We’re extremely excited to share a bit more of Heal Yoga, situated in Columbia where you get to join a community of health, hope and healing.
Founded by Dr. Virginia Russel, an international medical health researcher specializing in community-based interventions with a focus on mental health and wellness. She is also a Certified Reiki Practitioner, a trained volunteer group facilitator with the Canadian Mental Health Association and Hospice Society. And also spent several years working with the South African Medical Research Council as a Specialist Scientist with young women focused in HIV prevention and early treatment.
In 2020, Dr. Russell returned to Canada and brought Heal Yoga with her to Terrace, British Columbia to help more people being able to join this community of health, hope and healing.
Romi: Hi Dr. Viginia Russel, we’re honored to feature you and your studio this month. Can you share with us what led you to South Africa as a Specialist Scientist working with young HIV women and for how long you were in South Africa?
Dr Virginia: I began my PhD, specializing in HPV vaccine and self-testing acceptability among young women in downtown Durban in 2016. While completing my PhD, I was recruited by the South African Medical Research Council (HIV Prevention Research Unit) at the international HIV conference where I was presenting my work.
In 2018 I started my postdoc in medical microbiology and infectious disease working collaboratively with the Public Health Agency of Canada and South African Medical Research Council. I returned home to live in Canada last year.
Romi: What inspired you to open up a yoga studio once you moved back to Canada?
Dr Virginia: There was a huge gap in yoga offerings in the community. Given the social climate – the need for yoga – union, collective healing, and support is so needed everywhere currently.
Romi: Do you still practice in some of the other fields of your qualifications, or mainly focus on your studio at this stage?
Dr Virginia: I am an assistant professor in the Medical Program at the University of Manitoba and a funded postdoc academic with a study focused on exploring the role of yoga in mental health and wellness outcomes, STBBI awareness and testing acceptability.
We believe in yoga as a means to achieve physical harmony, health, mental balance, and peace.Heal Yoga
Romi: Your studio is one of the first locations in the city to offer infrared heated yoga classes. What are the benefits of infrared heated yoga and why did you decide to incorporate it in your studio?
Dr Virginia: Moving from Africa to Canada – my body was in shock it was so cold hahaha the benefits of infrared are numerous – doing yoga in the cold can be very hard on the body and muscles, not allowing for optimal flow or elongation of the muscles.
Some benefits include: detoxification of the body; promotion of blood circulation; reduced blood pressure; may help with fatigue and sleeping; helps to reduce pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the body.
Romi: The most inspiring part of your studio for me is your dedication to give back. You’re donating to Northern BC Crisis Centre, the Terrace Hospice Society as well as the Karma Exchange Program. What made you choose these communities specifically?
Dr Virginia: Mental health (and divisiveness) is the real pandemic – not COVID-19. Collective healing is paramount to our global health and energy. When I do well – you do well. And vice-versa.
I have personally experienced the gut wrenching death of a loved one from suicide and it’s important that our studio give back to support survivors of suicide and those struggling with their wellness.
Romi: How did you as well as your studio cope during this whirlwind of the past year and a half?
Dr Virginia: We are a Spirit-led studio with great faith – we very much believe that God is good all the time. You will always see what you’re looking for – if you’re looking for God, all you see is God. If you’re looking for struggles – difficulties – challenges – then all you will see is just that. Every saint has a past and every sinner a future.
Romi: Can you share with us some daily habits you practise to help you be the best version of yourself and your students?
Dr Virginia: Meditation; Pranayama; Movement. Viewing all humans as a gift from God and honouring the individual journeys we are all on without judgement.
Do you love yoga and are ready to take the next step and embark on a truly transformational experience? Chinook Yoga, one of Prince George’s best known studios, will be in Terrace to offer yoga teacher training.
Their RYT-200 Teacher Training & Enrichment Program currently has 2 SPACES left and begins on 6 July 2021! So be sure to book your spot now! They are incredibly thrilled to train teachers in-house and locally.
Looking for a studio near you? Read more on some of our other incredible Studios using Bookamat right here.