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"Open your heart, open your throat, open you mind, and close your eyes."

- yogarickfortune

You’re on your way to work, grabbing a much needed coffee and something greasy to eat because you were out drinking last night, and there they are, yoga people… with their perfectly effortless top-knots, in their matching Lululemon outfits and their (again!) matching mat on their back getting a kombucha. You wonder “how do you have the time to be rested, look good, do yoga and still get to work on time?!” You also wonder why you can’t be that way too, which only feeds your rage more. To be clear, I don’t know any of these people personally - except one, who breaks every preconceived notion I’ve had about them: Toronto yogi Erika Fortin. Super-human in her empathy and ability to go with the flow, she’s someone who’s refreshingly open to admitting that she doesn’t have it all figured out just yet, but is always working on it. If yoga has been something you love to hate, but secretly hoped you would one day get it together enough to try, let Erika help you get started and it will suddenly become the funnest, chillest way to start your day (top-knot and kombucha not required).

Once you’ve resolved to try yoga for real this time, you still have a ton more boring decisions to make before you can get started: what studio should I go to; can I convince some friends to come along; what days/times can I make work in my schedule, what class do I enrol in; etc…? After making it over that first hurdle, it can be exhausting to look forward to a dozen more. Erika gets that. In fact, it’s a large part of why she teaches the way she does. After taking her 200 hour yoga teacher training outside of Toronto, in a small studio where the focus was on building a community and sharing vulnerabilities, she decided to bring that mentality back to the city. If you don’t want to practice yoga around strangers, gather your friends up, pick a convenient location and Erika will come to you. Conversely, if you decide on a whim to respond to one of her stories advertising an impromptu class in the park, you can be sure that everyone who shows up is going to be just as cool and non-judgemental as Erika. Only feel comfortable doing shavasana for now (translation: literally just lying on your back)? That’s cool, stretch or meditate for the rest of the class if you want. Don’t know what a chakra is, but want to tighten your butt? Also totally cool, Erika knows some easy squat-type poses for that. Done a bunch of classes and think you’re ready for a challenge? Erika will give you the confidence and support needed to get to the next level! 

So while certain yoga practitioners may project an air of unattainable perfection and matcha-latte sipping elitism, Erika is there to prove that yoga isn’t really about all that. To Erika, yoga is a way to slooooow the heck down, connect with yourself, be proud of your personal progress and, hopefully, to have a few laughs and make a few friends along the way. The best part is, even if you only take one class, you’ll have gotten to spend some time with the personification of that unassumingly inspiring voice in your head that says “that looks like fun”. So quit stressing, give in to your brave side and try something new! Slide into Erika’s DMs @yogarickfurtune to arrange a private or semi-private lesson and watch her stories for future drop-in classes in scenic locations all across the city.

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