Victoria Campbell helps participants find inner peace at Yasodhara Yoga Toronto Centre in Upper Beach

Victoria Campbell leads a class at Yasodhara Yoga Toronto Centre in the Upper Beach. Photo by Robert Sheng.

By FIONA BRAMZELL

There’s no doubt that yoga has become one of the most popular activities over the last decade, giving rise to countless studios, instructors, accessories and the ubiquitous yoga pants. In fact, it’s become such a trend that it’s easy to lose sight of its true purpose – finding inner peace.

It is a peace that positively radiates from Victoria Campbell, a Yasodhara Yoga teacher who conducts all her offerings from the Yasodhara Yoga Toronto Centre, which also happens to be her Upper Beach home.

The sparingly-furnished yet warm, welcoming space is somewhat of a sanctuary for those who go there for her classes, which are geared towards all ages, abilities and spiritual backgrounds. The community that has grown from the centre is a testament to the selflessness of Victoria and to the power of Yasodhara Yoga, a practice introduced to Canada in the 1950s by Swami Radha. A pioneer in the development of yoga in the West, Swami Radha founded the Yasodhara Ashram, a retreat and study centre located in the beautiful mountains of southeastern B.C. on Kootenay Lake.

Victoria visits the Ashram once or twice a year, not only as a personal retreat but also to participate in Karma Yoga as a service to the community, and evolve in her capacity as a certified teacher of Yasodhara Yoga.

While Victoria’s own discovery of Yasodhara Yoga was triggered by a personal health crisis almost 20 years ago, she says there are many reasons why someone may want to explore the practice.

“Yasodhara Yoga is unique,” she says, “and goes far beyond the ‘perfect pose’. It provides a space where one can stretch, reflect and, essentially, meet oneself with none of the distractions of daily life. It’s about living with awareness and authenticity and simply being in Quiet.”

For this purpose, in addition to her Yasodhara Yoga classes which include Hatha Yoga and Hidden Language Hatha Yoga, a combination of poses and journaling, she also offers several other classes and workshops at the centre, all of which are on a drop-in basis.

A monthly Yasodhara Spiritual Practice consists of chanting, meditating on the breath and the light, walking meditation and reflection questions based upon a theme, while Satsang offers a Sunday evening prayer service and vegetarian potluck dinner.

In addition to this, she also provides ‘Time for Quiet’ once a month, where anyone can simply come by the centre for an hour or two to enjoy the peaceful space in which to meditate, journal, read Ashram books and magazines from the lending library or, as Victoria says, ‘take time to be.’

All offerings at the Yasodhara Centre are ‘pay as you choose’, with money collected going directly to the Ashram. Not only does this make them accessible to all but, more importantly, it forms the foundation of Victoria’s commitment to yoga as a selfless service, as opposed to a business.

For the former elementary school educator and self-described ‘natural teacher’, her joy comes from  seeing how those who come to the practice discover more about themselves through self-reflection and leave feeling calm and relaxed.

“Teaching, to me, is a gift and I believe that anyone coming to the practice and seeing how deeply it resonates, is giving themselves an important gift too.” Indeed, Victoria credits her own Yasodhara Yoga journey with having saved her life and, while anyone entering the centre for the first time may not be in crisis, there’s no doubt that gaining inner peace is something that we all need and deserve.

If you are interested in any of the offerings Victoria Campbell provides at the Yasodhara Yoga Toronto Centre, please visit her website http://www.yasodharayoga.org/toronto or contact her at lightfilledyoga@hotmail.com/ 416-566-7510.

More information about Yasodhara Ashram and its offerings of retreats, courses and Karma Yoga is available at www.yasodhara.org

Namaste.


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