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Spending Time with Candace Cooke

Spending Time with Candace Cooke

Spending Time with Candace Cooke

MARCH 22, 2019

Spending Time with Candace Cooke

She’s a co-creator behind Yoga Santosha, a teacher, a mentor, a friend, and one of the most thoughtful, genuine, and present people I know. When I first met Candace I was struck by how much she cared about my world and my heart.

She would ask me something and then actively listen and respond. The next time we connected, she would remember. I don’t think she would see that as a gift because it is just who she is. It’s one of her greatest attributes. She also happens to be an incredible yoga teacher. She teaches from a place of knowledge, and compassion. She gives everyone the space to be themselves, which in turn allows them to grow and blossom. She teaches at both studios and co-leads both the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and the 50 hour Yin Training.

Learn a little more about Candace below and meet her on your mat at Yoga Santosha Mission Monday’s @9:30 am & @12:10 pm & Wednesdays @9:30 am. She’s at Yoga Santosha Kensington on Wednesday’@12:00 pm.

What is your favourite part of teaching yoga?

My favourite part is connecting to people. I love to get to know peoples bodies, how they move, their injuries etc, as it helps me to aide them in going deeper into their practice. I also love really getting to know my students on a more personal level, and I enjoy my relationships blossoming into deep friendships.

What are you most passionate about in your teaching?

I feel that I am most passionate about teaching teacher trainings. I can teach them the asana (pose) but then go much deeper than the physical postures. I like the transformational experiences that the students go through with us, seeing them come to new breakthroughs, new ways of thinking, pushing through new boundaries that they didn’t think were possible. Ahhh, that is where my bliss lies… I just love that part! I love collaborating with my fellow teachers from the trainings as well, it is really inspiring to me to work along side them and integrate their thoughts and ideas.

We are in the middle of a 200 hour training right now, and they are a great group – but aren’t they all? Yes, they are! And this is our first all girl one and the dynamic is a little different this time… We are starting a yin teacher training again this May, and I love the yin trainings for many reasons but one fun reason is that it is short and sweet, and done in only 2 weekends. Another neat thing about the yin trainings that I like is that there is less focus on the teaching part and more on just yin. It is great for students who want to deepen their practice and for those who want to teach it. If they are already a teacher then they can add it to their repertoire or if they aren’t yet and would like to be, they can choose to do a training afterward.

What inspired you to open a yoga studio?

Initially I was inspired to open a yoga studio with my husband Alastair because we both wanted to share one of our greatest passions with people, to make it a real focus for our lives and we wanted to raise our children together, while living our passion. We decided to do that 17 years ago when we opened up The Yoga Lounge in Canmore in 2002. Yoga was pretty new to the mountains and it was actually a pretty hard go to start with. We both had to diversify to make ends meet, I became a Realtor and Alastair started to do some major renovations to condos that I found to buy. Soon we were far too busy doing all of that, that we couldn’t really manage our little family, the studio and real estate. We sold The Lounge and moved to Calgary.

After going through a really hard time on almost every conceivable level we decided to open a new studio in Mission, where we had real hopes of a city being able to support our family without having to delve into other prospects to raise money. It took a lot of dedication and hard work on both of our parts. I used to teach 16 classes a week and had small children at home, it was a lot but so were our dreams, and we were bound and determined to make them work this time around. Last year we bought the Bodhi Tree Yoga Center and turned it into Yoga Santosha Kensington. That too was a big transition for us as a family and otherwise but it now feels like home and we know that we made the right decision to go ahead and do that. Today I would say that I am truly grateful for the amazing people I get to call my community, I couldn’t ask for more. I love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to have the people around me that I have.

Share something that we might not know about you.

I definitely don’t broadcast it but I have Lyme Disease and it is a real struggle for me sometimes. I have great times and I also have really dark times where I am not sure how I will get up and ready for the day, take care of my family, let along teach a yoga class… Thankfully the good days far outweigh the bad ones and I am able to remain happy and strong for the most part. I have been on treatment for almost two years now and there is no cure but there is a way to live symptom free when I have finished this treatment, so that will be great when I get there!

What does Santosha mean to you?

Santosha means contentment…but how do you find it? I believe that not all of us are content but that is where true happiness is. When we are continually searching, grasping at the past, guessing what the future might bring, we are not being present, we are not able to rest in contentment, but when we do, even for a short while, we get a glimpse and that glimpse is so special and shows us that that is where we are meant to be… Right here right now…

Candace you are a true inspiration. Thank you for being you. Thank you for creating a space that has become a home for so many of us. Thank you for guiding us in that space in sheer authenticity and beauty.