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“Taking Yoga off the Mat”

“Taking Yoga off the Mat”  by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre Toronto, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and The “AUM” Project.

It is a time of change. We are coming up to the end of 2018 and I think at this point, we can all agree there is a lot of change and movement happening around us. You just have to turn on the news to see it in our world, or maybe it’s happening for you personally or professionally.  Some of it can be unnerving and some of it can be exciting. There is a sense of things falling apart and yet falling together at the same time.

In a yoga class, we often speak about the practice of taking yoga off the mat. But what does that really mean?

What is a Yogic Code of Conduct?

When you come to a yoga class, you move through postures that are designed not only to make you feel good, although that is a wonderful by-product, but each posture has a purpose.  Combined together in a sequenced yoga class, those movements help us to let go of the stuff we are holding onto and help us see ourselves differently.  Through this experience, we are able to build greater self-awareness in how we behave and what we project in the world.

How we behave in the world makes up our world.

Taking our yoga practice off the mat means many things. It means we let go of our need to be right. It means we give others the benefit of the doubt, and acknowledge that potentially our perspective might be limited. It means we take accountability for our actions, our misunderstandings and the words that we say to each other.

It means that we are aware of our ego and that when we act or behave from a self-serving place, damage can be done. It means that as we try to strengthen our internal self awareness, we share that self-awareness in the world.  We are humble enough to understand that the way we perceive things, may not actually be the way they are. We are inclusive of each other and we give others the benefit of the doubt.  We extend grace. We don’t hide behind our own insecurities or worst yet, act from them.

It means we stand in truth.

How is it that we come to our yoga mats to drop our worries, our cares and our “stuff” to then walk out of the yoga room and get right back into the way we were because it’s comfortable or we are used to it.

As students and teachers of yoga we work towards identifying when we are triggered, and then hopefully choose not react from an emotional place.  We work towards moving forward from a place of calm and understanding. We work towards compassion for others.  We work towards being awakened in our own self-awareness to minimize causing confusion and damage to those around us.

In one of my favorite yogic texts, “The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali” (Translated with a commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood), there are practices shared that help move us through our conditioning, our ideas and judgements about ourselves and the world around us, and onto a clearer and more pure way of being in this world.

The Yama’s are what Yogi’s consider the ethical and societal guidelines for the practicing Yogi.  They are there to remind us about our compassionate nature as human beings, and our generous and honest yogic code of conduct.

Ahimsa – abstention from harming others
Satya – abstention from falsehood
Asteya – abstention from theft
Brahmacharya – abstention from incontinence (self-restraint)
Aparigraha – abstention from greed

We are all works of art in motion and most of us are working towards bettering ourselves in some way or another.  I would encourage everyone reading this blog to take their yoga and meditation practice into the world.  We sure could use more self awareness around the way things have been happening and we all contribute to that no matter how big or small our circle of influence is.


Jacqualine (Jaya!)



What is the practice of traditional yoga?

“What is the practice of traditional yoga?”

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Toronto, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and” The “AUM” Project.

So many times I am asked what Hatha yoga is. There is so much branding out there these days, it’s confusing for students at times. It’s not to say that branding is wrong or bad somehow. People have creative ideas on what they offer and want to put their name to it.  We see that happening everywhere in the world, so why would yoga be any different.  I too have called my meditation sequence “Jaya Meditation” after all, so I am not any different. It helps us define the coffee shops we like, the yoga pants we want to wear and the people and causes we want to support.

However, I wanted to write this blog to help clear up some misunderstandings that seem to be floating out there.

You will find a lot of studios will name their yoga classes after the name of their studio. However, chances are they are still teaching “Hatha yoga.”  All those downward dogs and halfmoon poses are Hatha yoga postures. Studios or teachers will put them in the specific sequence and state that sequence is now their style of yoga. Again, all good as it can sometimes simplify things in a yoga world that is becoming very non-simplified.

Let’s be clear though, the actual postures you are practicing are Hatha yoga postures.

So what is traditional yoga? What does that even mean anymore?

There are a lot of credible yoga school’s out there in North America, in fact our studio offers yoga teacher training as well. For my teacher training and for many others, we packed our bags and made the trip to India to get our credentials. There, you can’t help but learn the discipline of Yoga.  That’s all they offer.

What does discipline in a yoga class mean?

It means we aren’t there just to stretch. If you want to just stretch, there are plenty of gyms that will offer that. In fact, my teacher in India would say that if you’re not breathing with your asana (postures) you’re not doing yoga.

Plain and simple; you’re not doing yoga.

Many studio’s hold reverence for the ancient teachings of yoga, and we guide our classes this way.

What does reverence in a yoga class mean?

We chant/sing OM at the beginning of our classes.  Please don’t be scared off by the word ‘chant’ either.  When you go to church and sing a hymn, well… that’s the exact same thing.  You are chanting or singing the name of God.  It’s the same thing.  I hear students say that they love yoga, but they don’t love the spirituality of yoga.  Well, the spirituality of yoga is to evolve and use your yoga practice to do that.  It is to find flexibility in our bodies, so our minds can be flexible and we can process change in our personal lives with greater ease.  I mean, why do any of it if we aren’t actually evolving into better versions of ourselves and learning tools to manage stress in life?

We chant/sing OM at the beginning of our classes. Why? Because OM is a grounding sound. You’ve seen it, students arrive to class with different energy because we all experience life differently. Some students are happy and chatty, and some are dealing with loss, stress at work or are mourning. When students chant/sing OM at the beginning of a yoga class, it’s an internal vibrational re-set. It takes all the different energies that everyone brings into a yoga room,  and brings us all into the present moment. This allows us all to begin our yoga practice with reverence.

At the end of the class, we lay in sivasana. Why? Because this is where all the benefits of yoga come to you. When you lay down quietly after a class, all the fresh oxygenated blood that you just created for yourself in your practice, rushes through  your body to heal you. If you are running out of class onto the next thing without taking time for yourself, the whole benefit of your practice is lost.  Asana (yoga postures) prepare you for sivanana (a gentle meditative state of mind). It gets the “body” out of the way, so the mind can be still.

Why rob yourself of that by rushing out after a class?

If you are looking for the yoga studio where you walk in, start moving and bending and rush out, we are not the studio for you. But if you are looking for a studio where you can practice in the traditional reverent sense, and gain the benefits of yoga for yourself, come check us out.


Jacqualine (Jaya!)




“The Jaya Meditation Sequence”

The Jaya Meditation Sequence

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Toronto, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and “The “AUM” Project.

If you are a seasoned meditator and have experienced the benefits of this practice in your life, this blog may not be for you.

Possibly you are like the majority of people who have either tried a meditation class somewhere and did not enjoy the experience and decided the practice is not for them.  Or, you have heard about Meditation, but you’re not sure what it is or why it helps, then read on.

For me, this is where I started.

I had first been exposed to Meditation when I was studying in India in 2005, and I had a very difficult time with it. And of course, I dropped the practice.  It wasn’t until I had returned back to Canada (and a few years after that) that I started to explore it again. For me at that time, life had to take a turn and I decided to commit to a deep exploration to see if it might be able to help. I think this is the situation many find themselves in before exploring a meditation practice.

However we get there doesn’t matter. It just matters that we get there.

From my previous blogs, you may know that I took a full year, 365 days in a row, and explored Meditation in every way possible. Anything I could get my hands on, any technique, I purchased it and practiced it.

Out of that experience and out of that year, I built Jaya Yoga – Toronto, and started to lead meditation classes in addition to yoga. Out of those classes, I created a specific sequence and ‘Jaya Meditation’ was born.

Why is Jaya Meditation unique?

It is specifically designed sequence that helps students relax and go deeper. If you have been to one of my classes or listened to any of my Meditation CD’s, you know that a portion of the session is seated, and a portion is done laying down. There are certain techniques I guide my students through which are meant to relax the body, occupy the mind and explore deep relaxation from there.  My sequence keeps my students coming back because it is easy to do, it is calming and people leave the class feeling relaxed and deeply connected.

‘The Jaya Meditation Sequence’ was created so that students feel comfortable if they are new to meditation or have tried it and didn’t like the way the class was led.  It was also created to explore different breathing and relaxation techniques in a special sequence that helps one relax and go deeper.

There are teachers who will teach that you need to be in a Lotus pose (sitting cross-legged) during meditation, and I agree in certain cases this is helpful. However, my meditations are explored laying down, as I believe when the body is comfortable, the mind can be at ease.  This is especially important when you are new to the practice.

If you have never experienced ‘The Jaya Meditation Sequence’ –  I would encourage you to download any one of my guided meditation CDs. Each of them contain my specific sequencing, and provide a safe comfortable non-denominational experience.  I will preface saying non-denominational in that I do read OSHO in each of my classes as he is my favourite philosopher.  Although if you know anything about OSHO, non-denominational is the perfect wording here.

If you have tried meditation and decided the practice was not for you, I would encourage you to try it again and see if ‘The Jaya Meditation Sequence’ works for you. Or, come out to Jaya Yoga Toronto and take a meditation class!

I often am invited to studios and businesses to lead a class, so I would encourage you to link into my social media sites, and see if I am teaching at the studio near you! Or, if you are interested in having me come teach and lead a class at your studio, business or company, contact me at info@jayameditation.com and I will lead your team in a Jaya Meditation.


Jacqualine (Jaya!)




“Would you like to contribute your “OM” to the next Jaya Meditation CD?

“Would you like to contribute your “OM” to the next Jaya Meditation CD?”

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Toronto, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and “The “AUM” Project.

If you have read any of my BLOG’s before, you are probably aware that I am the visionary behind “The “AUM” Project”.  I collect “aum’s (om)” from notable people around the world who understand and appreciate the benefits of meditation in their lives, and have an active practice in some form.  The contribution of their “OM’s” are attached to one of my meditation CDs to highlight the importance and benefits of turning our attention inwards.

Now it’s your turn!

Would you like to contribute an “OM” to the next Jaya Meditation CD?

Anyone can submit their “OM!”

Gather your family and friends!

Gather your colleagues at work!  Get together as a business or company!

Gather fellow students are your local yoga studio, chant “om” together and submit the sounds of your voices in unison!

You can even contribute your own voice chanting “om”

We are going to have some fun with this, and raise our voices as a global community on the planet.

It doesn’t matter where you live, you can contribute.  In fact, the more people that can submit an “om” the better!

Join us North and South America!

Join us Asia!

Join us Africa!

Join us Australia!

Join us Antarctica!

Join us Europe!

Join us everyone, everywhere!

Simply go to my website at www.jayameditation.com. Hit the button on the front page that is titled “Get Started”

We will start producing the recording after that.  Once the CD is complete, it will be released!  You can pre-order a copy of the recording at jayameditation.com, and we will send you a download once the Album is complete.

Let’s come together and raise our vibration to the contribution of something bigger than ourselves.

You can read about The “AUM” Project at www.jayameditation.com.

It does not matter what country you live in or what language you speak.

It does not matter how old or young you are.

It does not matter how big or small your voice is.

It does not matter your ethnicity or your religious beliefs.

“OM” is available to everyone and it is within each of us.

Let’s create this Album  together. Our voice’s will be combined together and will go down in history!

Don’t miss out!

What is “OM?” It is the most sacred of sounds.  It is in everything that exists.  It is the vibrational undercurrent that holds everything together, from the heavens to the earth and beyond. And while the vibration of AUM is in all of us, it belongs to none of us.  It is a part of the collective, and from the collective and this sound vibration, the world manifested.

I look forward to hearing all your beautiful voices!

Click HERE to get started!


Jacqualine (Jaya!)

Please note: Once you submit your “OM” to us, it becomes our property.  We need to make that statement here.  We will be recording and mixing the beautiful voices of our global social community.  Once your “OM” is submitted to us, we no longer can return it. We have all the rights over your recording.  Please note, your recording may not make it to the final album if the quality cannot be used.  Jaya Meditation has the final copyrights of the album.

To learn about previous contributors:

Yogrishi Vishvketu and Akhanda Yoga click HERE!

Krishna Das click HERE!

Deva Premal click HERE!

“Opera and mindfulness; An Evening with Renee Fleming”

“Opera and mindfulness; An Evening with Renee Fleming”

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and “The “AUM” Project.

A couple of days ago, a dear friend of mine and I drove over to Ottawa to see Renee Fleming.  He is the Director of Media and Publicity for the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera Company and from the beginning, has been my formal introduction to Opera.  Lucky for me, he has been my exposure to Opera and Renee Fleming.

She was performing a live recital at the National Arts Centre.

It was a spectacular evening! Her performance was awe-inspiring, her voice on point as always and of course, her outfits absolutely gorgeous on her.  The stars aligned for a perfect evening.  If you are new to Renee, well, this blog is timely.  She is an incredible American soprano who has dedicated her life to this art form.  Most recently, you will recognize her as the talent who sang Danny Boy at John McCain’s funeral. However, she has also sung for the super bowl and Obama’s Inauguration, just to name a few of her many many performances.

I have been lucky enough to enjoy a private recital with her exactly 5 years to date in 2013, in a gorgeous recording studio at the back of a Piano House in New York.  If that wasn’t ‘wow’ enough, box seats at the MET a few years after.

Now again here.

The first half of her performance included some of her new experiences and offerings.  The movie, “The Shape of Water” soundtrack where she taps into her jazz side, and a few offerings from “Carousel,” from her Broadway work.  It is lovely to see a talented artist explore different avenues within their craft. Opera needs to reach a younger crowd as it is too amazing to be lost.  By Renee bridging Opera into mainstream movies and theatre, it opens up the art to those who might not normally be exposed to it.  Genius.

An outfit change midway, and she graces us in this beautiful fuchsia gown. As she walks out, I’m still trying to understand how she’s managed to pull off the whole evening in the heels that she is wearing. BRAVO, indeed!

The last hour is spent singing more traditional Opera selections, which really gets the crowd going. She is about to finish off with a song she had prepared, but last minute decides to open it up to the audience.  The crowd isn’t shy either. People start shouting out what song they want her to sing next and put their hands up to vote.  It finished off the evening in a warm lighthearted way.  You could sense through the multiple standing ovations, the impact she had on everyone.

The crowd is inspired and you can feel the palpable energy.  We all left feeling enthusiastic about the performance!

Opera is clearly a mindful experience, a form of meditation.

For two hours, we sat and took in Renee’s beautiful voice; Our attention hanging off of each word and note. We are caught up in every single beautiful moment, united by the sound of her voice.  No one is thinking about chores or children, no one’s mind is on what’s happening next… We are all captured in a single moment in time, in the warmth and beauty of the space. It is almost like a dream, a shared dream.

The whole experience was truly a gift.

The night comes to a close.  Our books and CDs have received the autographs we came for, and we walk back to the hotel feeling the buzz of life.  That buzz is full of potential and excitement, a buzz of gratefulness on how everything turned out so perfectly.

A deep feeling connection to possibility.

My deepest thank you to Renee Fleming for sharing her beautiful talent with us that evening. To the National Arts Centre in Ottawa for putting on an incredible show and offering it out. And to my beautiful friend, for all the times we’ve enjoyed seeing Renee together and for always sharing his passion for Opera with me.

You don’t need to be sitting in a lotus pose in your yoga studio to meditate. There are so many wonderful moments that life offers each of us, captured in a single moment in time without a thought for anything other than what you are experiencing.

I am grateful for this lovely experience.


Jacqualine (Jaya!)

About Jaya Meditation click HERE

About Renee Fleming click HERE

Southern Ontario Lyric Opera Company click HERE

National Art Centre Ottawa click HERE

“My thank you, to Krishna Das”

Grace CD

“My thank you, to Krishna Das”  – BLOG by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and “The “AUM” Project.

Krishna Das generously contributed an “OM” to my 5th Guided Meditation CD titled “Grace.”

Who you might ask is Krishna Das? Let’s start here.

Krishna Das is an incredible vocalist from the Unites States, lovingly known as the Godfather of Kirtan.  I am not sure where he got that reference from, but he does give off a kind of Godfather aura in the very best way. Amongst many things, he is a Kirtan wallah (someone who leads others in a kirtan experience).  In my mind, he has changed the landscape of chanting in North America and has inspired many after him to pick up the practice.

You may recall seeing him perform on the Grammys in 2013, where his album, “Live Ananda” was nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album. I was blown away and completely impressed to see how the Grammy’s were so forward thinking in not only what they were recognizing, but who they chose to perform.  Some of these Kirtan wallah’s are like superstars in their own right, and while this might be a very North American view on it (and some yogi’s might view my comment as ego-based), I don’t believe they are recognized nearly enough for dedicating their lives to this practice.  But that will be for another blog.

Why ask for an OM from Krishna Das?

If you have ever heard his incredibly grounding voice, this question answers itself.  He has an authentic quality to the sound that comes through him.  It’s a no bullshit sound.  It compels you to sit down, let go of your addiction to the distraction around you and go within.

It is the sound of no-nonsense, no-drama. I enjoy my meditations in that environment very much.

In early 2016, I flew down to Nassau, Bahamas to attend a retreat with Krishna Das. There is a beautiful Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas where it was hosted. It is an incredible place to visit and stay, if you have the opportunity to go. Ashram living, Bahamas style!  If you have experienced Ashram living in India, this in comparison will blow your mind.

At the time, Krishna Das had decided to take a year off from all the travel he does around the world.  This was his last workshop for a while. I flew down with a gift for him and my request. An afternoon of dialogue and kirtan, I get in line and patiently wait my turn. I have my gift bag in hand, which I feel is already getting some looks.

It’s my turn.

I thank him for the workshop, and wish him a relaxing year ahead.  I wanted as little attention to it as possible.  I reach down and place the bag in his hand and ramble off that it was a little something for him and I was on my way.

As lovely as that was, I have to tell you I was grateful it was over. I think I built so much in my head about asking him, that it had created nervousness in me that isn’t really who I am. My card to him was simple enough and explained it all; I had flown to the Bahamas to ask him for an OM.

He responded. No drama, no nonsense… just the gift of ‘yes.’

Christmas day, December 25, 2016 7:17pm.  I had offered a community meditation class at Jaya Yoga Centre in Toronto.  I remember finishing the class and coming into the reception area to leave the students in quiet. I glance at my phone. There was an email from Krishna Das saying that Nina, his lovely assistant and Kirtan wallah in her own right, would be in contact with me to get this going.

Spring 2018, a friend and I make the trip to Kripalu for a Krishna Das weekend retreat.  Another incredible place of healing and calm.  And just like the moment in Nassau, an afternoon of dialogue and mantra. I make my way to the front to give him a final copy of my Meditation CD “Grace.”  He was humble and grounded about it, in Krishna Das style.

If you have never heard of Krishna Das, I would encourage you to seek out any of his 14 albums.  You won’t be disappointed. To learn more about Krishna Das, his incredible life journey and to tap into any of his amazing albums, visit www.krishnadas.com.

Which is my favourite?

“Shri Guru Charanam” from his album “Live On Earth.”

What does “Shri Guru Charanam” mean?

“I surrender to the feet of the Guru (Gura means teacher), and find my refuge in God.”

To download “Grace,” my 5th Guided Meditation Album in the Jaya Meditation Collection, that has Krishna Das as my guest chanter, visit www.jayameditation.com.

My deepest thank you to him.  While he was beyond humble when I shared my mumbled words of thanks, his contribution is significant to me.

With great respect, I honor his life work and his grounding OM.


Jacqualine (Jaya!)







“The more I meditate, the more I realize my mind is a chatterbox”

“The more I meditate, the more I realize my mind is a chatterbox”

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Toronto and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and “The “AUM” Project.

Today is day 28 of my 30 day meditation challenge with my students.  We only have two more days remaining. What an experience it has been! I am changing through this process, and I’ve been noticing a few other things happening too.

I finished my class and spent part of the morning with the Lead Instructor of the Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) program at the studio, and a business owner herself. We had a few things we needed to go over, and we use the beginning of our time together to catch up. She asked how the meditation challenge was going, and I began to share with her the personal experience I have been going through, and what I have been learning over the years about Meditation in general.  It comes down to a simple fact.

The more I meditate, the more I realize my mind is a chatterbox.

It is a place that I have stored everything, every experience, every emotion, every happiness and every disappoitment.  It’s like a ‘chatterbox storage room’ full of a lifetime of emotions and experiences.

The interesting thing about this whole process is that just as you think you have mastered your meditation practice, life throws something else your way. A sidebar if you will, to challenge you and where you think you have ‘arrived.’

There is nothing more beautifully humbling than that. Just when you think you have it all figured out, there comes along another challenge for you to explore this practice with.  But, it helps you get through those experiences with ease, much greater ease then you normally would. (with less grey hair too)

And here I am now.

I am leading a 30 day meditation challenge with my local students and with students around the world.  My chatterbox stuff is surfacing so I can acknowledge it, heal it and move on. We are all having a human experience, no matter what profession you choose.  The distraction of the busy-ness of my life was keeping that chatterbox quiet. But, it was still there. It was still happening.

It was an illusion of quiet.

Those thoughts were simply laying low in my subconscious, yet they were still loud enough to steer my life.  It is only in a space of internal quiet that I was able to notice them.

I also understand that in writing this, I will move through this experience and other life experiences will come my way which will challenge my practice even further.  Life is a constant evolution, I get that. This is about nurturing and evolving the witness in yourself, so that you can see the thoughts that have been holding you back.  You can start to clean up the storage room where you have buried your thoughts and emotions for years.  You are simply a witness as they surface so you can face them and move on.

When we take the time to create a space of internal quiet, it allows the luggage of our thoughts to surface.  We no longer need to carry them around with us in life. It is time to release the burden of incessant thinking that keeps us in repeated patterns, so that we can break through any perceived barriers and limitations, and move forward.

This is a journey. Anyone who embarks on this path needs to understand that it is a practice. Your practice will be an evolution, a process of experience, and an opportunity to move forward from limiting patterns and beliefs systems.  It is extremely rewarding and life becomes clearer.  Drop the stuff that is holding you back, become aware and allow yourself to evolve into the best version of you.

Meditation helps us to become stealth as we move through life.  As we let go, we become lighter!

In closing, I wanted to share with you a quote by my favorite Montreal designer, Marie Saint Pierre, who recently posted on her Instagram page the following: “Feel the fear, and do it anyway!”

You are bigger then anything that scares you. Be brave enough to look at yourself and deal with what you see.  It is rewarding, I promise you. What an amazing way to live!

Everyone is invited to join me for my next Guided Meditation series!

“Relaxing Night-Time Guided Meditations” led by myself!

10 days – 20 minutes – $50  Starting October 10 – 19th

Unwind after a long day, cozy up in bed or your favourite spot, link in and drift away!

Register and receive the links.  Connect any time of the day, in any continent and in any time zone.

Register online at www.jayameditation.com and/or www.jayayoga.ca

I hope you will join me!


Jacqualine (Jaya!)



“Life is simply too short for anything less”

“Life is simply too short for anything less”

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Toronto, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation and “The “AUM” Project.

Today is day #25 of my 30 Day Meditation Challenge with my students. There are only 5 days remaining, and I am feeling extremely aware of every moment and interaction that is happening, as we come towards the last days.

In today’s class, we did some work on our 6th chakra. For those of you who are new to the chakra system, in yogic theory there are seven major centres in the body called chakra’s. In reality, there are actually thousands of subtle energy centres (nadis) throughout one’s body.  But, there are seven major ones that are most commonly worked with.

The 6th chakra is located between your eyebrows, most commonly known as one’s third eye. Now, I don’t want anyone to freak out.  There is a lot of valuable information about this energy centre in the body. I would encourage you to keep reading regardless of any religious preferences that might caution you against this.

The 6th chakra energy centre represents your intuition. It is about that internal wisdom we are all born with; your ‘extra sensory’ perception.  For the purpose of this blog let’s call it your sixth sense, as most people are used to that phrase. In Sanskrit (please read my previous blog’s for an understanding of what Sanskrit language is), it is called “ANJA” (pronounced ‘an – ya’).  It is associated with your inner knowledge and if you allow it, it will help guide you through life.  Of course, the key word being “if.”  Sometimes fear, judgement and dogma get in the way.  The way we have been taught as children to take our cues from external sources, well… that can get in the way too.  We need to find ways of allowing our intuition to come through, and move through those roadblocks.

In one of my previous blogs, I spoke about the effect of meditation on the brain.  Neuroscience is starting to discover the results of meditation and it’s benefits both on the brain and the physical body. It is exciting to see the science behind these ancient practices of wisdom, start to surface. When you meditate, you are lining up the left and the right hemispheres of your brain. When both hemispheres are in sync with each other, you are fully activated.

What does it mean to be fully activated?

It means you are awake.  It means you have woken up . It means you are seeing things as they truly are, possibly in a way you have never seen them before. And as you begin to see what is really going on, you start to understand in a more comprehensive way. Your conscience is awake and active. You are deeply connected to your intuitive self and because of that, you are able to make decisions clearly. You become more open to inspiration. You become your own source of truth; you become wise.

What does it mean to become your own source of truth?

It means you trust your instinct, your ‘sensory-perception.’  You begin to steer your life from that place of deep wisdom and understanding. Then, you can never go wrong because you have a strong understanding of the deeper meaning in your life. And once that happens, nobody will ever be able to convince you otherwise.

Let go of the past. Take stock and learn what life lessons came out of all of the experiences that have brought you to this point.  And then, take that beautiful combination of acceptance and wisdom, and live your life. The only guarantee you have in life is your entrance into this world and a ticket out.  What you do in between those two guaranteed experiences, is completely up to you.

Open yourself up to inspiration and allow your inner wisdom to guide you.

Life is simply too short for anything less.

In closing, I want to share one of my most favourite quotes:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.” ~ Steve Jobs.


Jacqualine (Jaya!)

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“What does the word Jaya mean anyway?”

“What does the word Jaya mean anyway?”

by Jacqualine Haller

Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Toronto, voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, and “The “AUM” Project.

Many people often ask me how I got the name Jaya. It is actually surprising the number of people who want to know who gave it to me.  I wanted to use this opportunity to share with everyone how to pronounce it, where it came from and what it means.

Jaya, pronounced “Jie – ya” or “Jay – a” is Sanskrit for the word Victory.

What is Sanskrit?

Sanskrit is an ancient Indian sacred language.  Some argue it is the oldest of all human languages dating as far back as 4,000+ years old.  Famous Hindu scriptures such as the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, Veda (poems and hymns) and mantra (kirtan) are written in Sanskrit.  Similar to chanting “OM,” Sanskrit is available to all of us, and yet belongs to none of us at the same time.  When we repeat Sanskrit words over and over again (which is the experience of Kirtan), it allows us to regain our focus and calm our minds.  Sanskrit words are energetically charged, extremely powerful and invite a beautiful vibration connecting our mind and our body.

The word Jaya, is a Sanskrit word often used in mantra.

How did I get the name?

As mentioned previously, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have been approached by people who already know what the name means, but want to know how I got it. After all, I am Canadian when it comes to the look and feel of me.  I know it raises eyebrows.

The name was given to me by my teachers Yogi Vishvketu and Chetana Jessica Torrens when I completed my yoga teacher training in Rishikesh India.  We knew when we graduated from the course, that we would be gifted a spiritual name, something we were all curious and excited about. They chose our names through meditation.  The name that came forward, is the name that we were given.

I remember that day clearly. We had officially graduated.  We were at a fire puja in the Ashram, which is a fire offering in the form of a ceremony.  The swami’s (yogic monks and nuns) from the ashram were chanting continuous mantra.  One by one we were called up to receive our names. Every name so beautiful in its own way, specifically chosen for each of the students. I remember when they called my name.  They presented me with the name Jaya written on a card that had a paragraph on it with a blessing and a dharma.

I won’t share what that dharma is here, as it is extremely personal to me. But I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I came up, offered a gift to each of them individually as a thank you for the knowledge and training, and sat back down with my fellow students to let the experience settle in.

In 2011, I opened Jaya Yoga Centre in Toronto. I am sure some people think I named the studio after myself, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I chose that name for two reasons. First of all, I chose it as a thank you to my teachers for granting me that name.  I don’t take the experience or the name lightly, and I am deeply thankful to them both.  Secondly, I want people in North America who are not familiar with Sanskrit, to know the word Jaya.  Victory is available to each and every one of us, no matter who we are.  It is not kept for only the chosen few, but is something everyone can tap into for themselves.

Jaya is my spiritual name, it is the name of my yoga studio and it is the name of my meditation sequence.

Jaya is the Sanskrit for Victory. May you experience Victory in all areas of your life.


Jacqualine (Jaya!)





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