Chantel Ehler, School Director & Founder
Strong. Happy. Egghead.
I am devoted (and admittedly obsessed) with my son. My husband is also the best challenge to my “Independent State of Mind” – for he is the Yin to my Yang. I am loyal to my friends, who are my tribe. I have a LUST FOR LIFE: I am a gun-slinging ninja pirate cowgirl on an intergalactic space ship passage through time.
I revere Maya Angelou, Tom Waits, Dr. King, Bruce Lee, Oscar Wilde, Mindy Kaling, Eddie Izzard, Stephen Colbert, Margaret Cho, Dave Chappelle, John Oliver, Kazuo Ishiguro, Nina Simone, Terry Pratchett and George Harrison. I would love to hang out in George’s Castle with these folk for a summer. Especially if the Monty Python Crew joined us. While their words resonate and tap a source deep within, it is the random moments of encounters with bodhisattvas that render me awestruck and truly appreciative of the mystery of the Universe.
The single most powerful lesson I keep having to face over and over again, is going on my own path. This is why I was blessed with the hermetic practice of opening a family clinic here in the heart of the 1000 Islands. Embraced by a calm and quiet natural setting, I’ve managed to figure out how to tend my garden of life instead of moving through the world as my go-to gypsy reactionary self. My personal practice blends Vipassana meditation with an exploration of free movement and functional training (a combination of Tai chi, Feldenkreis, and new research in neuromuscular connectivity). I believe that being in nature, reading new ideas, and conversing with an open mind are keys to spiritual growth. This firm ground of Gananoque and family has brought healing for me, and also with it an opportunity to commence my passion for research.
I am an avid follower of new reasearch in Chronic/Persistent Pain, and neuromuscular research paired with yoga is a fascinating treasure trove of discovery. My current studies focus on techniques for stress resilience and self-regulation of chronic pain symptoms.
I first began teaching in 2002, upon my return from Kripalu to my native hometown of Toronto. I worked in homeless shelters, community centers, in parks and privately. This path changed the course of my life, where I continued to teach in Asia for 4 years, and back to Canada, where I also instructed in Moksha studios after my second teacher training. I have over 5000 hours of teaching experience, where I found myself stumbling into opening a yoga school. It wasn’t until the thick of leading that first training, where I realized I really cared about making a difference.
I have a goal, and it is to return yoga teaching to focus back on the student…. not on the performance aesthetic of the teacher. It is for this reason I made the FIRST yoga school that designs original and personalized programs for the individual learner. I have built a virtual and in person shala; a space where we can network and build high quality content together.
I do seek community, and sought to find a community that aligned with my ideals of accessibility, diversity and sustainability. This is why I joined the Accessible Yoga global non-profit organization is a natural fit. I am the Regional Representative for Canada, and the Location Manager for the Accessible Yoga Conference Toronto in 2018.
.As a renegade yogini, I’m prepared to break a few eggs to make this omelet, and reaching for the Higher Self happens just as often off the mat than it does on.
Come join me in this work that is the most challenging and the most rewarding.
You can also meet my other “child” – my massage therapy clinic at Recalibrate Wellness
Katie Juelson, Junior Director and Assistant Lead
Fearless. Gregarious. Wise.
“We Know What We Are, but Know Not What We May Be”-Shakespeare
In 2017 I started teaching yoga to high performance soccer teams, and became Canada’s National Para Soccer Team’s yoga trainer. In this experience I learned to a higher degree how yoga is lacking accessibility in Canada. For example, I found out National level athletes thought yoga was inaccessible for them! Providing Accessible Yoga is my core mission as a yoga teacher. I became involved as an ambassador, and volunteer with Accessible Yoga, a global non-profit, and I am now a member of the Logistical Support team in bringing the first ever Accessible Yoga Conference to Toronto in 2018. I am driven to support those who wish to expand access to the practices of Yoga for people with disabilities, chronic illness, seniors, and for anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable in a regular yoga class.
I am dedicated to teaching accessible yoga, and is currently working with various community programs for adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities.
Carolyn Harding, Mentor
Calm. Unflappable. Party Girl Extraordinaire.
Authentic or authenticity? – My journey
Yoga has always peaked my curiosity. I’m not sure when or why I became so enthralled with it. Maybe it was my past life memory (or was that a dream?) You see, as a small child I would from time to time ‘remember’ working in a palace and I’m sure the place was India. I also have an elephant story but that will be for another time! In my late teens I was fortunate to attend some ayurvedic classes put on by visiting prof and Yogi. These were offered once a week at Queens on a Monday night. I found my chosen product line for my salon, Aveda an amazing product with roots in Ayurveda. Whatever it was, I knew when I decided to take a teacher training I wanted an authentic experience. I loved my training, it was a mixture of the origins of yoga and classic teaching in the sivananda line. I was fortunate to learn from a Tamil Indiana who was so full of joy that he was a pleasure to be around. Our teaching consisted loads of physical practice, chanting and meditation. I came out of it feeling very prepared to teach……….one class! It was authentic. It was the real thing! I was an authentic Sivananda teacher!
Shortly after starting to teach I started to see the limitations of the style of yoga. I didn’t feel as confident after I’d been teaching while. The longer I taught the more I realized that this practice was fantastic, if, and that’s a big if, you have no limitations, a lot of flexibility and a good level of physical fitness. I found my way to many courses looking to improve my knowledge and confidence. My introduction to really start embodying this practice and make it my own began with exploration into other styles, more anatomy training and seeking more.
Without knowing it, I stumbled upon (or did she stumble into) a new teacher in our community. This chick made us think, really think about what we were doing in class. Sometimes it was awesome and sometimes a little out in left field. When the opportunity to study with her(Chantel) came up I jumped at the chance! Amara Vidya was under construction! Little did I know the ideas would keep coming and would make me rethink every thing about every aspect of this thing called yoga. Amara Vidya with the 9 stone approach has opened my mind to a more mindful approach to teaching. With a blend of ancient philosophy and modern science based movement and a wider understanding of ‘yoga off the mat’ and ‘yoga for all’ I’ve come into my own, teaching with authenticity.
I know I’m far from finished, every week there is more information coming from all directions. What I’ve learned on this journey to authenticity is to keep an open mind and continue to integrate knowledge along the way and to remain humble. Can I call myself an expert? I think not, but definitely an avid student.
Teresa Missen, Mentor
Enigmatic. Visionary. Adventurer.
I love how yoga can bring me back to my body. I work hard and I party hard, and yoga is my touchstone; my balm. I moved to Gananoque to be closer to my family, and take part in this great adventure we call yoga togather.
I travel, I curl, I entertain. My house is my base, and I put my years of work as an artist, a teacher, and a floral designer into my sanctuary. I look forward to the next book to read, the next lecture to attend, and the next CBC radio discussion. I love to learn and engage with the world around me.
I started yoga more seriously living in my hometown of Toronto. My first serious teacher, Kirsten Hildebrandt, taught an approach that strongly attracted me. When my daughter fell ill, I dragged her to this class, and watched as my daughter began a relationship with Kirsten that was equally nourishing. She and I both expressed an interest in training in Kripalu. While she graduated in 2002, I followed quickly in 2003. We still marvel and compare at how similar and how different our experiences were. I believe it is who comes into your class that dictates where the journey will take you. It is a value that led me into finding a core group of students I taught for over 10 years.
I stay true to my Kripalu teaching, and through that, I managed to connect deeply with other highly influential teachers, merging and integrating them into my Kripalu style. I have trained under Judith Lasater, Paul Grilley, Bernie Clark, and many others.
I look forward to working with students and finding what works for their bodies. I share with them a gradual process of exploring, deepening and careful observation. This is not a drop-in, check in/check out process. It takes time, and I believe we as teachers need to create the space to allow our students that gift of time.