As the #Thrive665 challenge reaches its end, it seemed only fitting that I had planned to attend a Yoga Unite event today at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park. You see, last October, this same venue was host to Spotlight, an evening of entertainment to benefit Fife House, with members of the original Toronto cast of the musical RENT performing selections from the show.
So stepping onto my mat to begin my yoga practice, I was mindful of both the beneficiary of today’s fundraising, the New Leaf Yoga Foundation, as well as all of the questions and reflections that had been brewing during my experiences this week. As the founder, Chantal Wade, welcomed participants, she spoke of the meaning of yoga and reminded us that the root word means union and elaborated how she sees the possibility for community building through the use of this ancient tradition.
I couldn’t help but think of how the struggle to access food and attain proper nutrition fit into this. Indeed, a very quick game of six degrees of separation in my head showed a number of links. Without proper nourishment to engage in physical activity, I never would have had the strength to attend ballet boot camp at the Extension Room, which was the site for the first Yoga Unite event for ACT, last July, or to work out at my former gym, 99 Sudbury, where I met Ella Isakov, one of the instructors and board members of Yoga Unite. And without the income to enjoy unique food experiences like Charlie’s Burgers, I would never have met Andres Marquez, a facilitator with CB and founder of Fonda Lola, who also believes that food is about more than filling empty plates and has practiced yoga with Chantal.
And just as sharing the room with the yogis and yoginas created a different sensation than just completing the postures alone at home, so too has engaging in #Thrive665 with Bruce, Colleen, Dorreen, Gail, Keith and Kristyn allowed for a sharing of intentions and energy. During part of the session, we were guided to place one hand on our belly and one hand on our heart, as the instructor called us to focus on the basic needs of food and love. Bringing my awareness to these two areas, I definitely felt the pang of hunger, but also felt gratitude for the opportunity to connect with others in an attempt to bring compassion to those dealing with HIV/AIDS and poverty.
Reaching the end of the asanas, we were invited to enjoy the “sweet dessert” of shavasana (corpse pose). The word choice certainly wasn’t lost on me. But instead of bemoan missing treats, I’ll just ask: Do you have a favourite dessert at one of the restaurants participating in A Taste For Life on April 24th?