What we're about
This Mindful Life is the online and in person platform of my classes in Soma Yoga and Vipassana meditation. I have been instructing these methods of self care and awareness since 1996. I am a senior Yoga teacher accredited through The Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500 and YACEP) and a graduate of The Spirit Rock Vipassana Meditation Training Program. I offer weekly and monthlong program in the life affirming practices of mindfulness and integrated awareness. At the centre of my approach is intentional awareness and mindful dialogue which promote self regulation, compassion and skillful action. These ancient teachings are relevant to modern life by supporting people to embody health, vitality and focus.
A short explanation of Soma Yoga
I created Soma Yoga over 25 years. My approach integrates Ashtanga Yoga, fascial release techniques and somatic movement practices to help my clients release tension, strengthen the body through proper alignment and reawaken the nervous system to move through life with ease.
All of these practices are infused with mindfulness. Mindfulness Based Yoga implements the tools of meditation in somatic exercises to heighten sensory awareness. The basic forms of insight meditation are compatible with psychology. Because of this, I have taught variations of insight practice are taught in many different settings, including schools, hospitals, addiction recovery centres, businesses and government departments.
A short explanation of Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana meditation is an 2500 year old practice. The historical Buddha taught various methods to cultivate a mind that is balanced, joyful and compassionate. Through these concentration techniques, gratitude and Metta naturally arise. Our capacity grows to respond to our mind/heart with skill and compassion. Then this extends to responding to life with the same skill and sensitivity.
In 21st century, mindfulness and neurological research has shown that these practices increase neural connections which supports self regulation and emotional resilience. When practiced, we benefit by becoming more patient, inquisitive, appreciative and realistic with our life's challenges.
I lead weekly classes, courses and retreats in which I combine Yoga and Vipassana meditation to support each student's journey of awareness. In each session, we practice mindfulness, sensing exercises, somatic movement and self awareness. I have been practicing Yoga and Vipassana meditation since 1988 and teaching since 1996.
Vipassana Meditation, also known as Insight Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation, is a particular form of meditation that aims to cultivate wisdom and compassion, so that we can live our lives with less stress and distress, and more happiness, ease, and freedom. This type of meditation comes from the Buddhist tradition, though it’s not necessary to be Buddhist to benefit from the practice.
Methods of Practise
Vipassana meditation uses a combination of different techniques to develop mindfulness in every aspect of daily life, and also to cultivate specific positive mind-states as a support for freeing ourselves from challenging emotional states and beliefs. Mindfulness can be defined as “… the cultivation of clear, stable and non-judgmental awareness”.
In the practices, the techniques that we use to develop this kind of awareness start with mindfulness of the breath and the body, then progress to include mindfulness of the mind through relating to thoughts, emotions, moods, and mind-states through dialogue and therapeutic exercises.
As the practice develops, we grow in our capacity to bring mindfulness to more aspects of our daily lives, so that nothing is left out. This takes training and time. We learn how to develop this continuity of mindfulness through regular periods of sitting and walking meditation, in formal and informal techniques, in daily life, in workshops, and on residential retreats. Also included within insight practice are meditation techniques that directly cultivate the positive mind states of kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
Some of its benefits:
There are many benefits to practising insight meditation, which are becoming increasingly well-documented by neuroscientists and other researchers. These include:
1. reduced levels of physical and psychological stress,
2. better understanding of the mind-body relationship,
3. an enhanced ability to navigate through life’s inevitable challenges,
4. increased kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others,
5. emotional intelligence and resilience,
6. greater mental clarity and increased concentration abilities,
7. and the capacity to access intuitive wisdom.
I have been studying and integrating yoga and meditation as a path of learning since 1987. I began teaching in 1996 at The Yoga Studio Toronto and The University of Toronto. I founded Ashtanga Yoga Montreal and was its director for 17 years. I relocated to Edmonton to support my family. I teach online and am on staff at YMCA Jamie Platz and teach occasionally at Yoga Within Studios and Ashtanga Yoga Shala Edmonton.
My approach offers students practices of embodiment to live life with more ease, freedom and joy. I specialize in Yoga for Back Care and Posture, Yoga to support recovery from injury, Yoga and Mindfulness for Addiction Recovery and Mindfulness based practices to address stress, anxiety and addiction.