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Start your meditation session out right with 7 Limb Practice

You’ve finally got your butt on your meditation cushion. A major achievement in itself! Now how to begin, to have the best meditation session possible? There is a practice that begins each meditation session in the Buddhist tradition that’s designed to give you the optimum conditions for your sit. It’s called the 7 Limb Practice, because there are 7 steps, or limbs, to it.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to use this method. You can use the 7 Limbs before you move into the body or main course of whatever practice you are working on. You’ll generate positive energy for your practice and remove negativities and obstacles that could get in the way. Think of it as good meditation hygiene!

  1. Ask for help. The first step is to call on some help for what you are about to do. You don’t have to do this alone! Call on the presence of a teacher, guide, mentor or any being who inspires you to be your highest self. This guide could take on just about any form – a holy being like Jesus, Buddha or Mohammed, a historical figure such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Theresa, it can be someone in your life such as a family member or friend or teacher who’s goodness you aspire to.  Ask them to come and sit in front of you. See them come right away. They are so very happy that you have asked them to come and they are very happy about what you’re doing.
  2. Appreciate them. Take a few moments to reflect on the good qualities of your guide. Reflect on the good things that they’ve done or are doing. Consider the many ways that their kindnesses have helped you.
  3. Make an offering to them. Out of this sense of appreciation and gratitude, make an offering to your guide. On your thoughts, you can send them anything that would help them or make them happy – their favourite foods, beautiful music, people they love, piles of riches to fund their projects, blue skies, panoramic vistas. The sky’s the limit. The very best offering you can make them is your practice itself. They really don’t need anything from you – this is all for your benefit, to give you an opportunity to practice generosity and open-heartedness.
  4. Reflect on your shortcomings. This is your opportunity to clear yourself of obstacles and negativity. Think of one thing you did over the last 24 hours that you’re not so proud about. Consider how it was not a super wise thing to do – not because it was “bad”, but because you know it will only cause you problems and unhappiness in the future. Resolve to refrain from that action for a fixed period of time. Be realistic about it. Don’t say, “I’ll never speak with anger again”. Commit to not losing your temper for the next hour. Then decide on a “make-up” – something positive you will do today as a restitution. Allow yourself to be totally transparent with your guide – they already know everything in your heart, and love you unconditionally.
  5. Celebrate. Think about something good you saw someone else do. Buddhists say that when you rejoice in someone else’s merits, you automatically accumulate 10% of their good karma for yourself! Think about something so wonderful that you begin to smile. Take some time to feel good about positive things you are doing in your own life too. Be sure to give as much time to this rejoicing as you did your to confession in the previous step. See your guide enjoying all this goodness with you!
  6. Ask them to stay. Ask you guide to stay with you as you practice – you don’t have to do this alone. Ask them to remain as a presence in your life, continuing to inspire, guide, support, encourage and help you and all other sentient beings. Ask them to always stay in your heart.
  7. Dedicate it. Take the positive energy of what you are about to do in your meditation practice, and dedicate it to your highest spiritual goals. Get clear on why you are doing what you are about to do. Set a firm intention, or sankalpa, for your session.

Now you’re ready to move on to whatever practice you like next. You might take a little wiggle or stretch here before you settle in for “the main event”, whether you’re working on a lovingkindness meditation, focusing on your breath, mantras or a visualization.

You can really take your time to delve into each of these steps, and give a good 10-15 minutes for the 7 Limbs. Or if you are short on time, or would really like to spend more of your practice on the body of your session, you can keep it much shorter. Once you are familiar with the steps, you can move through it quite quickly, taking just 3 breaths for each step of the practice.

If you’d like to experience this and other meditation practices in person and in community, please join me for a weekly Guided Meditation drop-in at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth every Tuesday from 4:30-5:30pm. No experience required. No yoga pants required. Just come with yourself and a curious, open mind. Regular class passes apply. Cushions, chairs, blankets and other props are available for your comfort.


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Meditation Tune Up


So now you’ve got a regular (or even semi-regular) meditation practice going. Amazing! This is probably more than half the battle won right there.

But maybe now you’re asking yourself some questions. How am I doing? Am I getting anywhere? Am I just fooling myself and wasting time? Is this working?

There are no report cards or performance reviews to let you know how you’re doing when you sit down to engage with yourself in meditation. If you’re fortunate – very fortunate – you may have access to an experienced and qualified teacher who knows you well and can give you personal guidance. But a really good guide like is harder to come by than you might guess.

Fortunately for us, the masters of the past have left us with some tools and advice on how to guage just where we are in our practice, and also how to recognize and avoid common roadblocks that may arise on the path. Like what to do if your mind feels like an non-stop 24 hours a day 3 ring circus. Like what to do if you can’t help but nod off during your meditation session. Yes, even the highly realized beings of yore went through these same problems!

Join me for Meditation Tune Up at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth on Sat July 22 from 9:30-11:30am, when I’ll share these tools and techniques with you. No matter what kind of meditation you are practicing, or what tradition you may be following, these are tried and tested methods that you can apply in your own meditation for better clarity and mindfulness.

Just starting out? Or maybe you’re meditation-curious and haven’t quite started yet? Come and learn what it often takes other people years to find out about meditation and save yourself a whole lot of time and grief!

We’ll also have some time for a general meditation throw-down, so bring your burning questions about meditation for an informal Q&A discussion.

Meditation Tune Up

Sat July 22, 2017 from 9:30-11:30am

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

$30+hst. Pre-register here.

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Taking the One Seat: alignment for meditation


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.

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Calming the inner swirl


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.




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Practice & Ponder: The 4 Laws of Karma



A big, fat, fancy word that gets tossed around yoga studios and tip jars.


But despite what you may have heard, karma is not a boomerang. And it almost never works instantly.

Having a clear understanding of this foundational philosophy of yoga is important. With it, we can make effective choices in the moment to create the kind of future we want to experience.

In Practice & Ponder: The Four Laws of Karma, we’ll explore the principle of karma through a gentle all-levels yoga practice, through study and discussion. We’ll return to the Four Laws of Karma as taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni over 2500 years ago. You’ll leave with a simple, useful and above all accurate metaphor for how karma works (hint – it’s not a boomerang.) that you can put into use in your daily life.

Practice & Ponder: The Four Laws of Karma

Sat Jan 21 from 1:00-3:30pm

at The Yoga Sanctuary Wood St – 1 Wood St (Yonge & College)

$45+hst. Pre-register here to secure your spot.




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More Prenatal Yoga at Evymama


Pregnancy and yoga are a perfect match. The practice of yoga asks us to open our awareness and apply our mindfulness, using the tools of our breath and our body. Many women find that this happens quite naturally with the incredible transformations we go through during pregnancy. Whether you are totally new to yoga, or have been practicing already for years, I’m delighted to share the benefits of yoga during pregnancy with expecting mothers.

Yoga can help to ease the discomforts of pregnancy, while preparing us physically, mentally and emotionally for birth and motherhood. We become more familiar with our breath, while taking time for gentle self-care that benefits both mom and baby.

As a doula, I am especially passionate about sharing yoga with women during pregnancy. My clients have experienced first-hand the benefits that are available. In my Prenatal Yoga classes, I’ll share with you real tools you can take home with you and even into your labour and delivery, while safely leading you through a practice that is geared to your stage of pregnancy and condition.


This fall, I’m super-delighted to be launching Prenatal Yoga classes at Evymama. If you don’t already know Sarah LeMay’s wonderful business, now’s the time to check it out! Sarah and I have known each other for years, having first connected in an online mom’s group that was my salvation when my daughter was a little. For over ten years she’s been the go-to boutique for all things maternity and breastfeeding related, with kind and supportive help. Evymama has just moved to a big new retail space on the Corso Italia. On the first floor you’ll find to-die-for nursing bras, chic maternity jeans, baby carriers and beautiful outerwear that will take you from pregnancy to babywearing and beyond. On the lower level, Sarah has a new space for hosting all kinds of wonderful classes and workshops for parents.

Pre-register now for a 5 week course of Prenatal Yoga, running Wed Oct 12-Wed Nov 9 from 6:00-7:00pm.


Evymama Nursing & Maternity – 1345 St. Clair Ave W (at Lansdowne)


Tues night Prenatal Yoga continues at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

Every Tues from 5:45-7:00pm

$20+hst drop-in (class passes available)

** Bring a friend and practice for free! (Some conditions apply.)







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Homecoming – Transitions


The second edition of Homecoming arrives on Sun Oct 16! If you missed the first Homecoming  workshop in May, then now is your chance to join us for a full-day workshop of embodied expression with women for women. Our theme this round is… Transitions.

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ~ Maya Angelou

Together — through conscious movement, creative expression and connection — we will uncover more about home and transitions home. Home has many layers of support and challenge. We will explore these layers including those of transitions that bring us home, move us between homes and help us feel at home during these transitions. How we move through these transitions may evoke feelings from fear to rootedness. Our day together will be supported by dance, music, art, writing, breath, meditation and conversation. This is a chance to move with other women who are also aching for and coming home.

I’m collaborating with three other phenomenal women, and we are so excited to bring our shared vision, rooted in our shared love of the 5Rhythms® movement practice, to you.

  • Rhondda Snary – Moving Meditation. Certified and Accredited 5Rhythms® teacher
  • Irene Gabinet – Creative Expression. Expressive Arts Facilitator
  • Lauren Clarke – Embodied Gestalt. RSW & Gestalt Therapist

I’ll be bringing breathwork, meditation and perhaps a dash of gentle yoga to the day. No experience is required – just your curiousity – and this practice accomodates all kinds of bodies, regardless of condition, size, shape or age.

Homecoming ~ Transitions

Sun Oct 16 from 10:00am-4:30pm

at The Citadel (The Ross Centre for Dance / Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie) – 304 Parliament St, 2nd Floor Theatre (fully accessible)

$95.00 Early Bird rate – registered and paid in full by Sept. 26, 2016
$115.00 Regular – after Sept. 26

Registration is now open.



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