Connecting with the Happyness Centre is connecting with a community of people who want you to thrive as your happiest, healthiest and most radiant self!
I first found the Happyness Centre when I was looking for ways to add more depth to my yoga and meditation practice. Over the years, I had the great fortune of taking several of Yvette Lehman's yoga classes at other studios around Kamloops, and I guess you could say I followed her to the Happyness Centre (and I'm so deeply grateful that I did!)...continues below.
I work in the field of emergency management and had gone through a fairly intense period during the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016 and the BC fires and floods in 2017, so I wanted to invest in myself so that I had the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual strength to continue helping others. In February 2018 I enrolled in the 300-hour yoga teacher training and it gave me far more than I ever expected. In addition to meeting several other wonderful students (who quickly became friends), the combination of Madhu Sai's philosophy and Yvette's teachings resulted in a rich and transformative spiritual, emotional and physical experience. I worked through self-limitations, improved my relationships with myself and others, and became grounded in my vision of how I wish to contribute to the world. I also attribute this training with increasing my ability to stay centred and to care for others and myself during emergency events.
While I am not teaching yoga at this point, I can't recommend enough how this program has helped me navigate life with an open heart and a positive perspective.
I look forward to future training with Madhu Sai, Yvette and all the other lovely beings at the Happyness Centre (like Jo Berry) who are committed to helping our community flourish.
- Kayla Pepper
Amanda May Harris is a Respectful Relationships Facilitator & the owner of Creating Space, Art & Soul Studio. Amanda has lived in Barriere for the past 18 years and is married to her husband Chris with whom she has a set of 14 year old twins, Andrew and Taylor.
My first interaction with the Happyness Center was through the First Responders Recovery Program, which my aunt Edith had told me about. I work a lot with children and families in our community and multiple non-profit organizations. At the time Edith told me about the program, I was at a crossroads personally and professionally. I was having a hard time being myself, I was tired and fed up with what seemed like every little thing and I struggled to be thankful and grateful even though I had great reason to be.
Through attending the program, I learned... [continues below]
that I am not as super human as I had made myself out to be all these years. It surprised me to learn that I was not nearly as tough or unfazed by life’s knocks as I had been presenting myself and that my ability to connect and communicate was being increasingly challenged. I learned that when you fill up a backpack full of your problems and go packing it around every day, it eventually wears you out. Sometimes the backpack even explodes all over the place. I learned a lot of hard lessons about myself, but in a loving way. I managed to attend classes and slowly started to unpack my backpack all in an amazing twelve weeks at the Happyness Centre. I’m still finding things pop up into my bag here and there, but when they do, I am able to take them out and sit with them rather than cramming them back down there for “later”.
The whole experience was the most significant part of my journey so far. I already had an idea of what was ailing me, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it, or even acknowledge it. I had been walking with that backpack for about fifteen years, so I was well aware and ready for something to finally give. I have not always been great at talking to people about my problems, or crying about them for that matter, so I found the hardest and most enjoyable part of the journey was coming in to a circle of complete stranger friends and for Kleenex boxes to be slid across the room with little head nods of encouragement telling me to keep going, keep sitting, keep working at it.
The most significant concept I learned and I am still working on
is the breath work - my breathing exercises. It really hit home what Kent said on his first day about the heart-centered breathing. I recognized a lot of the same issues in myself and have found it to be something so simple that I always revert back to when I feel like things are creeping up.
Since participating in the program, I have started looking at, and doing a great deal, differently. Before the program, I was just going through the motions, but after I began to actually see truth in all these different situations that I had been in a hundred times before. Some things just casually began to slip away, but some of them I learned to take a stand in and finally set some boundaries where they should have been set in the first place. The freedom in these areas led me to freedom in so many different areas of my life. I went a little nuts and cut all my hair off and started taking online classes. I feel like now that I can sit weekly and empty out my bag, and when I do there’s not as much clutter as there used to be; like when it was every month that I was cleaning it out, Let alone the 15 years I dragged it around.
I finished up a pretty major course this summer, and am now our schools Respectful Relationships Facilitator. Throughout the course work, which deals with a lot of tough issues, I had to again, open myself up and journal essays about things that were quite personal, and after ripping my heart out, I had to learn how to present this material to the high school kids.
Before the program, I was scared to sit in a room of 12 people and talk about the tough stuff. Now I have 4 classes of 25-30 kids every Friday and I can do it with much less fear. Sometimes the whole thing makes my head spin, it’s been a real trip!
I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone. This program mixes healthy lifestyle choice and change with loving kindness, RUNClub with meditation, yoga and heart-centered breathing. It is something that more people need help with, and access to because it changes lives - it changed mine.
“If you realized just how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”
When was the last time that you were truly aware of your thoughts? Actually noticed them for what they were and sought to understand them?
Thoughts are more important in our lives than most of us realize. Many of us have not come to understand just how impactful they are, and that we have power over them to change and shape them. As Buddha once said, “we are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.” It is true, that self-discipline begins with the mastery of our thoughts. If we do not control what we think, we cannot control what we do.
Thought conditions all our actions. Thought can organize, begin, invent, create. It forever makes images and causes us to chase our own tail. Thought is the breeder of duality in all our relationships - it can sustain and give continuity to a pleasure that we had yesterday, but it also sustains pain. Thought is active, chattering, moving, constructing, assuming. It gives continuity to feelings and emotions and is clever and cunning – distorting everything for its own convenience. Thought has the power to create beauty and happiness, but when we are not in control, it likes to create fear and anxiety, jealousy and anger.
When we do not control our thoughts, we become slave to them. These thoughts slowly but surely become ideas that are accumulated as memories in our brain cells, which then become our beliefs, even if they are not true. And then, our beliefs change the world as we share with others. Our beliefs become engrained in writing, speech and collective memory until an entire society is conditioned by these ideas that began as a small thought that we did not control.
To shape our lives well, to experience true happiness and to have any original thought, we must learn what kinds of thoughts to apply to our daily lives. We must look at our thoughts with care, logic and awareness, seeking to filter out the thoughts that have no significance and those that do not benefit or uplift. We must also seek to understand the complex structure of thinking, memory, how thought originates and how thought conditions all our actions. Unless we actively seek to understand our thoughts, we cannot begin to control our lives or recognize something much deeper within ourselves which thought cannot touch.
At the Happyness Center our main aim is to help you develop mindfulness and deeper awareness of your inner self. Our desire is to help you to learn to see yourself in silent observation and enquiry, rather than through the lens of the noisy outer world.
We invite you to join us for our Monthly Meditation on Sunday November 24th, as we explore and discuss how to become aware of our thoughts and their impact on our lives, and how to apply the right kinds of thoughts in our day to day experiences.
We all lead busy lives, and meditation can help us relax and renew. We will share, learn, and practice together. Group meditations has many advantages that can reinforce our desires of daily practice that inspires us and others.
I joined RUNClub in 2004, primarily for health related reasons, though my subconscious was likely seeking more than just physical healing. At the beginning of my time with RUNClub, I really didn't enjoy the emotional fitness side - the regular communication about the important of self-love, community and inner growth - but I chose to stay with it as I began to realize that it was starting to change my over-active mind. It is interesting how the universe brings us what we need the most even when we fight it tooth and nails isn't it? [continues below]
Now, this is my favourite part of this club. RUNClub helped me in ways I never expected, and has helped me overcome many challenges by sticking to regular running.
Then, when my mom past away, my sadness and grief caused me to desperately seek for something to help me see what I wasn’t seeing and tools to help me deal with this incredible loss. Yet again, the universe delivered - I heard about a trip to India through The Happyness Center. I had always wanted to travel to India but was afraid to do it alone, so I decided to attend the info session. There, I learned that on this trip I was not just going to see some sights with other tourists, but rather this trip would take the group to sacred temples, to participate in ceremonies that most non-local people aren’t allowed to and that everything from travel, lodging and all food, down to the smallest of details would be organized. I also found out that the trip included running, yoga, meditation and many mindfulness practices and teachings. Without any hesitation or doubt, I put my deposit down right there that evening; this was exactly what I had been looking for. And in January 2017 I arrived in India.
These two weeks forever changed my life. Madhu Sai shared philosophy and architecture and our tour guide gave us information that enhanced our experience greatly. I met truly wonderful people and saw a part of our world and a different culture up close. One of the most impactful experiences was seeing true poverty and yet seeing those who are living in it being truly grateful for the little that they have and willing to share everything with those of us who live in abundance without appreciating it; it pulled on the strings of my heart.
Before this trip to India, I had a tendency to walk away from what I didn’t like because of my competitive personality. I didn’t see the value of yoga and just couldn’t wrap my mind around it enough to understand it. On this trip I joined Yvette Lehmann’s (Yoga with Yvette) yoga class where for the first time, she I experienced the feeling of calm and I knew I wanted more of it. For most of my life, I have always trusting and listened to my gut feelings, but now because of my regular yoga practice I really have gotten to know and trust myself in a new way. This trip brought me many new experiences, including: meditation, energy work and breath work that I now practice regularly.
I now feel more confident in trusting my gut, it is different in how I feel about ME. I went from an anxious, competitive, busy-minded, self-judging person, to a loving, caring, understanding and calm being. I am in love with the new Wilma and I know others are too.