FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2011 THE VANCOUVER COURIER
sports & recreation
Yoga conference this weekend at convention centre
Yoga, activism go together—lecturer
ENJOY BREAKFAST IN BED THIS SATURDAY. THEN LUNCH.
FR O M
Yoga has something to offer us, believes Michael Stone, something much more than postures. “When people start to deepen their yoga practice, they start to make contact with deeper values in their life,” the instructor and lecturer said from Toronto. “When you start going inward, you naturally also start going outward.” Off the yoga mat and out of the studio, people can become sensitive to societal, economic and environmental imbalances, he said. Yoga is not a selﬁsh pursuit, an escapist diversion for a recluse. “The practice is actually opening people up to a more engaged life,” said Stone. “In the ’60s there was this term drop-out. Nowadays I think what we need is this term: drop-in.” The Toronto-based author and activist, Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist leads Centre of Gravity, a non-proﬁt, primarily volunteer-run yoga and spiritual practice in the urban core. Stone will be in Vancouver this weekend for the annual Yoga Conference and Show at the Convention Centre, where he’ll deliver a theme he’s been reﬁning for at least the past ﬁve years and has explored in two books. On Friday night, Stone probes the connections between yoga and social activism in a lecture titled Awake in the World. At noon Sunday, he will speak to the Occupy Vancouver demonstrators. He also teaches throughout the weekend and will visit
Semperviva Yoga in Kitsilano. Over the phone, he delivers his words carefully, as if considering their meaning and reﬂecting on his message with each phrase. He’s an activist and one who ponders the importance of the behaviours and values that deﬁne the meaning of the word. “I consider myself an engaged citizen. I think that being somebody who cares about healing means being somebody who cares about the structural problems in our society that prevent people from living meaningful lives. “I would say that I’m an activist in the sense that it gives me meaning to serve people. I think any way you’re engaged in your community is activism.” Stone is supportive of the international movement currently on exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Whatever your politics are, the Occupy movement has grabbed our attention because there’s something about the values they are prescribing that is in line with our deepest values of interdependence, of community of simple and healthy food and of taking care of each other,” said Stone. “The next phase of the Occupy movement is going to be how people deal with conﬂict.” When he addresses the demonstrators at Occupy Vancouver, he’ll talk about the constructive ways society can turn anger into creativity. For more information, visit theyogaconference.com. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MHStewart
G IF TS
Megan Stewart Staff writer
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