Yogi Spotlight: Margaret Canning

Hi Yogis! Welcome to our very belated  (Pam’s fault) July Yogi Spotlight, organized and written by the fabulous Kathleen Reynolds! Today’s feature yogi is Margaret, a woman very close to our hearts, who has been with us since our doors opened in the fall of 2011 and completed our 200 hr teacher training in 2014!  Read about Margaret and her wonderful practice in her own words below!


I stumbled upon Yoga in the fall of 2011. I was 52 years old with creaking knees and was unable to touch my toes. I had toyed with idea of returning to tae kwon do. I had trained for 10 years in my thirties and forties eventually earning a first degree black belt. The thought of sparing at my age just did not appeal to me. That was when I decided I needed to try something new. It was while I was driving in my Kensington neighborhood, thinking these thoughts that I noticed a new yoga studio had opened. That studio was Allay.

My first instructor was Joanne. She did a great job of giving me a strong foundation in the basics of yoga. I attended many of Pam’s beginner classes, in which I remember her saying in her mellifluous voice ” Just because it’s a beginner class, does not mean it’s going to be easy. I would have stayed in beginner classes forever, because I really enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow Yogis, however, one Saturday morning Marisa informed me that it was time for me to move on.

I have had many wonderful instructors at Allay; Christina, Rachel, Daisy, Stephanie and Nicole to name a few. They all contribute to evolving my yoga practice. Of course Pam and Marisa are the heart and soul of Allay. Last summer I participated in the second ever Allay teacher training course. I did it, not necessary to become a instructor, but to get a more in depth knowledge of yoga. Pam and Marisa certainly accomplished that. Even though I was told that I am not ready to teach yet, I would highly recommend this course to anyone wishing to truly deepen their yoga practice.

Anyone who has attended classes with me knows my favorite poses are back bends. There is something about trusting yourself to bend backwards into the unknown and opening the whole of yourself to the world I find very freeing. Yoga is not about doing only what you like or what comes easily to you. I find balancing poses and inversions are very challenging. My crow has yet to take flight. It may be that my crow will never fly, but I keep working at it. As Marisa is always saying, “yoga is about the journey, not the pose.”

I will be 56 this month. I have decided to take an early retirement in October so I can spend time with my 91 year old father. One of the things that I am looking forward to doing when I retire is more yoga ! I currently take 3 to 4 classes a week. I am hoping to do it every day when I retire. I would also like to develop a home practice. Currently the only yoga I do at home is mediation before going to work. I find it really allows me to control my stress level. I am currently a telephonic triage nurse for a large HMO. Being calm and focused while making possibly life or death decision at work is very important. I find that even 3 to 4 minutes of mediation very helpful in achieving this.

In a year or two my husband and I plan to relocate to Europe. Spending are summers in Ireland and the rest of the year in Spain. I have already checked to see that there are yoga studio in both places we will be living. I hope these places will be like Allay. A studio where everyone is welcome regardless of their ability. Where people feel encouraged and nurtured. If not, maybe I will open a studio of my own. If I do, I would want to create one just like Allay.