The Benefits of Smaller Classes

Rebecca fortier

Rebecca Fortier

Before Sunrise

After practicing yoga for several years at a few local studios, I found myself wanting a more personalized level of instruction to aid me in deepening my practice.

I felt that I was not receiving this from the studios that I had been attending. My experience at other venues has been that the classes are simply too large to allow for any type of personalized attention.

After Sunrise

From my first class at Sunrise Yoga , I knew that I had found exactly what I had been searching for.  the class sizes are small and I found the atmosphere (both students and instructors) to be extremely welcoming.

The classes that I find most beneficial are Jack’s Ashtanga sessions during which he makes hands-on adjustments to correct alignment and he seems to intuitively know what each student is capable of.  This knowledge allows him to guide students in a safe way to allow us to learn more about the postures and deepen our practices.

I also attend other classes at Sunrise and have experienced a much higher level of guidance than I have been used to elsewhere.

I believe that by having smaller class size, very knowledgeable instructors, and the willingness to provide personalized instruction, Sunrise Yoga offers a rare yoga experience.

Rebecca Fortier
January 2014

Lynn Jones

Lynn Jones after a class with Gail Teixeira.

I have become your star

Yoga has literally been a positive life changing event for me and Sunrise Yoga has added immensely to this reality.

My initial fears, given my declared obesity, was that I would experience little benefit given my lack of flexibility and body proportions.

My initial hopes was that my situation would be accommodated.

My found reality at Sunrise after being encouraged by Gail, I decided to come, especially given we were both African Nova Scotians and I knew she would understand my wants, needs and desires.

As an instructor she surpassed my expectations and I could write a whole disertation just on how she has supported me.

I knew I had “arrived” as a true yoga practitioner when last weekend I found myself sleeping on a small blowup mattress and waking up with severe back pain.  I immediately put my yoga learning into practice – Down dog, Warrior I & II, etc.  At the end of my learned routine, ALL pain was gone never to return.

Thanks to all the instructors and Sunrise Yoga I have become your star.

Lynn Jones

November 2011

Get Down, Get Down!

My name is Simone McGregor and I live in Woodlawn, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

I have struggled with a weight issue my entire life so I dieted and exercised until the summer of 2010 when my husband and I went on a three month cross-continent tour in our RV.

It was a tremendous experience but after having sat in a truck for three months and being relatively sedentary I gained more weight and became very stiff in my joints so much so that I could barely get down to sit on the floor and once there, I had a great deal of difficulty to get up again. Also, my blood pressure went up and so did my blood sugar. My mood became suppressed and I was feeling badly. I shared these feeling with my daughter. That was the beginning of my turnaround.

“You are coming to Yoga with me”, said my daughter. “You’ll like it, and it is affordable”, she said. So I did.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the Yoga classes. At the beginning, I was having difficulty getting into some of the poses, but my greatest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to get out of those poses without falling over, should I get into them in the first place.

I was encouraged to be mindful of engaging the correct muscles in order to accomplish the desired effect. I succeeded. With each success, I was encouraged as I began to notice my progress.

During “shavasana” I was always mindful of the quote in the Bible that says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). As I meditated on these words and was continually encouraged by my instructor, I became stronger
and was able to develop the confidence I needed to improve my practice from week to week.

I thank you Gail for your wisdom and encouragement. You certainly are a positive influence in my life and a wonderful teacher. Gail continued to give me a firm but gentle push so that I would continue to improve at my own pace. I felt great with each practice.

I am now happy to report that I now get down on my hands and knees to wash my floors as it is not a problem for me to get down on the floor and up again. I have retired my floor mop. Not only am I able to wash my floors the way I used to when I was younger, but I enjoy doing it now.

Along with other aids in my life, my blood pressure has lowered significantly, with only 2 more months of medication to take at half dose I might add. My weight is dropping and my body feels strong and healthy once again.

Thank you Sunrise Yoga for all the help and encouragement. I have never heard one negative word at Sunrise Yoga Studio towards me or others and I am grateful for the support I am receiving and I would recommend Sunrise Yoga Studio to anyone who is looking to boost strength and flexibility.

At the studio they say, Namaste; but I say, “Be Blessed”.

Joy Beaton

Joy Beaton

A Friendly,Comfortable and Fun place to Belong

I began yoga as a source of exercise about one year ago here at Sunrise Yoga. I had always been involved in other sources of exercise mostly gym type atmosphere but was looking to get excited about a program I was involved in and the gym was not doing that anymore for me. Having gone through deaths in my close family and working , I was wearing out mentally and physically so thought yoga might help me find a balance in those areas. As I began the introduction to yoga class one statement that stood out for me from the teacher at that time was “Your body can be your total gym”, when in poses you use all your muscle groups and create the resistance with your own body .. and the stronger I was getting the more I could see this statement ringing true and was inspired to continue.

Now I take in 4– 5 classes a week in all styles, as the teachers are of different backgrounds,
but they all have wonderful encouraging and friendly natures, with assists throughout the class to help keep you aligned, which can be very important as to not overdo from your own enthusiasm. The different styles of yoga classes for me only adds to the variety I had been looking for to keep me interested and fit.

YIN YOGA with Helen Fong was introduced recently here at Sunrise and I was very eager to get in on these classes. Having had taken other classes with Helen I was looking forward to what she was offering. YIN YOGA seems to be a perfect compliment to the other styles of yoga which move more quickly.

YIN YOGA is a series of deep stretches that are held for a longer period of time ( 5 mins). I find these long held stretches gives you time to relax your body and mind which to my surprise as time went on, allows emotions to surface and release (which is a good thing – Pent up emotions can be very hard on us and we don’t even know it) not to mention the total stretch you get is not only in the muscles but the layers beneath the muscle surrounding the bone which can only be stretched from long held poses and this in turn HELPS keep everything HEALTHY for continued GOOD mobility thru our life.

It has also helped the DISCIPLINE aspect of yoga to grow immensely and the DISCIPLINE you learn in your practice flows through to your everyday life… More patience… More confidence and just feel great inside and out. Thanks to SUNRISE YOGA and all the wonderful people there we call TEACHERS at FIRST and then FRIENDS.

Joy Beaton – February 2010

Hugh dEntremont

Hugh d’Entremont

I feel better!

Jack, in your brochure you promise an increase in flexibility and a reduction in stress and weight.
I am happy to tell you that it works as promised. It has been just over six months since I began a regular and frequent ashtanga yoga practice.

When I wandered into Sunrise Yoga I had no idea what I was going to experience. I was sure it had to beat the way I looked, felt and moved. I have multiple chemical sensitivity, (it used to be called Environmental Illness), and was in the middle of a series of Intravenous Treatments and receiving regular acupuncture treatments and massage therapy.

I have definitely had success with my weight and flexibility and my ability to handle stress.

In addition to the first three benefits my energy level is greatly increased, I am stronger and the due to the detoxifying nature of yoga the problems associated with my Multiple Chemical Sensitivity problems are reduced to less than half.

I am now at the point where missing my practice upsets me because I truly enjoy the physical practice that much. I also have to compliment the teaching staff at the studio, they are patient and approach their work with good humour making Sunrise a very friendly place to be. I tell everyone I know I feel well because of yoga.

Hugh d’Entremont – January 2010

Kerry Smith

Kerry Smith

Recovery from serious car accident

3 years ago I was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, injuring my back, neck and left hip. After months of physio and almost 3 years of chiropractic care my injury was still giving me sleepless nights, terrible headaches and chronic back pain.

I saw an ad in the paper for gentle yoga and with the advice of my GP and Chiropractor, I gave it a try and was hooked from the very first class!

Yoga has helped me harmonize my mind-spirt with my body by making me self aware. It has increased my strength and flexibility and helped me to relax. My increased flexibility has helped greatly with my back injury and chronic pain. I feel fitter, more energitic, happier and more at peace. I can actually touch my toes again!

Jack, Mary and Helen are patient and kind teachers. They are there to support you and assist you in every class. On days that my injury is acting up, Jack is there to assist and remind me to listen to my body.

The studio has a peaceful and welcoming aura about it. There is a true sense of community among all of the students that attend. I have made great friends and always feel welcome!

Kerry Smith – October 2008

Monica Ebsary

Monica Ebsary

Meditation, Relaxation and Stress relief

A women’s centre in Halifax recommended that I look into yoga for Meditation, Relaxation and Stress Relief. Quality sleep was a health issue for me. I have also been diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease. Yoga had been recommended therapy for flexibility and balance as well. I had taken yoga classes about 25 years ago.

I am so happy I took the time to join the Introduction to yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga with Mary. I am continuing with the Kripalu I classes now.

My sleep has already improved after only a few months of classes. I have more energy for housework after working full time at a dentist office. More than anything I am feeling more relaxed and comfortable with my day to day challenges. The location is perfect for me as I work in the same building that the yoga studio is located in.

It is nice to have a great yoga studio in Dartmouth.

Monica Ebsary – November 2008

Melanie Bower

Melanie Bower

Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life

I began to practice yoga about 10 years ago. I was looking for a practice to calm my mind and body. Prior to yoga I had been exclusively involved in aerobic types of activity. I recognized that I needed to slow down my mind and body and wanted to explore mindfulness and deep breathing. The style I like the most is Kripalu and since I started my practice, I feel more focused and grounded. When you bring attention to the breath and mindfulness into your daily life, you are practicing yoga.

I feel that yoga is a lifestyle, and Sunrise lives by this philosophy in all they do, in and out of the studio. The environment is relaxed, non-judgmental and welcoming. The activities that extend into the community such as the potlucks are a bonus and a wonderful way to connect to others who share your interest and passion.

Madison Allan

Madison Allan

Even though I’ve recently moved to Halifax, Sunrise Yoga still remains my studio of choice. I feel that some other local studios have a corporate mentality in terms of it making it all about profit and the classes are very repetitive. Classes can sometimes feel way too large, cold and disconnected. Sunrise stands out as an yoga centre that truly care about it’s clients, is mindful about client’s limitations, is child-friendly, strives to change things up on a consistent basis and is responsive to it’s clientele. I’m a very happy customer.

Melaine Bower – September 2008

I like yoga because it is fun and something that I can do with my mom.

Madison Allan – September 2008



Lorie Collins

Lorie Collins

Yoga helped heal my running injuries

I have always been an avid runner. Last winter, I suffered a mild hamstring injury and started looking for alternative ways to cross train. I participated in a number of different Yoga classes before I discovered Sunrise Yoga Studio.

I must say, I love Jack’s Ashtanga Yoga classes. They are fun, encouraging, welcoming to people of many different fitness levels and can be as challenging or as undemanding as you would like them to be or as your body dictates them to be.

Yoga has definitely helped in the recovery of my injury and has been very beneficial to my running. It has helped improve my flexibility, balance, endurance, posture and breathing; as well as increase my (upper and lower) body strength. I have found that Yoga definitely compliments my running and gives my body a break from the vigorous pounding while maintaining my fitness level. I definitely plan to continue to participate in Jack’s classes. I may become a Yogi yet!

I also enjoy the dedicated spaces at Sunrise Yoga. The environment is clean, warm, inclusive and a comfortable place to practice Yoga.

Lorie Collins – March 2008

Tanya Chadraway

Tanya Chadrawy

I learned more about patience in yoga class

“Jack said it would take about 6 months for my fexibility to improve — actually I didn’t believe him at first! In the beginning you think that some of the poses are almost impossible to achieve, you think ‘how can my body ever do that?’ But he was right, it’s been 6 months and I’m just starting to grab my big toe from behind my back. Yoga practice teaches you humility and most of all patience! With dedication even just twice a week, you will be amazed at the flexibility and strength your body can achieve.”

Tanya Chadrawy talking to Claudette during a break in the Thursday night Ashtanga class on July 5 2007.



Ashtanga Yoga replaces Kung Fu

“As a former Kung Fu practioner, I thought Ashtanga was a perfect fit to blend cardio exercises with deep stretching.”

Robert-Yves Mazerolle – October 2007

Ann Margaret Graham

Ann Margaret Graham

The gym was getting boring

“Yoga was one of those things that I’d always thought, “I should try that someday”. I’d been going to the gym, on and off for years, but started to feel bored with my usual routine. I began looking for alternatives, and came across the Sunrise Yoga website offering introduction class. I started going in September, and liked it right away. Jack and Stephanie are wonderful instructors offering different styles of yoga and the studio is bright and welcoming. I knew I’d found something that was right for me, and wondered what took me so long to try.”

Ann Margaret Graham – October 2007

Nancy Setchell

Nancy Setchell

I lost weight and ran farther

“I joined the intro to yoga class at the same time as I started Weight Watchers. I’ve been a fairly active person, but always wanted to try yoga. I loved it immediately and incorporated it into my exercise regime. I was amazed to find how much it helped with weight loss and my overall fitness.”

“I’m now 30 lbs lighter and can run faster and farther than ever before!”

“With winter approaching, I am looking forward to staying active with a challenging indoor activity – yoga!”

Nancy Setchell – October 2007

Aevrill MacInnis

Aevrill MacInnis

I haven’t had a cold in 3 years

“I thought that Sunrise Yoga would be an alternative to a gym environment. It is that and so much more. It has improved my state of mind. I’m more thoughtful, I have better coping abilities and I have more patience with people.”

“There are classes at Sunrise Yoga to suit everyone. Stephanie keeps the classes interesting. She tells you why poses help you as well as other interesting facts about alternative wellness.”

“As a result of attending classes at Sunrise Yoga, I am healthier, more flexible, I have better concentration and I haven’t had a cold in almost 3 years!”

Averill MacInnis – November 2007

Nikki MacGilivary

Nikki MacGilivary

Rehabilitation Therapy

“At the age of 30, I had the misfortune of suffering a stroke. As a result, I suffered left side paralysis and was hospitalized in rehab for a month learning how to walk again and regain the use of my left arm/leg. Even though I am able to walk and function “somewhat normal”, I still had a problem with some minor ambulatory movements. I knew I did not want to go to a “gym” where the atmosphere is rushed and impersonal. I needed a more relaxed and understanding facility where I did not feel my progress was judged by how much I could lift or how fast I could move. I work in the area of sports medicine and decided to do some research on various forms of rehabilitation. My findings pointed me in the direction of YOGA… SUNRISE YOGA.”

“My goal was to restore movement, balance, and coordination at “my own pace” and not that of others. Jack and Stephanie are very professional in their teaching and understanding of each person’s individuality. Their knowledge is never ending. If you have a question they will answer it or find the answer. Even though they perform different styles of yoga, Ashtanga and Kripalu, they both compliment each other giving their clientele the opportunity to decide which style is best suited to their needs. The class times vary making it easy to accommodate your own schedule. The atmosphere is very friendly, thus making it more inviting and fun! It does not feel like a chore and, in turn, giving me more motivation to attend class!”

“I have only been practicing yoga for five months and happy to say I have noticed a huge difference in my strength, balance and coordination. I am achieving my goals slowly but noticeably. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE!!!!!”


Nikki MacGilivary – November 2007

Laura Lee Smith

Laura Lee Smith

Performing better on the job

“About a year ago I decided to take up yoga because I had injury after injury from running and soccer. I have a physically demanding job as a letter carrier and a challenging route. I needed to stay sound. I wasn’t thrilled about changing my lifestyle and the possible weight gain that would result from that change. I thought that I would do something that would help heal my body.”

“I tried two other beginner yoga seessions and finally came to Sunrise. I was so happy to find Jack’s Ashtanga class because he wooped my butt!”

“Now I feel I have found something that will keep me strong, fit, and healthy. It has also helped to strengthen my injuries. I am performing better on the job without the constant fear of reinjury.”

“I struggle with the binding poses, but since I intend to practice as long as possible, I’m confident it will improve with time.”

Laura Lee Smith – November 2007

Kim Curlett

Kim Curlett

Yoga changed my life

“I have been practicing yoga for just over a year now and it has changed my life. I was introduced to yoga when I ran into an old friend and was so taken with her beauty and grace that when she invited me to take an intro to yoga class at her studio I was inspired. I completed the intro classes with my friend Jenny Kierstead of Breathing Space Yoga Studio in Halifax and asked her to recommend a teacher in Dartmouth, as this is my home. She recommended Jack at Sunrise Yoga.”

“Sunrise Yoga is a wonderful place to practice yoga. Jack is a kind and patient teacher with a quiet humour that makes you feel at ease even in your most difficult posture. I have learned that although the physical benefits of ashtanga are significant the transformation of mind and influence on spirit are truly extraordinary.”

Kim Curlett – November 2007

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