Getting to know: Studio Shibui
Interview by Chris Tiessen
WHEN NATALIA BRAJAK DECIDED TO OPEN A WELLNESS STUDIO, SHE KNEW THAT QUEBEC STREET IN DOWNTOWN GUELPH WAS THE PERFECT VENUE. ‘THIS CITY HAS ALWAYS ENJOYED A REPUTATION AS A HOTBED OF PROGRESSIVE INITIATIVES,’ SHE OBSERVES, ‘AND FOR ITS SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY. SO IT SEEMED THE PERFECT PLACE TO OPEN STUDIO SHIBUI.’ NATALIA COMES TO HER NEW ENTERPRISE WITH A PHENOMENAL AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE. NOT ONLY IS SHE CO-FOUNDER OF MOKSHA [NOW MODO] YOGA, BUT NATALIA HAS ALSO TRAINED IN BIKRAM YOGA, ELDOA, TRANSPERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOTHERAPY, NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION, SPIRITUAL DIRECTION, ENNEAGRAM, BUDDHIST MEDITATION, SHAMANIC MEDICINE TRANSFORMATION AND UNITY CONSCIOUSNESS BUBBLE FACILITATION. AND NOW BRINGS HER EXPERTISE TO GUELPH.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT’S STUDIO SHIBUI ALL ABOUT?I like to say that the studio offers integrated therapies and thoughtful gatherings in downtown Guelph. We are ten instructors offering different classes – including ELDOA with myself and Gina Giammarco, meditation with Jeff Warren and others, Kundalini yoga with Melissa Reid, restorative and yoga nidra with Lisa Cipparone, moving and sounding into silence with Eva Dametto, mindful movement with Clare Esler, and more. Our website [studioshibui.ca] includes great descriptions of all these practices.
AND WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND?I opened a Bikram yoga studio in Toronto back in 2001, and co-founded Moksha [now modo] yoga in 2003. I taught Moksha in Toronto and Oakville for a decade before a friend told me about ELDOA – a cutting-edge stretching and strengthening technique for the spine and joints of the body. I fell in love with the practice, trained in it, and decided to open this multi-disciplinary space in Guelph – now my home town.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOGA AND ELDOA?Without getting into the weeds, I’d suggest that while yoga is a way of living – focused on union of body and mind, and moving to remembrance of ultimately the truth of who we are – ELDOA is a fantastic cutting-edge exercise practice for the body that delivers mobility and pain relief like nothing else. Getting chronic pain under management, having your spine feel good through your own movement is profound. Born from osteopathy, ELDOA (a French acronym) is especially great for folks suffering with disc issues, sports-related injuries, concussions and stress-related pain. ELDOA helps athletes have much better training and work-out recovery, increases body awareness and reduces injury. People who sit at a computer for many hours will counteract the negative effects of sitting in a very short amount of time. Most people will benefit from one to two ELDOA sessions per week. It’s like the cherry on top of any other self-care program you follow.
WHY CALL THE STUDIO ‘SHIBUI’? Shibui is a Japanese term that describes objects, experiences, individuals or designs that appear to be simple overall but that include subtle details that balance simplicity with complexity. This balance ensures that one does not tire of a shibui object but constantly finds new meanings and enriched beauty that cause its aesthetic value to grow over the years. The seven elements of shibusa are simplicity, implicity, modesty, naturalness, everydayness, imperfection, and silence – all concepts that speak to the mandate of the studio. It takes a bit of life experience to appreciate shibui, which speaks to a wide population of people looking for a practice that will support them now in mind, body and soul.
IS THERE ANYTHING UNIQUE ABOUT THE STUDIO?The intention was to have a more intimate practice space that would limit the number of clients to ensure personalized attention. I am happy to say that has been achieved. We also offer a support group once a month for educators, parents and care-givers who need help with implementing strategies that will balance the amount of time children are using screens day to day. There is also a Gratefulness Gathering once a month to further the conversation about what it means to live a gratitude-oriented life. These gatherings are offered by donation.
WILL STUDIO SHIBUI HAVE A RETAIL COMPONENT? Yes – I will be offering essential oils (for diffusing and using internally and topically), safe burning soy candles, unique meditation benches, malas, and locally-made things that interest me and fit the focus of the studio
11 Quebec St, Guelph