Mindful Moments Instructors
The Mindful Moments program has a diverse team of instructors. Each instructor's class is shaped by their unique academic and personal experience with mindfulness. We encourage you to take a couple of minutes out of your busy day to read about each of our Mindful Moments instructors and to drop-in to their classes.
Lauren is the Coordinator of the Mindful Moments program and an E-RYT and Applied Mindfulness Meditation Specialist with over 1000 hours of teaching experience. She is also an MEd student at OISE where she studies Adult Education.
Lauren started practicing yoga and mindfulness as a way to manage her stress and striving. She is a keen practitioner of nature appreciation and loves to share her passion for integrating mindfulness into our day-to-day lives.
Tuesday mornings at Hart House are a great introductory to mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Join other students and community members in a warm and welcoming environment.
Her Wednesday class encourages an embodied awareness that contributes to the reduction of tension, increased range of motion and relaxation. Class begins with a meditation and a slow mindful warm-up, followed by a variety of poses, and closes with a 10 minute meditation. Modifications are provided throughout so that students of all abilities can participate. Latecomers are welcome and early departures are accommodated. The sessions are open to students, faculty and staff with a valid Athletic Centre membership which includes access to Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
Melissa is an experienced Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist and Buteyko Breathing Educator. She has also completed Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Meditation at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies. She encourages people to personalize yoga and meditation and to take these teachings from the mat into daily life.
Melissa begins her class with a reflection topic/intention, moving into a gentle yoga practice, relaxation, breathing practice, and seated and/or lying down mindfulness meditation. All of her classes are beginner friendly and modifications are offered in a welcoming environment. Students who need to arrive late or leave early will be accommodated. If you plan to leave early, please let Melissa know at the start of class if possible.
Jill (MEd, BPHE, RYT, RHEP-TFL) is the Assistant Manager of Fitness & Instruction at the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (U of T Sport & Rec). She oversees fitness, dance and sport programs across the Faculty's facilities including the yoga and meditation classes at the Athletic Centre and Goldring Centre. Jill is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and holds a certificate in Applied Mindfulness Meditation from the U of T School of Continuing Studies.
She is also a Registered Health & Exercise Practitioner-Trainer of Fitness Leaders (RHEP-TFL). Jill teaches Mindful Meditation and Yoga classes, linking several yoga poses together in a mindful way while integrating principles of alignment grounded in exercise science.
- Mondays 5:30 – 6:25 p.m. | Goldring Centre, 100 Devonshire Pl. 3rd floor – Meditation & Yoga with Jill Cressy
Dr. John Vervaeke, PhD
Bio coming soon.
Liam O’Leary is a lover of all things involving trees and bicycles. He is a certified coach, a graduate of the MEd program in Adult Education at OISE and he has participated in multiple mediation retreats.
He takes a solution-focused approach to supporting individuals in their personal, academic and professional growth. His mindfulness sessions encourage a single-pointed focus on a mediation-object for twenty minutes followed by a short debrief, and then a second twenty-minute session.
Please come early if you would like additional instruction. Latecomers and early departures are accommodated. All are welcome!
- Mondays 12:10 – 1 p.m. | Grad Room, 66 Harbord St. – Mindful Moments with Liam O’Leary
Thomas is a fourth-year Psychology and Cognitive Science student at U of T. He was first introduced to meditation in grade 12 on an intense 5-day meditation retreat. He has continued his education through daily practice and attending retreats and conferences.
Each session begins with an informal introduction, followed by two twenty-minute meditations (one seated and one walking). Class close with a Q & A period. His sessions are a mix of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditations.
Latecomers are welcome and early departures are accommodated. The sessions are open to faculty, staff and students.
- Wednesdays 12 – 12:50 p.m. | New College, Wilson Hall, 44 Wilcocks, Room 2008 – Mindful Moments with Thomas Shakir
Airrow Toner is a graduate from the Foundations of Applied Mindfulness at U of T as well as the Community Worker Program at George Brown College, and a current student of Esoteric Studies and Spiritual Science.
In these sessions, she hopes to offer an inclusive space where those attending feel held in community and solidarity as we practice an array of mindfulness techniques together. All are welcome to attend this session. Folks are encouraged to bring a journal for post reflection (paper and writing utensils will also be available), and there will be time allotted at the end of the session for those who feel inspired to share their experience. There is no need to perform, strive, or be a certain way here. Come as you are—however you are.
Brenda Toner is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. She teaches drop-in mindfulness meditation classes at the Multi-Faith Centre as part of the U of T Mindful Moments program.
For the past 34 years, Brenda has been actively involved in the area of mental health and wellbeing. She has held many leadership positions including Head of Women’s Mental Health Program and Director of the Fellowship Program at U of T. During the past 12 years, she has participated in professional education training and teaching in Mindfulness-based approaches. Over the past 3 years, she has had the opportunity to give several workshops, invited presentations and keynote addresses on Mindfulness at U of T. Brenda also taught Undergraduate and Graduate courses in the Psychology Department and OISE at U of T.
- Thursdays 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. | Galbraith Building, 35 St. George St. Room 173 (in the front lobby) – Mindful Moments with Brenda Toner
True Peace Toronto
True Peace Toronto is a group of mindfulness practitioners who meet to learn and practice the art of mindful living. Their practice is based on the Zen Buddhist teachings of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, but they come from a variety of backgrounds, traditions and experience levels. This diversity is reflected in their family of facilitators who take turns leading the sessions. Learn more about us on our website.
- 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | Multi-Faith Centre (Koffler House), 569 Spadina Ave. Room 208 – Mindfulness Meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh with True Peace Toronto
Owen Ware, PhD
Owen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at U of T. His approach to mindfulness focuses on the cultivation of self-care, personal growth, and community building. He is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches meditation and yoga classes that are designed to create a safe, relaxing and welcoming space for both beginners and regular practitioners.
- Thursdays 8 – 9 a.m. | Multi-Faith Centre (Koffler House), 569 Spadina Ave. Room 208 – Morning Yoga and Mindfulness with Owen Ware
Wake Up Toronto
Wake Up Toronto has five main facilitators who have all studied and trained with Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in the tradition of Engaged Mindfulness. Collectively, we are interested in exploring how mindfulness can be applied to daily life.
- Elli Weisbaum is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, with a focus on integrating mindfulness into healthcare. She is also an instructor for the Applied Mindfulness and Meditation certificate program at U of T’s School of Continuing studies, and a certified teacher in the Search Inside Yourself program developed at Google Headquarters.
- Rob Walsh is a Masters student in the Physical Therapy program at U of T and is passionate about bringing together the disciplines of physical therapy and mindfulness.
- Dagmara is an MSW and RSW trained Mindful Self Compassion Teacher, whose clinical work is informed by her mindfulness training. She co-teaches the foundation level courses in the AMM-MIND program at U of T and is a member of the program's advisory committee.
- Kate Dunn works in the Toronto film and television industry, while pursuing her own studies and training in mindfulness to support her community activism and personal well-being.
- Pablo Seto works in commercial banking, speaks over five languages and is an avid scholar of mindfulness teachings, offering a wealth of wisdom on the roots of our practice.
We approach mindfulness practice from the perspective of open exploration that is inclusive and fun, with the aim to develop personal well-being and a more compassionate and healthy society.
Kathleen is the Interim Director of the Faculty of Information’s Inforum Library. Stemming out of the secular mindfulness research and studies she engaged in during her 2015-2016 sabbatical, she worked independently and in consultations with U of T colleagues and Faculty of Information stakeholders on the development of a [secular] mindfulness meditation and yoga resource area, iRelax. The goals of iRelax are to advocate for, as well as support and expand the wellness learning and wellness toolkits of University of Toronto community members, while simultaneously de-stigmatizing mental health conversations.
Participants are invited, but not required, to experiment with the iRelax meditation cushions, benches and blocks provided by the Inforum Library and in the Robarts Library. Each session provides time to engage in several mindfulness exercises, including meditation, gratitude and informal practices. All are welcome to these sessions and no experience is required.
Rose Mina Munjee
Rose Mina Munjee has been teaching and practicing therapeutic and restorative yoga, craniosacral therapy, and mindfulness meditation for over 15 years. She discovered mindfulness and yoga in her journey towards healing from stressful corporate work and early trauma. She has over 600 hours of yoga teacher training and is certified in evidence based mindfulness programs, including MBSR, MBCT, MSC and AMM-Mind. She is a lifelong learner who feels most at home in nature. She immigrated to Canada from South Africa many years ago, is of South Asian descent, and works towards building equality and inclusivity for marginalized groups. She has a passion for mindfulness and helping others to find meaning, hope, connection and resilience in dealing with stressors in life through her yoga therapy, spiritual care and psychotherapy practices. Her classes empower students with tools to deal with difficult emotions and demands on body and mind. She uses accessible, short practices, encourages feedback and questions, includes rejuvenating movements, allowing students to feel renewed, focused, and self-aware, and allows flexible arrival/departure during class.
- Thursdays 12:10 – 1 p.m. | OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, 5th floor, Room 250 – Mindful Moments with Rose Mina Munjee
Soroosh has been practicing various forms of mindfulness and contemplative practice for over 9 years, and has participated in several retreats and teacher training programs. He is currently completing a graduate degree in Buddhist Studies and Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy. Soroosh has also completed a master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Waterloo.
Soroosh's approach to mindfulness is influenced by a variety of different approaches, from the classical mindfulness based stress-reduction techniques to contemplative writing. All are welcome to join his sessions, regardless of experience level!
Soroosh is also a Residence Advisor at Graduate House.
- Tuesdays 4:10 – 5 p.m. | St. Hilda’s (Trinity College), 44 Devonshire Pl. 1st Floor, Abbot Room – Mindful Moments with Soroosh Vafapoor
Erin is an undergraduate student in Environmental Studies. She first began to practice meditation in 2017 and this led her to Mindful Moments. She soon entered into MindFIT the Mindfulness Facilitator In Training program run through the Multi-Faith Centre. Erin practices mindfulness as a means of connecting with herself, which in turn allows her to connect to others. She says, "Mindfulness helps me gain a greater sense of awareness and helps me see life and any stresses that go along with it through a better perspective." In addition to being a Mindful Moments Facilitator, Erin is a Health & Wellness Outreach Ambassador. Sessions are open to all, no experience necessary. Late arrivals and early departures are accommodated.
Mondays 4:10 – 5 p.m. | Multi-Faith Centre (Koffler House), 569 Spadina Ave. Room 207 – Mindful Moments with Erin Latimer (hosted by the BPSU)
Brown Girls Yoga
Brown Girls Yoga is a yoga class for students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a person of colour, and who currently or formerly identify as female. We welcome students of all body types, sizes and skill levels. We also provide a queer and trans-positive space. Mats available on site!
- 5 – 6 p.m. | Multi-Faith Centre (Koffler House), 569 Spadina Ave. Room 208 – Brown Girls Yoga