Let Someone Else Cook – Fall Retreat

I called it my artist’s retreat, to describe to others why I was going away all by myself.  I have always been one to juggle too many balls in the form of jobs, socializing, craft projects and learning new things. A few balls in particular had been dropped for too long, so I decided to set aside some time just for them. I began constructing an agenda of how I’d spend my time on my fantastic retreat: yoga practice, meditation, plenty of sleep, hikes and bike rides through the wilderness, and above all, making a lot of art.

I booked a cabin for the week leading up to the Summer Solstice. I was ready to get up early, tackle my art and get somewhere with my meditation and yoga practice. But my retreat had something else in store for me.

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3 Reasons Our Restorative Immersion Is for You

Restorative yoga is a powerful healing tool that helps to reduce stress and support the body’s innate responses toward balance and health. As a very gentle form of yoga, restorative yoga integrates resting postures, breath techniques, and meditative relaxation. Read on to discover more about our upcoming immersion into this practice.


Here are three reasons why our immersion into Restorative Yoga is for you.

After this immersion you will be able to:

CUSTOMIZE a restorative yoga sequence to meet your specific needs

MEDITATE in a restorative pose

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10 Days of Silent Meditation – Leslie’s Learnings on Aches & Pains

This post was written by one of our work trades and Queen Street Conversations organizers, Leslie! Leslie spent 10 days this past summer in meditation at the Ontario Vipassana Centre. In this post she shares what she learned from sitting still and breathing.

Experimenting in mind-matter

Did you ever wonder what it might be like to get up at 4 AM and sit directly on your ischial tuberosities (those are your sitting bones 🙂 ) for ten or more hours… for ten days in a row? Me neither – but this past August I did happen to find out, and am here to report back on exactly how that kind of thing feels. It’s tough and it hurts, but wouldn’t you know, it’s worth the struggle.

The precise details of this experiment in living monastically can be found on the website for the Ontario Vipassana Centre – a fully-functioning retreat and service space in the tradition of S.N. Goenka, offering the opportunity to learn about and practice Dhamma and the meditation techniques of Anapana and Vipassana. For me, a school teacher in summer-mode, the schedule was punishing. The noble silence was astounding. And with seven hours of self-directed meditation time and three and a half hours of group sitting, the mental work, boredom and solitude ran the gamut from insufferable to incredible. With a mere six-week course of introductory meditation at Queen Street Yoga under my belt, I pretty much dove into the deep end after one quick toe-dip.

So what exactly happens when a run-of-the-mill yogi (in the modern, Western, I “do” yoga  kind of way) gets serious about exploring the reality of their mind-matter conscious experience?

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Stop Worrying About How Long You Can Pay Attention To Your Breath

This post about meditation is by Dave Wellstood, who is currently in our Yoga Teacher Training Program. In this post he shares a simple but very helpful instruction that turned his meditation practice around.  

IMG_7419I find my meditation practice to be very rewarding.  When I tell people that, they often respond by telling me that they are no good at meditation or that they simply can’t do it.  I remember when I felt just like they do and I want to tell you about the small change I made that turned it around for me.

When I first started to meditate, someone told me I should sit quietly and pay attention to my breath. In hindsight that instruction was where things started to go wrong.  It gave me completely the wrong idea about what I was supposed to do.

I thought that meditating was like doing tree pose.  In tree pose, the goal is to balance on one foot.  Success means standing on one foot for longer and being more stable.  Sometimes you lose your balance and that’s expected but not desirable.  Similarly, I thought that success in meditation meant being able to keep my attention on my breath for longer and longer.

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