As a Yoga Instructor for over 12 years, founder of Gauge Yoga, Bridgette Ponto teaches to her beloved yoga community in her studio most days, then on other days travels globally with JOGA, training pro-athletes in the NHL, NBA, CFL and Hockey Canada. She runs popular yoga classes and many adult & kid yoga workshops from her studios in Forestburg & Camrose. Bridgette is passionate about sharing how the tools and teachings of yoga can help us navigate our way through life, in its most joyful and most challenging times. My intention when you step on your mat is to guide you towards more space in your body, deeper connections, greater self-awareness, empowerment, health and well-being. “I want every student to come to their yoga mats to feel, not to accomplish. To create space where you may be stuck and to appreciate your body and become aware of your mind and the noise it creates.” Sharing her deep knowledge of diverse yoga traditions, as well as her philosophy that the real mat-magic happens when body, spirit and soul connect.
Bridgette has created and produced two yoga DVD’s focused on functional movement, strength, mobility, flexibility and relaxation for all levels. She leads yoga retreats around East-Central Alberta twice a year. The experience of holding this space, outside students’ usual environment, has been a master’s course in cleansing. (“I have seen such major shifts- several people have made big life changes after attending retreats.”) She brings this skill and excitement to incite growth and self-love to every class she teaches.
Bridgette is of the firm belief that growing as a teacher means forever staying a student. After completing her first teacher training back in 2010, Bridgette continued her growth as a teacher taking Rainbow Kids Yoga Training with Amanda McFayden, Pre/Post Natal Yoga Training with Janice Clarfield, Yin Yoga Training with Stephanie Nosco, along with many other yoga lineages , Ashtanga, alignment-based Vinyasa / Hatha and most recently JOGA – Yoga for Athletes with Jana Webb. She remains humble and curious before the awe-inspiring depth of wisdom that yoga and JOGA holds, always seeking more.
“Our bodies and minds are so intelligent, we just have to spend more time understanding it, adapting to strategies to make us feel better and becoming more aware. Take charge of your body and your mind. Make it easy, change your dialogue with yourself and make feeling good a priority. It truly is amazing how much your body whispers to you about what it needs or wants – the problem is we need to silence the ego and slow our bodies and minds down to hear. JOGA is about connecting to the spine and letting the core drive the movements; using this a reminder that when everything is stripped away, the core of who we are is what’s left. Work it. Feel it. Tune it. Listen. Use it to connect to something deep within.“
Bridgette’s passion for movement led her to the exploration of subtle energy through CranioSacral Therapy. An energy worker at heart, Bridgette has found a balance for her scientific mind. After completing The Condensed Version of the Osteopathy Program at the College of London; Anatomy, Physiology and Pathalogy, she is now certified in CranioSacral Therapy , with the Upledger Institute. “It was an intense journey of not only self-discovery about where I’ve been holding all my past tension in my body and mind but also the physical implications of that. It WAS that something I was looking for, the missing link, the tool that gave me the languages to reach absolutely everybody. And since CranioSacral Therapy is diving deep and connecting to the core, the nervous system, the skeletal, muscular and emotional system it was perfect. It helped me tremendously with my migraines, anxiety, PTSD, skin issues and much more. I love seeing my clients learn how magnificent their body is at self-correcting itself. I love seeing them breathing from within. My way of practicing is very much Solution Focused. Together we find the path that gets you to your healthy thriving self. It is a transformative experience that puts YOU in control of your health and happiness.
I am grateful daily that in this moment, in this life, I am able to live my purpose and able to connect with so many precious souls who perhaps I will inspire and who no doubt inspire me.
Thanks for checking me out….I hope to cross paths with you soon…
Ash was raised on a ranch on the bald prairie near Hanna Alberta. It was here her parents taught her what a hard days work was, helping open gates, sort cattle, operate equipment and pull the occasional calf. When she received her drivers licence it was a ticket to freedom allowing her to dedicate more time to basketball, life-guarding at the outdoor pool and of course, socializing. It wasn’t until college that she discovered yoga. She was hooked after taking her first class. “I loved the way I felt laying in Savasana, and how calm my usually racing mind became.”
In 2014 after the loss of her mother, Kathy, to cancer, a close friend asked Ash if she would join her to go to a 200 hour yoga teacher training in Nicaragua. “I didn’t even have to think about it, I said YES. At that point I didn’t know if I wanted to actually teach, but I knew that my body, mind and soul needed the calm restoring benefits of yoga and why not do it on the beach with one of my best friends.” It would be one of the best experiences of her life. Ash studied under the wonderfully talented Kimberly Waugh of Radiant Life Yoga School, whose positive and practical approach to alignment and mindfulness was rare and refreshing. The training was 29 days, hosted at the magical Coco Loco Eco-Resort on the north pacific coast of Nicaragua. “We ate amazing vegetarian meals, awoke with the sun everyday, practiced yoga, swam, surfed, read, went to the local schools to share English with the students and developed a sisterhood among each other. It was such a vibrant experience, it truly filled my cup.”
Fast forward to 2016, Ash and her husband Dean are newly married and have planted roots in Camrose. At this time Ash was working as an Advanced Care Paramedic in Camrose, with an unpredictable shift work schedule. Wanting to incorporate yoga and teaching more into her day to day life, Ash decided to offer her services as a freelance instructor and so “Yoga with Ash” was born. “Yoga is a wonderful yin to the yang that comes with the adrenaline and stress of my work in EMS. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety are a very real threats to all of us who share the human condition, and sadly, everyday heroes are not immune.” Teaching and sharing yoga was not only a new business endeavour for Ash, but the start of a journey in self care.
Ash quickly became busy with private yoga sessions, offering drop in classes and working in schools with various fitness and athletic groups. Hockey teams in Camrose caught on to the benefits of yoga, and Ash had the pleasure of working with teams such as the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks, the former Bantam AAA Redwings, the former Minor Midget AAA Redwings, the PeeWee AA Vikings and the Battle River Hockey Academy. Ash enjoys introducing beginners to yoga, assisting clients to find the best modification of a posture for their body and seeing the look of surprise and satisfaction when they rise from their first Savasana.
Ash loves to travel, participate in CrossFit, scuba dive, eat, listen to new music, laugh, and enjoy a beer or two. Most important to her is time spent with her family, which has grown with the addition of her son, a now loud and busy toddler. Ash is excited to take on this new endeavour with Bridgette and Gauge Yoga. “I hope to meet you on our mats very soon!”