The Event


When:  Sunday, October 15, 2017

  • 10:30 am - Orientation begins

  • 11:00 am - Mindfulness Challenge begins

  • 3:00 pm - Mindfulness Challenge ends  

This year we'll be streaming the event from Artscape's Daniels Spectrum. You can participate at these locations:
How it works 
Mindfulness Challenge 2017 works like a walkathon or bikeathon - you ask people to sponsor you. We’ll provide you with the latest tools and great ideas to make it easy to reach your fundraising goal.

Here's an overview of the Registration Fees:

The Program

The program will be awesome! It includes a feast of fitness-for-the-mind activities—alternating between sitting meditation and mindful movement, total relaxation, gentle yoga, mindful eating, music meditation and other mindfulness exercises. Even if you’ve never meditated or done yoga before, it’s no problem. The whole thing is designed to be accessible for beginners and powerful for all. For 4 hours, we make everything a meditation - even taking a bathroom break!

For sitting meditation activities, you can sit in a chair or on a floor sitting cushion. Sitting meditations will be 10-20 minutes, making them accessible for those who've never meditated before. You will be expertly guided, so you don’t need to know how to meditate. And you will always be free to change positions, lie down or stand up.

The theme of the day is Kindness, and the program is designed to generate kindness and open your heart in a powerful way. It's a great feeling!!

What Mindfulness Challenge 2016 participants said
  • The variety of exercises and activities kept it interesting, diverse and fun" – Rebecca Black

  • An incredible and uplifting experience” – Paul Sobocinski

  • A deeply rewarding act of compassion” – Felix Almeida

  • It was a lovely reward -- I find it hard to do fundraising, and don't enjoy it, but the cause really mattered to me. On the day, instead of feeling like I'd lost most of the day, I felt like I'd given myself, and received from others, a real gift.” - Jacqui Pegg

  • Powerful, beautiful, extremely well thought out” - Jolene

  • What this program is doing for the world is so needed. It is truly moving mental wellness in an amazing direction." - Angela Kontgen

The schedule: 

Please check the location page for your venue:

More on what to expect 
Check out the FAQ Event Day section, because it’s likely got the answers you seek. If not, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!

More about mindfulness and kindness


We've seen mindfulness move from the bedroom to the boardroom and beyond, with ever more corporations and athletes embracing the proven effects of enhanced focus, resilience, emotional intelligence, kindness and compassion. The Harvard Business Review touts mindfulness as essential for business leaders and the list of companies adopting mindfulness like Google, Apple, Aetna and Ikea, is growing longer by the day.

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to whatever is happening in our lives, inside and out, in the present moment. When we connect with the present, we become aware of habitual patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour.

With mindfulness, we train ourselves to pay close attention to what is going on in the present moment; just as it is. Much of our suffering is a result of regrets about the past, worries about the future or judgments about the present. When we are mindful we become aware of and explore these habitual thought patterns and ways of reacting. This attitude of curiosity allows us to create new and healthier ways of responding to life’s challenges.

Benefits of mindfulness:

  • Stress reduction

  • Reduced rumination

  • Decreased negative mood

  • Less emotional reactivity/more effective emotion regulation

  • Increased focus

  • More cognitive flexibility

  • Improved working memory


Some people say it’s not mindfulness without kindness! Ajahm Brahm, a leading monastic mindfulness teacher, coined the phrase “kindfulness” because bringing kindness to your mindfulness practice is so important in working with challenges and unpleasant experience.

The world needs more kindness, and becoming kinder is an important effect of practising mindfulness. Just ask Margaret Wente, who tried an 8-week program that, according to her husband, made her less crabby!

Kindness is the intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness with no strings attached. Like a muscle, kindness can be trained. As Samuel Johnson said, “Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” 

Studies show “that kindness (along with emotional stability) is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated—feel loved… there’s a great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship.” (The Atlantic, Masters of Love)

Learn more about mindfulness here.

Toronto Teachers 

Patricia Rockman is a founder and the Director of Education and Clinical Services at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies, and the developer of the MBCT Core Facilitation Certificate Program. She has a longstanding mindfulness practice grounded in both Buddhist and secular teachings, and has led many silent retreats. She is also an associate professor with the University of Toronto, department of family and community medicine; cross appointed to psychiatry. She is the past chair of the Ontario College of Family Physicians Collaborative Mental Health Network and is a medical psychotherapist. She has been educating healthcare providers in stress reduction, CBT and mindfulness-based practices for over 20 years.

Jeff Warren is a writer and a meditation instructor who started and leads the Consciousness Explorers Club and is a teacher at 10% Happier. He is a former producer for CBC Radio, and the author of The Head Trip, a travel guide to sleeping, dreaming and meditative consciousness. He writes a column about the shifting experience of consciousness for Psychology Tomorrow and has won awards for his writing about whales and psychedelics, which are never to be mixed, for obvious reasons. He got serious about meditation in 2004, and has been studying with the Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young since 2008. His favourite meditative principle is equanimity. He can talk forever about equanimity, and frequently does, thus strategically introducing the challenge of sleepiness to all those who accidentally listen to him. 

Elli Weisbaum is an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing, the core community of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and began practicing with him when she was 10 years old. In 2014, Elli joined the faculty at the University of Toronto’s Applied Mindfulness Meditation certificate program. She spent a year as the int'l program coordinator for Wake Up Schools, a global initiative to cultivate mindfulness in education. She has organized retreats and facilitated workshops in Bhutan, India, Germany, Canada, the UK and the USA.  She is currently working towards her PhD at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, focused on the topic of integrating mindfulness into healthcare. Elli is dedicated to the cultivation of a compassionate and healthy society and through her work she hopes to continue walking a path that leads there. 

Paul Baranowski is the founder and principle teacher of Luminous Ground. Paul has been studying and practicing Buddhism and meditation since 2004. He is an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing in the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, and author of Interdependent Liberation. Paul has also trained in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition with Ken McLeod. By day, Paul is the Vice President of Development and co-author of meditation content at Muse, a brain-sensing EEG headband and mobile app. Paul's integrative teaching style marries fundamental technique with action in daily life.

Roberta Mohler teaches Nia, yoga and expressive arts. After a career as a renowned professional modern dancer, she joined the Nia faculty, training hundreds of instructors across Canada.  Roberta has practiced and taught yoga for 20 years. Presently, as a registered somatic movement educator, she brings compassion and humour to mindful movement based expressive arts with the Tamalpa Life Art Process.

Elaine Smookler 
is a teacher, public speaker, writer, singer and performer. For the past 20 years, she has helped individuals, schools, organizations and businesses develop mindfulness and resilience in everyday life. She teaches mindfulness at The Centre for Mindfulness Studies, Sickkids Hospital, eMindful and U of Toronto, where she teaches “The Mindful Way Through The Creative Process.” Elaine developed and presents the learning series “Get Started With Mindfulness” for, and is a columnist there.

The Posture Experts

Julie Jarvis is the founder of meditation-cushion maker REALthings. Her vision is for REALthings to be an artisan company that’s profitable, sustainable, and respectful. Whether it’s the threads with which she weaves, the colors that she paints or the people with whom she works, Julie believes that to create the best cushion, painting or company, beauty and quality have to be instilled from the beginning. She offers private and group ‘sitting fittings’ to help people find the perfect posture and cushions for their body type.

Theodore Tsaousidis
is the steward of Snow Lion: The Meditation Shop, the principle guide for the Toronto Mindfulness Community and Medicine Buddha Toronto, as well as the co-founder of Grey Bruce Mindfulness Centre. His Meditation journey began over forty years ago and he continues to study under traditional teachers in both Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. Over the years, through Snow Lion and his meditation classes, Theodore has helped thousands of people sit affectively in meditation. It is his experience that when our body is constantly uncomfortable due to poor posture, we can be prevented from moving forward in our practice. Good posture creates a solid foundation and aligns our bodies and our minds.

Oakville Teachers 

Kate Kerr is a qualified mindfulness instructor, change maker, motivational speaker and corporate warrior. She founded Wake Up Kate, a consultancy dedicated to teaching mindfulness to the corporate, education and healthcare sectors. Kate has studied mindfulness meditation and interpersonal neurobiology with Dr. Stéphane Treyvaud, and attended retreats with meditation teacher Shinzen Young. She completed her professional teacher training in MBSR at the University of Massachusetts. Kate thrives on an active daily meditation practice of her own embodying mindfulness as a way of life.

Natalie Suhanic teaches yoga at her Oakville home studio and at Creating Space Yoga Studio. She is a Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher, certified at the 500 hour level through the Sunlilyoga teaching program, and certified in Restorative Yoga through Beth Rutty. She has a daily mindfulness practice and studies at the Toronto Zen Centre. Natalie's teaching style is warm and open. She seeks to create a safe and supportive environment and encourages her students to practice compassion towards themselves and to honour the innate wisdom of their body and heart as they discover their own practice.