Family Programs

Families and Children at the Shambhala Centre

The Ottawa Shambhala Centre welcomes families and children! On this page, you’ll find information about programs geared to parents, children and teens as well as resources for bringing mindfulness practices into your home.

If you’d like more information on what is available for families, contact Brittan Fell at


Le Centre Shambhala accueille les familles et les enfants. Sur cette page, vous trouverez des informations sur les activités destinées aux parents, aux enfants et aux adolescents, ainsi que des ressources pour intégrer les pratiques de l’attention et de la conscience en éveil à la maison.

Si vous souhaitez plus de renseignements sur les activités offertes aux familles, communiquez avec Brittan Fell à l’adresse

Family Meditation

Please join us for an opportunity for parents, children and teens to receive walking meditation instruction and shamatha (“calm abiding”) meditation instruction. This is an ideal way to bring the simple yet profound and powerful practice of meditation into your family’s everyday life. Taught by our qualified instructors, this class is for beginners, as well as anyone who would like to refresh their understanding of the technique and sit and practice with their family.

Family Meditation will take place three times a year (fall, winter and spring). To find out the dates refer to the monthly calendar or request to be added to the Family Programs distribution list so that you receive the email updates on family programs.

The winter Family Meditation date is February 4, 2018. Registration will be open until February 2.
The spring Family Meditation date is May 6,2018. Registration will be open until May 4.

Bodhi School for Children


Bodhi means “awake”! Bodhi School provides children, in two age groups; ages  4 years old to 7 years old and 8 years old to 11 years old, with a spiritual education in the tradition of Shambhala Buddhism. Bodhi School lets children touch into their basic goodness in a nurturing and fun environment and experience their world more fully, as a way to instill confidence and kindness.

Each class explores a Buddhist or Shambhala theme through stories, music, child-oriented contemplation, meditation and mindful movement (like yoga).

We hold one class a month from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm (last half hour for family social time). Our class sessions are January till May and September to December. Guardians are invited to take part in sitting during this time.

Registration for the sessions is required as it allows the curriculum to build from class to class as well as assist the instructors in preparing for each class.

Registration for the 2018 winter session is now open until January 25, 2018.
Bodhi School will be held on January 28, February 18, March 25, April 22 and May 20.

For more information about Bodhi School or to be added to the Family Programs distribution list, contact the co-coordinators at

Wide Awake! Mindfulness for Teens

So, you might ask: What is mindfulness? What is Buddhism? What does it have to do with being a teenager? How can some guy who lived 2600 years ago have anything useful to say to me?

OK… do you ever feel anxious, worried, angry, scared, sad, intimidated, embarrassed, jealous, stressed or just plain miserable? Prince Siddhartha did too, all those thousands of years ago. After trying all the usual ways to feel happy (food, music, sex, toys …) he figured out a way that actually, really works. What did he do? He woke up! And you can too. You can feel alive, confident, joyful and compassionate and enjoy your life a whole lot more.

Through discussion, interactive activities, mindful movement and meditation, you’ll touch into what the Buddha discovered and then taught to thousands of people. They found his teachings so helpful that they passed them along and 2600 years later, people still find happiness through taking his message to heart.

Wide Awake is intended for teens aged 12 – 16.   This program is not currently scheduled for 2018. If you would like to help or have questions please contact for more information.

Mindful Parenting Circles

The demands of life affect our ability to practice patience and deep listening with our children, which can impact the quality of parent/child, and limit our ability to demonstrate kindness, consideration and bravery. In these sessions, parents, caregivers and others are invited to share ideas on how to bring the practice of mindfulness to the path of parenting and caring for children.

Parents & Infants/Toddlers Meditation Gathering

Being in the present moment is a gift we give to our children and ourselves. Every other Tuesday join us for an opportunity for parents with infants/toddlers to receive walking meditation instruction and shamatha (“calm abiding”) meditation instruction and to practice with their infants/toddlers present. No experience necessary. Drop-ins are welcome. Free of charge.

This program is not currently scheduled for 2018. If you would like to help or have questions please contact for more information

Family Programs

These events are for everyone – babies, children, teens and grown-ups! Come and enjoy. See the schedule page for upcoming events.

Family Socials – an opportunity to meet with other Shambhala families for food and fun.

Children’s Day – celebrated every year at the Winter Solstice. Join the festivities at the court of the King and Queen of Shambhala. Family-friendly entertainment, crafts, story-telling and feasting will all be part of the fun.

Midsummer Day – a fun day out for the whole Shambhala community to celebrate summer solstice. We’ll celebrate summer at a local park with a picnic lunch and fun activities for young and old alike

Shambhala International Programs for Kids and Teens

Family Camp at Karmé Chöling – a magical week for parents and children to spend together with old friends and new in the beautiful rolling green hills of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom at Karmê Chöling.
Not sure if this is right for your family? Contact long-time Family Camper Sheila Craig at

Sun Camp – An outdoor sleep-away summer camp for children ages 10-16. Sun Camp is inspired by and based on the Shambhala Buddhist teachings, but is open to people of all backgrounds and interests.

Weekend Teen Meditation Retreat at Karmé Chöling – for youth ages 13-17 is designed for young people with a genuine curiosity about life and the wish to explore the principles of awareness and warriorship in the company of their peers.

Resources on the Web

Recommended Books

For Children:

  • Rafe Martin: The Hungry Tiger, The Monkey Bridge, One Hand Clapping(and anything else he’s written!)
  • Jon J Muth: Stone Soup, Zen Ties, Zen Shorts, Zen Ghosts, The Three Questions (and others)
  • Phillip and Hannah Hoose: Hey Little Ant
  • Joseph Anthony, In a Nutshell

For Teens:

  • Diana Winston: Wide Awake! A Buddhist Guide for Teens

Mindful Parenting:

  • Karen Maezen Miller: Momma Zen
  • Denise Roy: MOMfulness