Community: Meet Renelyn, Toronto-based Movement and Meditation Guide
Introduce yourself and describe what you do:
My name is Renelyn Quinicot (she/her) and I am a Filipina artist and movement and meditation guide, born and raised in Parkdale Village neighborhood in Toronto. I am facilitator of classes for Kundalini Yoga, Pilates, Yoga Nidrā, Vinyasa Yoga, Sound-Meditations, Breathwork and freeing explorations of cardio-dance.
In all my work, I explore the idea that the body is a carrier of story, and lineage, and PLAY as an act of resistance and a cathartic remembering of our ability to still hold a sense of wonder and lightness about ourselves, our care, and our lives! To me, movement and meditation is not just exercise, it is a Self-study. It is an extension of a life-practice to cultivate more curiosity and compassion for ourselves, so we can extend this into our ability to do this better for one another!
How did you get started and why did you choose the industry/career you’re in?
I've always been interested in mindfulness in some way. I used to sit in silence in Zen Buddhist temples, and attend many circle-gatherings for self and communal care, exploring spirituality and psychedelic-assisted group therapies or ceremonies.
Mindfulness finally became a daily practice when I tried Kundalini Yoga and started noticing its effects on my physical, emotional and spiritual Self all through art school. Instead of sitting in silence to meditate, I had all these intricate breathing techniques and instructions to keep my eyes, body and voice busy enough during a session that it would allow me to really experience a deeper mental effect, and more noticeably open my subconscious to unravel, heal and release. It was a type of meditation that felt psychedelic, deeply therapeutic. The stamina and discipline it required also noticeably strengthened mental-muscles in me to be able to better hold peace and patience through uncomfortable situations in my everyday life.
I loved that this practice was not just about reaching a goal for sense of “blissful-ness”, but that it instead helped me practice getting clear with myself - more honest. In practice, I was learning to hold space for all parts of me, all emotions - even the ones harder to face such as irritation, discomfort or the suppressed emotions that would be unveiled after a long breathwork meditation. I became really passionate about sharing these practical and esoteric meditation techniques like pocket tools for my family and friends. It felt really empowering to see my own body and breath as a resource for my own care - a means of taking my care into my own hands. I was so excited to extend that out of the “wellness” space context to folks in my life who didn’t have interest in practicing in a yoga studio, or on a mat, but could benefit from relearning the healing benefits of our own mindfulness and breathing in their every day.
When did you realize it was important you incorporated wellness and movement into your day-to-day life? Has this lead you to discover anything about yourself or your creativity?
It was in my Thesis year in Arts Curatorial and Criticism Practices at OCAD U actually, where I was producing artwork, exhibitions and events based on community-care and gathering folks to vulnerably exchange through storytelling, and sharing knowledge over shared meals as metaphor, that I started to connect with wellness teachers and communities in our city that were exploring mindful-methods of Pilates, Dance and Yoga in more creative, meaningful and music-driven way! Moving and meditating was originally for my own daily practice, but as someone who at the time, also started trying to DJ, the ways starting to try to teach others became a combination of musicality, PLAY, creativity, and cathartic release, felt so aligned with the work I was already doing and passionate about. My artwork was about getting folks out of their heads, the roles or hats we put on, and about connecting on deeper, more human levels to empower and heal communally. Teaching movement and meditation in the ways I was learning to, felt like the perfect medium to continue this pursuit of deep service of the greater picture, the greater good.
Today, I teach a full week's schedule at various studios in our city and continue to teach privately in partnership with different corporate and independent businesses. I am fortunate to be trusted to explore these styles of moving our bodies and minds in more creative, and non-traditional ways. I am always interested in how the arts and wellness intersect. I've explored sharing a few workshops with different galleries and art-organizations that use some of the meditation and movement techniques I've learned and share them with other artists so they can facilitate them themselves, or utilize them into their own daily-care toolkits. I am excited to continue sharing the access I have been blessed to have to these techniques and resources outside of the context of strictly wellness-spaces especially. I am a big believer in that *the more we are able to show up for ourselves, the better we are able to show up for one another* - in our communities, relationships and day-to-day life. I am committed to continuing to explore these mediums as JOYful, freeing, curious routes for folks to deepen a sense of Self and remember that our self-care doesn’t always have to be so serious as well!
I teach to be a bridge within community, a conduit of Divine guidance greater than me, and a mirror for others in support of their own journeys of freeing, remembering, exploring and empowering themselves!
What’s next? Anything cool you’re working on?
I just finished co-facilitating the first of hopefully many retreats with my friend, Krista Schilter of GoldenChain in Costa Rica at regenerative farm - living laboratory called: Brave Earth.
Currently I am teaching at local studios, Goodspace, Jaybird and Othership’s Breathwork, and Sauna and Ice Bath journeys downtown, and am continuing to explore these tools for care through pop-up events and workshops partnered with various organizations in the arts and wellness spaces in our city.
*Look out for monthly community COLD DIPS on the lake that I lead the breathwork for with Meghan Yuri Young of SAD Collective in partnership with Soho House Toronto. The next one is open to all and happening at the end of May!
Photographed by Nathan Legiehn
Check out Renelyn on Instagram at @renelynquin.
Renelyn is wearing Bather’s Marmalade Sweatpant and PYC Rat Tee.