Sylvia Smallman
about Sylvia

In the 70's, when Sylvia first experienced yoga, she immediately connected to a feeling of deep authenticity. For forty years now, this authenticity continues and is a source of inspiration for her personal yoga and meditation practice, as well as for her yoga classes and teacher trainings. Sylvia Smallman is an innovative therapeutic yoga instructor originally trained at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. She studied yoga therapy with Leila Stuart, and in Chennai, India at Yoga Raksanam.

Foundational to Sylvia's yoga teaching philosophy is kripalu (compassion) and sukha (comfort and ease). She is dedicated to making yoga more accessible to more people. Using the therapeutic and restorative wisdom of yoga as a holistic healing practice, Sylvia provides students of all ages, levels and mobility the opportunity to experience the benefits of yoga – physically, mentally and spiritually. Sylvia teaches yoga that ties ancient wisdom to modern times, reminding us that yoga offers practical tools that can help us ride the waves of life.

Sylvia continues to explore, learn and innovate resulting in original classes, workshops and teacher trainings, some of which include her 'Later Life Yoga' classes and teacher training, Chair Yoga classes and teacher training, her corporate 'Breathing Break' and private yoga therapy sessions. As one of Vancouver's Senior Chair Yoga teachers, she has made a DVD, 'The Joy of Chair Yoga with Sylvia', which is highly acclaimed. Sylvia is also associated with Yoga Outreach bringing yoga to underserved populations. And she is pleased to be an invited teacher at the Victoria Yoga Conference this year.

Sylvia is always nourished and inspired by the natural world, science, culture, good friends, laughter and her grandchildren!

See Sylvia's Resume here (pdf)


the space

  • To provide a safe and comfortable space, physical and emotional, for the mindful practice, exploration and joyful experience of Yoga.
  • Small consistent class groups build a comfortable feeling of familiarity, safety and community.

the practice

  • To provide thorough detailing of alignment principals for postures & offer adjustments and modifications for each unique individual in the group.
  • To encourage students’ gradual and progressive awareness of their body and self with the resulting wisdom to find their own level of comfort - a kind balance of will and surrender, effort and letting go.
  • To continually practice non-competitiveness, self acceptance.
  • To empower the student to personalize their own practice.

the context

  • To provide some knowledge of the origins and theory of Yoga, by short talks, experiential practice, hand-outs and suggested readings.

the deeper practice

  • To connect each person with their heart center, and to the place deep inside where wisdom lives.
  • To facilitate the growth and transformation that yoga offers.
  • To take the lessons that we learn while practicing on the yoga mat into our daily routines and interactions.

“I truly felt at ease in Sylvia's class which made all the difference for me in my yoga experience. Each class was well organized, easy to understand and step by step so that you felt really involved in getting to know your body.”
- Gabriela Menyhart