A big part of what takes up our energy in the run of a day, is thinking about things. We even know that a lot of it is repetitive and unnecessary, yet no matter how we try, we don’t seem to be able to control it. In moments when we do catch ourselves totally caught up, we tend think there’s only two options–either get rid of the thoughts or escape from them.

It’s as if there weren’t a third option.

But there is a third option that, when understood, works immediately. In fact, the other two methods don’t really work funny enough–at least, not for very long anyway.

The way in and through, so to speak, is with the thoughts.

In this way we endeavour to allow, to welcome, and to simply pay less attention to thoughts, rather than trying to destroy them. In fact, we don’t need to destroy anything on the road to freedom.

There is a sweetness, a richness, that emanates from the present. It’s hard to see it when we are busy thinking about something else. But when we become interested, we begin to shift our interest from habits of worry and daydreaming, to the background of all experience, there is a truth there. This opportunity is always here for us and the source of true meditation.

So let’s continue to try to quit giving ourselves a hard time all the time and replace it with better understanding. Let’s throw out all the techniques and recipes we’ve accumulated that haven’t delivered what they seem to promise. Let’s find a better way. Life is in its essence is simple, peaceful, open, and waiting for us to join with it, right now as-it-is. You know, even if at first it doesn’t seem like it ever will get easier, it does. With each step we take in the right direction we discover it doesn’t have to be so hard.

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Settling in here in Koh Phagnan

imageAfter arriving in Bangkok, I did end up spending two days in a hotel simply to adjust to the time and the climate. It was really wonderful to just rest, and a nice way to ease into a completely different culture. I have to admit, I did assume that some of the Thai people I would run into would know even just a little bit of English, but I was wrong. Any little excursion or exchange I had with anyone but the hotel staff was just a big game of charades. Still I found it all very interesting (including waking up to the sound of a rooster–in the middle of downtown Bangkok?!) and by the third day, I was ready to find my way to my final destination, the island of Koh Phagnan.

You can either take an overnight bus or a plane, then a ferry to get there. So I booked a flight to Koh Samui, and I was on my way. One more day of travel and I was looking forward to putting my bags down for a while. Again, yoga proved to be really helpful because I really did have the strength to carry all three bags, as well as having the awareness of when to put them down, and how to carry them properly so that my body felt balanced and cared for. But after my fourth plane, a ferry, and a back of a pickup truck taxi, I was ready to put my bags down–I had arrived at Pyramid Yoga Center!

20160121_182918I am now in a nice bungalow on the property I can call home for a couple of months, and I’m settling in. The first order of the day is to rent a scooter so you can tour around. I have experience riding scooters, so I was really happy to secure one for 100 Baht per day ($4). With the scooter, I began to explore right away. Koh Phagnan is quite a popular travel destination. Each month, over 30 000 people from all over the world visit the island. The biggest attraction is the famous full moon party. Pyramid Yoga is in the North West, and thankfully at the opposite end. It’s quieter in the North, but really the whole island is very beautiful. It’s only approximately 20 kms across so it’s very small and its perimeter is dotted with tropical blue/white sand beaches lined with amazing beach side restaurants. All the Pad Thai you could ever want and fresh coconut water… so wonderful. The center of the island is mountainous and impassable, so you get a view of pristine mountains of lush jungle from almost everywhere you go. Just wow.

I am careful on my scooter though, since there is sand, fallen coconuts, and lots of dogs (for some reason) on the roads. So I’ve been doing about 40 20160122_181754km/hr and that suits me just fine. It’s been a lot of fun, but the other night, after sunset kirtan on the beach (yes, I did say sunset kirtan on the beach), I ran out of gas on a dark little road while leaving the beach. For some reason my gas gauge wasn’t working, so there I was stranded. It is situations like this where you really get to learn about yourself and how you might handle something. Despite being still jetlagged and in an unfamiliar place, in a challenging situation, I just decided to relax and trust that I could just go get some gasoline (they sell bottles of it on every corner for the scooters) and bring it back to fill up the tank. So that’s what I did, and I even got a blister from the walk because my shoe was new. But I took it all in stride until I got back to the scooter and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to open the seat.

Now, I was tired, it was dark, and I just didn’t know what to do…. I was examining every aspect of this little scooter, but I just couldn’t lift the seat to get to the gas tank underneath. Just before I was finally going to give in to stress, a young couple from New York come down the road out of the darkness and I asked if they knew how to open the seat. They didn’t, but boy they tried. At least I didn’t feel so bad for not figuring it out myself, but we finally decided that we should push the whole bike into town and find someone who could open it. On the walk, I got to know a bit about Vivien and Eugene. They were such a sweet couple, and so helpful. I realized right there that it is precisely through the hardships that opportunities and amazing moments can shine through. I was touched by their kindness and generosity, and it was through the contrast of the situation, that goodness got to shine a little brighter. I must remember this story, so that I can look for these opportunities when stressful situations arise.

So don’t panic, and enjoy the ride.
More to follow.

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Welcome the New Year with a Kirtan Chanting Celebration!

5a0b3d0ba42af84db3586b04f51475a2Start 2016 with joy, peace, and celebration! Join Mandee Labelle and special guests Michelle and John Coleman for an evening of traditional Kirtan chanting, mantras, sound, and silence to set the tone for an amazing new year.

Mandee will share meditations and mantras alongside Michelle and John. We will all be sharing in the heart of understanding through voice and presence, accompanied by beautiful instruments from India such as the harmoninium, the taanpura, and more. No singing required, however you might want to… ;o) Join us to experience the beauty and power of Bhakti Yoga.


~ or $150 to sign up for the whole Chakra Yoga Weekend, which includes the New Years Kirtan!

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YYTT 2016!

Hello Everyone!

I am happy to share the news of the Spring start date for our wonderful YYTT 2016 program. Happiness is finding oneself, while following one’s love for yoga. When we first start taking a few steps into a new freedoms and possibilities, guidance and support can really help us to discover so much of what is here for us!

Yogaheart’s deep and transformative Yoga Teacher Training (YYTT) program not only offers skills and tools to deepen our practice and how to teach yoga, but also helps us to move forward in life with a greater sense of awareness and confidence. Delicately balanced to gently challenge us, while supporting us doing our inner and outer work with openness, self-kindness and enthusiasm, this program is both practical and life changing.

In such a context, we are more able foster the evolution that has been waiting for us. This program includes the physical side of yoga, but it is not limited to it. Those who are interested and ready for our program will also be drawing from a broader context of what yoga and life has to offer.

Thanks for your interest in Yogaheart programs!
Gratitude and namaste’
Mandee ॐ

Applications for the Apr to Nov 2016 YYTT are now available.
For more information, please visit to the YYTT page.

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