#YogaDaysofMay2016 Yoga Challenge

Announcing my Yoga Challenge for May 2016!

It’s here! My first 30-Day Yoga Challenge that I have designed. I decided to make this challenge just that: challenging. A variety of asanas for us to work through: standing, seated, arm balance, and inversions will test your strength, balance and flexibility.

I am also making this another #HistoricalHamilton Yoga Month! Because May is a great month to get outside and explore your city; and I was actually able to come up with a list of 30 different sites than I’d been to for last year’s challenge.

Starting May 1st, I will post the day’s pose: a photograph of the pose at a Historical location in Hamilton (and I’ll tell you all about the location, where to find it and some cool facts), and a video of the asana with a tutorial on how to get the correct alignment and breath, with some modifications too!


Three local Hamilton companies have agreed to sponsor my challenge with some cool prizes. I’m super grateful and excited for this now!

The Purple Puddle is a great company who makes amazing patterned legging that are perfect for yoga practice!

True Hamiltonian is  new local clothing company who have a really great message of being proud of your city and making it home. And badass shirts.

Xelf Fitness Studio is located off of King St. in downtown Hamilton, just outside the core. I will be offering Yoga classes here in the very near future!

How to Participate & Enter to Win

This challenge will take place on Instagram and Facebook.

  1. Follow me, @EmmaCardinell on Instagram, or ‘Like’ my Hamilton Yogini page on Fabebook, or follow my blog here, on WordPress.
  2. Repost the challenge photo on your own blog to spread the word!
  3. Share your practice of the challenge pose that day, and tag me in your photo, so I can check it out!
  4. Remember to hashtag #YogaDaysofMay2016.

Tag a friend or two to participate with you!

Again, if you’re a Yogi, you’ll stay for the Asanas. If you’re from Hamilton, you might enjoy learning about some town history, or just find a new place to walk your dog.

Day 1


Urdvha Hastasana
Standing Backbend

Inhale: lift arms straight up overhead, palms together, reach up to the sky!
Exhale: lower the shoulders away from your ears, but keep the elbows straight and palms together
Inhale: lift the chest and start the reach overhead and behind.
Keep breathing as you slowly turn your gaze to the horizon behind you.
Inhale to straighten the back and bring your arms straight over head.
Exhale back to resting positition.

Historical Hamilton
Rasberry Farm Silo-RBG Arboretum
This is an early example of a traditional Ontario farm Silo made of freestone. This structure was built in the late 1800s by the Rasberry (not raspberry!) family who owned and operated a market garden and dairy farm at the site of the Arboretum for more than 100 years. Their home still stands as well, its just a ways behind the camera.
The silo was restored in 1985 with the help of a provincial grant.

Day 2


Eagle Pose

This asana is deceiving, you need open shoulders and good balance to get comfortable. That being said, it’s an easy pose to work on.

Inhale: lift arms straight up overhead.
Exhale: entwine and lower arms. Place one elbow inside the other and place palms together, double crossing.
Inhale: Straighten back, pulling shoulders back and lifting the elbows as much as possible. Fix your gaze for the balancing act
Exhale: Cross one leg over the other, tucking the foot behind the other ankle for a double cross.
Breathe here as long as you can.

If you find it easier to cross the legs and lower down before twisting up your arms, then do whatever feels comfortable!

Historical Hamilton
Burlington Canal Lift Bridge

This bridge, on Eastport Drive, North East of the QEW and Skyway Bridge was built in 1962, and is a late example of a vertical lift truss bridge. It was built to replace the old swing bridges that had been ruined when a freighter ship collided with one of the spans.

The lift bridge superstructure was built by the company that is generally known as the Hamilton Bridge Company but changed its name many times over its operation and at the time was officially called the Hamilton Bridge and Tank Company. The lift bridge was the longest and heaviest in Canada when completed. The bridge was designed for a single railway track of the Hamilton-Northwestern railway as well as a two lane roadway, so it can hold a lot of weight. In 1982, the tracks were removed, and the roadway was widened.

The bridge has a vertical lift capacity of 110 ft and has a 380ft span.

Day 3

wp-1462324326327.jpgArdha Badha Padmasana
Half-Bound Lotus

This is a more advanced Pose, where you slide one foot up to the opposite hip, in lotus position, and reach around with the same hand, creating a bind. You can then fold forward, to take it even deeper.
For Beginners, just take tree Pose, balancing on one leg, with the other foot placed on the inside of the leg, anywhere but the knee!

Historical Hamilton
Burlington Canal Lighthouse

The first wooden lighthouse was constructed on the Burlington canal in 1838 to guide ships to and from the harbour. The wooden lighthouse, along with the light keeper’s and ferryman’s dwellings, burned to the ground in 1856, when the wooden piers were ignited by sparks from a passing steamer. The two dwellings were quickly replaced with new brick structures in 1857, and the light keepers’ house still stands today and is being restored now.

A new stone tower lighthouse was completed in 1858. The new 55-foot tower and brick keeper’s dwelling served until 1961, when the light was deactivated. The light was replaced by the present Burlington Canal Range Light, built in 1909, the a white concrete structure set on the eastern end of the south pier.

Day 4


Lord of the Dance Pose

First thing: you can join this challenge anytime, and if you forget, or don’t have time to post one day, catch-up days are perfect. 😊

Second: This is not my favourite pose. I don’t include it in my practise, but I really should, because it definitely shows…
Everyone has something they can work on, don’t feel discouraged by the yogi who can headstand all day. Because her Dancer sucks, her warrior is wobbly, and I can not do a reverse prayer😖. Oops, I mean, whoever this is 😅😘
This is your practice! Do your best, and try every pose, because you might surprise yourself. Even if your first thought is “yeah fucking right”.🤗🤐

I start by grabbing my ankle/shin behind me, and then slowly leaning forward to counterbalance the weight. Remember to anchor yourself through the one foot, really pressing through your toes. Bend your knee when you need to!
Open your heart and work towards flipping the grip, and actually aiming for a full Hanomanasana for the legs.

Historical Hamilton
James N Allan Skyway Bridge

This bridge was completed in 1958, was to allow for automobile traffic and freighter ships to pass simultaneously over and through the Beach Strip.
Until 1985, the bridge was only 4 lanes of traffic (now the Toronto-bound lanes, which you can see from this angle.). The bridge was then ‘twinned’, and expanded to the 8 lanes of traffic we know today.
This bridge used to be a Toll bridge, until they realized that slowed traffic, and that transport trucks were just starting to fly past the Toll booths on their way down the bridge.
In 1988, the old section of the bridge was rehabilitated extensively, to better match the new half of the bridge.
In 2014, a man driving a dump truck – in the raised position – collided with the overhead structure of the bridge, causing extensive damage and for the bridge to be closed for the weekend (causing a small calamity for locals).
You can see scaffolding and other construction equipment still in the bridge, and the repair work is expected to last until 2017.
Those two large structures are part of the orange lift bridge, in the mid-ground

Day 5


Utkata Konasana
Goddess Pose

This pose is for anyone and everyone; it’s like a wide-leg chair pose, and you can modify however you’d like.
Inhale: Hop or step feet apart to where you feel comfortable. Lengthen and straighten out the spine.
Exhale: Raise hands to shoulder-height, palms facing forward and pull the chest forward.
Sink the hips back as you bend your knees. Make sure your toes are pointing ahead!
Inhale to lift the chest, making sure you keep your back straight!

Historical Hamilton
Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology

This is (arguably) the best Museum in Hamilton. A National Historic Site, the Hamilton Waterworks is an early, rare surviving example of a Victorian industrial building complex that is both architecturally and functionally intact.
Built in 1859, the original Pumphouse with its two 70-ton steam engines, perhaps the oldest surviving Canadian-built engines, the original Boilerhouse, Chimney and Woodshed all still stand!
Its purpose was to deliver large quantities of clean water for safe drinking and fire control to the rapidly expanding city.
You should definitely visit this Museum, it’s really interesting, and it’s a ton of fun for the kids!

Day 6


Hand to Foot Pose

This is my favourite forward fold! Take any variation you like, just remember to straighten the spine, and reach with your heart, not your head!

First, hop or step feet a hip distance apart, with hands on the hips.
Inhale and lift the chest, straitening the back
Exhale fold all the way forward, pivoting from the hips only, keeping legs straight!
If your hamstrings aren’t quite there yet, reduce your reach. Grab the big toe, the ankles, shins, wherever you can reach with a straight spine!
If you can, place your palms under your soles.
Inhale to lengthen,
Exhale to fold deeper.
Bend the elbow, rotating them outwards, and again, pulling the chest forward to open those shoulders up!

Historical Hamilton
[Former site of] The Burlington Glass Works
(Now Bayview Park, located at the very end of Bay St.)

This little park in the North End overlooks the yacht club on the bay and across to Burlington Heights, it’s quite nice.
In 1865, the Burlington Glass Works stood here. The factory was once thought to have actually been in Burlington, but Archaeological excavations in 1966 and 1969 established the layout of the works and authenticated and enlarged previous knowledge of its output
From 1874 to about 1897 skilled artisans produced lamps, tablewares and containers, and the works became a “Flint house”
Flint, or colourless glass, used for finer glass lamps and tablewares, is made by adding a decolorizing agent that masks out the natural green colour.

Day 7


Udvha Mukha Svanasana
Upward-facing Dog Pose

This lovely little backbend tucked into Sun A, who doesn’t like updog?

For beginners, find a Plank position. So, up on palms and toes, elbows and knees are straight, and hands are under shoulders. Back is nice and straight!
Take a deep breath.
Exhale and shift your weight forwards, and lower the body the the ground, keeping the shoulders stacked over the hands. Keep the gaze lifted straight ahead.
Inhale, and push up with the arms, and pull your chest forward, try not to strain your neck back. The tops of your feet are flat on the ground; press down through them to lift the hips and thighs off the ground.
Stay here for a few breaths to feel this full-body stretch.
You can exhale up to downward dog after, to counteract the backbend.

Historical Hamilton
Grant’s Sail Loft

William Grant had this building constructed in 1869 to house his expanding sail-making business. Situated on a steeply sloping waterfront lot, the building presents an unassuming, gabled-brick front to the street. But from the bay, it looks like a tall three-storey structure, the first two floors built of coursed rubblestone.

Grant worked as a sailmaker in Hamilton from at least 1853. By the mid-1860s, he was working out of a warehouse on a wharf at the foot of MacNab Street. Grant and his small crew of skilled sailmakers were making sails for vessels from across the Great Lakes by the time he moved into this building.

Grant closed his sail loft in 1887, but afterwards the Reid Gasoline Engine Company, builders of small stationary and marine engines, occupied the building for the first two decades of the 20th century. For a number of years, it served as the home of the HMCS Lion Sea Cadets, and then United Auto Workers (now Unifor) Local 525, but since the 1980s, this building has once again housed a sail-making business.

The Grant Sail Loft is all that survives of Hamilton’s flourishing 19th-century shoreline landscape of wharves, boathouses, shipyards and warehouses.

Day 8


Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
One-Leg/Three-Leg Downward-facing Dog Pose

Make your Downward-facing dog more interesting, with a bit more work in the hip flexors and adductors.

I incorporated this into the flow I like. If you can’t quite find that twist in the shoulders to take it all the way back to a Wheel, just play with revolving the hips and lifting the arm to build strength!

Historical Hamilton
Gartshore-Thompson Building

Built in 1870, this building once served as the offices of the Gartshore-Thomson
Pipe and Foundry Company.
This company, ran by Alexander Gartshore and his partner, supplied a lot of piping and steam engines for the early water pumping industry.
Alexander’s father, John Gartshore, built the Gartshore Foundry at 64 Hatt Street in Dundas, and built and supplied the Hamilton Waterworks with the beam-type Steam pumping engines – still on display today at the National Historic Site [Day 5!]

This building was donated to the city and relocated to Pier 4 Park, at the end of Leander Drive on the Waterfront Trail.

Remember this weekend is Doors Open Hamilton- a lot of Historical buildings are open to the public and museums are free of charge! Take your mom out somewhere cool!

Day 9


Lotus Pose

If your hips are not open enough for this, you will hurt your knees.
Try pulling one leg at a time into the Pose, and leaving the other just crossed underneath, to increase your flexibility and work towards a full lotus.

Historical Hamilton
Erland-Lee House

The Erland Lee Museum is a National Historic Site of Canada located on the ridge of the Niagara Escarpment in Stoney Creek, Ontario. Originally a farmhouse belonging to Erland and Janet Lee, the museum is recognized as the birthplace of the first Women’s Institutes, an international organization formed in 1897 to promote the education of isolated rural women.

The oldest part of the home, a log cabin, dates to 1808. An addition was built onto the log cabin in 1873 in the Carpenter Gothic style, part of the Gothic Revival Architectural tradition. This is best exemplified by the steeply-pitched gables, gingerbread trim, and the board-and-batten planks. These are are all seen here, you can’t see the log cabin part.

The Lee Family lived in the house from 1808 until 1970. In 1972, the home was opened to the public as a museum, and has since been owned and operated by the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario.
The house is the site of the development of an important farm women’s organization, with its focus on family, and improvement of self and surroundings. The house itself is typical of many so-called “Ontario cottages” with their one-and-a-half-storey, rectangular massing, three-bay façade with centre door, central gable breaking a front-sloping pitched roof, and centre-stair interior plan. Its decorative elaboration speaks to the “improving” objectives of the movement.

Day 10


Marichyasana A
Pose dedicated to the Sage, Marichi

There’s a lot going on in this one! It’s a great shoulder, back and hamstring stretch for sure!

Sit comfortably, legs out in front of you. Bend one knee, bringing your heel as close to your thigh as possible. The opposite hand is in the ground beside the hip to help balance.
Inhale: Lift the same arm as the knee that’s bent. Reach up high!
Exhale: Reach forward, rotating the arm so that the palm faces outwards, thumb pointing down. Reach around the knee, bending the elbow and reaching back around to create the bind with the other hand.
Inhale to straighten the spine
Exhale to fold forward, trying to bring the head to the knee.
Stay here as long as you’d like, and inhale to rise up, and exhale to release the pose.

Historical Hamilton
Devil’s Punchbowl Cross
(Somehow got no other people in this shot)

The Devil’s Punchbowl is an awesome waterfall. The flow itself isn’t that impressive, it can dry up completely or be just a trickle in the summer. But it’s the 3rd highest waterfall in Hamilton at 37m, and the drop over the horseshoe-shaped Niagara Escaprment and the multi-coloured exposed rock is amazing!
A bunch of bike and hiking trails meet up here, and it’s great look-out too.
The cross behind me was made in December 18, 1966 in memory of George Sinclair by his son William Sinclair. He built the cross to bring light to the community. Originally the cross was only planned on being lit up during Christmas and Easter for six weeks. However, with the help of the donations from the Knights of Columbus the cross lights up automatically every night.

There are numerous stories surrounding in how Devil’s Punchbowl got its name. One assumption states that moonshiners set up their wares on the road leading up to the Punchbowl, and when the workers got thirsty they would go up to the falls to get some cold water.


Day 11


Marichyasana C
Pose dedicated to the Sage, Marichi 

This looks like yesterday’s pose, but there’s an added twist.

Sit comfortably, legs out in front of you. Bend one knee, bringing your heel as close to your thigh as possible.
Inhale: Lift the opposite arm as the knee that’s bent. Reach up high!
Exhale: Twist and place the elbow outside the knee. Put that other palm down behind you for balance.
Stay here if this is as far you can make it! I didn’t stretch enough and probably should have stayed here lol.
Inhale to straighten the back, exhale to twist further into the pose.
Exhale: Bend and rotate the arm around the knee, and reaching around the back with both hands for the bind. Try to get the knee right up into the armpit.
Reach forward, rotating the arm so that the palm faces outwards, thumb pointing down. Reach around the knee, bending the elbow and reaching back around to create the bind with the other hand.
Inhale to straighten the spine
Exhale to twist deeper.
Stay here as long as you’d like, and inhale to rise up, and exhale to release the pose.

Historical Hamilton
Patterson Building
(Now the Cedar Residence)

The Patterson was built in 1932 by the architect, William Palmer Witton at a cost of $71,301.80.
It was designed as a nurses residence, to house 45 nurses.

It was possibly named after Thomas Patterson, Member of the Board of Directors from 1918-1928. He died in 1928 and bequeathed $5,000 to the Mountain Sanatorium.

In 1937 it was expanded to accommodate 21 more nurses. It was used as a student residence for the Hamilton and District School of Nursing, which opened in 1964, until the early 1970’s when it was decided that students should provide their own accommodation.

In 1975-76 it was renovated for office space and the first tenant was the Hamilton District Health Council.

And now, right next door, Columbia International College has taken on the Patterson building.

Columbia’s general manager, Jim Campbell, isn’t saying how much the school has invested in this project, but the building has been reborn, top to bottom, inside and out. Hundreds of students study here now, most from the residences right next door.

Columbia also acquired the 1920s San Home, right next door, where the medical superintendent lived.

Day 12


Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana
Compass/Revolved Sundial Pose

This pose is getting advanced, so here’s a way to work towards this!

1. Grab your big toe. Work on the hamstrings first!
2. Try a wide-leg forward fold, grabbing the feet and now working your head towards your knee. Avoid rounding the back by reaching with your heart.
3. Now try the seated position with one leg crossed inwards, and the other straight, out to the side. Grab the toe and try to bring your leg up. If you can, bring it behind the shoulder.
4. Now just work on straightening that leg, and revolving the chest outwards! I find it easier to move my hand to my ankle as well. Yayy! You did it!

Historical Hamilton
Mohawk Trail School / Barton Township S.S. #5

Used to be located at 360 Mohawk Road West, now behind the Education Centre on Upper Wentworth

When the school was built in 1882, there were about 25 students in eight grades who would have learned all together in the one room. It eventually was renamed Mohawk Trail and it remained a school until it was no longer needed in 1966. The teachers’ union restored the building as a museum. Mohawk College got its name, in part, from this school.

The old schoolhouse is now reopened and will continue to be an education museum in its new home behind the new school board offices being constructed off Upper Wentworth. They have restored the building to its original appearance, and it looks great inside. You can even ring the school bell!

Day 13


Camel Pose

This asana is pretty straightforward if you don’t have any limitations, here’s some pointers to help you move deeper.
As you lift the hips, also lift your chest and externally rotate the shoulders, you may hear some popping if you haven’t had a good stretch like this in a while.
Push the hips forward as far as you can; try to avoid clenching the glutes though!
Try to gaze at the horizon behind you, and remember to keep breathing.

Historical Hamilton
Darnley Grist Mill – Crook’s Hollow

The ruin is all fenced off with graffiti and broken glass littered throughout, but it’s such a cool old building I can’t resist.😎
The Darnley Grist Mill was completed in 1813 by Scottish settler James Crooks, who admired Lord Darnley and claimed him as an ancestor. The grist mill attracted local commerce: by 1829, it was surrounded by a woolen mill, distillery, tannery, paper mill, clothing factory, an inn, workers’ log cabins, and more, effectively creating the community of Crooks’ Hollow. The grist mill was sold to James Stutt after Crooks’ death in 1860, and was converted to a papermill. In 1880 Stutt bought out his partner and added a steam boiler building for heating water for papermaking and auxiliary power. Unfortunately, the boiler exploded on July 9, 1885, killing two men and causing extensive damage to the property. The mill was reconstructed, and in 1902 William Stutt, son of James, took it over. He leased it out first to the Adams Cellboard Company, then the Greensville Paper Company. The mill was gutted by fire in 1934, but the ruins remain.

Day 14


Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Mermaid Pose

Take this pose as far as you can; it’s a great backbend, hip/groin stretch, as well as a chest and shoulder opener.

I like to step down from Downward dog, tucking my foot in.

The leg in front, don’t keep the knee bent at 90 degrees if it’s too much on your hip; bend it inwards so you can bend back further.

Historical Hamilton
Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum

In 1948, Tom and Doris Farmer built a Tudor-style English cottage on seven acres of farmland overlooking the main street of Ancaster. They named their estate Fieldcote after a family property in England of the same name. Tom was editor-in-chief of the Hamilton Spectator from 1966 to 1969 as well as an avid historian and community supporter.

From their participation in the Ancaster Township Historical Society he and his wife knew that a venue was needed in the village as a focal point for the expression of Ancaster’s Heritage. After Tom’s death in 1976, Doris arranged in her will to bequeath Fieldcote and its property to Ancaster through the Conservation Foundation of the Hamilton Region and the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority. After Doris’ death in 1983 her wishes were put into action, and Fieldcote opened to the public in 1988.
The museum holds a lot of special events, like music and movie nights in the park, as well as offering tours.

Day 15


Monkey Pose

Hanoman bolo, Hanoman bolo
Jai sita ram, jai jai Hanoman
🐵 [thinking of my ‪#‎allyogabali‬ loves with this one 💕]
Everyone has done these splits at least one time, whether they wanted to or not.
Definitely work your way towards this one, from Warrior 1, low lunges, mermaid poses, and even just plain forward folds, you can definitely achieve this one.
I only got back into this one a year or so ago, just have to work on it

Historical Hamilton
Auchmar Manor House

I took a photo here last year, and this building has changed a lot! The city repaired stucco and repainted this wing of the house, as well as replacing all the windows. They have put a ton of work into renovations with more to come, I’m super happy with the effort they’re putting into, probably the last estate home on the mountain.
In 1852, Isaac Buchanan bought 54 acres of land on the Hamilton Mountain. The property stretched from the mountain brow to Fennel Ave. He built a summer cottage which eventually became Buchanan’s Manor House & Estate. The building was designed in the Georgian Domestic Gothic style and consisted of a ballroom, library, dining room, living room, a large farm-like kitchen, a full cellar and 12 other rooms.
You can read the full history on the Friends of Auchmar Website.

Day 16


Upavistha Konasana
Seated Angle Pose

…and we’re not quite at a full splits yet!

Lots more seated wide-leg folds needed for this one

Historical Hamilton
Auchmar Dovecote

Just to the East of the Manor House at Auchmar is the Dovecote. This was where Auchmar founder Isaac Buchanan and family raised pigeons as message couriers and possibly as food.

The building is of limestone construction with lancet windows, pyramidal roof, and central, peaked gables.

The renovation plan at Auchmar includes the conservation of the Dovecote’s structure, masonry, trim, and roof. The garden wall around the structure used to have three of the four approximately seven-foot high archway filled in and will be re-opened to allow visitors to walk through.

Day 17


Urdvha Dhanurasana
Wheel Pose

For a challenge, put some steel-toes on and try this one 😘

I like putting my wheel in this sequence, flipping your Downward-dog to wheel can be really challenging though – I only really got it down last summer. It’s all about rotating those grounded palm and foot and changing your perspective… And some open shoulders 😋

Easy entry to wheel:
Lay flat on your back. Bend your knees and bring your heels as close to your buttasana😊 as possible.
Lift your arms up, and place your palms on the ground by your head, fingers pointing towards your shoulders.
First, lift the hips, keeping knees hip-distance apart! This is important, try to be aware of where your knees are going.
Lift up with the arms to balance on the top/crown of the head, this will get the backbend going.
Finally, push up hard with the arms and ground down through the legs, and bend from the shoulders and chest just as much as the lower back

Historical Hamilton
Sunken Garden – Neglected

The last remaining sunken garden in Hamilton is located just off York Blvd, right at Old Guelph Road, across the street from the 1812 Memorial Garden.

From the street all you can see is a large clearing, with a rock on a mound for another memorial. Walk to your right and go down some old steps, and you’ll be in the Sunken Garden!

This garden was built as part of T.B. McQuesten’s project to beautify Hamilton. This area used to be very unattractive before the 1930s. Railway, gravel pit, shanty town in Cootes Paradise, billboards, no QEW!… In part to lure @mcmasteru from Toronto, the area around what was an enormous traffic circle entrance to Hamilton, became what we know as the @rbgcanada. The Sunken Gardens built in 1929 here and where McMaster Hospital stands today, the gravel pit became The Rock Garden in 1930, the shanty town was removed sometime after the construction of the QEW in 1931, also a McQuesten project, as head of transportation.

Now neglected, and overrun, the reflecting pond is empty and has about 6 trees growing out of it. I’m doing this pose in the reflecting pool here 🙂

Day 18


Pose dedicated to Visvamitra

A real #instagram 😉
Arm balance strength, flexibility and balance, a nice well-rounded pose 😋
This pose is pretty similar to Compass Pose, in that the hips need at least the same flexibility, but there’s a lot going on here.
The back leg is in a standing pose, the bottom arm is in an arm balance, the torso and top arm are in a sidebend or twist, the abdominals are engaged, and the front leg is approaching a split.

Hook your shoulder under your knee

Press through the shoulder and arm and palm to balance!

Historical Hamilton
Dundurn Castle – Cockpit Theatre/Folley

Dundurn Park has its own folly, just east of the castle. Living up to its purpose, it had confused most people regarding its use, who had considered it a theatre, a laundry, a boat-house, a buttery, an office, a chapel for Sir Allan’s Roman Catholic wife, or even a cockfighting ring, although no proof of the last use has ever been found.
Urban legend has it that many underground tunnels were built, leading from the Castle to various parts of the estate and one of the entrances was through the folly.

The Folley looks out over the Bay and the CN Rail tracks. If you’re at #Bayfront Park, you should be able to make out Dundurn through the trees on the other bank 🙂 I love this park 🙂 Its so nice to wander around, with all the interesting places you can sit and have lunch. I used to come here quite often when I was working downtown

Day 19


Crane/Crow Pose

I like to start with a forward fold, it gives me the opportunity to place my knees as close to my armpits as possible.
Round the back and contract the abs, and try not to dig your knees into your arms, and lift the pelvis so that your core is doing its job.
I’m working on my straight arms (the difference between a crane and a crow), but keeping the elbows stacked above the wrists is key, lean those shoulders forward! I definitely have a better chance at Crane pose when I’m not in long sleeves and pants.

If you’re afraid of falling on your face, shift your gaze! Don’t look straight down, because that’s where you’ll go. Look about 6″ past your fingertips, and you’ll feel the balance shift back, and you may just fall back onto your toes.

Historical Hamilton
Dundurn Castle

Dundurn sure looks pretty when the sun is coming up, I think this is my favourite photo this month. It’s going to be a beautiful day, hopefully you can get outside as much as possible!

The historical neoclassical/picturesque mansion was built in 1835. It is 18,000 square feet, with 72 rooms, and cost $175,000 to build. The mansion featured the latest conveniences of gas lighting and running water.
Dundurn is currently owned by the City of Hamilton, which purchased it in 1900 for $50,000. The City has spent nearly $3 million renovating the site to make 42 of the original 72 rooms open to the public.The rooms have been restored to the year 1855 when its owner Sir Allan Napier MacNab, 1st Baronet, was at the height of his career.

Day 20


Eight-Angle Pose

Here’s my pointers:

Place palms shoulder-height apart. Lean forward, like a push up, stacking the shoulders over the wrists.

Hook the knee over the triceps, cross the opposite ankle on top of the other.
When you lift the hooked leg, it will lift the crossed ankle, creating some counter balance.

Play with the balance, if you lean forward, or push up and back.

Historical Hamilton
1 West Ave S

Built in 1881, for Meakins and Son’s, originally a furniture company, then acquiring a brush business.
There were originally 4 floors and even a large corner turret/tower, but they were removed after a fire.
Other historic tenants of this building include the first Canadian Tire, Maytag, and Imperial Tobacco.

There’s 2 nice plaques in the lobby of 1 West, showing the building as it was, and a brief history of the landmark.

Now, there’s a few different business occupying this space, including @xelffitness and XelfYoga where I teach on Thursdays 🐒

Day 21


Firefly Pose

Definitely stretch your quads and hamstrings out before this one!

Place palms shoulder-width apart, and step the feet outside.a Lean forward, like a push up, stacking the shoulders over the wrists.

Hook the knees over the triceps, cross the ankles on top of the other.

Play with the balance, if you lean forward, or push up and back.

Try to uncross those ankles and straighten your legs out!

Historical Hamilton
Empire Building

This building replaced the Empire Shack which was torn down in 1926. It was the first building at the Mountain Sanatorium to incorporate the latest ideas in sanatorium design which was the 4 patient ward with all the beds parallel to the light. It was the first building to have french doors in the rooms which permitted the patients beds to be wheeled out into the sunshine on nice days. It cost $1,200 and accommodated 34 female patients.It was officially opened on May 28, 1927 by the Mayor of Hamilton, Mr. Treleaven. Its official name was “The Marion Crerar Daughters of the Empire Building”, in memory of Marion Crerar, a former president of the Ladies Auxiliary.

In 1937 it was expanded with a 6 bed wing for sick nurses. A 1947 report advised that the patient wards should now be heated…

In 1956-1957 it was renovated for the treatment of cerebral palsy. It currently houses the Children’s Developmental Rehabilitation Programme.

Day 22


Eka Pada Koundinyasana
Pose dedicated to Koundinyasana

Again, stretch your quads and hamstrings, and realize that you’re close to the splits again here.

Place palms shoulder-width apart, and step one leg forward, lowering down to place the thigh on the arm. Lift one foot off the ground, then the other! Find the counter balance, and try to lift the back leg as much as possible.

Historical Hamilton
Dundurn Castle Gardener’s Cottage

…oops, hiding behind my butt😁

This cute little 2 storey brick cottage was built in 1856. Built for the gardener of the Dundurn Castle Grounds, and has been beautifully maintained and restored over the years. It’s currently a private residence.. I can’t find too much additional information on this one!

Day 23


Parsva Bakasana
Half-Crow Pose

From standing, twist and place palms shoulder-width apart on the ground beside your feet.
Lower to a push-up, and stack both knees on one arm.

To lift off, first lift the foot whose knee is on the bottom, resting right on the arm. Then lift the top foot!

Historical Hamilton
Custom’s House / Worker’s Arts and Heritage Building

The building at 51 Stuart Street, known as Hamilton Custom House, overlooks the Canadian National Railway track and yards and Burlington Bay. The two-storey, sandstone clad building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style, by architects Frederick J. Rastrick and Frederick P. Rubridge, between 1858-60.
the oldest, major, Canadian government building in Hamilton and among the oldest in Ontario. Expensive to build and maintain, few government structures of this calibre were built, prior to Confederation, making the building a rarity from the beginning. Designed in the Renaissance Revival style, the Custom House is inspired by the Palladian and Renaissance palazzo architecture of Italy.
The interior was notable for its modern conveniences such as central heating, running water and gas lighting. The functional design contained a first floor examining warehouse and a second storey ‘long room’ where most public business was conducted over a long counter.

Day 24


Devaduuta Panna Asana
Fallen Angel Pose

From standing, twist and place palms shoulder-width apart on the ground beside your feet.
Lower the side of your face to the ground, this will be to support your arms, don’t put all your weight on your pretty face 😲
Place a thigh on the opposite elbow/arm, turning the leg so your foot is up in the sky. The other leg is free, held up by your big strong muscles only.

Historical Hamilton
LIUNA Station

LIUNA Station, former CN Railway James Street Station, on the east side of James Street North at Murray Street, was built between 1929 and 1931 by the Canadian National Railway.
The new CNR station was deigned in the Neo-classical style, and construction began in 1929. The cornerstone was laid on May 7, 1930 and the first passenger train left on February 20, 1930. The official opening was held a year later on May 27, 1931 attended by the Governor General.

Passenger traffic levels remained relatively constant until the 1960s when the opening of Hwy 401 had a major impact on CN’s passenger trains in southwest Ontario.
It was closed on February 26, 1993.
The station sat abandoned for several years, until 1996 when the producers of the movie “The Long Kiss Goodbye” offered CN $1 Million to renovate the station so that part of the movie could be shot there. The publicity from this attracted the Labourer’s International Union of North America (LIUNA), who bought the station and spent $3 Million for adaptive renovations to reopen the station in 2000 as LIUNA Station, a hall for weddings and other events.

Recently, Metrolinx has announced that GO Trains will be extended into Hamilton for more frequent service,and a new platform has been built next to LIUNA.

Day 25


Shoulder Stand

Lift the hips first, supporting with the hands, and open the shoulders.
Lean back, and lift the legs.
I’m sure everyone has done this at some point!

Historical Hamilton
Witton Lofts

This unique condominium project combines a three storey former school with three more storeys of new construction. Formerly McIlwraith Public School, the original building was designed by William Palmer Witton and built in 1925. Completed in 2013, The Witton Lofts include 36 condominium units with soaring ceiling heights, generous floorplans, and view of Hamilton’s west harbour.

Day 26


Ganda Bherundasana
Chin Stand

Lower to Chaturanga, and place your chin on the ground.
Step one foot inwards, to lift the hips higher.
Lift the back leg, trying to find some hang time or balance.
Lift the leg that we set closer to the body now, and for the love of God, don’t fall forward. Keep your legs strong, your core strong, and float!

Historical Hamilton
Cathedral of Christ the King

If you’ve been to Hamilton, or maybe you just drive right by on the 403 Highway, you know this church!
This is the first time I’ve ever driven up to it 🤗
Designed by William Russel Souter and built by the John Pigott Construction company 1933, this exquisite Gothic structure was built of limestone, quarried in Indiana and Georgetown, Ontario.
In the tower is a carillon of 23 bells. The largest bell, the Bourdon, was donated to the Cathedral by the Prime Minister of Canada. The Stations of the Cross were sculptured from a single block of Cararra marble; the kind used by Michelangelo for the Pieta. There are 82 stained glass windows made in Munich.And on the south side of the bell tower, is the cornerstone blessed by Bishop McNally. It is a stone excavated from the Roman Catacombs to symbolize the cathedral’s unity with the ancient Christian church.

Day 27


Salamba Sirsasana
Supported Headstand

Palms together, interlacing fingers, placing elbows shoulder-width apart. I keep my palms together, away from my head, for a stronger foundation and to avoid extra weight on my neck.
Place the top of your head (where it’s flattest) between your forearms, and lean forward, keeping your weight supported from that strong forearm foundation through your shoulders. Slowly lift both feet off the ground. Avoid arching your back and try to lift with your core muscles!

Historical Hamilton
Central Public School

Ever since I’ve noticed this building, I’ve always wanted to take a closer look and now was the perfect time!
This school, built in 1853(!) accommodated 1,000 students, was the largest graded school in Upper Canada, and the only public school in Hamilton at the time of its opening.
Among the earliest examples of an institution inspired by the reforms of Egerton Ryerson, the province’s chief superintendent of education (1844-1876), it incorporated his scheme of an integrated, rational, and graduated public education system based upon a central school and primary feeders.
The building’s original finely proportioned Classical design, by the firm of Cumberland and Ridout, was extensively remodelled in 1890 by the Hamilton architect, James Balfour. His alterations, including a steeply pitched roof, certain round-arched windows and a heightened central tower, created an edifice in conformity with late Victorian tastes

Day 28


Mukha Hasta Sirsasana B
Free Hand Headstand B

If you’re comfortable with your supported Headstands, start sliding the hands away from the head 😀
For this one, I place my hands palms-up to the sky, after placing the *top* of my head on the ground. Remember that your foundation is less stable, but much wider, so balancing will feel different.

Historical Hamilton
Pinehurst-CHCH Building

This building was named Pinehurst when it was built in 1850 for a Hamilton businessman named Tristram Bickle, and the building has housed prominent Hamilton personalities and institutions nearly ever since.
The publisher of the Hamilton Spectator, William Southam, bought the property in 1877 for $11,500, from its previous owner Bishop Thomas Brock Fuller, who was the first bishop of the Diocese of Niagara.

A radio station moved in after the Second World War and CHCH took over the property in 1953.

City heritage staff assessed the mansion’s architectural value as a “rare surviving example of pre-Confederation stone construction”.

The Hamilton station abruptly cut 129 unionized full-time and 38 part-time employees in December. It also went from 80 to 17.5 hours of local news programming per week.

So, as of about 2 weeks ago, this pretty place is up for sale!

Day 29


Pincha Mayurasana
Forearm Stand

Gah, this one is hard, still working on finding a comfortable balance, and not hurting my shoulders lol.
Practice with pincha, or dolphin pose, to open the shoulders and strengthen the arms. Your gaze should be between the hands, and find a wall or a tree to practise standing tall!

Historical Hamilton
Hermitage – Restored Ruins!

Have you been by the Hermitage lately? It looks totally different, and they are doing an amazing job restoring the mansion.

The Hermitage was originally built in 1830 by the Reverend George Sheed, who sold it to Otto Ives.

In 1853, the Hermitage was purchased by George Gordon Browne Leith who constructed the large stone house, attendant outbuildings, a farmhouse, barns, and entrance lodge.

After Mr Leith’s death, the property was purchased by his youngest daughter, Eleanor Alma Lauder. She lived here until the house was destroyed by fire in 1934, during one of her lavish parties. She lived inside the ruins in a tent until the people of Ancaster built her a small house constructed inside the ruins. She lived there until her death in 1942.

The ruins and grounds are part of the The Hermitage and Gatehouse Museum now.

Day 30


Adho Mukha Vrkasana
Hand Stand

Eeep! Last day!
My most challenging pose. I’ve improved a lot on it, but still struggling with hang time… especially on uneven mulch, but it’s the only tree I could find to lean up against! Lol 😬😅
Handstands take a ton of practice, and then you can always improve the asana. Straight arms, straight back, where your gaze is, how you get up into the pose… lots of practise!!! So here’s the best I could do today 😊 if today is not your handstand day, stomp your feet, let it go, and try again tomorrow

Historical Hamilton
Grandview – Nash/Jackson House

Battlefield Park is a new favourite of mine, after going here for Doors Open last year for the first time. Two cool old houses and a beautiful monument tucked under the Escarpment if you want a sweet picnic spot, this is it.

This home was originally built as a small log cabin in the early 1800s, at the corner of Nash and King East. The land was deeded from William Gage to his daughter, Susannah, and her new husband, Samuel Nash.

The homestead was used as a hospital during the Battle of Stoney Creek in 1813.

By 1810, a two-storey Georgian-style dwelling was complete, and Samuel and Susannah Nash’s farm prospered.

The home was updated and modified for the families who lived there over the years until 1996 when Mrs. Leone Jackson died and through the generosity of her family, the home was donated to the City of Stoney Creek.

On November 7, 1999, the Grandview was physically relocated to Battlefield Park.

The house is used as a gift shop and tearoom to complement the site, and will stand as a permanent dedication to the family that once lived in it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: