My name is Alejandro Ramirez and I have dedicated over 20 years to the study, practice and teachings of martial arts, health & wellbeing, and self defense education.
Throughout my teachings of self defense I started to realize that a lot of my students had already experienced some form of trauma in their lives and were being triggered by the physical exercises.
The body would be triggered but the students would not be nurtured emotionally. Not only was the re-enactment of some of these scenarios recreating violent and aggressive situations, but I realized that there was no guarantee that it would be effective in the day to day lives of the students. This made me question my approach to self-defense training.
I began to realize that this type of approach lacked compassion for survivors of trauma. I started to think about how to make my training more nurturing and trauma-informed component. I wanted to teach my students the skills and awareness that would leave them with a sense of safety, empowerment and connection to their bodies. To me, teaching mindfulness practices would be the best way.
My mission is to help people feel safer, healthier, more confident and empowered in their own bodies by cultivating practices of mindfulness, open-heartedness, non-violence and self-love.
We do this by providing:
"The vision is to build a more compassionate, peaceful and loving community and world by teaching practices that encourage self-love, non-violence and open-heartedness towards self and others.
A welcoming, safe and non-judgmental space for learning
Safe and controlled physical stances and practices
A gradual, non-invasive approach to teaching self-defense that allows students to practice different techniques at their own pace and comfort level
Opportunities to practice Qi Gong and breathing techniques at the start and end of every session
Reflective exercises to allow students to ask questions, observe their feelings and share what they have learned in a safe and supportive space
& Violence Prevention
How is Mindfulness applied
to this Self Defense & Violence
By using a trauma-informed approach to mindfulness,
this program incorporates traditional qi gong and breathing practices, including grounding, anchoring and self-regulation techniques to help maintain balance in the nervous system and enable students to manage a stressful situation whilst feeling safer in their bodies.
If I am better connected with my emotions, and aware of my reactions, behaviours and patterns that will allow me to better connect to my external environment. Feeling the safety, confidence and trust in myself and my body.
Rather than reacting from a place of fear when confronted with a potentially dangerous or triggering situation, I teach my students how to build the self-compassion, awareness and stillness within to act with empathy for others, and the clarity of mind to take sound and safe actions during a potentially threatening situation, rather than responding from a habitual place of fear or survival.
What are the benefits of this program?
Improved self, emotional situational and environmental awareness
Improved capacity to respond to challenging situations
Strengthen your capacity for non-judgmental observation
Greater connection to the present moment
Reduce anxiety and stress levels
Improve your self-esteem and body image
Make you feel empowered
Improve your focus
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment. By applying different meditation and breathing techniques to practice mindfulness, we train our minds to be free from distraction or judgment.
A mindfulness practice will allow us to become more aware of our external environment and our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in reacting to them. This is a skill that can applied in every-day life, including during challenging or stressful situations.
Mindfulness creates a stronger and more loving connection with oneself. Being connected with oneself allows us to find the trust, support, comfort and love from within which creates a feeling of safety, confidence and trust in our own bodies.
What is Qi Gong?
Qi means "breath" or "air" and is considered the "vital-life-force" or "life-force energy." Qi Gong practitioners believe that this vital-life-force penetrates and permeates everything in the universe. Qi Gong is the connection and cultivation of internal energy to better connect more truthfully with the energy of the universe through breathing, movement and meditation practices for healing the body, mind and spirit.
Qi Gong is to correct the imbalances that have accumulated throughout a person's lifetime. Imbalances occur from deep-seated emotions (stress, anger, anxiety, depression, etc.), trauma or injury, improper diet. Imbalances may also be acquired from our parents (both constitutional and emotional).
Qigong practitioners believe the Qi that course through our entire being must flow properly, like a river. If there is a block, Qi becomes stagnant and prevents other parts of the body from being nourished. If the Qi flows too rapidly, it causes degeneration or exhaustion of the internal organs. The practice of Qigong helps to balance these energies: filling deficiencies and removing excess.
Qigong is commonly used today to describe Classical Chinese physical exercises with attention to posture, breath, movement and awareness to improve mental, spiritual and physical health.
Benefits of Qi Gong
Qi Gong practices allow the individual to develop the ability to cultivate and manipulate Qi in order to promote self-healing, prevent disease, and increase longevity.
Qi Gong reduces stress and increase your awareness of the moment, helping you to achieve a state of pure consciousness.
Qi Gong exercises enhances health, prevent disease, and address illness.
Qi Gong teaches discipline and leads to self-awareness, tranquility, and harmony with nature and self.
Yin yoga is a slow and meditative practice that is a perfect antidote to our fast-pacedlives. In yin yoga, we hold postures or asanas for longer periods of time (between 2 to 5 minutes per pose), settling deeply into the sensations created through stillness. Doing so allows us to stretch and lengthen rarely used connective tissues in our body such as the fascia, joints and bones. At the same time, we learn to breathe through the discomfort that can arise by holding the poses for longer, while tuning into to our mind and the physical sensations in the body.
Based on Traditional Chinese medicine and Taoist principles, yin yoga aims to target the pathways of Qi (energy) that run through our bodies. In Traditional Chinese medicine, yin and yang represent the harmonious nature of the opposite and complementary elements that make up the universe. While yang is warm, fast, and active, yin is cool, slow, grounding and passive. By settling deeply into the poses, yin yoga allows us to cultivate a stillness within, release blockages in the body and allow our energy to flow more freely.
Benefits of Regular Yin Yoga
Calms and balances the mind and body
Reduces stress and anxiety
Releases fascia and improves joint mobility
Balances the internal organs and improves the flow of qi
Meet our new instructor
Dalal is a registered 200-hour Yoga Teacher in Yin Yoga, receiving her certification in Kerala, India in 2019. In her own healing journey, the practice of yin yoga has opened up a space for Dalal to connect more deeply and authentically with her mind, body and spirit. Her desire is to pass this empowering practice on to others so that more people can learn to cultivate a sense of safety, love and stillness in their minds and bodies.
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We pride ourselves in providing a different approach to living a vibrant lifestyle.
Rather than just providing a space for health and wellness, we make it a priority to have an approachable, safe, friendly and high integrity environment where guests can feel inspired to fuel positive changes in their lives and each other’s lives.
"Alex Ramirez has assisted in delivering a fantastic physical education
experience to the students at Bishop Allen Academy for the past 10 years.
Alex routinely uses up to date instructional strategies to convey his teaching
points to the students. Alex is extremely knowledgeable and is a qualified
and decorated instructor with numerous martial arts and fitness certifications.
His passion for health and fitness is evident in his programs and teachings."
Steven Correia, Health and Physical Education Teacher