Traditionally, Yoga and meditation walked hand-in-hand. The two are complimentary practices, that when blended together can help us move through our lives with more presence, more awareness and less reactivity. In this day-long retreat, Steve Ferrell will be blending Yoga and movement practices with meditation practices, as well as teaching how to pull these practices into a well-rounded approach to living mindfulness in everyday life.
Humans are creatures of movement and action. Whereas meditation as commonly taught teaches us how to observe, settle and interact with the mind, primarily through stillness, yoga teaches us how to use the wisdom from meditation and put it into action. And meditation teaching is evolving to an emphasis on how to integrate mindfulness practices into daily life. We can practice mindfulness while in stillness or in motion. The goal is to become more present and engaged with our inner world as we move through an outer world.
The day will consist of movement practices, designed to draw more attention to the interaction between body, mind and world, mixed with meditation practices for beginner and more experienced meditators. Throughout the day, Steve will also be giving small talks about how to integrate Mindfulness practices into everyday life, showing us that practice does not have to stop when we leave the meditation cushion or the Yoga mat. Steve is a strong believer that the cushion and the mat are the training ground for us to cultivate more mindfulness into the rest of our lives, thus creating a life of presence, curiosity and engagement.
The yoga will be simple and accessible for people who have not taken yoga before but will be fully engaging for people who practice yoga regularly as the moment-to-moment awareness of body and mind is emphasized. Chair yoga will be demonstrated and can used as needed for anyone who has difficulty getting up and down from the floor.
About the teacher: Steve Ferrell (E-RYT200, YACEP) teaches Yoga/Movement, Ayurveda, Meditation, and Mindfulness practices in the Hamilton area and nationally. Steve has been studying and practicing Yoga and meditation for over a decade. Over this time he has studied with many different techniques from different lineages of Yoga, and Buddhism as well as studying Western-based cognitive-behavioural perspectives such as ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training) and FAP (Functional Analytic Psychotherapy). He believes that mindfulness practice is essential for survival in an over-stimulated, “Attention Deficit Society”. He also strongly believes in the power of meditative practice to help stabilize attention, calm habitual thought patterns, and centre one’s self directly in the middle of their life. He helps his students find the simplicity and beauty within the work of sitting and mindfulness-based practices. Steve’s teaching blends movement, breath and mind/ body awareness, mindfulness practices, some comedy, and active student engagement to help people more easily connect to the present moment and move from that place of presence. He is a popular teacher of the meditation portion of yoga teacher training courses.
He has worked with and finds the most inspiration from teachers such as Michael Stone, Matthew Remski, Susi Hately, Eihei Peter Levitt, Dr. Steven C. Hayes, Dr. Mavis Tsai, Dr. Robert Kolenber and Shinzen Young. Other teachers who have influenced his approach include John Dunne, Evan Thompson, Roshi Enkyo O’Hara, and Pascal Auclair
Steve has also recently co-authored his first book. A clinical manual, primarily geared to mental health professionals but also for Yoga Professionals: Mindful Yoga-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Steve also holds the designation of YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) to provide continuing education for Yoga Alliance registered Yoga professionals.
Who might be interested in coming? This workshop is designed to appeal to a broad range of people.
What the day looks like:
The day will start with a brief ‘housekeeping’ segment. This will be followed by an introduction and the first of a series of short talks by Steve around the functions of practice as well as, techniques and philosophies we will be working with, followed by a brief Q&A.
We will then settle into an ‘All levels’ Yoga practice to help bring more attention into the body-mind as a set-up to being able more stable and open as we move into sitting practice.
Sitting practice will start with 10-15 minutes followed by a 10-15 minute walking meditation and followed with another sit. This pattern will be repeated throughout the day, with the periods of practice gradually increasing through the day, up to to 30 minute periods.
Other than lunch and Q&A periods, the rest of our time will be spent in contemplative silence. This sets the stage for the process of being able to me more inward without the distraction or desire of conversation. In this way we allow our practice to be felt and experienced without the need to explain it.
We will have 15-minute mid-morning and mid-afternoon water in/water out and snack breaks as well as a 1 hr. lunch (the lunch period will not be in silence).
After lunch we will engage in another Yoga practice followed by periods of sitting and walking meditation. The day will finish with a final Yoga session, followed by a discussion about strategies as to how we might continue to practice following this day long retreat including recommendations about various resources to assist in both movement and meditation practice and a final brief Q&A and a final bow.
To keep the costs down, we are asking participants to bring a brown bag lunch. Snacks and drinks will be supplied at morning and afternoon breaks. Please bring a spill proof container for beverages and dress comfortably in layers. For yoga please bring a mat, and for seated meditation whatever you normally use, or if you don’t usually meditate, a bolster and cushions to allow your pelvic to tip forward while seated. Chairs are also available, but please feel free to bring a cushion for greater comfort.
This hybrid event will take place simultaneously in person and virtually via Zoom. Questions from zoom participants will be relayed to Steve by an assistant. Zoom participants will be able to see the live in person event and will be seen (if willing) via a projection screen in the physical workshop space.
Location: McMaster Innovation Park
195 Longwood Ave Hamilton