Top 6 reasons to do Viva La Lemon Yoga

If you have been thinking of doing yoga but are apprehensive or nervous then embrace those feelings and give this a read. If you have been practicing asana (poses) at home but are interested in finding deeper connections to the ancient practice then give this a read. Yoga truly is for everyone.
Here are 6 reasons you should consider practicing yoga with Viva La Lemon.

1: Expertise

• Nicole is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT, 200 hr) who received her training from a Yoga Alliance Certified School receiving certification in Hatha Yoga.
• Nicole also has a certificate in 'Core Strength Vinyasa' (CSV, 25 hr) Yoga and enjoys being a student of yoga through her own daily practice. Additionally, Nicole enjoys attending a variety of different styles of yoga sessions in the area.
• With over a decade of experience in the health care world as a nurse, Nicole is very knowledgeable of the human body including anatomy, physiology, and even pathophysiology. She also has a deep passion for wellness and self-care.

2: Grounded in Yoga Philosophy

• Nicole has a way of taking ancient Yogic teachings and applying them to modern day life.
• Nicole uses the 8 limbs of Yoga to facilitate her classes and encourages the learned experiences to transcend out into our daily lives off of the mat.

3: Relevance

• Nicole encourages students to stay sensitive and vitally aware of their body. Ahimsa, the first Yama or yogic ethical principle, means non-violence. Nicole helps bring awareness of the body's limitations and promotes ahimsa; yet encourages curiosity in opening body, mind, and spirit more deeply in poses.
• No two bodies are the same, therefore no two poses should look the same. Nicole encourages students to find relevance to each pose on their mat moving them along with verbal cues, offering variations or modifications along the way. She promotes a caring, safe, non-judgemental environment where each student is celebrated.
• Nicole makes space for students to stop along the path at anytime and work their edge. Nicole's deepest desire as a facilitator is for each student to seek and find their truth, their growth, and their full expression each day.

4: Connection

• Nicole believes in the power of connection, union, and community.
• Yoga is a Sanskrit word which widely translates to union. This has many meanings in yoga. However, Nicole believes that yoga unites the mind-body connection with Divine source through the practice of the 8 limbs of yoga.
• In Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras (3rd century B.C.E.) – considered to be one of the core texts of yoga – he begins with a simple sentence: Atha yoganusasanam. This is translated as 'in the present moment is the teaching of yoga' or more technically: 'now', not later, but right here in the present moment begins the instruction on Yoga, as laid down by the ancient sages, that is available to everyone. It means that anyone who wants to can begin the path of Yoga. Which is why Nicole is so adamant that yoga is for every body! That by connecting to the present moment anyone can benefit from yoga, helping everyone live their best life.
• Even though yoga is so much about going within, and connecting with our center, building connections both on and off the mat is Nicole's vision. Following class Nicole encourages students to introduce themselves to one another. Enjoy a cup of warm tea or cold refreshing infused water (depending on the class location). Having a short visit connecting with other students begins to spread positivity and that deeper inner connection with the present moment outward off of our mats. Of course there is no obligation to stay.

5: Wellness

• Students have many personal reasons for practicing yoga. Yoga is not a cure for the multitude of ailments out there or a quick weight-loss fix but it helps bring wellness and healing into your life when you practice with ahimsa. Bringing both mental and physical health to the body, mind, and spirit; you will be sure to find what you are looking for.
• Svadhyaya, or self-study, is about knowing our true Self and understanding the boxes we are trapped in. This process of knowing ourselves, and the boxes that adorn us, creates a pathway to freedom. "Know yourself so well that you will grow into your wholeness and greatness." — C. Lewis
• The 5th Niyama is Ishvara Pranidhana, which means to surrender. Nicole reminds us that life knows what to do better than we do. Through devotion, trust, and active engagement students can receive each moment with an open heart. Rather than walking against the current, surrendering is an invitation to move with the current, enjoy the ride, take in the view and feel well.

6: Authentic & Personable

• Nicole has been practicing yoga for 4 years. She is not affiliated with big marketing companies or big yoga studio chains. She brings her own understanding of the ancient practice of yoga to small rural communities in south-western Manitoba. She also adds other special touches of wellness to her class such as use of essential oils, healing crystals, soothing music and energy purifying smudges.
• At a Viva La Lemon class you will find Nicole to be approachable and personable. She does her best to cater to individual needs. She also offers private sessions to those who are interested in a more tailored practice.
• Nicole isn't interested in changing anyone. She believes in embracing our authentic selves, encouraging students to be unapologetically themselves in the present moment. "Everyone is perfectly imperfect in their own ways, when life throws us lemons, we embrace it and still find love and grace for our one precious life" — Nicole Barclay

We would love to see you out at a Viva La Lemon class. Check out the yoga page for upcoming classes.


There is Always a Choice

I have to apologize for my hiatus from writing for a while. I had put it on the back burner as I had experienced some negative energy and attitudes toward my previous posts. Eye rolling and sarcastic remarks; I knew it was inevitable but I guess I thought I was better prepared for it. Of course it was just all my perception of other people’s opinions. It is after all their birthright, to have an opinion, to judge etc. I had been getting better at not letting my feelings of unworthiness and shame rattle me. But in the right environment, with the right people, with a lack of self-love, acceptance, patience, and compassion – things can go awry.

Over the last few weeks, however, I have finally overcome this little bump in the road. I have come to welcome and embrace this negative energy. To hold space for the suffering I felt inside. And because of it I have found this new place of gratitude, knowing deep down that the universe was showing me this for a reason. That within the good there lives some bad and within the bad there lives some good. It’s called life. And thankfully along with the negative energy was lots of positive too. I was just too caught up in resisting and defending all the negative to appreciate all the good. And I’ll be honest fear still lives in me some days. Fear that I’m not doing the right thing. Fear that I’ll cause my family to suffer because of other people’s reactions. It’s real but it’s not my focus anymore.

So often we are faced with these challenging environments and situations.  But I truly believe they are meant to be an opportunity for growth. A lesson in finding grace. Finding love and acceptance. Acceptance of ourselves, of others.

And something I find fascinating is that we always have a choice in these types of situations – in life. A choice to call upon our warring self or our infinite self. Sarah Blondin explains:

“Movements like blades: sharp, short, deliberate. Carrying the weight and fierceness of a million invisible warriors behind her. She is angry, defiant, raging against her reality. Her breathing short and shallow – she breaths fire. She is the one who starts war. She is the part of you that is capable of burning down cities and waging war against the ones she loves. She is the part of you that hides under the surface. The part of you that surprises you when she shows her teeth. The part of you that you deny, push away, pretend does not live there within you. She is your darkness. The woman who dwells in the shallow waters of your being. She is in every one of us. She rides up on the back of the wave of your righteous ego, she feeds on the ideas that you deserve more, better, different. She lurks in the thoughts and emotions that keep you small. The notion that you have something to fight for, to reclaim, to preserve. She is the face of war. The part of us who can understand how we fight others. How we ruin our lives, how we can kill in the name of our beliefs. She is who we must look to when needing to find compassion for others who are captivated under her spell. She is who we must hold lovingly in our hearts when we see those caught in her grasp. She is who we must learn to love into gentle submission, for she only lives and breathes on our un-love. She can only survive when and where we have forgotten to love.

Then there is the soft one. The woman with long white hair, who moves like liquid, glides on her step, floats on light. She is tender – always tender. She comes when you ask for help. She comes when you fill your lungs with a conscious breath. She lives there beside the wicked. She is shelved beside the one who wars. There they stand within you, both hands open – a choice. The one who sees as an owl: able to look from all perspectives, gentle, hands soft as the skin of a plum, heart her language and tongue. She is able to withstand storms. She catches the furious pain of others, the difficult experiences you face, the things that make you want to fight, and she cradles them, swaddles them in unconditional love, over and over again. She loves all. She is the bottomless source of light, love. She is your essence. Pure and wise, she lives in your greatest depths, deep in your tissues. She is your greatest ally. She is who you can choose to embody, to call forth as you navigate your life.

Tightness in breath, sharpness in movement, darting in eyes – means you are calling forth the warrior within you to rise. You are bringing her up on the waves of contempt. One conscious breath inward, into your very depths, and she will fall. You have the power to call the soft one into form. You can choose.

There is no question which feels better, which one breathes us more alive, more vivid. It is up to you to choose the powerful choice of living as the soft one. Whenever you feel lost in a sea of raging thoughts and waves, she is there. I promise you! She serves where the other severs. She heals where the other wounds. She replaces, replenishes, restores where the other robs, pillages, eradicates, and steals your love. The same love of the world. It takes great strength, and determination to choose her when you are in the fire. It is not just a choice, but your choice. Nothing will suffer more than you, if you continue to choose war. A part of us enjoys the fighting arguably more than the peace. Such intensity and emotion is very powerful, palpable, weak and root but alluring in force. The gentle softness of the other is far less intense; it requires a dropping down and rooting rather than a rising up and spinning. They are two polar energies; forces living within you. The choice for you to make at every triggering moment in your life…. Notice all of the places you choose to fight instead of resting in your divine source. Anger and warring shows us we are afraid. Shows us we are trying to protect our vulnerability and softness. Your walls are there to stop you from feeling, to distract you from hurt. But feeling your softness, returning to your nature is the only thing that will set you free. The only thing that will feed your life in the ways that you are asking. Resist the reflex of protection. Your heart needs you to not be afraid any longer. It will heal your anger, your wars. It will save your world, your life…All war large or small, fought in the quiet of your mind, in the words you say to another, in the language you speak with your body, in the way you treat even the smallest of discomforts – is still war. Fight long and hard enough against your life, your circumstance, the people in your life, and you will begin to see the war first starts within you and spreads through your body like a tsunami of hate, and drowns any chance for wellbeing. Any chance for harmony. Any chance for grace. How tremendously powerful you are dear one. Don’t you see how much love you can create for yourself. How much suffering you can obliterate. How you can quench the dry, cracked earth around you by breathing the soft one within you awake. The world around you and within you needs you to be her, to stand in her unbeatable force. You are capable of being both, but please choose wisely dear one. For your quality of life and love depends on it. ” (2016)

So I made an effort to choose differently. The choice to call upon the soft one within my being. To wrap love and compassion around my darkness and others who may be under their dark ones’ spell. Filling my lungs with a conscious breath I choose to do my best at swaddling myself and others with unconditional love. For we are all one. The universe is as much inside of us as we are inside the universe. There is no separateness.

And thankfully this too shall pass.  A buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (2010) explains, “Impermanence is the very heart of life” (p. 103).  Everything and everyone, is constantly changing.  I am not the same person I was just one second ago. And neither is any other living thing in this world. This is why growth is possible.  “Thanks to impermanence, we can change suffering into joy” (p. 64, Mcleod, 2012). We can choose peace knowing tomorrow brings endless possibilities. So whether I receive love or hate, I will continue to write. Write from a place of love and compassion, understanding and curiosity.

And just to clarify a little…

I am not writing with the intent to preach. That is not the point of creating this space. I am not a psychotherapist or Buddhist teacher. I am just a human pondering my purpose and meaning in life, learning to find happiness here, and sharing that with those who may have similar desires and interests. I am a student of this work, of these practices. I always will be. Always reaching new questions along life’s journey that has me thinking and feeling deeply, or seeing situations with a new light. And it is a vulnerable place but there is value in it for me. So thanks for reading dear ones. My only wish is that you may find some value too.
Much love VivaLa🍋 followers! So much love.




Blondin, Sarah. (2016). S02-OUR WARRING SELF VS. OUR INFINITE SELF (RELEASING ANGER). [Audio file]. Retrieved from   
Mcleod, Melvin. (2012). The pocket Thich Nhat Hanh. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Hanh, Thich Nhat. (2010). You are here. Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala Publications, Inc.