The Doghouse is a community focused, heart centered gathering place, tucked away in the abundant Comox Valley. We offer pre-registered and drop-in yoga classes, and host an wide array of informative and inspiring workshops and events.
The Doghouse is co-owned and run by Toni Dunne and Kristen Gilbert, who combined, offer over 35 years of experience with yoga, meditation and movement. Passionate about learning and sharing, both Kristen and Toni exude an infectious enthusiasm for making ancient yogic principles relevant and meaningful in a contemporary context.
Hi! I’m Kristen and I’m passionate about facilitating your personal growth and sense of freedom in your body. My physical and spiritual pursuits cover a lot of ground, including 20 years of yoga/asana practice in a vinyasa style, meditation and pranayama, Sanskrit/yoga sutra study, circus (especially pole), cross training and trail running. My love of yoga has inspired me to seek teachers all over the planet to glean wisdom from, including Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Eddie Modestini and Nicki Doane, Chuck Miller, Aadil Palkivalha, Elizabeth Burr, Chris Richardson, Natalie Rousseau and many more. Toni and I created the Doghouse with the intention of having a space for community-minded people to gather and further their physical and spiritual development in a holistic way. We are honoured to host international teachers in this intimate space and intertwine philosophy, mythology and the study of Ayurveda in our classes.
I have had the blessing of teaching yoga almost everywhere I've lived and travelled for the last 18 years. I began my teaching career with a 2 year, 1000 hour Ashtanga Yoga training in Toronto, then studied and taught Maya Yoga in Hawaii, and continued to teach in Australia, Chile, Nicaragua and India. I have led 10 retreats over the span of my career and have been the co-owner of The Doghouse in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island since 2014. Here my studio partner Toni and I have cultivated a thriving yoga scene with packed pre-registered classes. We have overarching educational themes for each of our 10 week sessions, including Ayurveda and the Elements, the Yamas and Niyamas (yogic moral precepts specified by the sage Patanjali), the Chakras and Indian Mythology. I am devoted to continuing to feed my own development as a teacher and practitioner through engaging in continual education and taking yearly meditation retreats as well.
I am an enthusiastic student of life, open to self inquiry and devoted to personal evolution. Much of the inspiration comes from the allure, beauty and mystery of the natural world. I love to garden and walk in the woods, play in the snow and swim in natural water bodies. Moving through the seasons, I am guided by the practices of foraging and wild crafting, which provide with the visceral experience of connection. All of these ways of being inform my teaching and sharing.
My teaching style is a playful exploration of mind, movement, and breath, harnessing the dynamic nature of the expansion and contraction that characterizes life. I place great emphasis on compassion and gratitude for the gift of body, how it moves us, and the innate wisdom it holds.
My journey with yoga began in Victoria B.C. in 1999. Here, I studied for many years in the Ashtanga tradition, a powerful practice that challenged me in mentally and physically. This practice was the perfect antidote to a sedentary university lifestyle. In 2009, I completed a 200-hr teaching training with Catherine Munroe of YogaWorks. Numerous workshops, immersions and mentorships have followed this initial training, studying with many gifted teachers in varying styles, most notably: Natalie Rousseau, Elizabeth Burr, Christina Sell and Carly Forest. I have continuously offered classes in the Comox Valley since 2009: in studios, beside the ocean, on paddle boards, at festivals, in parks, churches, and yurts.
My motivation for teaching is to hold the space for students to navigate the mind-body with curiosity and compassion.
Yoga is the union with oneself. Whether you practice on your mat, while preparing a meal in your kitchen or engaging with your family. It is a presence we hope to carry on and off our mats into our daily lives where we can experience life from a place of truth, courage and love. In my life, yoga is a deep practice of self care, radical acceptance, compassionate love and discipline.
Yoga has been a part of my life for the past 15 years and in 2015, I completed a 200 hour Shamanic Yoga teacher training in Squamish, BC. I continue to expand my knowledge and experience as a teacher each day and am deeply inspired by my Community, where there is so much knowledge, dedication and love for this practice. In my classes, I enjoy incorporating pranayam, sound vibration, and meditation along with asanas to help steady the mind, and begin to move into a deeper space, physically and mentally.
I discovered yoga 17 years ago, and it was a deeply healing and transformative experience for me, it is this that I hope to share with others. As a practising emergency doctor in Comox, with 2 young children, and outdoor pursuits of kite surfing, trail running, mtb and music, yoga has become even more central to my life for balancing well being of the body, mind, and spirit.
I have been an avid student of yoga since 2000, practising mainly ashtanga and hatha. I completed my certification with Tina Pashumati James in Whistler, who is a fully qualified ashtanga and advanced Jivamuki instructor following the lineage of Sri. K Pattabi Jois, David Life and Sharon Ganon. My training included yoga therapy and a strong connection to First Nations teachings
Over the years I have continued to study the practises of asana, pranayama, kriya, devotional chanting, and meditation, and would like to explore these in my classes. With my knowledge of physiology and anatomy my classes will be a safe, spirited, uplifting vinyasa flow. I am very excited to launch my teaching path at the Doghouse with the support of Toni and Kristin, and I offer my respect and gratitude to my root teacher TIna-Ji.
Integratation of yoga into life and life into yoga, bringing what we learn from the mat and living it in our daily lives, that is the practice. “Toss aside your map of the world, All your beliefs and constructs, dare the wild unknown” the radiance sutras