Who is Selena Isles?

I’m Selena. My friends call me Sal. 

I am a Yoga teacher, woman of colour, international DJ Seriousblack and solo mother. After 25 years teaching, I still refer to myself as a student.

I am from Montreal (Quebec, Canada) via Trinidad, et si je parle francais oh la la. I am the daughter of a black man and an east Indian/venzulian women from Trinidad. I am a 70’s kid, I am an Aquarius. 

Many years ago I came to yoga  because of a traumatic injury that ended my athletic career.  I went from rising track star to injured  “has been”. I spiralled into self despair, depression and negative connotations, losing scholarships, friends and everything that I “thought” I was.

I used to think yoga was something my mom did to keep cool, calm and collected in the face of me and my sister. However this experience forced me to rewrite my whole story, and what I had believed to be true of myself.

In essence before Brene Brown coined the term, I had to lean into the hard stuff and touch the face of vulnerability. I found Buddhism (again, first time at 13) around this time and it lifted me slowly out of depression and I vowed at 19, to commit myself to some sort of path, so naturally moving across the globe made a lot of sense.

When I finally got to Thailand, I had no “real” yoga practice other than the asana and meditation I practiced at home; I was like a fish out of water. I had to learn to lean in again and be vulnerable – this would be the first of many (many)  times I would have to learn this lesson.

My time spent with the monks on Wat Suan Moh and my host family threw my yoga connotations out the window as we practiced NO ASANA for the first year only mediation, silence and Karma/Bhakti yoga. This dismantled me from the inside out – meditation or hours of it on the cold floor did the rest. When we did touch asana I was astounded at the simplicity of the practice, I learned the original 84 asana that Shiva stated were “appropriate” for people to learn in this age. I believed stillness would uncover everything there was to know and so I practiced asana according to the Hatha Pradipika, as well as meditation in silence and stillness; until I could no longer trace the lines of fluidity within the stillness. It was strict and I was in my 20’s not the best cocktail for success and yet; it was around that time that I started to link the poses to breath. I needed to move again and started to practice Ashtanga Vinyasa, and then it all clicked.

Many years, lessons, teachings and various extraordinary and heartbreaking experiences later; I developed as semblance of a style; my style. A practice that integrates the breath based flow of Ashtanga and the hard/soft precision of Hatha, and an embodied connection to self realization, into a deep, sweaty, integrative mind/body experience, all the while dropping ancient texts and wisdom, using hip hop vernacular and humour. 

And that is the simple secret to my practice, dismantling the threads or sutras of the ancients and bringing it to everyone.

I believe strongly in yoga for everybody and all bodies, and so my practices develop and emanate from a place of stillness, and a budding mind of wonder all juxtaposed against movement and meditation.

During my journey of teaching I have manifested myself all over the world. I have taught in various Wanderlust Festivals, led the Lole White Tour 3x, Taos Mountain Yoga Festival, Osheaga, BCorp Summits, worked with athletes and artists from the Canadians to the Alouettes to Post Malone, Florence and the Machine, Jack Harlow and Dua Lipa. I have crossed the globe bringing yoga and meditation to anyone and everyone from corporations like Evenko to Sunlife to Reebok and Just For Laughs. 

In 2018, I was named the first Global Ambassador for Lole. 

Being a single mother and DJ touring and teaching yoga all year round; I am in deep need of my yoga practice; it healed my broken body and mind two decades ago and now keeps my soul intact on a daily basis.

I spend my time parenting, embracing the chaos of life, teaching, training, speaking and making music between Montreal, LA, New York and Europe.

Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha!
 
Please see below for my teaching lineage

Certifications & Lineage

Hatha, Ashtanga & Yin Yoga Teacher

  • 500 Hour Ashtanga Yoga with Jamie Lee 2017
  • Online Anatomy and Yoga Therapeutics Training with Martin Kirk, 2016
  • 75 Hour Vinyasa Flow with Noah Maze, 2016
  • 100 hours Core Strength Vinyasa Method with Saide Nardini, 2015
  • 500 hours Mark Stephens Yoga, 2014
  • 200 hours Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with HappyTree Yoga, 2012-2013
  • 40 hours Yin Yoga Training with Melanie Richards and Albert Bissada, 2012
  • 300 hour Kriya Yoga with Self Realization Fellowship, 2009 – 2015
  • 100 hour Vinyasa Krama with Srivatsa Ramaswami, 2011
  • 125 hours Pre Natal Yoga Training with Janice Clairfield, 2010

200+ hours of miscellaneous workshops and training on topics such as anatomy, meditation, yoga practice, pranayama and philosophy with teachers Donna Farhi, Janet Stone, Davidji, Albert Bissada, Natalie Rousseau, Melanie Richards, Barrie Riseman, Carina Risman, Eddy Stern, Sri Dharma Mitrra, Steve Sims, Jamie Lee, Richard Miller, Sadie Nardini, Eoin Finn, Mark Stephens and Noah Maze.

CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

Selena’s teachings are completely aligned with her personality. Her classes are clear, present and focused she presents this age old wisdom in the easiest way for anyone ( adult to child) to understand. She uses language that is easily transferable to our bodies and head space, amazingly she gets us out of heads and into our bodies quickly. She structures her practices in such a way that we are often in the middle of a very difficult pose before she says guess what guys you’ve now found yourselves in the midst of a AHA moment! Run with it. The emotional, spiritual and mental releases I’ve felt while studying with her beyond what I ever thought the first time I took her class. Her warmth, easy smile coupled with a razor sharp intelligence is astounding. Not to mention her sense of humor is contagious both on the mat and off.

Darlene DicksonArmed Guard

MEDIA

Often referred to as the ‘Urban Yogi’ Selena Isles is a travelling yoga teacher, international DJ, Seriousblack and single mother. Her journey back to yoga started in 1996, after a traumatic injury at the Canada Games ended her athletic career.

During her recovery she found a copy Autobiography of a Yogi and her mother’s copies of Light on Yoga, Yoga the Iyengar Way and the Bhagavad Gita. She credits those discoveries as a turning point in her life. “Yoga has been with me all of my life” she explains (her grandfather was from India and her mother practiced yoga, meditation and prayer daily) “yet I always tried to separate it from my identity, to make it something outside of who I was”. It was in that realization I had to admit Yoga had been weaving in and out of my childhood and adolescence and I ran from it at every turn. However when I needed it the most, the practice, was there. It brought me back from the brink of losing everything I had worked so hard to achieve during my athletic career to a place of stillness and healing”.

In 1999, she made the long journey to Thailand, to seclude herself further and rewrite her journey.  She became dedicated to the path of yoga and meditation. Residing in a small ascetic village in the south is where Selena started to define her practice greatly. This was not a one month intensive in ultra-cool  Thailand she says; this was bare bones , stripped down to the essence, day to day offering oneself up to serve consciously, mindfully  and being humbled in the most painfully extraordinary ways.

She coordinates her time embracing the chaos between teaching, parenting, leading workshops, touring and leading teacher training’s, and travelling to teach and lead retreats between Canada, US, Europe and Australia. Her teaching style she says is embodied, integrative and dynamic , it combines the precision of Hatha/Iyengar tradition with the breath and movement of Ashtanga in a moving meditation for the body, breath and mind.  In 2018 she became one of the official Global Ambassadors for Lole, and she has led the Lole White Tour for the last few years.

http://www.selenaisles.com/classes/

EXTRAS

No biography would be complete without mentioning that Selena was a high school teacher for 13 years teaching in some of the roughest schools in Montreal. This is why she is able to teach so efficiently, offering smart, focused and dynamic practices both on the mat and off. She brings years of teaching and garnering the ability to explain asana and philosophy in various ways that everyone can grasp immediately. On top of this she also holds Master’s Degree in Anthropology.

For over two decades Selena is also recognized by her other craft; international DJ and producer, DJ Seriousblack. In 2015 she was signed to the influential Black Swan Sounds Records and released her first album END TRANSMISSION with them, followed by the Funky Tropical in 2016. She has 5 other independent releases prior to signing with Black Swan Sounds. In 2020, she signed to South African label Bush Doctor Recordings.

Since 2013 she has been a featured performer in festivals such as Wanderlust,Wellspring, Tadasana, Lole White Tour, Taos Mountain Yoga, PEACEFEST and Hanuman Festival. She has also been featured at The Montreal Jazz Festival, Full MOON Festival in Thailand, Osheaga, SXSW, Coachella, Delicious Festival, Who’s next in Paris, Its Time to Bloom Tour and Under Pressure in Montreal since 2010.

She has had the pleasure of being featured and opening for acts like DJ Drez and MC Yogi, Karsh Kale, Micheal Franti, Garth Stevenson and Thievery Corporation. She has provided the sound space for top yogis such Chelsey Korus, Faith Hunter, Eoin Finn, Light Watkins, Davidji, Derek Cooke, Dani Pompulun, Donavon McGrath AMPLIFY, Bri Smith, Elena Brower, Mary Beth LaRue, Noah Maze, Schuyler Grant, Carolyn Budgell, Crystal Rainbow Borelli, Bram Levinson, Melanie Richards, Sadie Nardini and hosts of others.

Each of her classes features a curated playlist for that week, to explore more Spotify