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Workshops

TOPS offers a variety of workshops at the TOPS Studio in Vancouver and in various locations throughout North America and beyond. Our workshops provide a safe, non-judgmental space that is open to everyone. No previous experience is required. In an effort to include all, many of our workshop fees are open to sliding-scale payment based on the participant's need – please contact us about the workshop you're specifically interested in. 

Classes are led by TOPS associates who are experienced working with people with back issues, particularly scoliosis. Our team of associates includes yoga, Pilates and dance instructors, life coaches, physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors and Tension and Trauma Release (TRE) providers.

 

Upcoming workshops:

 

BACK CARE ON THE BEACH
With Martha Carter
Troncones, Mexico
March 2-9, 2019

REGISTER SOON - SPOTS ARE FILLING UP!!

Looking for some rest, rejuvenation and inspiration?

Come and join Martha Carter for a week of relaxing bodywork and movement exploration, giving special attention to lengthening and strengthening the spine. Taught in the beautiful beach studio of Yoga del Pacifico in Troncones, Mexico, it’s a perfect winter getaway, providing just the right balance of yoga, movement, nature, and fun! 

All levels welcome. No movement experience required. This is an excellent workshop for people with back issues of all kinds, including injuries, scoliosis, and fusions.

Retreat includes: 

  • All classes

  • 7 nights accommodation, double occupancy in ocean-front rooms.

  • 2 catered meals (brunch and dinner) per day, plus morning snacks.

  • Return transportation from Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (ZIH) airport.


ACCOMMODATIONS:
Participants will stay at beautiful neighbouring beachfront palapas, just a five minute walk from Yoga del Pacifico where classes will be held. The villa has direct access to ocean swimming on Troncones beach, as well as a beach-side swimming pool.

Accommodation is shared, but there is the option of having a private room for an extra charge of $360 USD for the week. It is also possible to extend your stay on either end of the trip.

COST:
$1,750 USD - Full Retreat, Double Accommodation.
Single accommodation available for an additional $360 USD for the week.
Participants are responsible for airfare to and from Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo airport. 


FUSION YOGA RETREAT
WITH MARTHA CARTER (and special guest, AHAVA SHIRA)
BLACK CREEK, VANCOUVER ISLAND
June 7-10, 2019

This workshop will be held in beautiful Black Creek on the West Coast of Canada. MAP

ABOUT THE RETREAT
Designed for those with surgically corrected spines, this inspiring 4-day retreat empowers participants to connect with their bodies and help overcome spinal discomfort. Martha’s comforting approach will assist participants with increasing mobility, improving alignment, and reducing stiffness from surgery. 

Ahava is passionate about creating safe spaces for authentic expression. During the retreat, she will spend a few hours guiding participants through the four practices of Writing Alone Together to help us explore our unique and common stories of fusion. Through our writing and sharing, we will become compassionate witnesses for ourselves and each other. Our conversation will centre around the questions:

  • How do we come home to the crooked beauty of our bodies?

  • How can we thrive in a body with a fused spine?

Relax and unwind on beautiful Vancouver Island while finding new sensation and awareness in the whole body!

ABOUT THE DESTINATION
The retreat will be held between Campbell River and Black Creek at the beautiful seaside wellness centre, Ocean Resort. Perched on the stunning coast of Vancouver Island, participants will stay in ocean-view rooms while enjoying delicious meals made from the best local ingredients. Participants may also choose to take advantage of the on-site spa which offers massage, healing treatments, a sauna, and more. The beautiful retreat setting has been chosen to allow people time to ‘treat' themselves to an escape in nature where they can come together to share stories, meet new friends with similar issues, and learn ways to help themselves.

ABOUT MARTHA CARTER
From Vancouver, Canada, Martha Carter is the Director of Marta Marta Productions, and Twisted Outreach Project (TOPS). A certified Yoga Teacher, she holds a BA in Music, an MFA in Dance and teaches both dance, yoga and Stretch for Scoliosis in Vancouver and beyond. As a progression of Martha Carter's ongoing training in Hatha Yoga and Yoga for Scoliosis, Fusion Yoga has evolved from Martha’s desire to find ease and mobility in her own fused spine. Based on Iyengar Yoga and Elise Browning Miller’s approach to Yoga for Scoliosis, Martha adds her own personal experience with Harrington Rods to specifically address spinal fusion, instrumentation and how it affects the whole body.

ABOUT AHAVA SHIRA
Ahava Shira is a poet, writer and multimedia performer who has been exploring the liberating power of creativity for over 30 years. Ahava wore a brace for 4 years during her adolescence before having spinal fusion surgery at 17, fusing her spine from L1 to T3. Her memoir-in-progress, Curve, is about her journey to free herself from anxiety, fears and other physical and emotional patterns inherited from childhood and to embrace the beauty and serenity of the present moment.

Author of a book of poetry and a spoken word CD, Ahava is co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journalling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection. She lives on Salt Spring Island where she keeps her body strong and resilient through dance, hiking and her practice of Yoga for Scoliosis.


 

Women’s yoga for scoliosis
With deborah wolk
Salt Spring Island, BC
June 27-30, 2019

This workshop will be held on beautiful Salt Spring Island on the West Coast of Canada. MAP
 

ABOUT THE RETREAT

Women’s Yoga for Scoliosis: Practices for the stages of life — Adolescence, Fertility years (menstruation; prenatal and postnatal), and peri / postmenopause.

When was your scoliosis diagnosis? Was it during a hormonal shift like adolescence or menopause? Did your curve degree change when you had children? Did your bone structure change when you took drugs for breast cancer or osteoporosis, or when you got hormonal treatments? 

Scoliosis presenting itself or progressing further (or resolving!) post-adolescence is rarely talked about in the medical community, but it is both real and common. 

How can a yoga practice support the scoliotic body during these hormonal shifts—whether natural or chemically-induced? Or, conversely, how can a yoga practice specific to scoliosis help us adjust to our hormonal shifts as they are bound to happen and simultaneously contribute to a healthy bone structure.

Join Deborah Wolk for this unique melding of women's yoga in the tradition of Geeta S. Iyengar and Yoga for Scoliosis on the majestic west coast of Canada! Enjoy a revitalizing and rejuvenating 4-day retreat surrounded by the wildlife of Salt Spring Island while learning to manage scoliosis with yoga at all stages of life. This retreat workshop is for all levels, as well as for students with spinal fusions. Teachers who work with students who have scoliosis are also encouraged to attend.

ABOUT THE DESTINATION
Salt Spring Island is known as the largest and most popular of the many gulf islands on the west coast of Canada. With its spectacular coastal and pastoral scenery, the island offers many outdoor activities, as well as the opportunity to explore dozens of artist studios and artisanal farms and markets. The workshop will be held at the wonderful Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. Salt Spring Island is a quick float plane ride from Vancouver International Airport. Or you can arrive via a stunning ferry ride from Vancouver or Victoria.

ABOUT DEBORAH WOLK
Having practiced yoga for her own scoliosis since 1994, Deborah has found that alignment-based yoga can control back pain and arrest the progression of the curvature and twist. In January 2015, Deborah founded Samamkaya Yoga Back Care and Scoliosis Collective in New York City – the only Yoga Center specializing in back care and scoliosis operating as a workers’ cooperative in the world! Deborah’s yoga teaching is inspired by her mentors, Elise Browning Miller, Bobbie Fultz, Genny Kapuler, Karin Stephan and Donald Moyer, and by therapeutic practices observed at medical classes at The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India. Her understanding of the organs is supported by ongoing study of Experiential Anatomy with Genny Kapuler and through her work with teacher Rachel Lynch-John in Body-Mind Centering techniques, a study she loves as much as Yoga itself. Deborah Wolk is certified by IAYT.


 

Yoga for Scoliosis - Parts 1 & 2
with Elise Browning Miller
NANAIMO, BC
September 12-16, 2019

Part 1: Thursday Sept 12 (evening) to Saturday Sept 14 (mid-day).

Part 2: Saturday Sept 14 (evening) to Monday Sept 16 (mid-day).
(exact times TBD) Take one or take both!

COST - FULL PACKAGE: $1,350 +tax (CAD)
Full retreat includes both workshops, accommodations, and 3 meals/day.
$500 deposit secures your spot.
EARLY BIRD: Book by June 15 to save $50 on FULL RETREAT PACKAGE.

COST -  PART 1 OR PART 2 with meals and accommodation: $675+tax (CAD) 
$200 deposit secures your spot.

COST - WORKSHOP ONLY: $370 +tax (CAD) per workshop.
$200 deposit secures your spot.

*Deposits are non-refundable.

***Sliding Scale Fees for the workshop are available based on need. Please contact us for more information.***

Join Senior Certified Iyengar Teacher Elise Browning Miller for a special 4-day, two-part Yoga for Scoliosis workshop. This is Elise's sixth visit to teach in BC and she has inspired and trained many local TOPS associates in yoga for scoliosis.

The retreat will be held at the fully equipped and stunning Yoga Weyr near Nanaimo on gorgeous Vancouver Island. Guests will stay close by at the 10-acre park-like waterfront estuary that is Kiwi Cove Lodge. Optional evening activities include a mixture of social and educational events. Nature walks, river swimming and delicious shared meals are included. Get away from your routine and immerse yourself in the teachings. With all your material needs taken care of, you can simply focus on learning, relaxing, and socializing in your preferred amounts.

These workshops are designed for students with scoliosis of all levels and are also great for yoga teachers seeking to expand their knowledge.