Certified in: Primordial Sound Meditation (Chopra Center) and Yoga( Kripalu Yoga Center)
Location: Toronto and San Francisco
Website and email: theworkplacewellnessacademy.com
What inspires you to teach?
I love people. And, I especially love building community and connecting people. It makes me happy to see how the work I do changes lives in so many ways. I have been teaching Yoga since 1993 and owned The Yoga Studio in Toronto from 1995 to 2007. During that time I had the privilege of supporting thousands of students and dozens of teachers go through all the usual phases of life. It was inspiring to see them cope in a much better way using the skills of meditation and yoga. The Yoga Studio became Canada’s largest studio and attracted some of the best teachers who then opened their own studios and spread the Joy and Love. That community became and still is my extended family.
Where do you teach?
I have just launched an online training to teach wisdom and wellness professionals how to deliver wellness in the workplace. They learn seated yoga and yogic practices and really powerful marketing skills. They also become part of a great community. Right now, I teach internationally and in Toronto at corporations, non-profits, spas, retreat centres, conferences, and private sessions. In Toronto I teach workshops and Primordial Sound Meditation at my home or at a studio.
How many Chopra Center events have you attended?
About 10! Including the ones where I have served as a volunteer.
What was your favorite event?
My teacher trainings and teacher’s retreats were the best. They were lead by Deepak, David Simon, Roger Gabriel, and all sorts of wonderful guest presenters. It was a small group, and the comraderie was magical.
How do you connect with others in your community?
I host Buddhagroove, parties for people interested in meeting other like minded folks. Imagine up to 250 people dancing, drumming, chanting and meditating together!!!! I also attend meditation classes and retreats, belong to a sangha and, because I love people and have a huge tribe in Toronto, I am known as the ultimate connector.
More about Helen:
I sold real estate for 15 years in Toronto, and lived the high life of the 80’s, including lifting weights at the gym 5 times a week and working 60-70 hours a week. My meditation practice, learned in the 70’s, helped ground me and succeed. Yes, I’m that old! At the height of my career, I contracted a rare disease which left me unable to work for almost 2 years. I went back to my first love Yoga and deeper meditation. I met Deepak in 1992 at Kripalu Yoga Center where I was certified as a Yoga teacher. His energy was so lovely that I said to myself “I want some of that”....and here I am.
Becoming certified in: Perfect Health
Location: San Diego, California
When will you graduate as a Chopra Center certified teacher? July 2014
What was your first Chopra Center experience?
My first experience was Perfect Health week in February 2014. I had talked about the program with a friend and old employee of the Chopra Center for many months. I knew nothing or the Chopra Center, except for my friends' input and deep desire to understand the program as I really felt the direction I was heading in my life was parallel to the things that were taught there. I was humbled, in very unfamiliar territory, and to say the least-awakened. It was a truly powerful moment in my life, which brought forth fear, vulnerability, change, acceptance, safety and love. In those moments I truly understood my story.
What was going on in your life when you first became immersed in or attracted to the Chopra Center teachings?
A series of unfortunate events would best describe this question. Undiagnosed illnesses in my child, family tragedies, struggles to feel in control of my own life or whole as a mother, person, wife. I was struggling to discover what it is I should be doing: teaching more yoga, or more committed to my practice and personal space. I was determined, but lost. My family has been strong and supportive since our relocation to San Diego three years ago. So I was in a place most people desire: deciding at 38 what “I wanted to be when I grew up.” With that said, I was taking on additional evening classes and not seeing my family as much. I was trying to find things to do during the day that brought me joy while my family was working or at school, yet, finding less and less peace in all of it.
What is your daily meditation practice like?
I’m an early riser. I have found that in order to balance my Dosha and have the silence I need for a daily routine uninterrupted by children or a pet, the earlier the better. I am an RPM girl! I rise between 4:30-5am daily, take a quick restroom break and chug a bottle of water, and immediately jump into my morning meditation using my Primordial Sound given to me at the Chopra Center for 45 minutes to an hour. I take the time to go through my sutras, and finish with great peace. Afterward, it’s a strategic process that works for my Vata best. I begin oil pulling as I jump in the shower, jump out and brush my teeth (tongue scraper and all), which leads me straight into my abyanga oil massage with sesame oil. From here I read the list of intentions and desires I wrote to myself at Seduction of Spirit, then the law of the day from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, setting forth the motions I need to make throughout the day that bring me great ‘being’.
Then it’s time to raise my family for a new day, feed the dog, and begin the adventures. Dependant on my evening teaching schedules, you may find me in my car at work meditating in the evening, in the walk- in closet in my bedroom when I get home, or just about anywhere I can dig up a piece of quiet, but consistently I am rewarding myself with evening meditation, as if I have earned it. This reward process is what I needed to make the evening meditation work! Now it is just a refreshing routine!
How have these teachings changed your life?
There is a profound difference in the way I behave each day. When I start my day in silence, everything flows as planned. My routine and all. My relationship with my family has changed and mostly because my relationship with myself has become solid and strong. The way I interact with those around me and everyone I come in contact with has more meaning to me, and has changed so drastically based on my meditations and the law of each day. I am more focused, slower and gather my thoughts, reactions and intentions. I am able to think about my words and what they mean to someone else hearing them, as well as having learned to be an observer versus constantly reflecting on each conversation or situation. I see more. By this I mean that I actually see more of all the things I have never really looked at. People, faces, emotions, nature, love, fear, hurt and struggle. My eyes are very much in tune with the things I took for granted and the things I avoided. I am at peace with me. I am enough for me. I am aware of my faults and downfalls, but very much unattached to them as I now realize they are perfect and exactly where I should be and what I should be at the very moment!
How do you intend to share these teachings once you become certified?
I have every intention of being a fantastic Perfect Health teacher, either with my own students in my own space, or for the Chopra Center or both. My desire is to complete all three teachers trainings by summer of next year to be a Vedic Educator. I don’t know yet but I am fully confident that the purpose will emerge with clarity at the right time.I look forward every day I teach yoga to sharing these things with people who depend on me to live a life I help them to achieve as well. I am always happy to introduce new things and ideas to students, family, friends and strangers, that will help them to achieve great health and longevity, as well as, a personal space filled with love and joy!
Do you have any words of inspiration for others on the Teachers Path?
I have been a carnivore, a raw foodist, a vegan, and for the purpose of my daughter who has Celiac Disease and a severe intolerance to milk proteins, my family is now mostly gluten and dairy free. Having said that, there is a fine line between feeding an illness or intolerance by abstaining from these foods, and finding an Ayurvedic treatment that helps to overcome diseases that are said to have no cure (Celiac). I have managed to go from insulin injections for many years of my life, medications for Fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, and high cholesterol for 3 years, to a diet that has corrected or altered my ability to need any of them.
And, I do not fear there will be problems later because I took them. What I know is, choosing a path of perfect health and Ayurveda has changed, and undoubtedly saved my life. It has created an energy in my mind, heart and body like no other. It is by far so exciting I cannot wait to share this with anyone that will listen every day! My words of inspiration would be; to feel that way every day! And if you do, then choose that path!