Thursday, November 12, 2009

Charter for Compassion

A call to bring the world together…

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The simple power of being a companion

“For hundreds of thousands of years ... a friend or companion has sat down quietly on the ground close by and listened. And little by little some kind of opening has come, and there has been some sense of a way forward…. It seems more than probable that these simple things have been known at all times and in all places ... We are passing a golden treasure from hand to hand.” Rob Foxcroft

When I read this, I feel comforted in my body. My insides relax and I feel a sense of simple, peaceful calmness and joy. They say, “Yes! This is how I want to be. This is the simple gift I want to give."

Shulamit Day Berlevtov
Holistic Psychotherapy

I support people in transforming what is painful and difficult into meaning, inner spaciousness and new life.

Sessions are available for $75 each or a package of three for $200.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

List of Services

Focusing Guiding and teaching: “No matter what you do, when you know Focusing, it will go better.” Focusing is direct access to a bodily knowing. It is a mode of deep listening through inward bodily attention that is more than being in touch with your feelings and different from body work. The skills you will learn in Focusing also enable you to accompany the most difficult of inner experiences with safety and ease. Sessions are available by phone or in person.

Compassionate Communication (Nonviolent Communication or NVC) Coaching and instruction: The NVC process develops skills of consciousness and communication with yourself and others, supporting a quality of connection that gives rise to a flow of natural compassion (particularly when you find this the most challenging to do, and you need compassion the most). The NVC process is useful for personal growth as well as for interpersonal communication and conflict resolution in all kinds of settings including intimate relationships, family and work. Coaching sessions and instruction are available by phone or in person.

Integrative bodywork: Incorporating deep listening through facilitated bodily attention with energy healing through light physical touch, integrative bodywork supports personal growth and healing. It is an opportunity for total mind-body-spirit processing so that you can access and experience freshly the living-forward energy of any situation or issue. Sessions take place clothed, lying on a massage table, in person only.

Restorative Circles facilitation
: Restorative Circles are a community response to conflict. With my NVC colleagues in Ottawa/Outaouais, I co-host Restorative Circles for communities that have experienced disconnection and want to restore harmony, dignity, trust and safety.

Tapas Acupressure Technique®: Promotes inner peace, relaxation, vibrant health and empowerment by placing your attention on whatever the issue is and touching a few specific acupuncture points on your face and at the back of your head. Guided TAT® sessions by phone or in person. TAT®, Tapas Acupressure Technique®, and TATLife® are registered trademarks of Tapas Fleming.

Reiki: A holistic, light-touch healing modality that re-establishes a normal flow of life-force energy to support and accelerate your body's innate healing ability. I move through a series of hand placements either directly on or just above your body. Sessions take place with you clothed, lying on a massage table. In Bells Corners.

Yoga and Yoga as Therapy: Integrating Kripalu postures and experiential technology with breath and posture elements from the Viniyoga tradition. Promotes wellness by incorporating body, mind and spirit. Individual Yoga as Therapy sessions are available in person in Bells Corners. Group and individual yoga classes are also available. Please inquire for locations.

Fees: All services are available at the rate of $75/session. Insurance coverage may be available under some extended health care plans. Save $25 by purchasing a 3-session package for $200. All fees are payable in the currency of the payee's country of residence. I accept cash, cheque or Paypal (pay cash directly from your bank account or by credit card without revealing your financial information).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What is Empathy and why you may find value in it?

"Empathy can be likened to standing in another person’s shoes, understanding the feelings and values of another person’s perspective at any given moment. It begins with an internal choice to see from a different point of view, to understand another side of a story. Empathy is the state of being fully present to each other's feelings and needs. Empathy is not agreement, but rather a willingness to fully understand how things look from another’s point of view. To create empathic connection, one need not have ever been in the same situation of the person you are listening to - for example, even if one has never had a child does not mean that they would be unable to empathize with a parent.

Empathy is being present to what the other person is experiencing, not being triggered by it or trying to fix it. When we allow the person who is before us to simply be, without our values, judgments or decisions to be placed upon them, we are offering ourselves in what some have called unconditional love. Connecting with open-hearted curiosity accesses our natural ability to respond with compassion and clarity. It's an experience of mutual giving and receiving.

Empathy is the meeting ground where the needs of all are acknowledged and considered, including our own. When we deeply accept another, the other person is far more open to hearing and understanding us. With empathy we all have a greater chance of resolving conflicts peacefully and meeting our universal needs and values.

"I often say we've got a budget deficit that's important, we've got a trade deficit that's critical, but what I worry about most is our empathy deficit."
—U.S. President Barack Obama"

For opportunities to learn more about the value of empathy and strengthen your empathy skills, contact Shulamit 613-868-9642 or Individual sessions are available for $75 each or a block of three for $200. Group workshops are also available. Please contact Shulamit for details.

You can also register for a series of FREE empathy teleconference classes at the NVC Academy, an NVC teaching organization I recommend very highly. For more information, see

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Focusing is a practical, physical way to open the body's consciousness to the transcendent giftedness of everything

"How do I live each day so that a felt consciousness of living in a Presence can grow and deepen right within the experiences of daily life?

The habit of felt sensing (Focusing) is a practical, physical way to open my body's consciousness to the transcendent giftedness of everything, including events that threaten biological life.

Living itself can be prayer. The body itself, which we so identify with mortality, is meant to be our conscious bridge into immortality.

It is the body process that creates an experiential faith.

The habit of felt sensing gives us the body-feel for how in the practical order we can live connected in this world of gift, no matter what happens to us."
Ed McMahon, BioSpiritual Focusing


Shulamit Day Berlevtov offers guided Focusing sessions in person or by telephone at the rate of $75/session. You can save $25 when you buy a 3-session package for $200. See

No matter what you do, when you know Focusing, it will go better.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

10 Things We Can Do to Contribute to Internal, Interpersonal, and Organizational Peace

(1) Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how we would like to relate to ourselves and others.

(2) Remember that all human beings have the same needs.

(3) Check our intention to see if we are as interested in others getting their needs met as our own.

(4) When asking someone to do something, check first to see if we are making a request or a demand.

(5) Instead of saying what we DON'T want someone to do, say what we DO want the person to do.

(6) Instead of saying what we want someone to BE, say what action we'd like the person to take that we hope will help the person be that way.

(7) Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone's opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.

(8) Instead of saying "No," say what need of ours prevents us from saying "Yes."

(9) If we are feeling upset, think about what need of ours is not being met, and what we could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what's wrong with others or ourselves.

(10) Instead of praising someone who did something we like, express our gratitude by telling the person what need of ours that action met.

The Center for Nonviolent Communication ( would like there to be a critical mass of people using Nonviolent Communication language so all people will get their needs met and resolve their conflicts peacefully. 2001, revised 2004 Gary Baran & CNVC. The right to freely duplicate this document is hereby granted.

Shulamit Day Berlevtov offers training and coaching in Nonviolent Communication. Individual sessions are available at the rate of $75 each. You can save $25 when you buy a 3-session package for $200. For information on group workshops, please contact Shulamit. For more on Nonviolent Communication, see

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Encounter life with Focusing

Are you yearning to know yourself better? Are you feeling stuck?

Focusing allows you to meet yourself directly, with nothing (old habits, prior assumptions, fears, or any other kind of baggage) in between.

Focusing is a way of encountering life itself

"When I Focus, I am seeking to know myself better. When Focus, I become more clear about my priorities. I value my relationships. I change... I don't stay stuck in the same ruts. I surprise myself. I move into my potential.

Focusing lets me meet people directly, with nothing in between. My relationships are enormously better now than before Focusing. I am truly present and engaged in living my life." adapted from Ann Weiser Cornell


Shulamit Day Berlevtov offers guided Focusing sessions in person or by telephone at the rate of $75/session. You can save $25 when you buy a 3-session package for $200. See

No matter what you do, when you know Focusing, it will go better.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Some Suggestions for Individualized, Breath-Centered Yoga Practice

Some Suggestions for Individualized, Breath-Centered Yoga Practice

Presented by Leslie Kaminoff to 170 students at 7am practice on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at Symposium for Yoga Therapy and Research, Los Angeles.

© Leslie Kaminoff
Please feel free to use and share these ideas with as many people as you wish. However, please respect the original language, and preserve proper attribution when forwarding.

10 teaching points:

1. "OM" at your own pace.
Everyone's breath is a different length. Let's honor that with 3 comfortable, non-competitive OM's to start and end the class.

2. Vinyasa yourself.
A salutation done in group synchrony is a powerful experience for sure, but because the breathing pace is everyone's, that means it's actually no one's. It's shocking how many experienced group-class students have never done a single vinyasa at their own pace.

3. Function over form.
Give functional suggestions instead of form-oriented instructions. Promoting the idea that there's an ideal form to the poses neglects the context that asana doesn't exist unless expressed by the unique body of a single individual. Pursuing an unattainable, ideal form only leaves the student wondering what they've done wrong.

4. Be an opener, not a poser.
Even some of the most seasoned teachers make this mistake. A student's experience is never wrong as long as it's THIERS, not yours. Class is the time for students to have their own, unique experience, rather than being told what they should be feeling. Students are very vulnerable and suggestible in class, so instead of telling them what should be going on inside, just point them in the direction you want them to look, and be open to surprises. If they have trouble feeling anything, then that's exactly what they need to notice.

5. Honor dyslexia.
The most useless and confusing words in yoga class are "right" and "left." Does it REALLY matter what side you start a pose on? All the traditional justifications for starting on the right side can be countered with equally persuasive counter-arguments. Given the freedom, most people will do their easy side first - even if they don't consciously know which side that is. In the right context, this is very revealing.
When giving instructions for any pose, try saying, "choose a foot (or hand) and start with that one - we'll get the other one next. Now, you can refer to the limbs as "first" or "front" or "back" or "other" and everyone will be much happier.

6. Try free-form counterposing.
Instead of teaching thee usual counterposes to intense asanas, give the students a few minutes to do whatever their bodies need - based on what they're feeling. Prepare to see some people do the expected just out of rote habit, which they should recognize. Be also prepared to see the unexpected and counter-intuitive. For example, some people want to go deeper into a backbend after wheel, rather than into child's pose.

7. Try free-form krama.
Krama means steps (for more advanced students). Assign your class a challenging "target" pose, which they will do after a series of self-selected, progressive preparatory practices. Afterwards, see #6.

8. Disassociate your breathing.
One of the strongest patterns exhibited by experienced students is the simultaneous initiation of breath and movement. The deepest practice of vinyasa-bandha is most easily revealed when breath and movement are consciously DIS-connected. Try starting the breath before the movement, or vice-versa. Simple idea, big topic. Buy my next book.

9. Take a stand for freedom.
Let's try to banish the words "correct" and "proper" from discussions about asana, and especially breath. Either the goal of yoga is to be free, or the goal of yoga is to get it right - choose now, because you can't have it both ways.

If you just chose freedom, you've divested yourself of that crazy idea that you had to get it right. Stay with that, and...

10. …Congratulations. Welcome to YOUR yoga.

Enjoy! Feedback welcome.

by Leslie Kaminoff

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kripalu Yoga in Centrepointe

Kripalu Yoga Class - General Level
Session begins 9 February 2009

This series is a general-level 10-week session of Kripalu yoga classes.

Kripalu classes are designed for your body, mind and spirit. Destress and refresh your body as you stretch and tone your muscles, releasing chronic tension. Calm restless thoughts and cultivate your concentration to support mental clarity and confidence. A Kripalu yoga practice encourages self-acceptance, teaches you to honor your inner wisdom, and invites peace within.

Kripalu classes taught by Shulamit will integrate Kripalu postures and experiential technology with breath and posture elements from the Viniyoga tradition. Classes begin with warm-up movements and breath awareness in preparation for postures. The heart of each class is a sequence of postures that stretch, strengthen and balance your body. Each class ends with deep relaxation.

Time: Mondays 7:45 - 8:45 p.m.
Location: Livewell Health, 100 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean

Cost: 10 classes for $140
Pre-registration is required.
To register, contact Livewell Health at 613-225-3339.

For more about Shulamit see
To contact Shulamit, call 613-868-YOGA or e-mail

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kripalu Yoga for Total Wellness and Stress Reduction

Session begins February 9, 2009

This 8-week course brings together many facets of Yoga that have been especially effective in reducing stress and facilitating wellness. Each class features various learning modalities to present both body-based experiences and educational information about stress, wellness and Kripalu Yoga. It is based on the principles of Integrative Yoga Therapy, an aspect of the ancient science of Yoga that focuses on health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, psychological and spiritual. It marries Western and Eastern approaches to health and well-being.


Week One: Introduction to the Course. “What will I learn?” and The Breath: Are You Really Breathing?

Week Two: Body Awareness: Facilitating mind-body-spirit connection is the key to health.

Week Three: Understanding Stress. Learning to use Yoga for stress management.

Week Four: The Power of Belief. Bringing greater health and energy into our lives.

Week Five: Living From the Heart: The physical and metaphorical heart and its role in health and healing.

Week Six: Energy: Yoga’s source of health.

Week Seven: Introduction to Ayurveda (India’s traditional medicine): Ayurvedic anatomy.

Week Eight: Opening to Life: Integrating the course.

Students will leave this program with an understanding of the importance of the mind-body-spirit in maintaining and promoting health. They will also learn effective tools that they can take home and use in their daily lives to deal with stress and promote wellness at all levels of their being.

8-week session, Mondays 5:30 - 6:30 pm, beginning February 9, 2009. (to be confirmed)

Pre-registration and pre-payment is required by February 5, 2009. $80 for the program.

Contact Shulamit or 613-868-YOGA

Location: Knox United Church, 5 Gibbard Avenue, Nepean, ON

This program is presented in association with Barrhaven Yoga
See for a full schedule of classes.

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Shulamit Day Berlevtov