“I’ve wanted to do this since I graduated,” said Brenda Hainey at the opening of her new studio and treatment room, La Vida Health and Healing Centre, Wednesday.
Located in the Rawn Road Centre, the studio is spacious (it would accommodate six to ten yoga practitioners quite comfortably) and open, with warm colours, subtle lighting, and a calming ambience.
“I hope it feels like home; that’s what I wanted to create, a space where you come and just say ahhhhh…”
There’s an adjoining kitchen and dining area, and across the hall is her treatment room, with couch, desk, and massage table. It too has a warm and relaxing ambiance.
Hainey trained as a naturopath, but over almost two decades of practice has gradually moved to a more holistic method that incorporates Eastern approaches to health and healing, including Qi Gong and yoga.
Qi (pronounced chi) refers to life energy, and in the healing arts it more specifically refers to the energy flowing through the body. Qigong (literally ‘life energy cultivation’) is a practice that involves gentle movement, visualization, sound, breathing, and conscious intention to restore life energy and the creative power within. Its roots are four thousand years deep in Chinese culture.
Hainey has been training for the past eighteen months to become a medical Qigong practitioner, working specifically from the school of Wisdom Healing Qigong. The practice was developed by Dr. Ming Pang, a Qigong grandmaster trained in both western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
“He synthesized his profound medical knowledge of the old and new healing sciences with the ancient Qigong practice. The result is an integrative system of self-healing and cultivation that is suited for the modern pragmatic world.” (Chi Centre for Healing Wisdom Qigong)
Hainey is offering Qigong classes ($10 each) Monday and Wednesday mornings, 9:30 to 11 am. Qigong is less intimidating than yoga, especially for a beginner. (Tai Chi shares a common root, and may even be said to have developed from Qigong.)
“The greatest benefits are more flexibility and less pain,” said Hainey, who was attracted to the Wisdom Healing school in part by what she found people here needed. “We have an elderly population, people who have worked hard all their lives and now have back and other physical problems.”
Newcomers are always welcome, but especially this week. Hainey will endeavour to make room in all of her Qigong and yoga sessions. Thanks to some help from friends at the Adult Learning Centre, La Vida Health and Wellness Centre should have a FaceBook page up now (or very soon). Check it or the latest details on specific classes.
Hainey offers yoga classes (also $10), Monday and Wednesday mornings (11 am – noon) and Tuesday and Thursday evenings (6 to 7:30 and 7:30 to 9 pm, both evenings).
She is a teacher and student of the Five Element system, which combines yoga with a practical approach to healing that goes beyond the physical to explore how we understand ourselves, and “how the world inside you mirrors the energy and vitality of the natural world”.
The yoga practice itself aims to help the practitioner develop his or her ability to move with fluidity, power, and grace.
“Flow in Five Element Yoga is much more than just moving in a sequence of postures – it is a smooth, circular form of motion, and the efficient, fluid movement of flow from posture to posture is integral to the practice.”
Hainey is even running yoga classes for the Rainbow Kids; the La Vida space is next to the Rainbow playground, so her renovation work this summer was done to the accompaniment of that joyful noise. Inviting them in was a natural.
“There are a lot of animal poses in yoga, so we do them, and make the noises, while I tell a story…”
That kind of thing is just one of the ways Hainey hopes to see La Vida develop.
“I want this to be a community hub of health and healing,” she said. “Workshops, arts, and other programs will be welcome.”
It’s all part of treating the whole person…