Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Lululemon Community Yoga Class with Sebastian - RYT

Monday, July 9th, 2007

In the case that I do actually have local blog readers…

I’m leading a FREE community yoga class at Lululemon (Yonge and Briar Hill Location) this Sunday July 15 @ 6:30.

Bring your mat and come say hi!! 

For more info please see the lululemon link below…

http://www.lululemon.com/toronto/yonge/events/3359

 namaste

 

touching everything…

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day!!

I’m back from a wonderful experience touring through Germany and most significantly Austria.  As per my last blog entry, it was indeed another adventure in body and Spirit!

I’m currently playing catch up at work, with triplegem and with my own yoga practice but I wanted to share a few pics that I just posted on my site.

Cycling Germany and Austria 2007 - Danube Trail

http://www.triplegem.ca/photos/germany/index.html

I also wanted to take this moment to let any local readers know about a wonderful organization that is being co-run by a friend of mine Brandi call ARISING. They will be holding a retreat Thursday July 26th - Monday July 30th 2007.

Their mission is dedicated to bringing women together to connect, create and inspire each other in a natural environment.  Their programs consist of unique retreat opportunities where they offer special workshops, yoga, meditation, team building and much more!

For more details on the organization and the retreat please visit..

www.arising.ca 
 

and my quote for today…

When you touch one thing with deep awareness,
you touch everything.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Cycling along the Danube fully present in the “NOW”

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Well, again…. it’s been quite some time since I’ve had a chance to blog my mental perspectives.. but the past couple of weeks have brought me an interesting opportunity to travel meanwhile the books I’ve been reading have also had me thinking err.. more aptly..NOT thinking and just “Being” in the “NOW” and witnessing “my” ego as an object of Awareness.

To begin…I have now confirmed my trip and I’m starting to get excited about it.  Long story short, a good friend of mine from high school is doing some bicycle/train tourism research and wanted someone to join him in his adventure …and who would rise to this occasion?  Yours truly (that is, the ego that is manifesting “Sebastian” along with the unconditioned ground of all Being too of course). 
 
So we’ve selected our destination.. we’re flying into Munich where we will adjust ourselves to the time difference while injesting copious amounts of German beer and dining on German cuisine.(I sure hope they have vegetarian wursts or I’ll be living on sauerkraut..mmm.. sauerkraut, but I feel sorry for the people that wind up biking behind me).

From Munich,  we are hopping on a train to Linz in northern Austria where we will travel towards Vienna along the well established bike route which traverses along side the Danube River.  Small towns, wine country, valleys, mountains, monastaries, a good friend, excercise, Nature and of course yoga  (I’ve even bought a little travel yoga mat/towel so I can get in some asana practice to open up the body during our breaks and after riding). 

It sounds wonderful doesn’t it?.. but wait, there I go, identifying with thoughts of the future and craving. I should just BE this consciousness that is aware of the thinking and the typing of this sentence.  The future does not exist as there is only the ever present NOW.

Non-Dual and Power of Now jokes aside.

Travelling is truly a spiritual experience and opportunity for growth. 

Most of my friends, if not all of my friends seem to share the same sentiments…but what is it about travelling that is so inspiring and often so spiritual?

Well, I alluded to it above… there seem to be moments of  No Ego, No Past, No Future… only NOW. 

I’ve travelled quite extensively through Europe and also good little bit in Central and South America, and so I am using these experiences for my examples.

First of all, I feel that with travel comes a total warping of time.  Once we get over the intial jet lag and start to let go of all the “stuff” we left behind at home, “watch time” becomes less and less important (except on those days you need to catch a train or a bus of course:) 

The past and future become smaller increments of time. You’re not thinking about next week, or “is it Friday yet?”.. you are living more in tune with the body/mind in the Present.  Instead of thinking about the birthday party two weeks from now, your thoughts just naturally turn to finding something to eat.. why? because your stomach is rumbling.  You start to feel tired, you begin to think of where you can rest or sleep. Other than that, your thoughts are absorbed in the experience of that moment.

You realize you don’t have to be anywhere but where you already are.  If you’re on the beach reading and two hours go by, so be it.  If you are walking through the main town square and happen to get somewhat lost, so be it.  We keep walking, looking and somehow almost intuitively we eventually find our way. The path we took may not be the most logical, the fastest, or the one that most people would take..but aside from the sore feet it’s usually very rewarding.

side note: In the case of actually getting lost..this can get tricky and admittedly if this happens it takes longer for men to figure it out.  It’s probably safe to say us men don’t have a map and even if we know the language we probably won’t ask for directions).

Secondly when travelling, we pay more attention to our environment,  We are more mindful, alert and watchful. 

Out of the confines of our regular morning routines, the “same” old sights and sounds, food,  travel routes,  family and job functions, we start to notice the little things. The flowers, the laundry hanging off the balconies and the intricately carved frames around the doors.   We spot the differences in the way things work, the way people walk and talk.  We start to become aware of our own cultural conditioning and  the culture surrounding us.  The old adage “when in Rome” starts to materialize in this openess. The uniqueness of the experience allows us let go of regular conventions, habits and conditioning or in the least, we can begin to recognize what those habits are.  

Of course, a healthy portion of this mindfullness is also a survival instinct..if we’re not sure what to do or how to do it..we copy the people around us.
 ”Oh, I see that they use this electronic ticket stamper when getting on the bus, hmm, I’ll do the same.  2 seconds later.. sheesh, I’m glad I did that since ticket checkers or ticket control are coming around”

I also think that an intuition or our “spidey sense” becomes a little bit more pronounced here and starts tingling when it should.. “Hmm…this area of town seems to carry a little bit of an energy that I don’t feel comfortable with, I think I need to head out back this way”

I enjoy this type of stimulation as my mind can then be used as a tool for dealing with a specific situation the way it was meant to be. Instead of this dull, heavy thing that just seems to kick around the same old thoughts and images, it becomes sharper, faster.. and at the same time it’s presence is not so overbearing allowing the intuition to speak and to be heard. 

What about the interpersonal experience? Our cocky ego tends to leave us high and dry and often feeling very vulnerable when we encounter strange situations without the use, or minimal use of language.  Again, this is also a very profound experience as we realize how much Language constructs the nature of our “reality”  and yet, once that reality is diminished what takes it’s place?  A common human experience maybe?  Here, subtle body language, energy, compassion can help us navigate our way through.  The connection that can occur between two people that transcends words is very touching. Perhaps, I have just been very fortunate in my travels, but I found just exchanging glances, smiles and basic sign language with the “locals” to be so enlightening.  The lines that are so often clearly drawn in many societies starts fading… rich or poor, country or big city.. it doesn’t matter.

I won’t lie though.. especially when travelling alone.. there were moments that seemed quite intense,.. rather scary to be honest.  I wasn’t sure where to go, what to do, I basically thought I was  F*&%d. I remember one moment in particular, I won’t go into details, but I was getting quite concerned that I was going to be trapped in a foreign city, with no money, no transporation, no food, etc..  But what happened? I  surrendered.. I gave up.  I was tired and hungry and I just didn’t have the energy to think of any other alternatives or worry about any more worst case scenarios.

It was at that moment that everything took a strange turn….I happened to come across some good samaritans disguised in wolf’s clothing (two young, loud,  American frat boy types ;). They all of a sudden took on the form of Buddhas with something special to offer.  But they didn’t appear as Buddhas just because they wound up helping me get some food and a much needed train ticket.  No, they became Buddhas because they helped me realize that just moments ago I was feeling despair but in letting go things changed.  All things change. Obnoxious young American tourists one second little Buddhas the next.    I humbly accepted their charity of food, beer and some cash without feeling the egoic sense of pride. 

As karma would have it, I was also able to offer them help too.. my basic understanding of the city, the language, plus overall travel experiences helped them find a place to stay, some fun things to do, and a good connection to their next desination. Hopefully, I also imparted a bit of travel common sense that despite being Buddhas they seemed to completely lack.  :)
 
Speaking of Buddhas, perhaps the notion of Reincarnation (in it’s many forms) can also be looked using the insights gained from from travelling?
It doesn’t have to be about a transmigration of some soul or energy or karmic habits, after death..it can just be the incarnation of a new perspective or worldview right here and right now.

This brings to mind a quote that I really like…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Auf wiedersehen!!

May all beings be happy and travel well!!

Guru my teacher, my dear friend moves towards the clear light

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

This past Sunday after finding a beautiful deserted spot in the park, two friends and I dug a hole in the ground and poured out the contents of the urn.
   
Sitting crossed legged with my hand still covered in his ashes and touching the earth I said good bye to my companion, my friend, my teacher.. GURU. 

So many memories flashed in my mind’s eye.. going back to seeing him as a little shy pup, most likely the runt of the litter, cowering away from us. My friend DKNY and I saw something special in him..a twinkle in his eyes and a high degree of emotional intelligence that could be seen and felt.  After quite a bit of discussion and debate,  we decided on his name..and it was the right name… GURU. 

Although I wasn’t around that much for the latter part of his life, the bond that we had and the impact he still has on me can never fade away.

Guru was truly a teacher.. he taught me about patience, trust and loyalty.  He helped me see my ego with its tendancies to want to control and to dominate over things and people.  He allowed me to find solace in the park and in nature through good and bad weather conditions.  He was always there to cheer me up, a testament to an unconditional Love that before him I felt I rarely saw in the world.

Plus… man could he meditate!  He could just sit there being so still with his gaze straight and focused… he was a Zen master!

A long time ago a Zen teacher told my friend DKNY that Guru is special and to always be gentle and kind with him as he will take the form of a human being.

We both thought that would, for sure, be the case. 

But then it was time for him to go and I found myself asking.. where is he now?.. what is reincarnation?… can he feel my love?..my sorrow?…etc..  the endless stream of questions and doubts that always accompany the loss of a loved one..

I finally came up with the Answer… I’ve come across it before…

A monk once asked Zen Master Chao-Chou “Does a dog have buddha-nature?”

Master Chao-Chou then responded…

“MU”

 

 

Sebastian Kowalik RYT Registered Yoga Teacher

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

While I subscribe to the buddhist philosophical notion of Anatta (Pali) or NON-SELF, I am now formerly recognizing/admitting my attachment to a new mental concept that further attempts to solidify “Sebastian’s” independent existence. 

So Who Am I? Of course I don’t know the answer to that very deep profound question, but in the meantime I’m including Yoga Instructor in my self-identity.

In other words I’m extending an invite to anyone that reads this to come and attend a class with me!   :)

I’m currently teaching a Vinyasa class Monday evenings 6:30-7:45 PM at the Bosnar Centre For Health located at 2462 Yonge Street, Second Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2H5  416.487.9056

My classes tend to be Ashtanga influenced and geared towards beginners with some basic yoga experience.

I’m also hoping to add another class on Thursday nights at 7:15-8:30 pm starting in mid May.

The Bosnar clinic provides all your holistic needs from chiropractic, massage, physio, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine to of course yoga.  

The little studio is wonderful! Given the size of it, most of my classes wind up feeling like a semi-private lesson. 

So come on out and visit!

I’ve attached my little bio that you can find on the Bosnar Health website below:

Sebastian Kowalik - Yoga Instructor Toronto

Sebastian’s love for yoga only came about after years of practice in both Vipassana and in Korean Zen Meditation.  After experiencing the joy of finding stillness and peace in the heart of movement, he decided to complete his yoga teacher training at the Yoga Sanctuary with Cynthia Funk and Karusia Wroblewski (to whom he is eternally grateful).

Sebastian’s approach to yoga is constantly evolving as he has realized that in order to teach one must always be a humble student.

His practice has also inspired him to create triplegem.ca and the Sati-Collection of environmentally friendly yoga and meditation supplies.

PERSONAL AND TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

“May you awaken your awareness to the Truth…the Truth that lies within you, in the world around you and in this very moment”

My philosophy on teaching is to create a safe and non-competitive atmosphere that honours the body, mind and Spirit.  I strive to teach a well balanced class that provides students with the tools and knowledge that help bring focus, awareness and balance to their lives both on and off the mat.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa or Flow Yoga links postures together with a rhythmical fluidity. The continuous wave of motion creates a moving meditation as each posture flows smoothly and seamlessly into the next.

Bosnar Centre For Health
2462 Yonge Street, Second Floor
Toronto, Ontario M4P 2H5
416.487.9056