Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Power of Presence-How to live with less pain, more joy and enduring peacefulness.

"The greatest gift you can give is the quality of your presence". - Richard Moss

The more you live in the present moment, the greater your opportunity to transform your life from a stuck painful place to one embodying ease and peace.

What is the Ego? What prevents us to go beyond our illusions?

Being present in this very moment encourages you to detach from the ego and the constructs it builds from past and future thoughts. The Ego's aim is to keep you identified with a certain "me" it creates from past experiences, and conditioning. So we come to believe we are our titles, our status in society, our traumas of the past, our cars, homes, bank accounts and even our diseases. You thus fall asleep to your true, or higher Self. A Self that needs nothing to exist. It doesn't need praise, discouragement, antagonism or constant approval. The higher Self is pure awareness, experiencing everything as an observer and unconstrained being.

The power of presence has become one of my main focuses in my work and life. If we can incorporate more and more moments of just "being" instead of doing we are offered an immense opportunity to truly awaken to the blessings at hand.

How much has passed you by because you became enthralled by negative states and thoughts? How much of that thinking was based in the past or future?

So you are living in illusions, with events that either do not exist any longer, or haven't even manifested. The moment I realized I was doing this I couldn't believe how insane it truly is to live that way.

That is why we experience pain, suffering, "dis-ease", and all that is opposing our true peace filled Self. We may then hurt others and project the pain, because all too often it becomes unbearable to sustain ourselves. We may neglect our own needs because the Ego will convince you, you need to be liked, and approved by others. We begin to own other's baggage with feelings of guilt and self blame because again we are fiercely scared we may lose all the supposedly "unconditional" love given to us.

This is our true pain. It is our separateness from our Source, and if I may, God. Every time we lose our Core Connection to that Source, the One that creates and gives life to everything, we feel pain. It's really that simple. We are never separate from God. It is only that we fall asleep and lose awareness of the Presence.

How to Become Present: 3 Simple Practices:

One great thing about being present, is that we realize how blessed and amazing our lives really are. Staying stuck in the past or anticipating the future keeps us in a state of dissatisfaction and we easily lose perspective of all the abundance already present in our lives.

1) Stop/Pause:

Take 5. Drop everything, shut it all off, and just be. Make it a habit to just take a 5 minute pause twice in your day, and feel your body, your breath and check in to see what is happening inside. You can also pause just before you leap out of bed, before starting the ignition, before you take the first bite of your lunch, or just before you say something in a moment of conflict. It is not as time consuming as you may think, it just requires regular practice and effort.

2) The BreathBold:

This is the cornerstone of everything. It literally is. The breath is what animates you, a direct link to your inner being, and physiologically, a key tool to relax the central nervous system and adrenaline stress response. Breath from below the belly button, inititating the inhale there and allow the chest to fill and follow. Exhale in the opposite manner, allowing the chest to fall and then contract the lower abdomen.

Breath into your pain, whether its physical, mental or emotional. Being present with uncomfortable sensations gives us the opportunity to feel what is really going on, and not suppress the emotional state. You grow to realize that pain is fleeting, a momentary thing and not your essential Self. You come to your most compassionate self when you can just allow yourself to be human.

3) Prayer/Meditation:

In prayer we find the opportunity to forgive, accept ourselves and others, and practice gratitude. These three things are based on love. They are what heals our wounds, our suffering, and our physical illnesses.

In prayer and meditation you can let go, of your judgement, your anger, your guilt, your need to defend and realize there is a higher path. One that enables you to see how blessed and love filled you already are. Once we come to this place, then we can share and offer that outwardly, creating positive change and transformation in our lives and with those we love.

Wishing you many moments of the now,



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get Healthy Happy Hips and CURE Your Back Pain!

We hold a lot of tension in our hips. We sit at work, we sit in cars, we sit on couches and this all adds up to tight hip flexors and hamstrings. We have become a very sedentary society, and the effects are discouraging and critically affecting our health in more ways than we realize.

Sitting for hours on end encourages muscle tension, lack of mobility of the spinal muscles and fluids, and an endless list of health risks. The spine is the most precious skeletal structure in your body. The health of your spine determines so much of your overall level of health. It is the primary structure that keeps your whole body connected. It is not only composed of bones, but connects numerous nerves, blood vessels and holds spinal fluid which is one of the most precious fluids in your body.

The longer you stay seated, hunched, lying on your sofa the more you encourage the decompression of the disks in your spine. This over time causes degeneration of the whole skeleton, compressed nerves, and osteoporosis.

Yoga Keeps You Young!

Keep your spine healthy with Yoga and exercise and you will also slow down the aging process. People who don't exercise or keep good posture will age much more quickly. Exercise brings more oxygen to your whole system, and improves bodily processes such as growth, regeneration, assimilation, and elimination.

The hip bone, the lumbar veterbrae and sacrum make up the pelvic area of your body. Tight muscles surrounding the hip joint creates tension and pulls primarily the lower back out of alignment. This translates to possible back problems such as sciatica, lower back pain, and degenerative disk disease. Low back pain is the second major contributor to sick days taken by the workforce. That is a huge problem for both business and personal productivity.

Healthy Hips for a Healthier Back!

The following 4 exercises will encourage back health, open hips, and prevent acute and chronic back pain conditions.

Pigeon Pose: focuses on piriformis, glutes, it band

One of the best and most intense hip openers around, the pigeon pose will encourage the IT Band to lengthen, and bring more circulation to the entire hip area. Try to keep the front shin parallel to the front edge of your mat, keep the spine straight and aim to maintain both hips square and levelled facing forwards.

Knee to Ankle pose (Agnistambhasana): focuses on piriformis, IT band, lower back

This is a seated pose where you bring your ankle to rest on the opposite knee. The key here is not to force the knee down. Knees should never feel pain, or go beyond a moderate sensation. If you already feel it in your knee, do not fold over. Simply breath into those tight areas, and with time you will develop more flexibility.


Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose): focuses on outer hip, erector spinae, lower back

The key here is to twist from the lower spine, pulling the belly in towards the navel, and not compromising the alignment of the spine in the twist. It is far better to twist a little less, and have a straight spine. You will notice a beautiful quality to the breath when you don't go beyond where you are currently at.


Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) : focuses on inner outer thighs, lower back, erector spinae

This is one of my favourite seated poses because it targets the outer and inner hips, and groins. If you cannot maintain a straight back with ease and stability then do not proceed to fold over. Just stay upright and you may find placing your hands behind your hips a great help to keep you straight in this pose. Eventually your hips and groins will lengthen and open enough for you to maintain the pose without using your hands.


Incorporate these poses in your daily practice and in only a few weeks time you will see an amazing improvement in your mobility and the overall flexibility of your spine. Say good bye to any back pain and watch how you improve in all the poses of your practice!!!

In health always,



Thursday, April 14, 2011

3 Essential Oils You Must Include in Your Medicine Cabinet!

What's in your medicine cabinet right now? Do you currently have a good first aid kit in your home and car?

If not, it's time to take inventory and perhaps you may need to add some very essential essential oils. If these are not presently in your kit, I reccomend you visit a reputable health food store that carries a high quality brand of oils and puchase the following 3 for now.

1) Thyme oil: This is an old favourite amongst folk remedies. It's one of the principle oils that makes up the super potent anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti parasitic blend called "Thieves oil". I'm suggesting thyme because it's a little more economical. If you can afford and find Theives oil ( then include that one as well.

Thyme oil can be used to disinfect wounds (dilute with water or oil) , can be used internally (again diluted) to kill bacteria, viral, parasitic and fungal infections. It is highly indicated for many respiratory ailments such as coughs, bronchitis, and sore throats. It's also a stimulant and therefore may help to increase the digestive process and help with indigestion and tummy ailments. It also is one of the best for fungal toenail infections and unlike conventional drugs will have no effects on the liver, or internal organs.


Bonus: Great for cleaning and disinfecting household surfaces without using artificial chemical based cleaners. Dilute a few drops in half litre of water and spray counter tops, floors, and your YOGA MAT!

2) Oregano oil: By far my favourite of the 3 because it is an immune boosting powerhouse. Oregano will help keep viral and bacterial infections at bay and that means a much happier cold/flu season for you and your loved ones. It also can help with the antihistamine response many are starting to deal with, as the onset of the allergy season comes upon us. It acts as an anti inflammatory as well helping to speed the healing process right up.

Oregano oil can be used topically for minor skin infections and even those that are fungal and parasitic in nature. It can also be used on insect bites during those outdoor camping events many of you are planning already.


3) Tea Tree Oil: I love this oil simply because it can be used in soo many useful ways and it's effective! Use diluted in a carrier oil like pure almond oil, and apply it topically to acne and blemishes on the face and whole body. It helps to kill the surface bacteria that leads to break outs. Tea tree oil can also be diluted in water and used as a mouth wash. This is better prevention of cavities than fluoride and way less harmful or invasive. It can treat mouth sores, minor gum infections, and helps keep the gums and teeth free of bacteria causing plaque. It can be applied to cuts, abrasions, and insect bites as well. It must be diluted as with all essential oils, as it is a very concentrated source of the plant essence.


When buying oils make sure you find products that specifically say they can be used internally, that way you can use it if necessary both ways. Always, always dilute these oils in a carrier oil when you apply them topically. Good suggestions here are jojoba oil, almond oil, or rose oil.

Plan B: My motto is always to have a plan B ;)

If you are out of these essential oils, and you get cut, scratched or come across a minor wound you can apply virgin olive oil to the affected area. Olive oil is naturally anti bacterial, anti viral and supports the healing of soft tissues.

I grew up being raised with this practice. I'd fall, scrape a knee and my grandmother would take the bottle of olive out and start pouring away. Ancient Romans and Greeks lived by this knowledge. They literally would bathe in olive oil and it was highly revered as a sacred healing gift from the gods.

So let's do as the Romans did and get back to the essentials ;)

In health always,



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Yoga Series!!: Yoga is for Stiff and Inflexible People

A new yoga series for you!

This intro post will dispel some myths and help you understand why Yoga is for everyone. Let's get to it!

: Yoga is for those super stretchy people who can put both feet behind their head naturally.

Myth: Yoga is for a certain type of body, ie. lanky, thin, ectomorph types.

Myth: Yoga is a nice supplement for your really "tough serious " gym workout regime.

Myth: Yoga is really just a stretching class that can improve one's flexibility.

Yoga has become such a mainstream "activity" that so much confusion and misinterpretation has surrounded it's purpose and benefits. When something goes mainstream the risk is that it gets watered down, sold for profit and its authenticity becomes threatened.

Right after your very first class, it becomes clear that yoga offers much more than just a great way to "stretch" at the end of the day.

Yoga is for Everyone

Yoga is not for the already super Gumby types like dancers or those who happen to be naturally flexible. These types may actually find yoga challenging for the very fact that they must be careful not to overstretch and injure tendons and ligaments. If you are this type, you must learn to strengthen the supporting muscles and gain the strength to hold yourself in alignment.

Yoga is also not only for the "skinny" lanky types. There is a belief that to practice yoga you should have a certain body type. I've practiced for over 7 years now, and I've had teachers and seen students who could do some of the most difficult poses and who you would never ever think, could manage them by the way they looked. That's a judgement, so be careful what you think when you first see someone from a physical standpoint. Here is some incredible proof of what I am talking about:

The Mind is Inflexible First

Yoga is for inflexible, and stiff people. This is because we all are "stiff or inflexible" to some degree in the mind. Inflexibility always begins in the mind. The more pessimistic, closed and critical you are, the more your body will reflect this. The body follows the thoughts and feelings you have each and every moment. And this is what yoga truly aims to address and reveal to you once you get on the mat.

Yoga's purpose is to help you open the body and release the tension there, so that you may feel the natural flexibility you are capable of having when you let go of the mind chatter. The thought patterns that you allow the mind to impose on you, create stiffness or tightness in the body. The body is naturally flexible. Just watch children, and you can see the fluidity that comes from being free of judgements, and criticism. Most at very early age are not conditioned with such patterns of self negation, which are the real culprits to personal freedom and flexibility.

The Gift of Presence

Yes you feel your body ache, and scream and want to throw a tantrum when you get into some of those lovely deep poses. Your mind will automatically throw every caution your way and try to get you not to feel the new sensations. On a deeper level it doesn't want you to ignore it's mindless chatter. When you shift your focus to feeling and being aware of your breath, you can't be thinking of last night's fight with the wife, or that your boss royally pissed you off this morning. You are given the a precious opportunity to come to the present moment.

Tips For Beginners:

Yoga asks you to simply observe.

Stay with the pose, breath into it and notice what happens to the mind after awhile. Bring your focus right into the raw sensations, and feel what is happening. Let go of having to go anywhere, to go further, or do anything. Just be in the pose and feel the experience of it. It will always communicate something, if you are still and present enough.

1) Start right where you are: You don't need to lose weight, or already be "fit" to begin a practice. Buy a mat, join a class and start. Its a metaphor for your whole life really. You begin anything from where you already are, because that is all you have.

2) Find a good studio or DVD: Find a studio that offers a beginner intro and has a good reputation for providing traditional yoga practice. The reality is we all are beginners each and every time we come to the mat, regardless of how few or many years we have practiced. However, learning some of the basics such as the main poses of the primary series, and how to prevent injury may help you feel more secure, and less intimidated when you take a regular class.

3) Less is More: This goes for all yoga practitioners. Pulling back even just a little will encourage better alignment. In Yoga alignment is the foundational key. The goal physically is to always maintain a straight spine in each and every pose. Compromising this, just to get your wrist wrapped around your ankle is not going to help you progress on any level.
Also the moment you are doing more than you really should, you lose the integrity of your breath. And that is the most counterproductive thing you can do while you practice. The breath is the practice, and its the one thing that must remain constant, deep and full.

4) USE PROPS!: I can't stress this enough. Even if you are a seasoned yogi, use them when necessary. Props like blocks and straps will elevate your practice the more you use them. They encourage spinal alignment, and this is what is key to keeping the breath steady, long and from the deep diaphragm. Doing a triangle pose, and forcing your hand to the ground instead of a block, will really defeat the ultimate purpose because you will be completely gnarled up. Props will allow you to find a sweetness in the pose. This most often is the toughest part when you begin yoga. There is a certain level of effort balanced with a sweet ah sensation as I like to call it. Try to find that balance in each and every pose. The breath takes you there :)

In health always,



Monday, April 11, 2011

What are you waiting for to say that four letter word?


"I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion--and where it isn't, that's where my work lies." — Ram Dass

Don't wait till tomorrow to be the love that you are.

Don't wait till tomorrow to thank your mom for all that she has given to you, even if you believe she hasn't given you all that you needed.

Don't wait till next week to show someone, you care about the struggle they are experiencing and that you are there for anything they may need.

Don't wait till the weekend to smile and feel the joy already in your being. How awesome it is that we don't have to go anywhere to feel it.

Don't wait till next week to give a helping hand to someone who really could use it. There is always someone who needs some love.

Don't wait till next month to see the love present in your life, to claim it and celebrate how precious it is and its multiplying effect. Give your talents, your abilities and creative expression and watch how your heart begins to dance with joy.

Don't wait 6 months from now to love your tummy, or your thighs because that is the goal date for your weight loss diet. You are being that is far more than just a body. You are an incredible vessel for love and abundance.

Don't wait till next year to reconcile the painful differences you have not resolved with a family member, a lost friend or foe. The anger, disappointment or resentment you hold towards another only hurts your own heart, never the other.

Don't wait till next year to love your partner when it's his/her birthday, your anniversary, or Valentine's day. Show them you love them today, because the present moment is all we ever really have.

Don't wait till 5 years from now to say "I'm sorry" to someone you have wronged. Love heals all wounds no matter how deep they can become. The longer you wait the greater the scar in your own heart grows.

Be love now.

Be love today.

Breath, feel, act through love in all that you do. You never know who is watching, witnessing and receiving what you have to offer. The more you give of yourself the more you manifest that joy that makes life the greatest gift we are given.


In health always,


Sunday, April 10, 2011

How A Disease Can Be a Blessing


Recently, I was invited to a volunteer appreciation evening for PWA volunteers. I have been part of this organization little over 2 years now, and the immense gratification that I have come to experience is truly beyond all my expectations when I first accepted the opportunity. (you may visit their site and learn more )

PWA strives to offer genuine support, care and guidance to those with HIV/AIDS in the city of Toronto. They not only help with financial matters, but more importantly offer services that encourage wellness, healing, and self care.

I was asked to speak during the event and share my own story and experience as a volunteer holistic practitioner. I give my time, and offer support however I feel that I am given a greater gift each and every time.

I am touched by the trust I am given.

I am honoured to witness their personal growth.

My heart is given the opportunity to become a little more compassionate each time I hear of a struggle or see a tear shed.

My soul becomes ecstatic when it becomes a witness to the joy and optimism so often shared by such glorious warriors.

Its amazing how strong the human spirit can remain when faced with immensely challenging circumstances. That in itself is the most precious thing I have witnessed.

There are days I walk into PWA so caught up in what I think is so horribly wrong in my own life. Then someone shares a personal story of immense hardship, and my perspective shifts instantaneously. I am forced to awaken to the immense blessings of my own life, and all that I have and been given. It really comes right to the forefront and is so clear what is truly important in this life.

My main message to all my clients is that their "disease" (a label we most often integrate intou our own identities) or illness is not who they are. It does not define you. You are not "depression", or cancer, or HIV/AIDS. You are experiencing something that has been given to you for a reason. You have the choice to play the victim and grow small, or you can explore your inner strength and truly realize how grand you really are.

You always have a choice. Always.

I wrote the following poem which I shared with everyone that night. It expresses my experience and gratitude for being given the opportunity to work for an organization so special to the community, the city and my heart.

That Place

It is true that

in me and in you

there is a place.

One where we may play, dance, smile and laugh.

There is a place that we may scream, punch, cry and fight

and it is all so beautiful.

It is what makes you the perfect being that you are,

and the magic of becoming so much more.

There is no need to make up your story,

the story you live is the story of glory.

Because the courage to live it,

comes from that place deep in your heart.

That space that expands and expands,

with each single breath.

As you go beyond,

you will see no end to that nurturing love so deeply held within.

Plunge deep into this space,

strongly, boldly, claim it with full face.

Take hold of your dreams and desires,

and to the love that is eternally yours.

For the love that resides in you,

is the love that resides in me.

We are one and the same.

The light within you, shines to reveal the light in me.

And the darkness you see

is only the veil you put between my heart and yours.

I am so blessed for all of this,

and if things were to go amiss

I still know I can return to my place inside

and see you there with a great big smile.

And I would feel love for this, for you and all the rest.

Because there is no place that love does not see best.

It is what brings you to the test,

of finding that place within you that is the same place

within me.

Never give up, never give in.

Just give from the love in that place

deep in your heart.


In health always,