Catherine (Cate) McEwen, B.Sc., MA., resides on Salt Spring Island, BC in the Salish Sea on Canada’s west coast.
I am a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT).
I am mum to two beautiful adult kids, Liam and Seanna. Their light illumines brightly. I am a naturalist, and have been a field biologist, activist, and environmental educator, engaging students and adults with nature, and the interconnectedness of life. I am also a community member of our island home.
I rediscovered yoga after suffering from complex grief. It was through yoga that I was able to re-engage with my body and find release from my monkey mind. Focusing on breath with body awareness invited me on a pathway into inner stillness and peace. Years later, when cancer arrived on my doorstep, it was yoga through meditation and restorative poses that offered the portal inwards, to presence. I began to understand and practice self-love and self-compassion. The peace I experienced from this practice was what drew me daily to the mat.
It was a natural evolution to then deepen my practice with yoga teacher training and explore more deeply the many facets - the eight limbs - of yoga. I received my 200-hour training from Heart Yoga/Gaiatri Yoga in Nelson, BC. Curious and keen for new understandings, in 2013, I engaged in a 300-hour teacher training with an emphasis on yoga therapy at Heaven on Earth Yoga Institute and their Integrated Health & Yoga Therapy program.
The winter of 2014 found me on a 3-week retreat in Tiruvannamalai at the holy mountain of Aranachala, in southeast India. Daily morning meditations and satsang on the rooftop, silent meditations in the caves of Mt Arunachala and at Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashraman punctuated my time there. The philosophy of non-dual existence, advaita vedanta, articulated by Adi Shankara is furthered by the pointings of Sri Ramana Maharshi who directs us to self-realization through self-inquiry in silence.
More life events brought further suffering from grief. This time not the loss of beloveds but the end of my life-long relationship. And while I made the crisis personal, I have since come to understand how classic it is and understand the universality of what had played out in my life. Stories came to me from so many people with so many perspectives and I realized that my grief was all grief, my sorrow was all sorrow. And through grief, I realized that my sorrow, as our sorrow, connects us with each other as One. Our common bond. And opening to it is sacred work.
During my "acute stage" of grief, grace led me to Mooji. Mooji is the embodiment of love and compassion. He offers a compelling invitation to anyone who is called by the inner voice of the heart to come to the recognition of true Self. What I had perceived subjectively began to crumble. The story started to fall away. And forgiveness, of oneself and others, offers the opening for the heart to blossom. And even this becomes a thought arising and dissolving in the emptiness. Mooji's pointings to self-realization, have been for me, a guiding light to higher Self, guiding us home, where we always are, where we always have been. No place to go.
"My eyes are the mirror in which you can see God reflected inside your own being." Mooji
I have come to know experientially that all of my past, all the joys, all the sorrows, has brought me to where I am today, awakening to true Self. How blessed I feel. The pain of the grief is definitely the crack where the light gets in, or out - in any case, it has offered me a profound opening to grace and for this I am grateful.
On a more practical level of yoga, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to train with Yogrishi Vishvaji of Akanda Yoga, Yog Sundari, Ally Bogart, Karuna Erickson, Karen Claffey, Celeste Mallett Jason, Antonio Sausys, Neil Pearson, the late Jnani Chapman, Tracey Chetwin, Elise Browning Miller, Eoin Finn, Dr Laurence Cheng, and Judith Lasater. I am grateful as well to the students in my yoga classes who continually teach me.
For me, yoga's offering to come into stillness is what draws me to my daily practice. I also like to be active with my body and find fun in the poses. I teach yoga from my place of knowing. I teach yoga to offer its many benefits and because teaching keeps me the eternal student.
"Live life as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever". Mahatma Gandhi
May peace and joy be.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Yoga Alliance www.yogaalliance.org
Yoga Directory Canada www.yogadirectorycanada.com