By Dylan Conway-Hartwick
During the day, Vanessa Tran works as a computer mentor in the college’s Blackboard support department. But in her free time, the petite instructor helps students and professors to undo the accumulated stress from sitting at their desks all day – by teaching yoga.
“Yoga really helps you embrace your body,” she said. “It’s very good, but it can be expensive, so I try to make it accessible for everyone so they can at least try.”
Working as an employee at the college for the past eight years, Tran realized she was tired of being tied to a desk with no opportunity to be active. After joining her first yoga studio seven years ago, she continued to take teaching classes and eventually ran her own yoga workshop.
Tran believes yoga is something that everyone can benefit from, both mentally and physically.
“My youngest student is 16 and my oldest is 72, so there is always quite a range,” she stated. “Last year a lot of people who joined developed a love for yoga and now they really want to do it more.”
With sessions alternating every Tuesday in the Spiritual Centre and Residence fitness lounge, Tran sees a wide variety of yogis, from professors to students and everything in between.
The techniques particular to Forrest yoga include deep breathing, long hold positions and focus; something all skill levels can do, so anyone is welcome.
Tran also offers classes in Kundalini yoga, Yin yoga and meditation techniques. She operates her business from her website, Prana Quests, which specializes in holistic nutrition and yoga instructing.
After pairing up with nutritionist Lisa Middleton, Tran has developed her latest program ‘Discover Your Best Body’ which starts on Oct. 18.
Middleton and Tran met while taking a nutrition class at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Ottawa. They established the idea of furthering Tran’s yoga-inspired classes to include help with improving eating habits and confidence.
“It’s a two month course that integrates both yoga and nutrition courses together,” stated Tran. “Lots of people will try bad things to get the body they want, but this is all about having one focus: loving the body you have.”
The course aspires to bring together different aspects of a healthy lifestyle to get the best body possible and maintain it. It is hosted in Residence, but anyone at Algonquin can attend the eight week lessons, including professors and staff.
“Since your body works hard for you every day, you have to work just as hard to strengthen and nourish it,” stated Tran. “Don’t hate your body, support it and the changes you want to see will come.”