Category Archives: Yoga

True Warriorship

Over the past few weeks I have acted on, with intention, my disdain for the outgoing so-called president (my autocorrect tried to capitalize the P in president when I intentionally made it lower case for a reason) through the posting of memes and some thoughts written out to share. In doing so, I knew that I was leaving the safety of the wellness community’s ability to hide behind spiritual teachings that convince us that judgement is a bad thing and that we should be as impartial as a tree in the face of a storm. And as much as I know that approach to be helpful in certain situations, I also know that the oft-(un)well-ness community is also often guilty of spiritual bypass, the ability to hide behind teachings and so-called wisdom in order to avoid getting involved, using one’s voice in the name of justice, freedom, equality and fairness.

I will now use his name intentionally for the first time in four years instead of referring to him as he-who-shall-not-be-named. Donald Trump is, as far as I am concerned, an evil person. And if that judgement makes you uncomfortable, I invite you to unfollow me and forget our paths ever crossed. My concern in life is for the suffering of us all, especially those who exist in the shadows, those whose choices or whose accidents of birth and life set them on a course of adversity and resistance, all because of factors that they did not choose. One’s skin colour, language spoken, birth gender, faith, belief system, demographic information and path towards happiness and freedom should not dictate the facility with which they achieve said happiness and freedom. And yet, within the flawed construct human beings have created to exist together, those factors do. And needless suffering is the result of that.

My intention in life and my career is to alleviate suffering for those navigating murky, soul-crushing moments. It would only make sense, then, that anyone who makes that journey even harder for those already fighting for an iota of comfort and acceptance is going to fall into disfavor with me. Donald Trump had the opportunity to contribute to the healing and happiness of not only those whose journeys are already difficult, but to the healing of a nation and of a world being swept away in a torrent of intolerance. He chose, instead, to fan the flames of hate and division. To separate babies from their parents, parents from their babies. To ignore science when millions of Americans were falling ill with a deadly virus. To strip away the basic human rights that our loved ones need to remain safe and protected when humanity’s ugly head rears itself again and we fall into a spiritual moment of concealment, an even darker age of ignorance. Donald Trump did everything to reinforce the Hindu teaching that demons do, indeed, walk among us. And so when I post a meme that I find hysterical showing that little, traumatized man, a man for whom I can actually find an iota of compassion, because no one turns into the devil without being hurt by the devil itself, understand that I am celebrating the shift in awareness and awakeness in a populace that allowed this person to do so much harm for so long.

In the name of the women we love, our transgender brother and sisters, our LGBTQ+ community, our brothers and sisters whose skin color traverses the spectrum, our fellow human beings who pray to Gods we know too little about and whose mother tongues sound fabulously foreign to us, I celebrate this new era in the hope that the government-elect delivers on their promises to focus on freedom, inclusion, diversity and equality. I also understand that a troubling number of Americans did not vote for freedom and equality for all, and many of those people fall into the subcultures I’ve referred to. We are at a pivotal juncture in history, and you better believe that I will voice an objection when I see society’s most vulnerable put at even greater risk by those whose influence and so-called power could drastically improve life for us all.

As for the wellness community, do us all a favour and don’t use yoga or meditation or scriptures to avoid being part of the solution. It hurts the community, and is the farthest thing from what these teachings are meant to do. Find something else to hide behind.

All this to say that if my partiality has made you uncomfortable, I totally understand why. With that said, know that I will always champion those who navigate the path of light, truth, equality, happiness and freedom for ALL. Not just for one pocket of humanity, but for all humanity. I will pass judgement when evil is being unleashed and which contributes to intolerance.

We are on this journey of being human TOGETHER. Any other approach or attitude is, as far as I’m concerned, harmful. So let’s remember that we’re on the same team, regardless of the details we’ve been taught divide us. And do whatever we can, as efficiently and respectfully as possible, to heal those divisions.

A Friendly Reminder

Just a quick word to remind us all that the only thing we are not being encouraged to do in life is to take care of each other. We are encouraged to wear a mask, distance ourselves physically while psychologically internalizing the effects of the term “social distancing”, see each other as potentially fatal and stay alive and well. And yet nowhere in all of this have we been encouraged to take care of each other. At no time before all of this were we encouraged to do so.

I believe that giving a shit about each other, listening to each other, caring for each other, agreeing to disagree with each other, supporting each other and simply recognizing that we’re all doing our best to navigate the fuckwittery of being human is the missing link. It’s what would dismantle all of the systems that have had us in competition with each other for so long, and would allow us to actually learn about each other in ways that our bullshit social media posts never convey.

Try taking care of someone once you’ve read these words. Give your time, hold some space, give a shit about someone else’s well-being. What you’ll find is that in doing so, you’ll end up feeling better in your own experience of life. And really consider how this world would be a different place if we were encouraged, conditioned, taught to actually take care of each other.

The Anti-Newsletter

I’m not a fan of newsletters. I used MailChimp ages ago and felt like shit every time I sent out the latest info because I knew that most people, like me, resent getting emails they didn’t sign up for and just delete them without engagement.

This morning I considered sending out a one-off newsletter. I wanted one go-to reference for people to know when and how they can find what I’m putting out into the zeitgeist, and because people have been asking me how they can arrange for birthday/bachelorette/private classes. I decided that I still don’t want to do the newsletter thing. So instead of going that route, I’m putting this post up here now. Consider it your Bram Levinson newsletter 🙂

Weekly Yoga Classes via Luna Yoga
Thursday, 18h-19h30
Saturday, 11h-12h30

Weekly Yoga Nidra Meditation Classes
Friday, 17h30-18h10
Sunday, 17h30-18h10

Private Yoga and/or Meditation Classes
(special events or weekly)
Via Zoom, Skype, Messenger, FaceTime or WhatsApp by appointment

Private Group Yoga and/or Meditation Classes (special events or weekly)
Via Zoom, Skype, Messenger, FaceTime or WhatsApp by appointment

Private Mindset Coaching
Via Zoom, Skype, Messenger, FaceTime or WhatsApp by appointment or through CrossFit Westmount

Yoga, Meditation & Reaffirmation Workshop with Luna Yoga – Sunday, June 14 14h-16h
Register here: http://www.lunayoga.ca/events/yoga-meditation-and-reaffirmation-with-bram-levinson

…and don’t forget The Examined Life with Bram Levinson Podcast being updated constantly 🙂

Feel free to reach out for any further details or requests!

Forced Perspective

This is an old meme made about five or six years ago that I stumbled upon this morning, and its relevance speaks volumes in this current situation. There’s a quote from Sadhguru that always puts things into perspective for me, “If your stomach is empty, there’s only one issue – food. But once the stomach becomes full, you have a hundred issues going on.”

We have always had abundance. We have never known scarcity or having to do anything other than what we were privileged to do. And in those times, we had hundreds of issues. The “shoulds” were sometimes crippling. I should making more money. I should be taller. I should be prettier. My hair, my clothes, my house, my body, my intelligence, etc… We have obsessed over what we were not and let that overshadow the miracles of what we are.

In times like this we are FORCED into perspective. We have one issue now, to circle back to Sadhguru: food. Survival. Live through this. And so, consider that there was never really anything wrong. Consider that you were perfect, as you were, as you are, as you will be.

Stop treating yourself the way you don’t want to be treated. Recognize the blessings. And recognize how fortunate you have always been to be worrying about the stupid shit.

Peace to us all! 🙏🏼

The Lesson of Less

A few days home after getting back from the Yoga & Meditation City Break in Rome, and a few insights have landed hard. Ten years ago I set a goal to hold three trips per year. I did that in 2019 and what I discovered is that the idea of it was wonderful, the reality incredibly demanding and depleting. I loved giving these trips, don’t get me wrong, because with every trip I plan and execute, I aim to give people memories they will always look back on lovingly, and the feedback I get has shown me that that aim has been realized. But when I give these trips, I am “on”, 24/7, and hold myself accountable for every aspect of the trip and everyone’s experience while on it. This may be unrealistic, holding myself accountable to an unfair standard, but my work ethic is what it is.

That goal in 2009 of having three trips a year needed to be realized for me to learn that it was not sustainable, and so going forward I will be holding two trips a year as I have been doing up to 2019.

The next Yoga & Meditation Vacation will be the annual trip to Paros in Greece, September 5-15. MANY of you have told me that you intend to attend, and as of today, January 11, 7 out of 10 rooms are taken, which leaves 3 rooms available. Priority will go to those who make their $500 non-refundable deposit either through the link at https://bramlevinson.com/retreats/ or via Interac e-transfer to my email address.

My passion to share the blessings and insights that only travel can bring has not dimmed, trust me. If anything, I know better how to harness what needs to be harnessed for it to take shape and be made manifest in its most perfect iteration. Going easier on myself, not pushing myself to do or be more than is necessary, is one of the greatest lessons I have learned in recent years. The work speaks for itself, and hopefully, so does my example.

🙏🏼❤️

The Examined Life with Bram Levinson Podcast

I am extremely happy to announce the launch of The Examined Life with Bram Levinson Podcast! Episodes will include lectures, interviews, occasional rants, and whatever else I feel like sharing with the world that deal with everything from spirituality to the most mundane aspects of this experience of life. Sit back, relax, and enjoy what has already been recorded, and what is yet to come. To access the Podcast page, click on the image below!

 

Intersection

I’m lying on my bed in the late afternoon, the sun blazing outside as a Montreal heat wave slowly comes to its end in the crescendo of impending thunderstorms, and I find myself reflecting on everything that my “now” is comprised of. Summer in Montreal is what keeps people living here, and so it goes without saying that there is contentment and gratitude for heat, foliage, sun and seeing my fellow Montrealers (and the annual influx of tourists) out and about. Winter sees the masses huddled in protective winter gear, so it brings much happiness to see everyone basking in the comfort and beauty of summer’s offerings.

Weeks ago, I officiated a wedding for two people I love more than words can say, and I find myself still riding the wave of that beautiful experience. There is pure, untarnished joy related to the experience, which bubbles up now at the slightest thought of the wedding.

I received notice a half hour ago that a relative of mine who has been in my life since my childhood passed on earlier in the day, and so there is grief/poignance/nostalgia/love/gratitude bubbling up as well.

This second half of 2019 will see much travel, with Yoga & Meditation Vacations and City Breaks in Paros, Greece and Rome, Italy, as well as a work trip to Kamloops, British Columbia and some other personal jaunts to other lands, and for all of this, there is excitement and hope bubbling up.

I just spoke to my father, spoke to my mother yesterday, saw my two brothers and their families last weekend, and saw one of my uncles earlier in the week, and there is so much gratitude for still being surrounded by them 45 years into this life.

I played with my dog earlier today and lost all sense of humanness as I brushed her coat and acted like a big goofball with her, and there is such abandon and liberation that arises because of he connection we have.

Upcoming projects will involve passing on the insight and teachings I hold dearest, and there is much responsibility and honour associated to my role in the transmission of the information, as well as deep gratitude to all who have contributed to my role in the world today.

In any given moment, it all exists. The love, gratitude, grief, fear, sense of nostalgia, yearning, inquisitiveness, all of it…it all exists simultaneously for us all. We learn to observe it all, accept it all, be with it all and breathe through it all. We learn that through this power of observation we glean the wisdom that can only be taught through the nature of transience and impermanence. It’s all changing. And so we welcome it all, be with it, allow the humanity of the instant arise and integrate into our world view, and keep going.

This “now” is where it all intersects to form what is. It will change. It already has. So have we.

Take a moment to recognize your “now”, in all its fury and beauty and scary and lovely. Observe it. Appreciate it all. And watch it change.

Peace to us all.
Bxx

Reboot

Today is the first day. A new cycle has begun. Know this. What has been has been. What is done is done. This is the beginning of what is to come, and so today is the first day of new horizons, new paths, new words, a new narrative. Make it be. Every day that we reawaken in these bodies that house the energy that is you, that is me, and that is we, is another opportunity to be reborn, to restart, to wipe the slate clean and begin again with newness, wonder and unwavering hope. Every day that we are able to use these bodies for the benefit of ourselves and others is a miracle, a miracle of being and a miracle of choice, because to choose mindful action instead of mindless repetition is, unfortunately, not our default setting. It is a choice that we make in every mindful moment, especially in the ones when we decide that every “now” is an opportunity to reboot the wiring, restart the cycle, refocus the intention and commitment.

Today is the first day. Know this, and make it be.

Start Your Next Chapter Now Weekend Workshop January 12-13, 2019

Earlier this year, I jumped beyond my usual solo teaching format to collaborate with one of my dearest friends, Christelle Franca, for the Start Your Next Chapter Weekend Workshop. As I mentioned then, I can count on one hand the people I have collaborated with over the past decade, mostly because my approach to healing and wellness is so specific an expression that I am typically hesitant to mix it with someone else’s. Regardless, in August of 2018, Christelle and I presented our workshop for the first time in Montreal, and it was massively gratifying to see it received so beautifully by those who attended. Once it was done, we swore we would keep offering the workshop periodically throughout key moments in the year, and to kick off the new year, we are happy to announce the dates for the next Start Your Next Chapter Weekend Workshop, January 12-13, 2019!

I have known Christelle for almost 15 years, and in that time I have seen her many incarnations as sound artist, DJ, healer, Masters student, and so much more. She has worked in Lebanon teaching students how to express, contextualize, externalize and shift the energies of trauma from living with/in war on a day-to-day basis. She is a woman who shares my belief that there is no greater purpose for any of us than to accompany others through their suffering, through their moments of stuckness. It is a real honour for me to partner with my soul-sister to once again present this weekend workshop of transformation, movement, contemplation, expression, creation and actualization.

Start Your Next Chapter is our co-creation, intended to facilitate whatever changes those who attend may be aching to incorporate in a sustainable and realistic way, but feel too paralyzed to initiate. It has proven to be an opportunity to be exposed to tools that can alleviate the inevitable suffering each one of us is exposed to, and it gives those who attend the modules the means to express, examine and re-imagine their narrative, their story. Bringing psychotherapeutic tools together with movement, meditation, energy work, writing, discussion and deep contemplation, this weekend is the most brilliantly beautiful opportunity to get the ball of sustainable change rolling with certainty and clarity. Christelle has referred to us both as “les gardiens du passage” (the guardians of transition, of change), and we will do that once again in tandem over the weekend in January.

This event will take place at Equilibrium Yoga (4812 blvd St-Laurent, suite #101) over the Jan 12-13 weekend, 9h-16h30 both days with a one-hour break for lunch. Space will be limited to 15 people so that we can properly give appropriate time and attention to everyone. The workshop will be presented in both English and French, so comprehension of both languages is required from participants. Registration is now open, all payment types accepted. See you there!

Start Your Next Chapter Weekend Workshop

January 12-13, $260+taxes

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