Teaching Schedule changes in May and start of June

Alan will be away in May practising Zen at Tahoma Zen Monastery. Alan’s classes at Lotus Palm won’t run in May and will began again on  June 6th.,  Mondays and Thursdays 9:30a to 10:45a.

Alan is hoping to add a class at Lotus Palm either in the morning or afternoon, if you have a suggestion please let us know.

Karusia will be teaching in Kensington through the month of May at these times:

Tuesday 5:30-6:45p Hatha

Thursday 5:30-6:45p  Hatha

Thursday 7:15-8:30p Qigong & Yoga Nidra

Friday 12:30-1:45p Hatha

Sunday 10-11:30 Hatha – No class on Mother’s Day, May 8th.!!

Karusia will be on retreat at Mount Madonna from June 1st to June 7th. So there won’t be any classes on:

May 31st., Tuesday

June 2nd., Thursday

June 3rd., Friday

Alan is back on June 3rd., and will resume teaching at Kensington on the 5th of June:

Sunday 10-11:30 Hatha

Monday 5:00-6:15p Hatha; 7:00-8:30p Meditation

Tuesday 5:30-6:45p Hatha (only on June 7th, while Karusia is away)

Wednesday 8:00-9:15a Hatha

Friday  12:30-1:45p Hatha

And at Lotus Palm on:

Mondays and Thursdays 9:30a to 10:45a.

Karusia will resume teaching from the 9th. of June, offering the following at Kensington:

Tuesday 5:30-6:45p Hatha

Thursday 5:30-6:45p  Hatha

Thursday 7:15-8:30p Qigong & Yoga Nidra


Practising at Tahoma Zen Monastery

Through the month of May, I’ll be practicing at Tahoma Zen Monastery. We will hold three sesshin during the month of May. The first and last are kosesshin with extended work periods between breakfast and lunch and time to study or practise individually between lunch and supper. The middle sesshin is a samu osesshin, also an extended work period between breakfast and lunch. In the afternoon, Harada Roshi will given formal teisho (lecture, teaching).

May will be late spring weather this year, we’re planning lots of gardening and some utility building to support the kitchen, the garden and the ongoing maintenance of the temple.

Back to teaching in Toronto on June 5th.

Yoga and Zen in Merida

After Mexico city, I went to Merida with Enen and together we led a series of Zen and Yoga events. We had a series of evening Zen teachings and meditation events at Una Gota Merida ; a Yoga series at Yoga shala; an early morning TV appearance, a talk at a local community college and a weekend workshop of Yoga and Zen practice.

A truly wonderful group to practice with, everyone was open-hearted and generous with their patience and their effort.

Looking forward to getting together again.

Yoga and Zen Workshop in Merida

Yoga and Zen Workshop in Merida

Spring Sunday Meditation Series


An opportunity to practice Meditation together. Exploring a variety of postures and styles.

We will use the four classic positions of seated, standing, walking, and lying down. The details of each posture will be presented in each session and adjustments will be presented.

With a given posture our attention is directed initially onto our breathing, and optionally onto the sensations and feelings we have in the moment.

Mediation may also include directing the attention to a topic and we will explore a handful of traditional topics including Naikan (visualizations appropriate for stress reduction and well-being); Metta (compassion, loving-kindness); Prajna (wisdom or insight).

Meditation instruction will be offered each class and variations in technique will be presented each session. Topics will include: postures for meditation whether sitting, standing, walking; Mindfulness of breathing, body, mental events; using intention to alter emotions; visualizations to promote well-being and relaxation; zen inquiry into mind; and any topics you wish to raise.

Each class is independent, fundamental instructions will be reviewed in each class and there will be time for questions.

Contact me via email (alan at mentalblocks dot com) if you have questions.

Location; the classes are held in the Community Room at 21 Nassau St. (west entrance, ½ block west of main doors).

Class starts at 1:30pm and ends at 4:00pm.

Cost is pay what you can.

Dates: April 10, 17, 24

Yoga classes in Cabbagetown

core work side to side #3 - 1Through the month of April 2016, I’ll be teaching in Cabbagetown at the Lotus Palm Thai Yoga Massage School. 517 Parliament St., 2nd. floor.

The classes are Monday and Thursday morning 9:30-10:45a.

The classes will focus on core-work and hips. We’ll work mainly on the mat and requests are always welcome.

The cost is $20 a class or $60 for 4 classes. The classes will run through to the end of the month.

Click the “Yoga” tab at the top for details on other classes I teach in Kensington.

Yamada Mumon Roshi from 1977

An excerpt from a BBC film “Zen Buddhism – The Land of the Disappearing Buddha – Japan (BBC 1977)”, hosted by Ninian Smart, includes an interview with Harada Roshi’s teacher Yamada Mumon Roshi. Mumon Roshi describes zazen and gives sanzen.

The Cult that killed the Earth

“Mainstream Economics is a Cult”

An excellent post on Washington’s blog exposing the cult of mainstream neo-liberal economics. An outgrowth of protestant theology, and social darwinism, it now threatens the welfare of the ecosphere as it panders to the worse elements in all our natures.

What to replace it with you ask? Schumacher pointed to the alternative decades ago in “Small is Beautiful” (wikipedia) – economics as if people mattered!


“It is clear, therefore, that Buddhist economics must be very different from the economics of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of civilisation not in a multiplication of wants but in the purification of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man’s work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, blesses those who do it and equally their products.”



Yoga teaches yoga

A longstanding delusion that arises by being caught in words is that Yoga can be learned via words. While we engage with words and words are exchanged in practice, they are not the Way. Words are like a stone we use to bang on a gate, when the gatekeeper comes and the gate opens we drop the stone and move forward.

Yoga teaches yoga, not words, not teachers at the front of the room, not DVDs or any other external thing. Yoga is inner work, a direct inner experience of this moment. Put aside thinking, judging, remembering, comparing – instead immediately experience the asana.

When we experience our practice directly then we know without mental baggage whether to stop, start, do more effort, less effort – we can come naturally into balance.

Yoga is for transformation. Transform yourself by experiencing yourself directly this moment. Drop the barrier of judgement, see directly as the mirror reflects without hesitation or consideration. Transform the base and liberate yourself.


Now is the summer of our discontent

from ‘What does Democracy Look Like?’:

“These new democratic forms do not ask governments to be more democratic. They are inherently outside the framework of institutional power. Democracy is not possible as long as it is linked to a form of exchange based on hierarchy, inequality, oppression and exploitation. People cannot be physically or emotionally free as long as capitalist hierarchies and structures determine those things that are most fundamental to our work and lives. Capitalism and democracy are incompatible. This is not to oppose reforms, but it does mean, for example, that instead of proposing legislation or getting behind a candidate who is against foreclosures (as one is supposed to do in a representative “democracy”), the movement disrupts foreclosures and occupies people’s homes so they are not evicted. In Greece, hospitals are being occupied so that people do not have to pay the newly imposed cost of healthcare. Sometimes these actions change laws or modify rules, but the point is to create new ways of relating—not looking to institutional power but instead creating power.

The creation of this power does not accept the value system of capitalism, where the market determines the worth of a person’s house or health. The movement refuses to participate in that logic. Our logic, grounded in prefigurative forms of democracy, is to take care of one another. This is a different value system, one based on solidarity and real democracy. These relations break with capitalist production and create new values. The movement accumulates not capital or surplus but affect and networks of solidarity and friendship. This new value is seen on the subjective level, in the change in people and their relationships with one another, but also concretely, in new ways of surviving and helping others survive based on these relationships.”

Speaking freely

Milton, speaking in 1644 said:

“Truth and understanding are not such wares as to be monopolized and traded in by tickets and statutes and standards. We must not think to make a staple commodity of all the knowledge in the land, to mark and license it like our broadcloth and our woolpacks.”

Over three hundred years later and legislators still provide statutes and licenses for only their opinions and those of their backers.

When Milton presented the Areopagitica (or, its full title Areopagitica: A speech of Mr. John Milton for the liberty of unlicensed printing to the Parliament of England), the Star Chamber had been closed only two years and legislators were hurrying to pass laws to censor printed works.

We have evolved our technology but not our society, and the same issues are alive today in the U.S. Congress. Indeed, the Congress has returned the Star Chamber (secret courts, secret detentions, arbitrary judgement – all of it for the benefit of the powerful and presented as the protection of the powerless). Now Congress seeks to hand control of the latest ‘printing press’ to the lofty 1% who will regulate for their own benefit.

Milton’s context is explored at 3 Quarks Daily.