Paula Vital is an award winning yoga therapist, leader, coach, speaker and author dedicated to helping you move from striving to thriving by accessing the power of the present moment.
With over 20 years of experience in the field of mindful leadership and health, she has seamlessly integrated wellbeing into all aspects of her life and is passionate about helping others to do the same.
Paula has completed 2.5 years of studies to become an Internationally Certified Yoga Therapist (IAYT 2021). She has also completed Levels I and II of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training, has two additional yoga certifications (Classical Hatha and Vinyasa), attended numerous silent meditation retreats, and studied with world-renowned yoga and meditation teachers such as Maria Gonzalez, Felicia and Ante Pavlovic, and Shinzen Young.
Paula offers yoga therapy, mindfulness coaching and resilience at work seminars to individuals and groups, speaks regularly at corporate events on the power of mindfulness, and has been featured at TEDx “ideas worth spreading”. She has contributed articles on mindfulness, wellness and resilience to the Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Tiny Buddha, and Personal Growth.
She launched the award-winning Ontario Cabinet Office and Premier's Office Healthy Workplace, Healthy Mind initiative as well as the Ontario Public Service Mindfulness Program, providing daily mindfulness to 60,000+ public servants. As a member of the Ontario Public Service Culture of Care and Compassion committee, Paula provides leadership on creating a workplace culture that supports innovation, creativity, authenticity and open conversations about stress and mental health.
A lawyer by training and civil servant in the Ontario Public Service, Paula is very familiar with the challenges of balancing a stressful work-life with time for family and self-care.
Paula is committed to finding joy and balance in her own life and helping others to do the same.
Paula lives in Toronto.
MY WISH FOR YOU
I’ve often been told that your greatest weakness is your greatest teacher. I am only now seeing how true this is. I was always a sad child. I remember sitting in my room, listening to music and crying.
In time I learned to hide this part of myself, to put a smile on and never let anyone in to the sadness. It was my secret. Yet later in life, the sadness would keep crashing in. Before a test, after a break-up, during a challenging time in my life, sadness would come and sweep over me like a tidal wave, leaving nothing behind.
I began to eat, then diet, then exercise, then achieve. I became a lawyer. I started to plan everything and ensure I was two steps ahead, always.
Yet eventually came an unravelling, and I realized that there was something more, something deeper, that I had been avoiding for so long.
The call for me came in my twenties, once I realized that the boyfriend I always wanted, the career I worked so hard for, and the “dream” life I had sought were not enough. The hole was still there.
Looking back I was so lucky that I remained unhappy, many people can drift in this surface life for a long time. But I just could not, eventually it would bring me under. So I decided to dive in.
In 2006 I did my first Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course. I have had a regular mindfulness practice ever since. I was listening to a recording by Jon Kabat-Zinn when I started, and he said – “You are more than just your thoughts.” Really? I had been my thoughts for my whole life! I couldn’t imagine there was anything more. I decided to find out who else was there, and I am still in the process of discovering her.
More than ten years since, I now know that there is nothing more important than uncovering my deepest self through the practice of living the present moment. I have attended a number of silent meditation retreats and studied with some of the worlds most renowned teachers: Maria Gonzalez, Felicia Pavlovic, Phillip Moffit, Stephen Cope, Shinzen Young, Michael Stone, and Sharon Salzberg among others.
I became a Yoga Teacher certified by the Yoga Alliance, and continued to complete in-depth studies for 2.5 years to become an Internationally Certified Yoga Therapist.
I now offer yoga therapy, teach yoga and mindfulness classes, provide mindfulness at work seminars, offer personal Mindfulness Coaching, and develop corporate mental health and employee engagement supports such as the award-winning Healthy Workplace, Healthy Mind initiative for the Government of Ontario Cabinet Office and Premier’s Office.
I do all this while thriving at my full-time job as a Senior Advisor in the Ontario Government and spending time with my beautiful family.
I can honestly say that my ability to do all this and maintain a sense of calm and peace in my life rests entirely on my practice of living the present moment as best as I can in every circumstance.
We are like diamonds in the rough, covered so tightly by our habits and personalities that we fail to see the beauty that is already here. As I continue my path of self-discovery, I would love to share it with you.
Most of all, I offer you my hand as you set upon your own path. It will be a challenging ride, but the best adventure of your life. There are times in the journey when things get murky, when it is not clear which way to turn or where to go. It is at these times that it helps to reach out to others who have some experience in going within.
May we go together, and find the depths of joy that connect us all – in the present moment.