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Finding Space in the City

June 12, 2009 by Twyla

TwylaThose of you who kept up with the ascent blog may remember their ‘Urban Yogi/ni’ column – well, Lightwaves is taking up the torch!  We will be publishing stories, reflections, art, and whatever else comes our way from Radha’s friends who are spreading the Light out in the wide world. Introducing Twyla Kowalenko, Graduate of the 2009 Yoga Development Course and our first (official) Urban Yogini.


What do baseball, dogs, a hockey fundraiser, bicycles, a vegetarian potluck and yoga have in common?  They’re all things one would have encountered in Trinity Bellwoods park in downtown Toronto on the morning of May 30th.

Now that I’m now back in the big city after completing the Yoga Development Course this winter, it’s taken constant awareness to maintain balance in my inward and outward activities. My community involvement seems to be increasing daily and although I’m very excited about all the meaningful possibilities that continue to open up, it takes constant reminders in order to pull myself back to centre.

So naturally I jumped at the chance to teach a yoga class in the park with my local vegetarian social group. What a perfect way to both give from myself and stay inwardly connected!  Unfortunately ego had a slightly different take on the matter. Throughout my class it continued to question why less people had shown up than had said they would, why the empty baseball diamond next to us suddenly filled with players once our class had begun, whether the group could hear me over the game, why some of the class attendees appeared to be more interested in the baseball than the yoga, why I had forgotten some of the great things I had planned to include in the class, and so on and so on…

It thankfully wasn’t ego that determined how the day went, however, and I was able to break the vicious cycle it wanted to pull me into by focusing on trust. Trusting that I was giving from my heart and sharing the teachings that have been invaluable in my life, trusting that those who attended came because they were looking for something, and trusting that what I was offering was in response to the group. So what could have been a day taken over by ego, was instead a beautiful sunny day in the park, filled with a group of shining people who were offering their salutations to the radiating sun above us.

The beauty was not only in our personal actions, but also in the ability of a group of conscious-minded individuals to find space. Space between the baseball and hockey players, space between the barking dogs, music and laughter. Finding our own inwardly-focused space amidst the bustling metropolis surrounding us – exactly what I am attempting to do on a daily basis. So in the end, I was able to use the outward-focused opportunity of teaching yoga in the park to practically find my way back in. Not only was this a great lesson for me, but also a wonderful chance to help guide others to connect with themselves, regardless of the never-ending busy-ness going on around us.



  1. On my way out in the world, I really love this post and look forward to finding my own way. Post YDC rubber hitting the road :-)

    Comment by Bjarke — June 13, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  2. Twyla, what a wonderful experience in seeing the positive lessons yoga teaches us every day. Keep it up!

    Comment by Lizabeth Harrison — June 13, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

  3. Twyla, its great to see you are finding space to bring your practice forward between all of the city commotion. Light to you.

    Comment by Andrew B — June 15, 2009 @ 11:09 am

  4. Very nice Twyla,
    Love that you where aware of your thought and that you didn,T let take them over your beautiful offering. Hope you’ll be offering more. Are we seeing you at the Ashram in August? Much love and light

    Comment by Melina 5-Mars — June 15, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  5. Good of hear of your teaching experience, Twyla. Sounds like you have entered right in. Great reflection of teaching/learning. Keep in touch.

    Comment by Janet Gaston — June 17, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  6. thank you for all your encouraging words.
    there are no definitive plans for further teaching at the moment, but there is perhaps an opportunity to offer at a women’s shelter later this summer..
    teaching or not, i continue to endeavour to spread light throughout the city.

    Comment by twyla — June 22, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

  7. “Trust is Must!”
    Thank you for the reminder.
    When the world closes in I can make space by being conscious and focusing on trust.

    Comment by Vivek — February 13, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

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