Allie is a uniquely gifted and talented yoga instructor. She has an excellent reputation as a teacher who not only provides fantastic classes of all levels, but who also works with disabilities and chronic diseases. I have referred my patients regularly to her classes with fabulous results. While Allie teaches yoga, she also encourages and fosters our self-esteem, our body appreciation, our physical and emotional self-awareness and our meditation skills.
– Dr. Sarah McKinnon, MD, CCFP
Allie has a natural and poetic approach to guiding a yoga practice. She brings a human, sensual flow to the movement and insightful vision and focus for the mind.
– Hawksley Workman, Musician
As a clinician who works predominately with Addiction and Trauma I have seen various kinds of body interventions work dramatically–but none more so than the physical practices of yoga. Yoga is part of an ancient system meant precisely to address human suffering and particularly to address it in the body, where it lives. I have witnessed clients who have received countless hours of psychotherapy begin to heal in profound ways after attending Ahimsa Yoga Studio and reclaiming their bodies as their own. The trauma they had experienced through multi-generational abuse, rape, addiction, neglect etc. was stored in every pore and no amount of ‘talk-therapy” seemed to release them and provide them freedom as it did once it was combined with the practice of Yoga. I now refer all my clients suffering with PTSD or who recently experienced trauma to Allie for yoga. To watch someone inhabit their body for the first time as an adult is a joyous thing to experience. I believe yoga should be mandatory for any trauma program.
– Bonnie Euler, Addiction therapist
Wendy is a skilled and intuitive practitioner. As she encourages her yoga “friends” to reach new heights of awareness, confidence and physical ability, she remains respectful. The spoken images she provides for each step of the practice are powerful and speak volumes to the participant. Wendy is always exploring new avenues for herself and bringing those learnings and inspirations to the studio. There is stillness, quietness, warmth, and healing in Wendy and her practice. I feel lucky to have her as part of my life.
– Sarah Isbister. Collingwood Ont.
Wendy Martin is a yoga beginner’s dream: talented, patient, articulate, pleasant and all-around inspiring. I felt so comfortable in her hands – she took me from absolute yoga-cynic to aspiring-life-long-yoga- seeker in three wonderful days. I couldn’t recommend her more highly!
– Lucy Cummins, Brooklyn, New York
In my early sixties I discovered yoga. With the guidance of Wendy Martin my evolving yoga journey, and the benefits from time shared on the mat, is always delightful and surprising.
Wendy is a gifted, skilled, and very caring teacher, who, with compassion and balance, encourages individual growth through exploring the possibilities and the edges of breath, awareness and movement. Her Sacred Breath Studio atmosphere is enchanting and inspiring.
Wendy shares her passion with great joy and under her guidance I have learned to take my practice off the mat and into my daily life with awareness and flexibility I didn’t know I had.
– Maureen Jennings. Emsdale, Ontario
From our Graduates:
There is a big push right now in education to bring to the forefront the importance of ways to promote mental health and wellness. The school improvement plan that is required by all schools now must outline how they are addressing wellness within the school. This is exciting because I feel that the experience and learning that the YTT program provided has given me a solid knowledge base and the confidence to introduce yoga and mindfulness to address the mental health and wellness of all students in the school. Working with both students who are considered at risk as well as students who have a wide range of special needs, I see how important it is to introduce students to the tools that yoga offers. Being exposed to a regular yoga practice can help students deal with everything from physical needs such as balance and core strength to mental needs such as being able to focus and being able to turn inwards and find respite from the constant barrage of outside influences and pressures of growing up and finding your way.
– Jennifer Starratt, Elementary School Teacher, Graduated 2012
I’m writing as a Registered Yoga Teacher, Psychotherapist and anti-violence worker…. And of course, as one of Allie’s students.
I did Allie’s yoga teacher training between 2003-2004. It was a gift. Allie’s exquisite ability to meet people where they’re at, and her embodiment of non-violence and non-judgement set her apart in the yoga and healing communities.Allie’s approach is not at all one of ‘I’m the expert’, but rather one of ‘you’re the expert, let’s let that unfold.’
I did my yoga teacher training with Allie several years into my career as an anti-violence worker. Her unconditional acceptance of the life experiences of those who come to the mat with her every day, and her unwavering commitment to the process of self-discovery and healing through yoga was instrumental in my decision to pursue my psychotherapy training and ultimately to specialize in the deeper integration of body and mind with sensori-motor psychotherapy. The majority of my therapy clients and many of my yoga students are survivors of trauma. My training with Allie gave me the foundational tools and confidence to successfully work with the legacy of trauma in these clients as they journey to restore a more cohesive sense of self. I have trained with some of the world’s leading scientists, practitioners and researchers in body-oriented trauma interventions, and as a result of Allie’s training, I found I came to the table already equipped with many of the techniques required in this field.
Not only is Allie an exceptional teacher, but her commitment to social justice informs how she operates her business – from day to day service provision, to her integral involvement in the numerous communities in which she works. Allie understands community…. and non-violence…. and the legacy of trauma…. and the potential for healing…. All with humility and compassion.
– Heather McFadyen, Yoga Teacher, Counselor, Graduated 2004
I embarked on the study of yoga as a blessed entry into a world where I suddenly had the time to commit to what I had promised myself I would commit to one day; a world of enlightened learning which was self-initiated but guided and deeply healing. The new world of retirement that I had entered sat heavily on my shoulders and I was desperate to find a way in which I could ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’ after preaching it for so long as a teacher. I needed to become a student again-not a PhD apprentice with all of the politics and the soul sucking stress that entailed- but rather a student of something somewhat intangible where I really knew nothing but felt a deep urge to learn. I walked into Ahimsa searching for something and found exactly what I was looking for: a challenging environment where I could study and learn something potentially life enhancing and affirmative with people who were warm, receptive, keenly intelligent, and community oriented; I was smitten. Little did I realize how life-enhancing the experience would become.
Along the way, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and the fact that I was enrolled in YTT allowed me to cling to something deeply supportive: a community of women who allowed me to be whatever I needed to be to heal. I knew that no matter how things turned out, I had that reinforcement out in the community which when coupled with the support from my family and friends proved invaluable. “…yoga and meditation evolved to help us face suffering with equanimity and to find the quiet centre inside” Esther Myers.
My journey of discovery can be summed up with several quotes*: A) Yoga opens us up to love, compassion, caring and creativity. My right brain started to work again flooding me with ideas and creative energy after years of living in my left brain. B) The sign of the practice taking hold is a budding clarity, fullness and radiance that is unmistakable. This was not always obvious as my body was hampered by chemotherapy but when I looked around at my colleagues in the class, despite all of the trials and tribulations of this group; they glowed with a new kind of certitude. C) The dominant cultural and medical message is also that our posture and flexibility inevitably deteriorate with age. This deterioration is not necessary – so true. Finally, D) When our bodies release, suppressed emotions come to the surface, sometimes as memories. Do not try to deny what you are feeling. Yoga helped me learn to stay in touch with my emotions while living in the moment.
Yoga teacher training was a life changing experience and a support system during a time of extreme physical and mental challenges. I would highly recommend Ahimsa and Allie Chisholm-Smith’s YTT to anyone.
– Suzanne Riverin, Graduated 2012
*Quotes are from: Yoga and You, Esther Myers.