Shantis and Shantdeep
  • Weekly classes in all levels and diverse styles of Yoga
  • Weekly meditation
  • Continuing Education for Yoga Teachers
  • Deepening Workshops for all of us
  • 200 hr Amrita Living Yoga Teacher Training
  • Live Music Yoga, Kirtans, Ecstatic Dance events and more
  • Superfood Lunch Yoga program partnering with Dan Ledandan Foods

Looking forward to connecting with everyone!

Healing the nervous system with Yoga

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Here is an article that I wrote about yoga for the Greenzine, published in Peterborough, Ontario:

Shoulders are tight and slouched, mind is frazzled and nervous system is on the fritz. Day to day life makes us stressed, whether its challenges in the workplace, at home, in relationship, with health, or just the daily grind of a fast paced culture of go go go and push and pull.

The reality is that stress is a factor in most people’s lives, however it shows up. It’s not just something that rears its head during intense life events or drastic change. It’s something that has become pervasive in our society (Stats Canada says work absenteeism due to stress has increased by over 300% since 1995!). There are also many studies revealing the links between stress, and health in body and in mind, with 75% to 90% of all visits to the doctor being for stress-related complaints, according to the American Institute of Stress. In other words, we have a lot of healing to do individually, and culturally…

So how do we do this healing? There are many paths of healing for the nervous system, including meditation, yoga practices, and other forms of movement and breath work. The common response to stress is a ‘fight or flight’ activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the same response that arises when your life is in danger. Practices of yoga, meditation and breath work help us to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the ‘rest and digest’ response.

If you have ever tried yoga, you may be familiar with that sweet sense of relaxation and ease that you feel when a class is over. It’s that state of relaxation that is transformative because, with practice, we start to carry it out of the studio, off the mat, and into our day to day lives, into those moments of tightening and anxiety that occur within the day to day stresses. We can learn to breathe and relax our awareness in the midst of the sometimes turbulent flow of life just as we learn to flow with awareness in yoga postures.

Yoga teaches us to breathe into sensation and experience, to find a state of equanimity or acceptance in a relaxed and open way. The benefits are immense for stress relief, and as we practice breathing into all those little stresses throughout the day, becoming even just a bit more relaxed and at ease, it prepares us for the big moments: Divorce. Illness or Injury. Losing a job. Death of a loved one. As we cultivate the ability to meet each moment with ease, without pushing or pulling, yoga helps us to lean into the moment, even when the stress response strongly wants us to panic.

Breathing, creating space, cultivating ease and presence. These practices that you may experience in a yoga or meditation class go way beyond the mat or cushion, and the benefits go way beyond the physical. I invite you to open up to the teachings of yoga as a way of opening up to a more stress free life, so you can live fully and meet the challenges with the most ease possible.

Reflections on Taking a Retreat

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Right now I am living in the jungle at my winter home, The Enchanted Forest in Guiones, Costa Rica. I spend my days teaching at The Nosara Yoga Institute and Harmony Healing Centre, taking classes, walking the beach, floating and swimming in tide pools and waves, watching the sun set over the ocean, and lounging around in a hammock. I also try and get business stuff done; some days it comes naturally and other days I have resistance and a hard time getting to

I have learned that the key to being good at making business happen is feeling inspired, and then letting that inspiration flow into the business. Hence, taking 3 months of the year to focus on healing and inspiration 😉 Here’s what’s flowing today: I’m thinking its about time I tell you a bit about my experience on retreat this year.

Feeling inspired moment to moment takes practice, and it takes really deeply feeling what is present, a willingness to dive in. When we feel fully the experiences of our life we come face to face with who we are. For example, I gave myself the immense gift of going to an ecstatic dance and yoga retreat over New Years this year, less than 3 months after my mother passed away.

Here is a little bit about what it was like to take a retreat, at a time of very potent grief. Thanks for reading 🙂

I walked onto a dance and yoga floor where the primary intention was to create a space for ritual and healing, led by two people who I adore, Amber Ryan and Kevin Courtney. They are teachers who I admire, and feel a pull to be around, which is a rare feeling that I believe is worth following and celebrating. I was also on board as part of the work team, so I was helping hold the space, which is a huge honour. I love them!

At the retreat, I had to meet myself fully in the pain of losing my mom, and the practices of yoga and ecstatic dance, with sacred guidance, created a container in which I could go into all of it.

For many years, dancing has been a refuge for me, a medicine and something that often led to bliss and high high feelings. I am used to entering a dance floor and feeling like I am just in it, in the rhythm, in the moment, and communicating with the most authenticity, and often having a lot of fun. I have known and experienced dance as healing medicine, and was looking forward to having the opportunity to let go and feel like I have a body again.

I have learned what an immense gift I gave myself to commit to a retreat at a time of major life change.

The inertia of grief is strong.

I have never felt like moving was so difficult. The pain of loosing my mom on this plane of things, combined with the rhythms of daily life being overall pretty full on through the fall, had manifested in some pretty epic layers of physical and emotional tension.

I have a friend who also lost her mom and she said it took her 2 years before she could dance again. I understand that: I can’t put words to how difficult it was to move my body to music at a time of such deep sadness. But I did. And it was so hard. But the fruit of this challenge was that I was able to move some of the pain that was so layered in body, and give it space and form, and really honour the depth of it. Lots of crying, and dragging myself through the inertia for many days until I actually got to the space where I was free and open and feeling a little more one with the divine. (In the 5 Rhythms practice, this is referred to as Lyrical, and it is a sweet sweet experience to actually be in the Lyrical Rhythm). Through the practices I faced my fears of not being able to access my Mom anymore, and I opened up to connecting with her on a deeper level. This is something that has changed my life and will continue to transform me as I commit to staying open.

Kevin Courtney’s mom was a part of the retreat, which was so sweet and really reminded me of the time that my sweet mama attended my retreat in Costa Rica. What an amazing blessing that was, and if you can go on retreat with a beloved family member (or by yourself, go on retreat people! Such an amazing opportunity!) at some point in life, I highly recommend it. Life is short, sometimes shorter than you would hope for, and we’ve got to make every moment count.

Overall, I am immensely grateful to my guides Amber and Kevin, to my family because it’s you who I dance and pray for, and grateful to myself for giving myself the time and space to face all of it full on, a radical act of self love. Infinite thanks to my Mom, who I know is with me in Spirit.

Embodied Spiritual Beings!

Tiina Kivinen Blog

In the inquiry of the body. Why do you practice yoga postures? Why do we, as a culture, deeply benefit (or not benefit) from asana practice….

The whole system of yoga is made of many dimensions, they are synthesized in a text called the Yoga Sutras, and described as 8 Limbs of Yoga. Asana is one of the limbs and its the one that the west has grabbed on to as the main focus of Yoga in the dominant culture….. although the other layers of practice are sometimes present in classes, trainings and workshops, and sometimes they are not present at all.

Personally, in my life and practice, I am very much in the inquiry of the role of postures in accessing Yoga or Unity Consciousness. The other day while practicing, the knowing kind of dropped in in a deeper way, much like it does in those movements of connection when some kind of understanding is felt about the great mystery of life… ‘aha moments’ … in this moment I could really feel what it is to be an embodied spiritual being, to have a body that is a vessel for spirit and love to shine into the world.

The body is a part of the multidimensional self; body, mind, ego, emotions, energy, wisdom, witness, spirit, oneness, divinity…. the body is a part of this whole being, and through it we can open to a free flow of spirit and divine connection. It’s like, through the body I can access spirit because the channel is open and clear, but if a practice becomes souly about being in a body and perfecting a particular form, we create a loop of ego and narcissism that is counter productive and reaffirms the ego tendencies of a false self, and it can even cut us off from the stream of sacred energy that is abundant and available to all beings.

It’s a strange time to be an embodied spiritual being, a time when yoga is sold as a weight loss technique and people take endless selfies of themselves in yoga poses and get really preoccupied with fashion accessories. No judgement of course, just the inquiry, ‘isn’t this interesting’.

I”m really really grateful that my practice facilitates moments of clear connection with spirit, and I am motivated to create opportunities for others to open up to the vastness of their own potential as an embodied spiritual being, to create spaces where bodies are loved, cared for and deeply respected as vessels for higher wisdom and divinity.