Category Archives: The Yoga Sanctuary

Taking the One Seat: alignment for meditation

meditation-909295_1920

So you’ve decided that meditation is a great idea, you’ve committed to the time (starting with just 3 minutes a day is great). You are so stoked.

But one of the first hurdles that most of us face is our own body. Aching knees, a tired back, cranky ankles. How to find a comfortable position that we can maintain for the duration of our session, so that the body doesn’t become a distraction? How should I sit? Full lotus? Half lotus? How about “no lotus”? 

yoga-2095502_1920.jpgTaking the One Seat: alignment for meditation is a workshop where I’ll share some of the many options available for your practice – sitting on the floor, on a chair, lying down, using props and more. There are so many more choices open to you. Knowing how to use your body in a variety of positions and settings also means that you can drop into your meditation anytime, anywhere – at home, at the studio, in your office, while travelling and more.

We’ll figure out how what we do with our body affects our state of mind. Explore your sense of alignment from the inside out, inside of fitting your body into a prescribed shape. Then – take that new unique and personal sense of alignment off your meditation seat and into your yoga practice.

Taking the One Seat: alignment for meditation

Sat April 15 from 9am-11am

at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

$30+hst. Pre-register here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism, Classes, Dharma, Events & Workshops, Meditation, The Yoga Sanctuary, Uncategorized, Yoga

Calming the inner swirl

swirling-light-1209350_1920-3

We can’t always do much about the outer swirl that we find ourselves in – work, family, media, travel, current affairs, illness, just moving through each day. But we can find a measure of stability on the inside though, so that we’re not so pulled and tossed by the vicisittudes of life.

I’m back at The Yoga Sanctuary this spring with a series of monthly meditation workshops to share ways to calm and still the inner swirl, offering something for everyone. If you’ve never meditated before and are not quite sure what to do. If you’ve had a taste and would like to go deeper. If you have established a regular practice and want to keep it thriving.

Drop into one workshop, or come to all of them. No experience required. Beginners mind encouraged!

Learn How to Meditate – Sat Mar 18 from 9:30am-12noon (repeated Sat May 27)

“Mindfulness” is the buzzword of the day. Together we’ll figure out just what that means, and more importantly why it matters, by returning to the original four mindfulness practices taught by the Buddha 2500 years ago. These are simple and effective tools that anyone can use, regardless of beliefs or tradition. I’ll also share some tips and tricks to get your meditation off the ground (or back on the wagon).

Taking the One Seat: alignment for meditation – Sat April 15 from 9:00-11:00am

Can’t sit in full lotus to meditate? Me either. Half lotus? How about NO lotus? One of the biggest barriers to meditation for many people is finding a comfortable way to be in stillness in the body. How can I still that inner swirl if all I can think about is that my back hurts! We’ll discuss a variety of options that accomodate different bodies, locations and supports like cushions, stools and chairs. Even better, together we’ll explore how alignment can emerge from the inside out, no matter where our bodies are.

Meditation Tune Up – Sat July 22 from 9:30-11:30am

So now you’ve got a regular (maybe even daily) practice going. Yay you! But now the questions are cropping up. Am I doing this right? How do I know I’m getting anywhere?  Or perhaps you’ve hit a roadblock. I’ll share practical advices from the meditation masters of ancient texts in the Buddhist tradition, as well as time for an informal Q & A session.

Sacred Spaces – Sat Aug 12 from 9:30-11:30am

So now WHERE are you going to meditate? You certainly don’t have to remove yourself to a cave on a mountain to meditate. But it does help to bring together some conducive outer conditions. No matter your living situation, it’s possible to find a creative solution and make a space that is meaningful to you. I’ll share what I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way!) about practice spaces over my 10 years of practice. We’ll cover practical considerations (like time, space and money), enjoy some traditional inspiration, and then consider how to use your space effectively once you have it.

All workshops at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

Each workshop $30 + hst. Preregister here.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism, Classes, Dharma, Events & Workshops, Meditation, The Yoga Sanctuary, Uncategorized

More meditation at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth

stones-1058365_1280

After introducing the Learn How to Meditate workshop at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth this fall, I’m following it up with a course that will effectively support your new meditation practice. Setting the Stage for Meditation is a 6 week course that will help you to cultivate the key conditions that support inner growth for greater freedom and happiness.

We know our inner and outer lives are fundamentally interconnected. So with shifts in our relationship to our world, we can create positive conditions for meditation. Its like an endless feedback loop of wellbeing! Each week we’ll cover one condition, with discussion of how they apply to our modern lives. Includes guided meditation using the breath to develop single-pointed concentration. Beginner and experienced meditators alike are welcome.

If you missed the last Learn How to Meditate workshop, have no fear. I’ll be repeating it at TYS Danforth on Sun April 10 from 9:00am-12 noon.

Curious? Or just want to enhance your practice? 
Join us for this practical and enjoyable workshop. We’ll explore four different mindfulness meditations, using methods rooted in the Buddhist tradition which are useful and relevant regardless of your worldview. Most importantly, you’ll leave with meditations you can practice yourself, as well as tips on how to plug meditation into your very busy real life.

 

Setting the Stage for Meditation -$100 full course, $18 drop-in per class.

Wednesdays 4:30-5:30pm March 23-April 27 (6 weeks)

 

Learn How to Meditate workshop – $25.

Sun April 10 from 9:00am-12 noon.

 

All prices include hst. Please pregister here.

Wear yoga or loose fitting clothing and bring a yoga mat if you have one.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism, Dharma, Events & Workshops, Meditation, The Yoga Sanctuary

The best gift for the holidays

Ardore_mistico_(188025717)

Photo: Adore mistico by Roberto Ferrarri, Wikimedia Commons

If you are like me, each year as the holidays approach, you vow to do it differently this time. To let go of the stress and anxiety and materialism, and focus on the simple, warm-hearted joys that really matter.

And yet somehow, despite all your best intentions, you end up cursing out someone in the lineup at Indigo, or cutting someone off in the parking lot at the mall, or having that same argument with your sister at the dinner table.

This year, I invite you to take a step that can really help you move in the direction of those positive intentions. Right smack in the middle of the holidays. Give yourself – and your loved ones – the best gift of all. Some peace of mind.

I’m leading the Learn How to Meditate workshop on Sat Dec 12 from 9:30am-noon at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth. You’ll learn simple practices you can use right away for more mindfulness and clarity. I’ll share tips on how to plug the practice into your real (and busy life). Its all do-able, I promise – even during the holidays. Dec 13 is the anniversary of when I started my own daily meditation practice 9 years ago!

Learn How to Meditate

at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

Sat Dec 12, 2015 from 9:30am-noon

$25+hst  Pre-registration recommended.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism, Classes, Dharma, Events & Workshops, Meditation, The Yoga Sanctuary, Uncategorized

Meditation: Before and After

before and after

These images from photographer Peter Siedler’s Before and After: Portraits from Dathun show his subjects both before and after a month of meditation, revealing perhaps just the surface results that are possible through meditation. If this is what his subjects look like on the outside, imagine what the effects could be like on the inside. Viewers can draw their own conclusions.

before and after 2

Could meditation work for you? Come and find out for yourself. I’m teaching a Learn How to Meditate workshop at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth this Sat Nov 21 from 9:30am-noon. You’ll leave with meditations you can practice yourself as well as tips on how to plug meditation into your very busy real life.

before and after 3

Learn How to Meditate

at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

Sat Nov 21, 2015 from 9:30am-noon

$25+hst  Pre-registration recommended.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dharma, Events & Workshops, Meditation, The Yoga Sanctuary

Moving with ease through change: a new home for TYS College – with FREE yoga to celebrate!

By Galileo (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

By Galileo (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

Our Moon Yoga practice is all about learning to move with ease through changing cycles – of the moon, of our breath, of our bodies, of our lives. These ever changing cycles are the essence of life itself. No movement, no life.

Tonight is a perfect time to enjoy that big huge autumnal full moon, while we pass through the changing landscape of our yoga community at TYS College. Tonight – Mon Oct 26 at 8:45pm – I’ll be teaching my last Full Moon Yoga class at The Yoga Sanctuary College in the 2 College St location. Please join me as we say thank you and bless up this lovely special space one last time.

As you probably know, TYS College is moving to beautiful new digs at the end of this month. The 2 College St building, the historic Oddfellows Hall, is ungoing extensive renovations. But true yogis move with ease through all kinds of change – so we are taking our yoga to 1 Wood St, effective Nov 1. Our new studio is just the other side of Yonge St, one block north of College, opposite the Second Cup in the Marriott Hotel.

Because we are so excited about our new home and as a housewarming gift to our TYS family, we’re inviting everyone to enjoy a week of FREE classes on the house at the new College & Yonge location from Nov 9-15. Your next Moon Yoga class on Thur Nov 12 at 8:45pm is on the house! This offer applies to both new and existing TYS students. Call 416-928-3236 for more details.

TYS Founder Cynthia Funk will be teaching a FREE candlelit Hatha class this Fri Oct 30 from 7:15-8:45 in the big room at College St. It will be a lovely opportunity to grace this space one more time with presence and love.

tys college yelp

Leave a comment

Filed under Classes, The Yoga Sanctuary, Yoga

Learn How to Meditate this Fall

photo (credit unkown) via Wikimedia

Curious about meditation but just don’t know where to start? Or what to do with yourself once you do? Or you tried it and fell off the wagon?

I discovered meditation years into my yoga practice. I began my home meditation practice rather secretively, in the early morning hours before my family was awake – partly for the quiet, partly because I was a bit afraid of what they might think or say. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, but enjoyed the peaceful time and regularity of it. I started with just a few minutes a few times a week. Over time and with some good, solid instruction from experienced teachers, it became a daily practice that’s deepened, become a true pleasure rather than an obligation, and a foundation for wellness and happiness in my life.

I’m offering an introductory workshop at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth twice this fall that will help to de-mystify the whole thing. You’ll leave with some simple techniques for use both on and off the meditation cushion (or yoga mat).  We’ll talk about the benefits, what meditation is and isn’t, how to fit it into your busy life and how to know if you’re making any progress.

Whether you want to learn to meditate or deepen your practice, you’ll find this workshop provides meditation methods that research suggests can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewiring your brain. You’ll learn practices for both “on” & “off” the mat that will reduce your stress levels, improve your concentration and increase your well-being.

This class demystifies meditation and shows how this ancient practice is easy and can successfully work into anyone’s busy life. You’ll leave the class after practicing several types of meditation and takeaway just the right practice for you. Curious? Or just want to enhance your practice? 
Join us for this practical and enjoyable workshop.

Pre-register here.

Learn How to Meditate

This workshop will be presented twice:

Sat Nov 21 from 9:30am-12 noon

Sat Dec 12 from 9:30am-12 noon

at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave, 3rd floor (at Broadview)

Leave a comment

Filed under Buddhism, Dharma, Events & Workshops, Meditation, The Yoga Sanctuary

A new home for The Yoga Sanctuary College

tys college

“Any place that is holy is made so by the beings who visit or live there. A place becomes consecrated or hallowed ground by the practices, interactions and intentions of those who occupy the space. This feeling, also called Bhav in Sanskrit, can be felt in an external location but also can be brought with you wherever you go.” ~ Jivamukti Yoga teacher Jules Febre

This room – Studio 1, “the Big Room” at The Yoga Sanctuary College – is rich in Bhav. The polished floors and arching ceiling are infusued with the blood, sweat, tears, practice and prayers of thousands of yogis since sisters Cynthia Funk and Kimberley Sopinka opened its doors over 16 years ago.  Cynthia told me stories of preparing the room, how the men who laid the original floors (including Cathy Keenan’s father) continuously chanted Buddhist mantras during their work, filling the space with blessings.This week, the girls announced that TYS College will be moving this fall, due to major renovations at 2 College St. TYS College will move across the street to 1 Wood St, and regularly scheduled classes will continue.

The only constant is change.

tys dim

I will never forget the very first sun salutation I taught in this room. Hosting events with my own teachers Lama Marut and Sharon Gannon. Chanting and rose petals during my teacher training. Partner yoga with my husband, when he did his first ever headstand. Sweet kirtan with Dave Stringer.

The room is full of the presence of so many of my teachers. All the wonderful TYS faculty. All my fellow YTTers in my teacher training, who shared their questions and insights and bodies and let me clumsily manhandle them in adjustments. But none more than those who have posed as “students” in the classes I’ve taught there.

tys window

“When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure.”  ~ Pema Chodron

We’ve got one more Moon Yoga class at 2 College St on Mon Oct 26 at 8:45pm – I hope you’ll come and enjoy the space while we’re still there. Starting in November, we have a beautiful opportunity to take our Bhav with us and infuse a new home with all our sincere practice and good intentions. Please see below for a message from TYS co-owners Cynthia and Kimberley on the move, and stay tuned here for more updates. Join me and the rest of the TYS family at the beginning of a great adventure….

TYS Hogwarts

Dear Yoga Sanctuary Students,

We are happy to announce that our College St. studio is moving to a new space. It has been our pleasure to have built our beautiful yoga community in our current 2 College St. location. It has become a second home for many of you, as well as some of our teachers and staff, and we will cherish the memories that we have created together in this unique architectural gem over the past 16 years.

You may ask why?… This past summer we were informed of imminent renovations to 2 College St. These will be rather extensive and we will therefore need to vacate for the work to be done.  Our new location is going to be 1 Wood Street. The entrance to the new location is on the south side of Wood St. (Wood and Yonge) across from the Second Cup at the Marriott.

Our new studio space has high ceilings in both practice studios, and better yet, dedicated heating and air conditioning! We have exciting plans for this location and look forward to welcoming you all there.  We have a tentative move-in date at Wood St for the first week of November.

You will be able to enjoy the same great classes you have come to know and love in our new space. Our current schedule will remain the same.

Stay tuned for more details!

Lots of love!
Kimberley and Cynthia
The Yoga Sanctuary Owners

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classes, The Yoga Sanctuary, Yoga

Slooooooooow down…..

Slow_-_geograph_org_uk_-_1710330

photo credit: Keith Evans via Wikimedia

We are tweaking things a bit with my regular Tuesday night 8:50pm class at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth. This class was previously billed as Hatha Flow. Going forward it will be known as…. Slow Flow.

This is an all levels class suitable for beginners with little or no yoga experience. However, the most experienced yoga practitioner will also be challenged as sometimes less is more. You will be guided through each pose slowly and mindfully as you build a stronger body while releasing tension. Explore deepening your breath and how it anchors you in your body, helping you to live more in the present moment.

When we take time, our nervous systems relax, our minds slow down, our muscles become supple, our breath deepens – our inner chemistry shifts towards a biological balance, which one experiences as peace and tranquility, the union of your mind and body.

J. Brown’s recent article on the Slow Yoga Revolution says it all:

“The concept of “Slow Yoga” is not just about the pace with which we move our bodies. It’s a question of purpose. Are you doing yoga practice because you want to sweat? Are you doing yoga practice because you want to be stronger and more flexible? Are you doing yoga practice because you have pain and want relief? Or are you doing yoga practice because you just want to learn how to be well? Perhaps, all of the above. Whatever question you’re asking yourself and whatever the answer you may arrive at, space enough for the inquiry is going to be required. Slow Yoga takes emphasis off accomplishing something and puts it more on experiencing something.”

For more on both the physical and mental benefits of sloooooowing down your yoga practice, regardless of your level of experience, enjoy the full article over at Yogadork.

Slow Flow Yoga

Every Tuesday from 8:50-10:05pm

The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

Leave a comment

Filed under Classes, The Yoga Sanctuary, Yoga

Global Day of Yoga for Nepal May 28

Global Day of Yoga for Nepal

***CHANGE OF VENUE FOR SAT MAY 23 MEDITATION*** Please note that the tong len group meditation on Sat May 23 from 7:00-8:00pm has been moved. It will now take place at The Yoga Sanctuary College (not the Danforth location). Full details at the bottom of this post.

The power of your yoga & meditation practice can change lives. Believe it. Do it.

Join me and yogis all over the world on as we help for those affected by the recent earthquakes in Nepal. I’ll be offering a number of classes to support relief efforts, as yogis unite to rebuild.
tys danforth

My regular Hatha Flow class on Sat May 23 at 8:30am at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth will be a pay-what-you-can. This class is suitable for all levels.

Later that same evening, join me at The Yoga Sanctuary College (please note the change of venue from Danforth) from 7:00-8:00pm also on Sat May 23 for a special meditation to benefit all those affected by theearthquakes. I’ve give some short instruction on the meditation  known as tong len, then lead the group through the meditation. Tong len means “giving and taking” in Tibetan – we practice seeing ourselves eradicating other’s pain and then sending them everything they need. No meditation experience is necessary, and this practice is suitable for any spiritual practitioners. The Yoga Sanctuary is my “home studio”, and I’m very happy to extend this opportunity to help to the TYS community. 

On Sat May 28, I’ll offer a special 2 hour practice at The Yoga House from 6:30-8:30pm. A 75 min gentle, heart-opening hatha flow series, followed by 45 mins of tong len meditation. Suitable for all levels, no experience necessary. The Yoga House is THE most beautiful boutique studio I’ve ever seen, right here in my Danforth East neighborhood, steps from the Coxwell subway, opening out onto the towering oaks of the Merrill ravine. If you’ve never experienced the incredible peace and beauty of the magical space that yogi Celeste Shirley has created, now is the time!

yoga house

the yoga house

All events are by donation, whatever you can give happily. If you are unable to offer money, please come and offer the power of your intention through practice. All proceeds will go to the 108 Lives Project, who have been changing the lives of the destitute in Nepal since 2008. They have the on-the-ground relationships to reach those most in need, including to remote rural areas that foreign aid often misses, and they’ll be there long after too. The 108 Lives Project was founded by members of my extended Dharma family based in NYC, and I am so happy to have this opportunity to support the incredible work they have been doing for years.

If you are interested in hosting your own yoga event on May 28 for the 108 Lives Project, please check out their FB page. If you are unable to contribute financially or join us in person, please take some time on May 28 to dedicate your own personal practice to ending the suffering in Nepal. There are so many in need, and YOU can make a difference.

Global Day of Yoga for Nepal

Sat May 23 from 8:30-9:45am – Hatha Flow

The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave, 3rd floor (at Broadview)

Sat May 23 from 7:00-8:00pm – Tong Len meditation

*** PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE *** Now at The Yoga Sanctuary College – 2 College St, 3rd floor (at Yonge) 

Thur May 28 from 6:30-8:30pm – Hatha Flow and Tong Len meditation

The Yoga House – 7 Copeland Ave (Coxwell & Danforth)

By donation – what you can give happily

Leave a comment

Filed under Events & Workshops, Meditation, Nepal, The Yoga House, The Yoga Sanctuary, Tibetan Heart Yoga, Tong Len, Yoga