New class in The Danny – Hatha Smooth at Ankh Yoga!

ankh pillar

I adore my neighborhood of 11 years at Woodbine and Danforth, aka “The Danny”. I love that I can walk out to pretty much every amenity and service that I need right within blocks of my home, many of them among the best in the city. I love the commitment of my neighbors to creating a better place to live for everyone, in ways big and small (thank you Danforth East Community Association!). I love that I know and greet my neighbors and local business owners by name. Plus, the food – the East Lynn Farmers Market, Basil Thai Kitchen, Celena’s Bakery, Moberly Natural Foods, Relish, Caketown, Melanie’s

It was a loooong time coming, but thanks to the vision of Isabelle Bouchard we also have a yoga studio in the ‘hood! I’m pleased as punch to be joining the regular schedule at Ankh Yoga this fall, with a Hatha Smooth class on Saturdays from 4:00-5:00pm.

Perfect whether you are winding down from a busy day of errands and kids lessons or gearing up for your Saturday night out. Grounded in the Hatha Yoga tradition, to help your energy flow smoothly and sweetly. Gentle openers to bring you back home to your body and breath, sun salutations moving into a short standing flow, seated and restorative poses to slow things down. Options offered for all levels throughout the practice. Every class features a short meditation and delicious svasana.

Owner and Kundalini Yoga teacher Isabelle has crafted a simple yet perfect neighborhood boutique studio, with thought devoted to every detail. I hope you will join me – and your neighbors! – at a class in the near future.

Hatha Smooth
every Saturday from 4:00-5:00pm (starting Sept 19)
Ankh Yoga – 2017 Danforth Ave (at Woodbine)ankh outside

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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

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

Connecting with Yoga’s Feminine Tradition

niguma

Did you know that the oldest recorded yoga series was created by a woman? Lady Niguma was a highly realized yogini who lived about 1000 years ago in India. Lady Niguma’s Yoga has been preserved and practiced by the yogis of Tibet right up until today. On International Women’s Day, we have an opportunity to connect with the feminine lineage of yoga through her practice.

This unique and accessible series targets each chakra from the bottom up with four principle actions. In this workshop you’ll learn this powerful yogini’s amazing story, how her practice works, and the full series.

Everyone welcome – women and the people who love and honour them! Suitable for all levels.

Sun Mar 8 from 10:00am-12 noon at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

$25.00 + hst. Click here to pre-register.

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FREE your love on Valentine’s Day (no sweetheart required)

yoga heart light

What could be more perfect for Valentine’s Day than to bust open our heart chakras? Well, any day is a good day for that really. But I’m offering a FREE class in Tibetan Heart Yoga on Sat Feb 14 from 2:00-3:15pm at Energy Xchange, a super lovely state-of-the-art studio in the heart of Leslieville.

Merge your yoga with mindfulness and compassion to unlock your heart chakra. This yoga series from the lineage of the Dalai Lamas releases energetic knots surrounding the heart, to increase our warm-heartedness and dispel feelings of isolation. Using meditation, mantra, breath and asana, we’ll practice sending a loved one everything they need for true happiness – in turn, planting seeds for our own.

You’ll find familiar yoga poses in this series, as well as some unique to the Tibetan tradition. Suitable for all levels.

Bring a loved one or come on your own. There will be lots of love in the room!

Sun Feb 14 from 2:00-3:15pm at Energy Xchange – 698 Queen St E at Broadview. Did I mention this class is FREE?!?

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Tibetan Heart Yoga: unlocking your heart

thy

This yoga series from the lineage of the Dalai Lamas releases energetic knots surrounding the heart, increasing compassion and dispelling feelings of separation. A compact practice using meditation, mantra and asana that can be done in under 40 minutes, perfect for anyone looking for a simple, effective home practice. Includes an introduction to the subtle energetic body and its function that you can apply to any yoga practice you do. You`ll find familiar yoga poses in this series, as well as some unique to the Tibetan tradition.

Suitable for all levels.

Sun Dec 14 from 11:00am-1:00pm at The Yoga Sanctuary Danforth – 95 Danforth Ave (at Broadview)

$25.00 + hst. Click here to pre-register.

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Practicing Compassion

diamond in the rose

“If you  want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

This fall, I’ll be offering two complimentary workshops at The Yoga Sanctuary College. While each workshop stands on its own, attending both will allow you to expand your understanding and experience of these two practices, one meditation, and one a physical asana series. Both practices are designed to open our hearts and increase our compassion and happiness.

Breath of Compassion meditation workshop

Sun Sept 21 from 12 noon-2pm at The Yoga Sanctuary College – 2 College St, at Yonge

$25.00 + hst. Click to preregister.

In the meditation practice known as Tong Len, or giving and taking, we actively use our breath to take away others’ suffering and send them happiness and healing. In the process, we create the causes for our own wellbeing and deepen our capacity for compassion. A powerful and useful practice that can be done both on and off the meditation cushion, as we encounter suffering in our world.

Tibetan Heart Yoga workshop

Sun Oct 5 from 12 noon-2pm at The Yoga Sanctuary College – 2 College St, at Yonge

$25.00 + hst. Click to preregister.

This yoga series from the lineage of the Dalai Lamas embodies the Breath of Compassion meditation practice. This is a compact practice using meditation, mantra and asana that can be done in under 45 minutes, perfect for our busy modern lives. You will find familiar yoga poses in this series, as well as some unique to the Tibetan tradition. The series is designed to release the energetic knots surrounding the heart, increase our compassion and dispel feelings of separation. Suitable for all levels.

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“But I’m too busy to meditate…”

milarepa

“The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.” ~ Milarepa (Tibet, 1052-1135)

See? Even in 11th century Tibet, people were complaining that they couldn’t meditate, because…. they were too busy. Even without smart phones, wifi, or Netflix.

Milarepa is the wild yogi poet of ancient Tibet. His luminous poems are among the most revered of literary treasures in Tibet. But he started out as one bad mother – after some family infighting, his mother convinced him to dabble in black magic and he killed a lot of people. He repented, found a teacher, and  practiced the Dharma with diligence and reached total awakening. In his later years, he subsisted on nettle tea (giving his skin a greenish tinge) and lived out his days in deep practice.

Don’t think that he just sat in that famous cave of his all day in deep states of meditation. Milarepa was a busy guy. Before his teacher Marpa would even begin to instruct him, he had Milarepa build a 9 storey tower. Then Marpa told him to pull it down. Then build it again. Oh, and pull that one down, too. Milarepa built the tower 4 times in all. Yet, somehow, he still found the time to meditate.

So before you start thinking that you are facing insurmountable obstacles in your pursuit of finding (or making) the time to meditate, remember that its not a new problem, unique to our crazy, modern lives.  The affairs of the world were already going on in 11th century Tibet. And they are still going on today in the 21st century. It doesn’t look like they are going to stop anytime soon either. If we waited til things slowed down, til our affairs were all tickety-boo, til conditions were perfect – well, we’d never get anywhere. We would just stay stuck and unhappy.  As my own teacher once chided me, “so, what – you’re not going to do the practice?”

As our environment becomes increasingly distractable, meditation may well become a survival mechanism. If we want to stay sane and healthy, we won’t be able to afford not to meditate. You don’t have to look far in the mainstream media these days to read about the evidence of meditation’s benefits – increased happiness, improved neuroplasticity and brain health, lower blood pressure and improved immunity, to name a few.

So – just do it. Decide to become a good meditator. Experience the benefits for yourself.

  • Start with 3 minutes a day. You cannot reasonably tell me that you can not find 3 minutes in your day – that’s one less cat video on Youtube. I had been meditating for a few years, but still hadn’t managed to make it a daily event. I joined a “meditation challenge” where I committed to meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes a day. That was the thing that pushed me over. More often than not, the days that I said to myself, “I just have to sit down for THREE minutes”, those 3 minutes invariably turned into 5 or 10 or even 15 minutes. So right here, right now – I challenge YOU to 3 minutes of meditation. Starting now. Every. Single. Day.
  • Meditate first thing in the morning. Just get it out of the way, before it becomes filled up with the affairs of  the day. If possible, go straight from a gentle waking to your meditation session, with minimal activity in between. Brush your teeth, take a drink of water, and skip checking email or Facebook.
  • If you fall off the wagon, just start over again. And again. And again. Meditation teaches us to start from here, now, where we are, over and over again.
  • Find a teacher. While there are countless wonderful books, CDs and Youtube videos on meditation, nothing replaces the guidance of an experienced teacher. If you wanted to master any skill – playing the concert piano, fixing a motorcycle, woodworking – there are some intangible things that you will only learn at the side of a living, breathing being who’s already mastered what you want to do. A good meditation teacher can inspire you when your practice is dry, help you through roadblocks, and keep you from wasting precious time with ineffective methods or concepts – and potentially much, much more.

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Adding Yoga to the Mix

OMAs of April 2014, I’m proud and happy to say that I am certified yoga teacher! It’s kind of a relief. For years, I’ve been asked by strangers, friends, colleagues and aquaintances alike, “so, are you a yoga teacher?” It was a bit of a running joke in my life. Then the day came when I could actually say, “why, yes – yes, I am a yoga teacher.”

Many thanks to Cynthia Funk and Kimberley Sopinka at The Yoga Sanctuary  for the opportunity to complete their 250 hour teacher training program, under the tutelage of Cynthia herself, along with senior faculty Karen Cove and Sue Ravazzolo. It was, as they say, a life changing experience, and I’m grateful for all the support and encouragement I received during the training and after.  But graduating was just the beginning, of course.

I’m very happy to finally be able to offer teachings that integrate the physical practice of yoga with meditation and Dharma. You’ll find a current list of classes, workshops and courses on the Schedule page. See you on the mat!

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Setting the Stage for Meditation

zen-meditation

Meditation: The Six Conditions

with Rhondda Smiley

6 Wednesdays 4:45-5:45pm, from Jan 15 to Feb 19, 2014

Our inner and outer lives are fundamentally interconnected. With shifts in our relationship with our world, we can create positive conditions for meditation practice.

In this six week course, we will learn how to cultivate the key conditions that support inner growth for greater freedom and happiness. The Six Conditions are based on the teachings of the ancient Indian yogi Master Kamalashila’s The Stages of Meditation circa 750AD.

Each week we’ll cover one condition, with discussion of how they apply to our modern lives. Each session will include guided meditation using the breath to develop single-pointed concentration. Beginner and experienced meditators alike are welcome.
At The Yoga Sanctuary – 95 Danforth Ave, 4th floor
Full course $120.00 + hst, drop-ins welcome $22.50 + hst

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Dharma with David Gluck

David

Mondays from 7-9pm, June 10, 17, 24 and July 8

Whitby Central Public Library – 405 Dundas Street West, Whitby, ON

David Gluck will be leading a discussion group on a book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama this summer at the Whitby Public Library. Join us for four Monday nights as we explore together His Holiness’ book Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment. The text is available in its entirety for free from the incredible Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, which says:

“About one thousand years ago, the great Indian pandit and yogi, Dipamkara Shrijnana (Atisha), was invited to Tibet to re-establish the Buddhadharma, which had been suppressed and corrupted for almost two centuries. One of Atisha’s main accomplishments in Tibet was his writing of the seminal text, A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, in which he extracted the essence of all 84,000 teachings of the Buddha and organized them into a clear, step-like arrangement that makes it easy for any individual practitioner to understand and practice the Dharma. This genre of teachings is known as lam-rim, or steps of the path, and forms an essential part of every school of Tibetan Buddhism.

In this book, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives a commentary to not only Atisha’s revolutionary work but also to Lines of Experience, a short text written by Lama Tsongkhapa, who was perhaps the greatest of all Tibetan lam-rim authors. In bringing together Atisha, Lama Tsongkhapa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this book offers readers one of the clearest and most authoritative expositions of the Tibetan Buddhist path ever published, and it is recommended for those at the beginning of the path, the middle and the end. This is the first time a major teaching by the Dalai Lama has been published for free distribution.”

David Gluck began his study and practice of yoga and dharma in 2001. In 2003, he became a certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher, studying directly under Sharon Gannon and David Life. He has worked professionally as a teacher of Yoga and Dharma since that time, and has taught and led retreats both nationally and abroad. His fortune of having been able to study with many gifted teachers worldwide brings richness to his classes surrounding the philosophy and tradition of yoga. The most inspirational of these teachers are Dharma Mittra, Ruth Lauer-Manenti, Jeannine Woodall, Ram Dass, author Douglas Veenhof and His Holiness, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama. In addition to teaching Asana, David has taught many courses in philosophy from both the Buddhist and Yoga traditions, including the Lamrim, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and much of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. He is also a gifted musician and experienced Kirtan artist.

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