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Stay Well, Work Well Women’s Circle

The new WEST Stay Well, Work Well Women’s Circle offers women critical social support and practical tools to help them understand how gender-based abuse and racial wounding occur, how to respond and how to take care of themselves using self-care and restorative yoga practices.

Participants will also learn about WEST’s other programs for training and employment and be able to access wrap around supports such as counselling, access to resources, yoga mats and bolsters, technology, transportation, and childcare.

The program will enable 100 people with a special focus on including racialized and indigenous women, along with LGTBQ2+l participants, are especially invited be part of this series of virtual 4 week programs running from July to November of 2021.

Who is this program for?

Would like to learn more about empowering yourself when faced with violence, abuse of racial wounding?

If you can commit to attending weekly circle sessions, self-care and yoga.

This program is for you if you want to:

  • Recognize and respond when abuse or racial wounding occurs

Because together we are stronger. Together will gain the knowledge, power and practices to do what is necessary to live well and work well.

We will support you in trusting your own wisdom so you can respond, heal and create a better future for yourself!

During the 4 week session you will gain the tools and support to:

  • Feel stronger and more confident about managing stress, work, and life
  • Trust yourself
  • Understanding and being able to recognize and respond when abuse or racial wounding occurs
  • Having a feeling of compassion for yourself and sense of accomplishment for being consistent with your self-care
  • Improve you mental, emotional, and spiritual health
  • Have concrete self-care tools, resources and connections to use for the future
confident woman

We will be hosting four separate 4 week sessions of 25 participants each on a first come, first serve basis. Registrations open on Thursday, July 15th. Please fill out the form below to register.

Once your application is received, we will notify you by email about the session availability and send you a link to the first class.

Intake Registration Form

Please fill out the Intake Registration form below. Click HERE to view full session details.

Who will be guiding this experience?

There are 4 weeks in this program. Each week includes an evening of learning and sharing with our Registered Psychotherapist (qualifying) Venus Olla. There are also two restorative yoga practices each week.

The Stay Well, Work Well Women’s Circle has expert guides and the support of WEST’s program teams.

Venus Olla

Meet Your Learning and Sharing Circle Leader: Venus Olla

Venus will be guiding and facilitating the learning and sharing sessions for the Stay Well, Work Well Women’s Circle Program. She offers counselling to individuals and families. Her areas of focus include anxiety, sexual abuse, depression, self-harm, bipolar disorder and technology addiction.

As a Registered Psychotherapist (qualifying) Venus has gained experiences that will prove beneficial as she leads the learning and sharing women’s circle meetings to enable participants to gain insights and practical tools for dealing with abuse, practicing self-care, and making decisions for wellbeing.

Olla has her Doctorate in Education and has been involved in the field of education for over 14 years; as a Counsellor of at-risk youth, a classroom teacher and a lecturer at the University of Windsor.

Dianne Bondy

Meet Your Yoga Instructor: Dianne Bondy

Dianne is a social justice activist, author, accessible yoga teacher, and the leader of the Yoga For All movement. She will be leading virtual restful restorative moving and meditations that will bring peace and joy to the hearts, minds and bodies of participants in the Stay Well, Work Well Women’s Circle.

Her inclusive approach to yoga empowers anyone to practice – regardless of their shape, size, ethnicity, or level of ability. Dianne’s commitment to increasing diversity in yoga has been recognized in speaking engagements at Princeton, Duke, University of Buffalo and UC Berkeley on Yoga, Race, and Diversity.

Her writing is published in Yoga and Body Image Volume 1, Yoga Renegades, and Yes Yoga Has Curves.

Nicole D'Souza

Meet Your Yoga Instructor: Nicole D'Souza

Nicole D’Souza (she/her) is a registered social worker working in the children and youth mental health field. She is also a certified yoga instructor and a Trauma-Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator.

Nicole works from an anti-oppressive, trauma informed and strengths based perspective. She has facilitated yoga classes for the last four years in community centres, high school, university school groups and community health centres.

She created Beautiful Minds, a grassroots project that that seeks to provide free workshops around mental wellness through yoga, mindfulness and art for youth 13 – 29 years old in Scarborough. She is also the founder of Lotus Strength and Wellness which provides trauma informed yoga, mindfulness and wellness workshops and classes.

How does the program work?

The program runs for 4 weeks and you are invited to repeat the session if time and space are available.

Weekly Learning and Sharing Circle

You will meet online with the other women in your session group meet once a week to learn about healthy relationships, abuse, how to stop being put down and respond, safety, and self-care (how to rest and unwind). These meetings are guided by a licensed counsellor and psychotherapist. The sessions will run as follows:

  • Check in, instruction and discussion
  • Reflection and/or writing on learning lesson
  • Sharing Circle: A reading or writing experience from the workbook will be selected and read aloud, participants can read aloud, talk about the reading or share a reflection from their own experience or just listen
  • Rest and Relax experience to unwind, integrate and go on with your day
  • Homework and Wrap up
Diane Bondy
Yoga for everyone

Weekly Restorative Practices

You will receive a yoga mat and bolster to assist you with providing a safe healing practice that you can learn to use whenever you need it.

The session is guided by an expert yoga practitioner who will adjust the practice to make it suitable for all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. There will be two classes per week to fit with your schedule. Once class will be offered during the day, and the other class will be offered in the evening.

These are not traditional yoga classes but restful practices with gentle movement, breathing and affirmations to soothe your mind, body and spirit.

Weekly Restorative Practices

You will receive a yoga mat and bolster to assist you with providing a safe healing practice that you can learn to use whenever you need it.

The session is guided by an expert yoga practitioner who will adjust the practice to make it suitable for all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. There will be two classes per week to fit with your schedule. Once class will be offered during the day, and the other class will be offered in the evening.

These are not traditional yoga classes but restful practices with gentle movement, breathing and affirmations to soothe your mind, body and spirit.

Yoga for everyone

We hope you will enjoy the program and share the knowledge and experiences you gain with others in your life.

What is the schedule?

Session 1

  • Learning and Sharing Circle:
    • Thursdays 6:00pm – 8:30pm on July 22nd, July 29th, August 5th and August 12th
  • Restorative yoga sessions:
    • Tuesdays 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Wednesdays 7:00pm – 8:15pm on July 27th, July 28th, August 3rd, August 4th, August 10th, 11th, August 17th and 18th

Session 2

  • Learning and Sharing Circle:
    • Thursdays 6:00pm – 8:30pm on August 19th, August 26th, September 2nd and September 9th
  • Restorative yoga sessions:
    • Tuesday, August 24th 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Wednesday, August 25th 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, August 31st, 2:00pm – 3:15pm and September 1st 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, September 7th 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Wednesday, September 8th 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, September 15th, 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Wednesday, September 16th 7:00pm – 8:15pm

Session 3

  • Learning and Sharing Circle:
    • Wednesdays 5:30pm – 8:00pm on September 15th, September 22nd, September 29th and October 7th
  • Restorative yoga sessions:
    • Tuesday, September 21st from 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday, September 23rd 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, September 28th from 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday September 30th 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, October 5th 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday October 7th from 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, October 12th 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday October 14th from 7:00pm – 8:15pm

Session 4

  • Learning and Sharing Circle:
    • Wednesdays 5:30pm – 8:00pm on October 13th, October 20th, October 27th and November 6th
  • Restorative yoga sessions:
    • Tuesday, October 19th 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday, October 21st, 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, October 26th 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday, October 28th, 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, November 2nd 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday, November 4th 7:00pm – 8:15pm
    • Tuesday, November 9th 2:00pm – 3:15pm and Thursday, November 11th, 7:00pm – 8:15pm

What is the cost of the program?

The program is free.

How do I learn more about program?

If you would like to learn more about the program, we also would like to invite you to attend our live virtual launch event.

Women’s Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) acknowledges the Canadian Women’s Foundation for providing the funding for this new program as part of the Safer + Stronger Grants Program to support organizations’ ability to help address, prevent and reduce gender-based violence and deal with an influx of people seeking support due to an increase in gender-based violence in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada. Through funding, research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing, the Foundation works to achieve systemic change that includes all women. By supporting community programs, the Foundation empowers women and girls to move themselves out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership.

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Canadian Womens' Foundation