Join us for A Weekend with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition in Toronto this October!


Friday October 2, 2015 at 7:00 PM EDT
Sunday October 4, 2015 at 3:30 PM EDT

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Cosmyc Vybes 
222 Islington Avenue
Toronto, ON M8V 3W7

Driving Directions 


Dianne Bondy 

A Weekend with the
Yoga and Body Image Coalition


Friday, October 2 to Sunday, October 4, 2015


$185 full weekend, or
$45 per individual workshop
$25 for Kelani Dance




Dianne Bondy & Tiina Veer

As a teacher, learn how to create a more inclusive yoga class, and meet more students optimally by creating a yoga experience that is accessible to a more diverse population. And if you're a student or enthusiast who has perhaps felt unmet in yoga classes, or reluctant to try because "mainstream yoga" doesn't feel like a fit, come and gain valuable insight, tips and tools for navigating yoga classes and personal practice.

Join Dianne Bondy and Tiina Veer for this workshop on creating inclusion, a safe space and a positive yoga experience for more students. We will discuss yoga and body politics, explore asana adaptations for larger and differently-abled bodies, inclusive language, and discuss the Health at Every SizeŽ paradigm, a new peace movement for our bodies.

This workshop is open to yoga teachers, students and enthusiasts.

DIANNE BONDY [Coalition Leadership Team, Windsor, Conference Coordinator]  Writer, motivator, risk taker, educator, Yoga Teacher, and leading voice in the diversity in yoga and yoga of inclusion movements. With over 1000 hours of yoga training in diverse modalities such as yoga therapeutics, restorative yoga, meditation, and Anusara Yoga.

Dianne is the founder and Managing Director of Yogasteya online yoga studio that specializes in yoga for all shapes, sizes, and abilities and is creator of Yoga for All yoga teacher training. Dianne runs training programs, retreats and workshops internationally and is a founding member of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.

TIINA VEER [Coalition Leadership Team, Toronto] is the Founder of Yoga for Round Bodies™ and Halcyon Health Clinic in Toronto. She is a Yoga Instructor, Teacher Trainer, veteran Registered Massage Therapist, and serves as a Leadership Team member for the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. She is passionate about simple self-care, and making yoga practice accessible to more people. Tiina is also an avid advocate for the Health at Every SizeŽ and Size Acceptance movements. Inspired by her own experience as the lifetime owner/operator of a round body, and informed by her anatomy knowledge, clinical experience and her own invisible disabilities, Tiina shares yoga with students and teachers in a way that is accessible, sensitive and safe.



Elen Bahr & Anitra Cottledge

“I feel fat today.” “My butt’s too big.” “I wish I had boobs.”

This workshop is for anyone who knows what it’s like to be uncomfortable in their own skin. In this session, we’ll explore how personal histories, cultural norms, and other factors affect how we feel about ourselves and how those feelings affect our self care and overall well being. We’ll develop tools that allow us to release some of our expectations and learn to be more accepting and gentler with ourselves.

Workshop components include:

  • Intro to the koshas, our five layers of being
  • Group conversation re: cultural norms and expectations
  • Journaling
  • Guided, healing meditation
  • Group yoga practice for our Now Bodies

 You’ll leave the workshop with an action plan and support network.

ELEN BAHR [Coalition Leadership Team, Minneapolis]  After years of feeling both curious about and scared of yoga, Elen Bahr stepped tentatively onto a yoga mat at age 44. She was stressed out, body conscious – and skeptical. Thanks to a welcoming and encouraging teacher, Elen had a remarkable first yoga experience and she soon developed a steady practice. Over time, she found she was able to focus on her breath and stop obsessing about the reflection of her thighs in the mirror. After years on the corporate marketing path, yoga called Elen to make a wide turn into yoga teacher training. She answered the call, received RYT-200 certification and serves on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition Leadership Team. Elen works with many students who, like her, know what it’s like to be uncomfortable with their appearance. Through her teaching, she guides her students -- and herself -- in the continual journey of being comfortable in our bodies just the way they are from day to day. Elen blogs at

ANITRA COTTLEDGE [Coalition Ally, Minneapolis] is a higher education professional, teacher, writer, developing yogi and compassionate questioner. Her work focuses on, leadership, radical self-care, technology, women of color, and the intersections of identity. She tweets infrequently about these topics and decolonizing yoga when she’s not retweeting cat pictures. Her writing has appeared in the anthology, Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists, as well as in the Minnesota Women’s Press, and on the blogs, and Student Affairs Women Talk Tech.  


Beth Berila

Internalized oppression wounds our hearts, our psyches, and our sense of self. This workshop offers yoga and meditation practices to help heal internalized oppression. We will examine the harmful messages we have learned from sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, xenophobia, and/or ableism, exploring how they appear in our everyday lives.  

We will practice yoga and meditation techniques that can help us unearth those messages, meet ourselves with loving-kindness, and replace those damaging messages with more empowering self-talk. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of how internalized oppression affects them and manifests in our communities, along with specific tools to help transform the harmful messages into empowerment.

BETH BERILA [Coalition Leadership Team, Minneapolis] is the Director of the Women's Studies Program and Professor in the Ethnic and Women's Studies Department at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She is also a registered yoga teacher and is completing her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Devanadi School of Yoga and Wellness. Her book, Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education, is forthcoming from Routledge in the Fall of 2015. As a member of the Leadership Team of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, she works to make yoga accessible to every body by challenging the lack of diversity in mainstream Western yoga culture. Her current projects merge yoga and meditation practices with feminism and mindful education to create a form of socially engaged embodied learning. Learn more about her work at


Ioana Aboumitri

Kelani Dance is a Polynesian inspired, hip shakin', body lovin', chakra rockin’, embrace-your-sexy kinda class with an island twist. No previous dance or fitness experience required!

IOANA ABOUMITRI [Coalition Ally, Toronto]  Wife, and mother of three girls who inspire her, is the owner of Kelani International Inc. and creator of Kelani Dance. Having suffered most of her life with eating disorders and body image issues, Ioana wanted to create a safe, uncomplicated, uplifting and inspiring space for every BODY and every ability.



Amber Karnes

Sun Salutations are the foundation of many yoga classes, and a classic example of synchronizing breath with movement. This sequence improves strength, flexibility, stamina and circulation, reduces stress, and increases mental focus. However, depending on your body type, level of strength, and range of motion, some parts of the sun salutation may be “sticky spots” for you. In this workshop, we will break down all the postures in surya namaskara and learn modifications to make the movements safe and enjoyable for all bodies.

Learn modifications for sticky spots like:

  • Making more room in forward folds
  • Getting your hands to the floor (or blocks)
  • Options for plank, lowering to the floor, and cobra vs. upward facing dog
  • Building strength for chaturanga
  • Down dog alternatives for cranky wrists
  • Getting your foot forward into a lunge from downward facing dog
  • How to prevent your boobs from suffocating you
  • Sun salutations at the wall/a chair for those with trouble getting up and down
    off the floor

This workshop is appropriate for all levels, from brand new beginners to more experienced practitioners. You will leave with *your* customized sun salutation so you can walk into any yoga class and practice confidently. Yoga teachers are also welcome who would like to learn modifications for students in larger bodies, those dealing with injuries, or beginners.

AMBER KARNES [Coalition Leadership Team, Charlottesville, VA] is an aspiring yogi, RYT-200 yoga asana teacher, and a lifelong student of her body. In Amber’s classes and workshops, students of all shapes and sizes will find tips, tricks, and modifications to make yoga asana work for their unique body, instead of being squished into poses for the sake of form over function. She emphasizes safe alignment and mindful transitions, and guides each student to honor the body they bring to the mat today, while being empowered to learn about the body’s intelligence and power. Amber is a big fan of “yoga in non-yoga places” and often teaches free, accessible classes in her community. She serves on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition Leadership Team and Women’s Power Space Advisory Council and seeks to further the message of inclusivity, consent, agency, body positivity, and accessibility for all on and off the mat. Amber blogs at


FREE Panel Discussion

Join Yoga and Body Image Coalition members and allies for this lively community panel discussion about creating and embodying positive space in classes, studios and on and off the mat.



JAMILAH MALIKA AND CHRISTI-AN SLOMKA [Toronto] developed the positive space initiatives at Kula Yoga Studio Annex to hold safer space for all who wished to practice. The initiatives included queer yoga classes, brown girls yoga classes, creating a culture of consent around physical adjustments, staff awareness trainings, trans-inclusive change spaces and an anti-oppression committee.  Ultimately, through their work they aimed to be an anti-racist and fat, trans and queer positive space.

After leaving Kula they continue to explore how to use the tools cultivated through yoga (compassion, love and integrity) to make the practice accessible to more people. This has been difficult interpersonal work, it has been messy, there have been tears, anger and some really difficult conversations. It is a work in progress/love where they are not claiming to know the answers but where they feel moved into action. As well as teaching for the New Leaf Yoga Foundation, Jamilah also teaches Brown Girls Yoga classes in Toronto. Christi-an teaches at the Moksha Yoga Studios in downtown Toronto and in Trinity Bellwoods Park when mother nature agrees.