Tag Archives: teaching

Mar 03

Spring FlowersI’m looking forward to teaching a series of “Spring Tune Up” Kundalini Yoga classes at Yoga West again this year! Read on for a summary of the series and details on the dates and location. You’re very welcome to attend, even if you’re brand new to Kundalini Yoga (or yoga in general).

Toxins are a part of life…

Toxins are a part of everyday life. Even your own body create toxins as part of the normal digestive process. To lighten your load, it’s a good idea to take steps to reduce the amount of toxins you’re exposed to — for example, by eating healthy, organic food and drinking clean, filtered water. It’s equally important to tune up your body’s toxic removal systems so that you’re well equipped to deal with toxicity that inevitably shows up in your life.

Six Weeks. Five Cleansing Systems.

The March 4 class will provide an overview of our innate ability to detoxify, and we’ll explore how Kundalini Yoga can help. Each of the following Sunday (10-11:30am) classes will focus on a specific cleansing system. You’ll learn about the basic roles that each of these systems plays and will practice Kundalini Yoga kriyas (yoga sets) designed help these systems function at peak efficiency. You’ll also work on cleansing mental toxins through the practice of meditation and the use of mantra. And we’ll explore the link between emotional and physical toxins.

Location and Dates

All classes are at Yoga West (2662 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver) on Sundays from 10-11:30am (specific dates are below). You’re welcome to attend as few or as many classes as you like and beginners are welcome. Use your Yoga West class package or pay for a drop-in class ($15 for your first class, $18 otherwise). Please arrive by 9:50am if it’s your first class at Yoga West.

Sunday, March 4 (10-11:30am) — Detoxification Overview

Sunday, March 11 (10-11:30am) — Kidneys

Sunday, March 25 (10-11:30am) — Colon

Sunday, April 1 (10-11:30am) — Lungs

Sunday, April 8 (10-11:30am) — Liver

Sunday, April 22 (10-11:30am) — Lymphatic System

May 17

Kundalini Yoga Foundations Classes in Vancouver: May to August, 2015

I’ll be teaching four “Kundalini Yoga Foundations” classes over the next few months. All classes will be held on Saturdays (May 23, June 13, July 25 and August 29) from 11:45am-1pm at Yoga West, located at 2662 West 4th Avenue in Vancouver. These classes are perfect if you’re practicing Kundalini Yoga for the very first time or want to brush up on the basics.

Watch the following video and read on to learn how these classes came to be and for more information on the class format and themes.

My First Kundalini Yoga Class

Twenty years ago I attended my first Kundalini Yoga class. It was taught by my good friend Robert Hay, who enthusiastically promoted the positive benefits of yoga and meditation years before this ancient practice emerged into the mainstream. I remember feeling curious (Robert had been sharing his own experiences with Kundalini Yoga on many occasions, usually after our regular squash games) and admittedly a little sceptical at the prospect of trying something new and decidedly foreign. My sense of adventure in concert with some gentle encouragement from Robert won me over. I showed up for my inaugural class.

Opening Up to a World of Possibles

Little did I know what a profound impact this simple first step would have on my life and work. I soon became a regular at the Rama Lotus Yoga Centre in Ottawa and started to notice profound shifts in my health and an enhanced ability to handle stress; timely, given my high pressure job as a project manager for a large hi-tech firm in the area. Beyond any immediate benefits, a strong sense of purpose began to unfold as I uncovered hidden talents and strengths. It was a pivotal moment in my life that opened up a world of possibilities

Teaching Kundalini Yoga

Inspired by all the benefits and insights that I was realizing through this multi-faced practice, I enrolled in a 200-hour yoga teacher training program in 1999. My primary motivation was to absorb more of this timeless wisdom while delving more deeply into my own personal practice.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that I love to teach. I joined the then small, but growing, teaching staff at Rama Lotus, and taught there regularly until moving to Vancouver in 2004. Since completing my certification I’ve the honour of teaching thousands of students at numerous centres across North America, including Yoga West in Vancouver, one of oldest and most respected Kundalini Yoga centres in the world.

Lowering the Barrier to Entry

Over the years I’ve talked to many people who are intrigued by Kundalini Yoga. Some have never practiced yoga, and others have had some experience with other styles, typically those with a primary focus on postures, or “asanas”. Many people I spoke with feel as I did when Robert first invited me to try a class – curious and a little uncomfortable at the prospect of attending their first class surrounded by seasoned yogis who have memorized lengthy mantras and who’s vernacular includes words like “chakra”, “nadis” and “aura”.

To make Kundalini Yoga more accessible, I took the initiative to develop classes specifically designed for those of you who are experiencing Kundalini Yoga for the first time. These classes don’t assume any prior experience with any style of yoga. The only requirement is a willingness to try on something new, and to see if it fits. You’re also very welcome to attend if you have had some experience with Kundalini Yoga and would like to get back to basics and fill in some gaps in your knowledge.

Kundalini Yoga: What to Expect

Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is sometimes called the “mother of all yogas”. A typical class incorporates postures, movement, breathing techniques, meditation and mantra to support enhanced health, focus and connection to purpose.

The class begins with the chanting of a short mantra (“Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo”), a key component in setting the stage for a powerful experience during the class. A set of warm-up exercises is followed by a yoga set, or “kriya”. A kriya is a sequence of exercises that are masterfully woven together to achieve a specific effect. Yogi Bhajan shared hundreds of kriyas, each with a different focus.

The kriya is followed by a long, deep relaxation, to integrate the effects of the exercises, and a meditation. There are a wide variety of meditations that make use of various hand positions, or “mudras”. Some meditations are silent and others incorporate the repetitive chanting of a mantra.

Most mantras are chanted in Gurmukhi, a language born out of the ancient language of Sanskrit. What makes these mantras special is the effect that is achieved as these words are chanted. It’s something that must be experienced to be appreciated. Words will be provided and, while I encourage you to chant along to get the full impact of the meditation, listening is always an option.

Each class concludes with a short prayer and the chanting of “Sat Nam”, a mantra to call upon and acknowledge our inner truth. “Sat” means truth and “Nam” is the naming or calling upon of this truth.

Four Saturday Classes (11:45am-1pm)

Kundalini Yoga is a holistic practice that acknowledges that we humans are multi-faceted by nature and that all of these facets are intimately connected. Each class will focus on one aspect of this practice, always in the context of this holistic model.

Class 1 (May 23): The Power of the Breath (Pranayama) — Most of us were never taught to breathe growing up…and likely aren’t breathing as effectively as we could be. During the class we’ll explore a variety of breathing, or pranayama techniques that help us tap into our inner calm as well as some to energize and cleanse the body.

Class 2 (June 13): Nerves of Steel (Nervous System) — Yogi Bhajan put a lot of emphasis on the nervous system and gave us a wealth of techniques to help us build this system so that we’re better equipped to handle the stresses of life. I’ll be taking you through some of these techniques during the class and talking about some things you can do in your day-to-day life to help maintain a strong nervous system.

Class 3 (July 25): Your Guardians of Health (Endocrine System) — Yogi Bhajan also talked a lot about the endocrine system and collectively referred to these glands as our “guardians of health”. We’ll go through a series of exercise that are designed to balance these glands. The results can be felt across a wide spectrum, from improvements to digestion to a more balanced emotional state to having a better memory and sleeping better at night.

Class 4 (August 29): Beyond Stress: Tapping Into Your Vitality – This class centres around a theme of vitality. We’ll explore the concepts of healthy and unhealthy stress and I’ll introduce you to some exercises designed to help you tap into your inner vitality.

Come and Have an Experience

I hope that what I’ve shared has given you a good taste of what to expect…and piqued your curiosity. Fundamentally, Kundalini Yoga can’t be explained in words. The only way to learn what it’s all about is to come and experience it for yourself.

Attend as many classes as you like. Dress in comfortable clothes and be sure to bring a water bottle. If you’re attending a class at Yoga West for the first time, plan to arrive 15 minutes early to give yourself time to complete a short form and to settle in to the space.

If you need a visual reminder, consider printing out this poster and putting it up on your fridge. And why not invite a friend to join you on this new adventure. And you’re very welcome to contact me or Yoga West if you have any questions.

Kundalini Yoga Foundations - May to August, 2015

Sep 21

TEN Bodies? I thought I only had one…

We are multifaceted beings by nature and our physical body is only one of the aspects that defines us as humans. In addition to our physical body we each have three mental bodies and six energy bodies that can be experienced, developed and balanced through the practice of yoga and meditation.

If you understand that you are Ten Bodies, and you are aware of those Ten Bodies, and you keep them in balance, the whole Universe will be in balance with you. — Yogi Bhajan

Experience Your Multifaceted Nature on October 6

Join Seattle-based Yoga and Shamanic Teacher and Present Journeys co-founder, Alec Davis and I for a Yoga Workshop on Sunday, October 6 (2-4pm) and experience yourself as a multi-faceted human. The workshop will take place at the Maya Whole Health Studio, located in Renton, Washington (1322 Lake Washington Blvd) — about 27 km (17 miles) from downtown Seattle.

Hatha & Kundalini Yoga, Guided Relaxation and Healing Circle

Resident yoga teacher Alec Davis will support you in connecting with your breath and will take you through a series of Hatha Yoga postures to engage your physical body. I’ll then lead a Kundalini Yoga kriya (set) called “Awakening to Your Ten Bodies”, that includes dynamic physical exercises and pranayama (breath work) followed by a guided relaxation and a powerful healing circle meditation. Everyone is welcome and no previous experience with Hatha Yoga or Kundalini Yoga is necessary.

Reserve Your Space Today

Reserve your space in the workshop by registering online at the Maya Whole Health Studio. Space is limited, so it’s recommended that you book early to be guaranteed a spot in the workshop.

[button link=”http://bit.ly/mayaws” color=”#AAAAAA” size=”3″ style=”1″ dark=”0″ radius=”auto” target=”self”]Register Now[/button]

Bring Your Ten Bodies to Costa Rica in December

Want to take your experience to the next level? Alec and I are leading a seven-day Yoga and Shamanic retreat from December 28-January 4 at the beautiful Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa, located on the Osa Peninsula in southern Costa Rica, one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. Visit PresentJourneys.com for more information and to register online.

Oct 18

Yoga West LogoI’m excited to announce that I’m teaching a regular Thursday noon (12-1:15pm) class at Yoga West in Vancouver starting this Thursday (October 20, 2011). I have been teaching yoga since 1999 and was a regular teacher at Yoga West before getting diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Kundalini Yoga played a major role in my recovery and I’m grateful to be teaching regularly at Yoga West once again and to have the opportunity to share the many lessons that I learned during my healing journey.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kundalini Yoga, it’s a style that is often dubbed the “mother of all yogas”. It has a strong physical element, with more of an emphasis on dynamic movement than on static postures. Kundalini Yoga also provides the opportunity to experience the many other facets of yoga, including breathwork (pranayama), meditation and yogic lifestyles and philosophies. The best way to learn what Kundalini Yoga is all about is to come and experience a class for yourself.

For more information on Kundalini Classes at Yoga West visit yogawest.ca. And feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

p.s. I’m also going to be teaching Kundalini Yoga in downtown Vancouver starting in January 2012 and have some plans for workshops with a yogic theme. Stay tuned for details!