Last Yin yoga class for the month is on Mon July 18th.

Heads up!

Join me for Yin yoga at the spacious Pajama Angels HQ @ 452 Charles St., Windsor.  On Mon July 18th, 7-8 pm, free parking, $15 drop-in fee with partial proceeds to PJ Angels/Yoga4Hope.

(This will be the last class for July, as I’m away on July 25 for another camping trip. Sneaking it in while summer is still here!)

If you can’t attend, hope to see you on August 8th, 15th or 22nd.

No Yin scheduled on 04 July 2016.

 Taking a pause in Butterfly pose, during a hike at Pukaskwa National Park. A week up North without Wifi or cell service.  My iPhone addiction needs a break.  Add in some afternoon naps and I’m really on vacation.


No Yin scheduled at PJHQ for tonite. Hope to see you on Mon July 11th at 7 pm. Check flyer for details or email me at for more info.


I was happily surprised to see that the photos taken during the guided hike last year, to White River Suspension Bridge, were used for posters this year!


This way to Yin!

This way to Yin!

Look for this sign to guide you to my first Yin yoga class (all levels, great for beginners) of the summer.

Mon June 6th, 7-8 pm at the Pajama Angels HQ on 452 Charles St., Windsor.

Drop-in fee = $15

Email me at for more info.

Hope to see you there!

What the Yin now?

YIN with Gwen Mondays 2016 REV 1

It’s been a year of change and growth for my yoga practice and classes.  (Still trying to figure it all out…)  Thanks to Integrative Healing Arts Studio for hosting my Monday night Yin classes this winter.  Grateful to those who continue to show up for a Yin practice and to listen to my stories. 🙂

Fortunately, the Monday night Yin tradition will continue for the summer of 2016, at a new location. I’ll be holding classes at the Pajama Angels Headquarters (yes, they are the Yoga 4 Hope organizers).  Click on the image (thanks Darlene for an awesome flyer!) to check out the details on Yin classes this summer.

$15 drop in fee // Monday, 7-8 pm // 452 Charles Street, Windsor, ON

June 3, 13, 20, 27 //  July 11, 18, 25 //  Aug 8, 15, 22

Classes are suitable for all levels (great for beginners just getting into yoga!).  Yin helps to:

slow down

lengthen fascia, tendons and ligaments

develop mindfulness and body awareness.

Partial proceeds from each drop-in fee will be donated to Yoga 4 Hope, to benefit local cancer research, those needing assistance as they journey through cancer and the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association.

Looking forward to playing in a new space, practicing with familiar faces, meeting newcomers and getting my yoga on!

For more information, you can email me at, message me on Facebook or catch me on Twitter (@DownwardDogDVM).

Yin begins again!


Hi Monday night Yinsters!

Dianne has invited me to join her in another 6 week “Yoga For All” series on Monday 04 April 2016, at the Integrative Healing Arts Studio.
I’ll be away for the first week so Dianne will lead a sweet restorative yoga class that night.
I’m attending a yoga retreat at Kripalu.  Will have stories for you when I come back.  🙂
See attached poster for details.
Be sure to sign up by emailing to reserve your spot.
If you have questions, please email me ( or Dianne for more details.
Look forward to spending time with you on the mat,

OVMA 2016 and the “Zen Zone”

Rolling through Southern Ontario, on the train to Toronto.  Enjoying the chance to relax and write as I travel to my final destination.  I’m heading up to Toronto for my annual veterinary conference.  It’s been a tradition for almost 19 years now and I look forward to it every time.

What’s different this year is the focus on wellness for veterinarians in their personal lives.  This has been an area of interest for the profession, especially of late.  The 2016 Ontario Veterinary Medical Association Conference is providing opportunities for mindfulness meditation at lunch time, along with morning and evening yoga sessions.  Merial Animal Health is sponsoring the event by creating a “Zen Zone” room where you can relax in a quiet space, giving away free mats to those who pre-registered for yoga, providing comfy couches for lounging and refreshment with lemon/cucumber-infused water.  How’s that for supporting wellness while we learn?  Awesome!

It’ll be the third year in which mindfulness meditation is offered at the conference and I’m grateful for the momentum that’s building.  There’s a theory stating it takes 100 monkeys to jump on board before the creation of a broader awareness leading to popularization of a new behaviour.  The first year, timing and advertising was limited and turnout was not as I hoped.  Last year, there were quite a few interested in the short, 15 minute sitting sessions.  This year, the meditation sessions will be a part of the “Zen Zone” event (thanks Patty!).  I encourage those who want to explore a short, breath-centered practice while sitting in a chair .  (If you’re at the OVMA, check out Twitter and use #ovma2016 for a daily reminder.)

For the first time, yoga is formally part of the conference program.  A colleague in veterinary industry is teaching the morning sessions, which are great to wake up the body and mind before a day of lectures.  I’m looking forward to attending her class.  The evening yoga is where I’m teaching a 30 minute Restorative practice, to help people wind down before going home.  As a type-A personality with an introvert tendency, I have learned how to go-go-go.  Eventually, there comes a point in time where I have to be quiet and reconnect to myself.  Restorative yoga allows me to practice my relaxation skills.  Everything gets better with repetition and relaxation can be learned.

A veterinarian’s work is about helping animals and their owners, with additional responsibilities if you specialize in large animals, academia, industry or public health.   Veterinarians are taught “how-to-do” these things with great skill and efficiency.  But along with that, we need to be taught how to rest our minds and bodies.  In this way, we sustain ourselves and the profession.

My Heart Belongs at Eastside Yoga

It’s the end of an era.

My yoga had its beginnings at Eastside Yoga Studio.  Dianne Bondy introduced me to a practice that connected mind and body, something that had eluded me until then.  I grew my practice through yoga teacher training, workshops with many great teachers, Yin And Restorative teacher training and personal study.  I’m officially an E-RYT 200.  It’s been quite the journey and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

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Mindfulness Meditation Retreat 2015

Nicole: You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kinda thinking it’s the other way around. You know, like the moment seizes us.

Mason: Yeah. Yeah, I know. It’s constant – -the moment. It’s just… It’s like it’s always right now, you know?

Nicole: Yeah.

~Boyhood, 2014

Like a kid waiting for Christmas, I looked forward to being “seized by the moment”.  I was going to see my fellow veterinarians at the Mindfulness Meditation Retreat in Chicago.  Through initial introductions via the Veterinary Information Network, our cyberspace meetings become corporeal.  The names on the computer screen would have faces and voices!  I’d come to share a deep connection with those who had attended every year.  It was this sense of community that drew more newcomers to explore what the weekend was all about.

For the last four years, Dr. Michele Gaspar has organized the retreats in Chicago.  Her vision is to have veterinarians find healthier ways to manage with the work we do.  Sharing our stories was a large part of the time spent together.  The stage was set early by the 24 people that attended.  Many felt free to express their thoughts in this non-judgemental space.  Listening and talking helped us realize how we’re not alone in our daily struggles, as we seek to provide the best care for our patients and their owners.

We needed a different tool for skillful living so we explored how mindfulness meditation could help.  There was a big focus on developing a sitting, breath-centered practice.  This would be a better way to deal with the thoughts (worries, anxiety, stress, depression) than the behaviours we’d been using and which were no longer working for us.  Sitting and watching our thoughts would teach us to pause before reacting, observe how our thoughts were being generated (sometimes randomly) by our overactive minds and that we could eventually learn how to co-exist with uncomfortable thoughts.  We sat several times each morning and afternoon.  My experience, of repeatedly being still and quiet, helped to peel away the layers of tension I didn’t want to acknowledge or maybe even knew existed.

Through yoga, we also developed our mind-body awareness.  After spending most of my life living in my head, I knew how it could lead to a disconnect from my body.  I had the opportunity to teach a few basic classes and a chair yoga sequence during the weekend.  I did it with the intention of feeling the sensations in the body, in order to link breath with movement.  It was encouraging to introduce yoga to those that were new to it, as well practice with colleagues who had already discovered its benefits.  I tried to let people understand the yoga poses were nothing more than a physical manifestation.  We were the ones bringing our stories and interpretations along with us, onto the mat.

We’d just gotten comfortable with being in a group.  We shared meals, took a walk and had a chance to rest.  There was gelato, while watching a movie.  Before we knew it, our moments together had passed.  We’d have to wait another year before we could reconnect.  Knowing these people are out there, doing the best they can, is heart-warming and will continue to encourage me everyday.

Dog Days of Summer Yoga Challenge

Can you do yoga, every day, for 21 days?

I’m a member of and the members in the virtual community posed the question this summer.   I’ve heard it takes 21 days of repetition to make something a habit. Being accountable to others would help keep me honest.  It would also make me develop my home practice because, confession time here, I really didn’t have one.  I’m great at going to the studio or teaching.  Meditation is part of my morning routine.  I love reading about yoga philosophy.  But the physical work on the mat was an area that I needed to grow.  So I publicly declared my intent to participate.

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