Aga Khan Museum/YMCA of Greater Toronto Mindfulness and Education Sessions


Aga Khan Museum/YMCA of Greater Toronto Mindfulness and Education Sessions

Date: Starts Summer 2021
Price: Free
Attend in person or online. Registration details listed below.

Unlock the happiness-boosting benefits of arts, culture, and mindfulness with a new series of in-person and online activities.


The Aga Khan Museum has partnered with the YMCA of Greater Toronto to present programs that promote inner peace and spark curiosity about the wider world. Featuring biweekly programs over a six-month period, this innovative collaboration aims to support wellness and forge new bonds in the Toronto community and beyond.


Starting in July, the Museum will host monthly mindfulness meditation sessions led by the YMCA of Greater Toronto. What’s more, Aga Khan Museum experts will deliver fascinating talks on The Bright Spot, the YMCA’s online hub for connecting seniors, and our own #MuseumWithoutWalls. The sessions will also be posted to the Museum's social media platforms. By tuning in, participants will get an insider’s view into diverse art and ideas behind the Museum’s newest exhibitions and creative collaborations.


The best part? These programs are 100-percent free. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the gentle ride toward greater wellbeing.


An initial list of sessions is available below. More will be announced soon! Of course, all in-Museum sessions will comply with public-health guidelines, to ensure the experience is as safe as it is enjoyable.


Mindfulness Sessions


Once a month, the Museum will host a mindfulness meditation session hosted by a YMCA wellness expert. These sessions will take place outdoors (weather-permitting) or inside the Museum's Bellerive Room. Masks will be mandatory indoors, and participants will be required to maintain social distance at all times. To register, click the link beside the class you wish to attend. 


Don't worry if you can't make it in person — each class will be recorded and posted to this page as well as the Museum's YouTube channel!


Wednesday, July 28 — Mindfulness Meditation Launch

The Aga Khan Museum’s collaboration with the YMCA of Greater Toronto kicks off with a soothing mindfulness meditation. The YMCA's Slobodan Stojanovic leads the session, which was hosted in the Aga Khan Park on July 28, 2021 and recorded on Zoom.


Wednesday, August 18 — "Searching for Inner Truth with Mindfulness Meditation"

While most counselling and contemplation approaches assist individuals with more clearly understanding their own thoughts and emotions, mindfulness meditation applies a unique method that combines "probing for inner truth" with physical relaxation (mindfulness of breath). This combination helps one "make peace" with the spontaneous unfolding of mental and physical experiences (moment-by-moment).


Wednesday, September 15 — "Making Sense of Life in a Sea of Error" 

Based on the perspective that mindfulness meditation is inherently anti-perfectionist, emphasis is placed on the acknowledgment of error and related positive outcomes (of acknowledgment) in everyday life.  Whereas perfectionism establishes unrealistic expectations for performance and associated tendencies to deny and cover up errors, mindfulness meditation assists the individual in attending to the trial-and-error process that happens “in the moment.” 



Wednesday, October 13 – "How Do We Get from Wired and Tired to Calm and Energetic?" 

Based on current science on the sleeplessness epidemic and other indications of information overload (in the general population), this discussion focuses on subjective experiences of excess arousal (wired) and insufficient restoration (tired). Mindfulness meditation provides a means of "resting the mind" while "letting go" of worry and rumination by bringing the mind back to each present moment. 



Wednesday, November 10 – "Befriending Ourselves"

As self-calming and self-soothing become more regular practices and life alternatives, what emerges is a more friendly relationship with the self and the many "selves" that constitute the self. This includes some of the "selves" typically rejected (e.g. the "lazy self") or denied (e.g. the "intimidated self") as we learn to see the Mindfulness Meditation technique as a fully self-accepting discipline. 



Wednesday, December 8 – "Changing All the Time" 

The self-change and self-transcending "project" in life is reframed as part of the constant flow and constant observation of mindfulness meditation. We don’t have to make ourselves change as much as observe the changing that is ongoing and that often follows a naturally intelligent course. This perspective builds on self-befriending, where practice and self-disclosure lead to heeding and respecting the natural intelligence and insight observed in mindfulness meditation.



Wednesday January 5, 2022 – "Mindfulness in Relationships" 

The same experiences that have become possible through mindfulness meditation can be extended to and observed in relationships. We start with acknowledging a spectrum of relationship challenges that address our own insecurities and aspirations. By applying mindfulness principles and meditation, relationships deemed impossible are placed in a more realistic time perspective on a continuum of healing and reconciliation.



Education Sessions (online-only until further notice)


September 1, 2021 — "Welcome to the Aga Khan Museum" — with the Museum's Director and CEO, Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis

Explore the Aga Khan Museum on an online tour led by none other than the Toronto landmark's Director and CEO, Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis. During your virtual visit, Dr. Al-Khamis will guide you through the Museum's airy Atrium, its cozy but elegant Bellerive Room, and the Collection Gallery, highlighting notable objects and architectural features along the way.

September 29, 2021 — "State of Play" — with Special Projects Curator Marianne Fenton


A new display at the Aga Khan Museum investigates how people develop social bonds, emotional resilience, and well-being through play. In this talk, Special Projects Curator Marianne Fenton will introduce the ideas around the creation of State of Play, explore the universality of its theme, and reveal how play crosses cultures while informing our place in society. 


October 27, 2021  — "Caring for the Museum Collection" — with Assistant Curator Bita Pourvash


Assistant Curator Bita Pourvash takes you behind the scenes, giving you an insider’s view into the preservation, documentation, and presentation of objects in the Museum’s Collection. You will also get a sneak peek into our next Museum Collection rotation, this one featuring artifacts that inspire you to listen while you look. 

November 24, 2021 — "Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Roads" — with Dr. Filiz Çakır Phillip


Museum Curator Dr. Filiz Çakır Phillip shines a light on the Museum exhibition Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Roads. Featuring breathtaking scrolls, books, manuscript paintings, and textiles dating from as far back as the 9th century CE, this exhibition challenges viewers to think of the book as a revolutionary technology that shaped — not just documented — transformative moments in human history.


January 19, 2022 — "Light" — with the Museum's Director and CEO Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis

Through select objects in the Museum’s Collection, Dr. Al-Khamis takes viewers on a journey through the Museum, exploring the many practical and spiritual dimensions of light.


Presented in partnership with

Logo for the YMCA of Greater Toronto


Get connected. Stay engaged. Sign up for the latest updates from the Aga Khan Museum