Wim Hof Method // March 21st

SATURDAY MARCH 21ST 2021

12PM – 4PM @ CHURCH 444 110 George St.

Wim Hof Method Workshop
Expand your human capacity mentally, physically and spiritually with profound breathing techniques and cold exposure. This workshop is science based and heart centred approach lead by a certified Wim Hof method instructor.

You will learn how to:

  1. strengthen your immune system
  2. increase energy
  3. boost alkalinity, lower inflammation and pain
  4. recover faster
  5. lower heart rate, reduce stress, steer emotion
  6. clear physical & emotional blockages
  7. adapt and over come obstacles
  8. face fear

About Ashley 

Ashley was born in Hamilton and is happy to call it home again. She is a level 2 Wim Hof Method instructor who has learned from and worked directly with the Dutch extreme athlete known as the Ice Man. She has trained around the world teaching people how to unleash their inner strength, heal and evolve using their breath and the cold. 

Covid measures

  1. Participants are to enter the studio with a mask until they are sat down on their mat ready for class
  2. Participants are screened upon entry
  3. Each person is to sanitize hands at front desk
  4. Participants are instructed to use nasal breathing for breathwork exercise
  5. Participants keep water to neck level not submerging the mouth, nose, ears, eyes.
  6. Instructor takes temperature daily and ensures a clean and thoroughly sanitized room before and after class.
  7. Instructor wears mask until class starts and remains at a safe distance from participants.

$125 | TAKE WORKSHOP IN STUDIO

V-Day Gratitude // KOE Design

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 6TH @ 4:30PM EST

Feeling like you are just slogging your way through this second pandemic winter? Same.

I personally know that it is the people I love – my friends and family – who are keeping me sane. This Valentines Day, let’s zoom out and focus more broadly on not just romantic love, but also on platonic love. Thinking of our friends and family members, the way they have been there for us, the way they have adapted to new technologies, the way they have stepped out of their comfort zones to remain connected just chokes me up!!

In this workshop I will guide you through the step by step process of making an adorable valentine that folds up into an even more adorable little envelope. As we are crafting together we will talk about gratitude for the people in our lives and the way we feel about them. We will explore how meaningful our human relationships have become when most other things have been stripped away. We will come together to appreciate the people who brighten our every days, make them a valentine card, and tell them how we feel. Lets get cheesy and leave no love unexpressed!

What you’ll need:

– 2 pieces of paper (fun colours if you have!)

– scissors – glue/tape

– writing supplies – ribbon / string

and if you have them:

– fun things to glue on

– paint

– markers

– pencil crayons

– glitter

– cute tape

– stickers

– any other snazzy craft items!

*Short on supplies at home and don’t have access to a store? Reach out to us through DM or email and we’ll hook you up with some crafts from the studio for a curb-side pick up.

$20 | TAKE WORKSHOP VIRTUALLY

MERCURY RETROGRADE SURVIVAL GUIDE

Over the last few years, Astrology has made a major comeback, especially for those who are shifting their focus into a more intuitive and collective mindset. Folks are spending more time looking deeper into their birth charts, discovering that they are FAR more than just their “star sign” (which is actually your Sun sign), and that Astrology is far more complex than simply reading your horoscope on the weekly newsletter.

I have observed that one of the most talked about phenomena in Astrology that has seemingly become glamorized is Mercury Retrograde. There is almost a sense of fear surrounding it, because it has become associated with exe’s sliding into your DM’s, miscommunications and failed technology attempts. While these things are certainly associated with this particular alignment, there is far more to this pattern. 

With that being said, I’m going to break down what a Retrograde is, what the planet Mercury is connected to, and how Mercury Retrograde is actually an incredible time for reflection and understanding your patterns.

So let’s dive right in!

In our solar system, we have 9 planets that orbit around the Sun, and each of them have a unique orbit. Some planets take longer to make a full return around the Sun, and some take hundreds of years. The closer they are to the Sun, the faster their geocentric paths. The further they are from the Sun, the slower their patterns.

Each of the paths these planets take have unique patterns within them. They may make small or large loops in their paths around the Sun, multiple times or once in a while. This all depends on the gravitational pull of each planet.

As you can see on this diagram above, Mercury’s geocentric pattern contains multiple loops in one single cycle around the Sun. If you analyze the patterns of all the other planets (Pluto not included), you’ll notice they all form unique and complex patterns.

When the planets are in these loop cycles, they make a detour on their trips around the Zodiac, sometimes moving backwards for a certain period of time. Once they station direct and get out of these loop cycles, they continue on their path around the Sun. This is what a Retrograde is.

This is why energetically Retrograde’s are incredible opportunities for reflection rather than taking action; we take a few steps back on our journey to analyze and learn from the experiences and patterns we have just overcome, and once the planet stations direct, we continue on our course of action. 

Now for the planet Mercury.

Mercury, an inner planet, is the closest planet to the Sun. The inner planets in Astrology are associated with our persona and different aspects of it. Mercury, otherwise known as “the messenger of the Gods”, is the planet of communication, technology, education, short term goals and travel, and how we express ourselves.

Mercury also has the fastest orbit around the sun and takes 88 days total to make a full return. However, it will go Retrograde 3 times a year for approximately 3 weeks at a time, which stretches out the cycle to be a bit longer.

Therefore, there are 3 major opportunities a year for us to reflect upon our communication, patterns, and how we show up authentically in our expression.

In the year 2021, Mercury is going to be Retrograde in air signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra), which will bring us a wonderful opportunity for mental expansion and innovation within our ideas. The Retrogrades fall on these particular dates:

Jan 30th-Feb 20th (Aquarius)

May 29th-June 22nd (Gemini)

Sept 26th-Oct 28th (Libra)

As I conclude this blog, I’d like to share 3 specific tips that can help you to navigate these astrological phenomena!

  1. Reflect before acting. A very common misconception with Mercury Retrograde is that you should avoid all decision making and contact that may bring up miscommunications. I’ve seen people literally procrastinate on completing tasks or avoid communicating with people due to the fact that Mercury was in Retrograde and that it was “a bad idea”. No it isn’t. There is no need to allow the fear of making the wrong choice to stop you from making moves. Life goes on, and we need to remember to keep living our lives as they’re meant to. However, the reframe here is that Retrograde’s force you to slow down and reflect on your choices before taking action. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend spontaneity or impulsivity in decision making; but to be more considerate of the actions that you wish to take. 
  1. Spend more time going within. Retrograde’s are a fabulous time to check in on your mindset and where it’s at. It isn’t uncommon for you to feel flustered because of the usual brain fog/monkey brain that may come up during these times (especially in air signs!!), so finding clarity & focus is absolutely key. If you have a meditation practice, this is a time to embrace it. Even though there may be more discomfort that comes up due to an unusual amount of noise coming up in your mind, don’t worry; that’s a part of the practice. Notice what may be coming up without judgement. If you journal or write, this is also a great time to embrace that practice. It may even compliment your meditation practice, if you have one. I would even recommend making lists during this time.
  1. Slow down. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, it isn’t uncommon for folks from your past to randomly come back in your life, technology to falter, or miscommunications to happen. However, DON’T PANIC! The reason that this may be happening is because you simply need to slow down and reflect upon the bigger lesson being projected your way. Perhaps something is coming up that you haven’t thought about in a long time and suddenly you can’t stop thinking about it; maybe it’s because an old lesson from a previous cycle is coming up to be cleared and worked through. This is why slowing down before speeding up once Mercury goes direct is key. Perhaps speaking with a trusted peer and sharing what may be coming up is a healthy way to find support during these unusual times. 

All in all, every single planet goes Retrograde at a certain point; some less or more than others. Rather than letting the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game, allow yourself to slow down and embrace the gifts that these reflection periods bring us. After all, the universe has your back.

Amanda Rose Campanaro (She/Her)

The Mindful Magick MethodReiki Master Teacher, Intuitive Guide & Educatorhttps://mindfulmagickmethod.as.me/

Inspirations & Interpretations From The Body

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” – Dr. Seuss


We start this January 2021 instalment with the visual organs invested in our skulls that
see so many things. They can see the good, the bad, the crude, and the honourable. They see what is there, and sometimes what is not. Yes I am talking about the eyeballs, how do these lovely rotating orbs of all different colours do what they do? Well let’s start with an outside cue…


Light reflects off of objects, and the reflected light contacts the cornea (clear sheet
over the front of the eye), it then hits the lens. The lens is a flexible tissue that is controlled by tiny muscles in the eye, called ciliary bodies (keep note of this). Using the ciliary bodies the lens is able to flatten, or round itself depending on the objects distance.This step is crucial as it focuses light rays onto the retina at the back of the eye.


The light impulses pass then through the lens, and move through a vitreous humour
that keeps the eye in it’s spherical shape. After the vitreous humour the light rays make contact with layers of retina cells that use the light, and convert it to electrochemical impulses that funnel along the optic nerve, and to the visual cortex of the brain to be processed. If we contemplate the structural significance of these spheres, and what they could teach me based on their function. Turns out there was more to it than meets the eye.
Let’s go back to the lens where light is transferred into the eyes, and processed. This is
where we begin to tie in the significance, and the interpretations from the body. Just as the eye contains the diameter changing lens to transfer the light. Maybe altering the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional lens to view the same object, person, scenario from multiple angles.


In other words, instead of solely seeing myself as one way my entire life; alter my lens,
and view myself in a different light. This altered lens provides the ability to take in light at
multiple angles, to gain a different perspective, and challenge my own. The different ray of
interpretation may have not been considered, as sometimes the eyes look but do not see in
entirety.


Please understand that this is my personal interpretation not meant to offend, or impose an
opinion on any person who reads it. Please take what you will, and leave what you do not
want. This is written by a student for life, and of life.

Writing and artwork by Creator Alex Piccolo

VIRTUAL Chakra Macrame Workshop

FRIDAY JANUARY 22ND 7PM EST // via Zoom

  • Must register through Mindbody by Tuesday January 19th to ensure delivery of supplies and information for optimal experience! Grab a drink, set up your space, do it with a pal and make a fun creative night out of it.

Ashley will guide you through some basic macrame steps all well helping you create this beautiful piece for your home in your home.

  • $65 // Includes all supplies for macrame creation + easy to attach crystals representing each Chakra * curb-side pick up or delivery within downtown Hamilton core.
  • 15 spots available to ensure attention to detail and assistance.

Not included but recommended:

– clothing rack or closet rack to work from. Limited clothing racks and stools are available to borrow (first come first serve).

– stool or chair

– scissors

– tape

Macrame kits can be picked up at Church 444 or local delivery available.

Once registered please contact Ashley at ashweegar@gmail.com for further details.

$65 | TAKE WORKSHOP VIRTUALLY

Attention Intention Action

A three-part workshop series facilitated by Steve Ferrell

Welcome to the ultimate guide in making simple and sustainable shifts in 2021. In this workshop series we will discuss and practice with evidence-based tools to improve awareness, clarify goals and move toward a deeper more attentive life. Each workshop will include movement and mindfulness practices as well as some theory/philosophy and didactic learning.

ATTENTION //

Saturday January 9th 2:30pm – 4pm EST
Where we are, in this present moment, is always the starting point for us to move in any direction. How can we figure out where to go, unless we get clear as to where we are? In this first of three parts, we’ll primarily focus on the Attention component as a foundation for every INTENTION and ACTION. Exploring some of the reasons why attention practices can be so important to establishing and creating sustainable goals and behavioural changes. We’ll also touch on several ways that we can practice bringing more attention into our daily lives in very functional and useful ways.

INTENTION //

Saturday January 16th 2:30pm – 4pm
How is it that we choose where to go? What are the primary influences when pointing our self in any direction? In this second of three parts, we’ll shine a light on the philosophy and practice of INTENTION. When life shifts in unexpected ways, this tends to be when we lose our way. Learn skills and develop tools to practice being adaptable in the face of change. Exploring the ways in which we can choose, travel and shift our trajectory in any given moment.

ACTION //

Saturday January 23rd 2:30pm – 4pm
Some say, “The road to hell is paved in good intentions?” Very easily we can create some amazingly tremendous goals for ourselves but can just as easily get tripped up or get frozen when it’s time to take action and make that first step. In this third of three parts, we’ll take ACTION. Discussing ways that we can make lasting shifts in our behaviour in the small ways and in BIG ways. When we get clearer on where we are and where we want to, it becomes easier to determine how we want to get there.

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$65 | TAKE WORKSHOP VIRTUALLY

The Great Conjunction: How to Navigate the Shift into The Aquarian Age

When the moon is in the 2nd house,

And Jupiter is aligned with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets

And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

The Age of Aquarius…..


Can you hear that song from the 60’s echoing in the background?Can you feel the sudden and drastic shift in how our collective is functioning and where we are heading?


Take a deeper look with me for a second. Since the beginning of this year, we have been tested, triggered, and put on trial in some way or another. Everything we have always believed to be true is suddenly crashing down.
But why?


Well, I am going to break it down in Astrological terms. Astrology is the language of the stars, and it uses a combination of metaphysics, astronomy, and ancestral wisdom to depict certain patterns in our behavior & how the Earth behaves in correspondence to the cosmos. 


Our ancestors used to watch what was going on in the cosmo’s just like we watch sports and the news. For centuries, we have been mapping out a plethora of astrological events and connecting them to massive generational events that have shaped and shifted the direction of human kind. The irony here is that many scholars, religious leaders & mystics have been predicting the events that are taking place in this very year for centuries. 


The cosmic events that have been taking place this year are so intense and distinct, that we haven’t seen this level of activity in close to 2000 years. The same energy we are experiencing now is the same energy that ended the Roman Empire. Take that in.


Now, take a deep breath in, and let go of any fear you may be experiencing at the thought of what we are living through.


The truth of the matter is that the Astrological event taking place on December 21st 2020 is going to mark the beginning of an entirely new age of existence, one that we have been preparing for over the last 50 years. 

This year, a rare conjunction between the planets Jupiter & Saturn will take place on this date. They will both find alignment in the sign of Aquarius, This is called the Grand Conjunction. 


Typically, this particular alignment with both Jupiter & Saturn aligning conjunct happens every 20 years, and it often marks a new beginning to an era. This is where this alignments becomes very interesting; this grand conjunction has been falling under Earth signs for the last 200 years, keeping things relatively focused on systematic & patriarchal approaches. However, these two planets are aligning in Aquarius, which is marking the beginning of something more significant; we are being catapulted into a global shift away from the Piscean age for good, and head first into an entirely new beginning.


We are beginning to shift away from patriarchy, hierarchy, control and inequality. We are beginning to shift into progression, technology, humanitarianism, and enlightenment.
So…how do we prepare for this?


I have put together of the main things to consider over the course of the next year as we fully step into this new Astrological age. These tools and thoughts will not only support your transformation, but also hold space for the great changes that are taking place.


1. Transformation is not a painless or easy process. This is going to take time, patience, and a lot of compassion. Think about all of the inequality and dogma that we have seen in our society. Now…begin to reflect upon what is happening. Collectively we are being held accountable for our actions and coming clean about the truths that have been hidden, or unaccounted for, for years. This is also relevant on an individual level – take a moment to think about EVERYTHING that has changed this year.  Of course transformation & change into something better isn’t easy, how could it be? It means becoming comfortable with getting uncomfortable. It means that we need to do deep shadow work. It means that we need to come clean with our truth and begin to act towards it. But this does not mean that it won’t take a lot of sacrifice and challenges. It is important to understand the difference between living in a fear based state, or in a state of harmony and love. 


2. Begin to implement some kind of practice in your life. Whether this is physical movement, mindfulness meditation, perhaps you enjoy biking or running in nature, do what you need that supports your well being. Now more than ever it’s important to take care of yourself on an individual level. How else can you show up and support the other important factors in your life – partners, family members, your work/career, children, hobbies and passions…. This is the time to do the deep inner work. If this means that you begin to explore yoga practices, do it. If this means that you want to hire a coach to help you through a specific hump in your life, invest in yourself. If it means that you need to ask for help and seek counselling, you are worthy of it. Now is the time. 


3. Understand that we are shifting away from traditional dogmatic practices, and closer to modern approaches to how we function. Yes, the digital world is rising and technology is becoming more of a factor. This means that the tools that we know and love will be changing, too. 


4. Discover your roots & do the ancestral work. Now that truth and enlightenment are on the forefront, it is now the time to allow our true colors to shine. We have been desensitized over the course of hundreds of years of trauma, war, discrimination and inequality within our nations and now more than ever we need to reclaim our cultural roots. Have conversations with your family members. Ask questions. Read books written by BIPOC folks. Dig up old recipes.


5. Find a support system. Aquarian energy is all about community and accepting all for their unique, authentic qualities. It is also about equality and progress. Who can you count on within your circles for support?


6. Take the time to discover what is truly aligned with you, and what isn’t. Aquarian energy is authentic and real, and with this shift we are being called to unfold into our highest selves. What does this mean? Discovering your destiny and allowing yourself to act on your gifts and strengths, rather than suppress them to fit in. Aquarian energy is also the shift into the MODERN age of medicine, mindfulness and Magick coming back to the surface to support us. 


7. This is going to take a long time to transition into, change does not happen overnight. 2020 was all about crumbling the existing foundation that we have been walking on for centuries, and the coming years are all about building up something newer and stronger. 
Ultimately, you are not alone. Everything that has come up this year has been for a higher reason. If anything, we are more supported and interconnected than ever before. This is the beauty of technology. These are the gifts that all of this information coming to the rise has given us; awareness. Understanding. Knowing that we have the freedom to choose what reality we wish to create.
The best is always yet to come.


Amanda Rose Campanaro (She/Her) The Mindful Magick Method Reiki Master Teacher, Intuitive Guide & Educator https://mindfulmagickmethod.as.me/

Zine Workshop

Zine Workshop with Tansy Monos

DATE: Postponed due to government mandated lockdown

Offered in studio + online

Dive into the glorious world of zines! This workshop will answer questions like: What the heck is a zine? Where did they come from? How do I make a zine? Does it matter if I can’t draw? In addition to learning about all of the different types of zines you can make, in-person participants will get the chance to make a zine with materials that will be provided at the workshop. Let’s get zine-ing! 

About Tansy


Tansy is a social service worker passionate about ending oppression, domestic violence/sexual assault and homelessness. Tansy is interested in mindfulness as a tool for healing trauma and complex PTSD, about neuroscience and how the brain and nervous systems work, and how it relates to traumatic expression patterns in everyday life. Tansy likes to cope with nervous system activation through: colouring, art, legs up the wall, working out, rope suspension, and holding onto ice cubes. Exploring the limits of the human body, Tansy enjoys experiences that integrate body and mind to overcome obstacles and increase strength and resiliency. Ask he about some of her strange practices – Tansy enjoys open and vulnerable conversations. 

The Kidney Collective – by Alex Piccolo


For the second installment of this blog write up I have been digging into what it means to
ask for help? Why do I feel a particular way when I am solo, as opposed to when I lean on my network of support ? This led me back to the body, because my understanding of looking within, is to LITERALLY look within. The body humbles, and inspires me to dig up more correlations between everyday life, and this resilient machine.


Why lean on a network? Why does it feel better to lean on others, or to be an equal part
in the global picture? Well, this is where we can direct ourselves to the kidney. Well not just the kidney (singular), but kidneys (plural). Yes, we have two kidneys located below the large,
transverse diaphragm muscle, on either side of the motor line (spine). Within the kidneys lies an interconnected system of compartments, and sub-compartments. It’s gonna get a little boring…so let’s swan dive into the information.

The kidneys function to regulate (remove if needed) water, and waste. The kidney is composed of the outer renal cortex, contained within are cone shaped structures called renal medulla, which funnel into the calyx, renal pelvis, and down into the ureter, and then bladder to be excreted. In other words, two bean shaped blobs (kidneys), attached to two tubes (ureters), feed into another hollow blob (bladder), and out the chute. Think of it as a relay system, passing the baton (excretory waste) from one station to the next.

Let’s dive deeper into the renal medulla (cone shaped structures). Within these cone
shaped structures we find little, twisted pipe cleaner like structures called nephrons. Nephrons act as a huge interconnected network of bodies within the kidney to assist in the filtration, and reabsorption of substances. To give you an idea in total we have approximately 1.2 million nephrons per kidney. Excuse me?! Did you hear that? That means per human body there are approximately 2.4,million nephrons working together. I feel like that may be important, but I’m not too sure…let us press on.


The pipe cleaner nephrons have an intricate system of removing tiny waste elements,
and assisting in removal, or addition of water to suit the bodies needs. These nephrons are
structurally identified as having a glomerular filtration site, proximal convoluted tubule, loop of Henle, distal convoluted tubule, and a collecting duct. At this point it’s like what the heck does all of this mean?

Well, in short they are just structural parts of the pipe cleaner nephrons, that
serve an individual, and collective purpose within the nephron, kidney, and on a large scale the body. The nephrons act in reabsorption of water, sodium, potassium (other elements…it’s quite a list, but you get the idea). It is also interesting to note that when the body sends a hormone signal requiring more water, reabsorption from the tubule occurs, and when there is too much water or ions, they are reabsorbed into the nephron to be removed. This systemic interconnectedness within, and around the kidney relies upon communication, and collaboration of all parts to get the job done.


Do you see where I am going with this? The kidneys have got an amazing network
occurring within the kidney itself, down to a microscopic level. Now, let us take away one of
those parts. Let us say the nephrons no longer want to participate in filtration, and would like to operate solo. How would that affect everything else? The nephrons are part of the medulla (cone shaped structure). The medulla is a component of the kidney. The kidney is an important organ in the body (all organs are important, but just bear with me).


Now…the body can function, but there is more work for each individual component. It
also takes a lot longer for the substances to filter through the kidneys, if at all. Do you see how when alone, one piece of the puzzle may have to exhaust itself to be part of the whole?
However, when this same part communicates with the whole, and relies upon its network
around, the individual structure can operator without complete exhaustion. I am not solely
speaking of this in a tangible sense, but maybe a spiritual, and emotional one.

In one stream of thought I like to think it is the power of the group mentality functioning within the body. Please understand this is my own interpretation, which is continually changing. This blog write up is only meant to find beauty, and inspiration in the simple things provided to us.


If you have any questions please contact me alexandrapiccolo3@gmail.com

What it’s like to have S.A.D…. – by Michelle Hudecki


Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. as it is commonly referred to is a type of depression that is related to the changing of the seasons — S.A.D. begins and ends at about the same time every year. If you’re like most people with S.A.D., your symptoms start in the beginning of winter (when the days are the shortest) and continue into the winter months – usually the lowest point is around mid- February, zapping your energy and making you feel a variety of mixed emotions.

S.A.D. is a real condition and effects 4-6% of the population (4 out of 5 people effected are women). S.A.D. shows up the same way depression shows up in a person.  While the exact cause of S.A.D. is unknown, researchers believe the condition may be related to the body’s internal clock, which regulates temperature and hormone production. Nerve centres in our brain control our daily moods and rhythms and are stimulated by the amount of light that enters our eyes. The reduction of sunlight in the winter can throw your biological clock out of whack and reduce levels of serotonin (a brain chemical that regulates your mood and behaviour) and melatonin (a chemical which regulates sleep and mood). S.A.D leaves you with all the same symptoms as someone who is clinically depressed leaving you with feelings of loneliness, sadness, emptiness, unhappiness, loss of interest in things you love, over-sleeping… and the list goes on.

Depression can mask itself in the ugliest forms imaginable, some misunderstood symptoms include: anger, irritability, impatience, sleep problems, anxiety, crying spells- sometimes over nothing at all, inability to concentrate, random physical aches and pains, substance abuse, appetite change and isolation.

When faced with these symptoms – if you do not know how to handle how you are feeling, you may be suffering from this or a similar condition. Speak with your doctor or a therapist. Getting help is so important! Never be afraid to talk to your friends, family, doctor or therapist! Remember you are so loved!  

Since I have suffered with this debilitating condition for over 10 years I can tell you some things that have helped me in this dark time to lighten my mood and if you can relate to these symptoms I hope this helps you too!

BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE: When you are faced with that crippling, can’t get out of bed anxiety, and negative thoughts keeping you down, THIS is what you need. Yet THIS is the hardest thing on the planet to do. Set yourself up for success the night before. Pick a time, pick a class, sign up online (this can help with accountability!) Put whatever you need by the door ie. change of clothes, yoga mat, water bottle, snacks… Set your alarm and DO IT! There has never been a time I’ve had a regret about getting to a yoga class, spin class, or making it to the gym! Exercise increases your levels of serotonin! I promise you won’t regret this one and that is why it is MY NUMBER ONE RULE of S.A.D.

STAY SOCIAL : This can be another challenge when we are caught so low in the “winter blues”. This can be especially tough when the weather is bad and we’re advised not to drive or we end up working from home (which is awesome!!! -but can be very isolating). Spend time with supportive family and friends! Don’t be afraid to share your feelings! Let the ones you love know how you are feeling. The ones you share this with will be there for you, to listen to you, until you feel heard! To hug and squeeze you, until you smile. This is a BIG one – when you hug someone – like really squeeze someone for about 20 seconds or more (cuddling too!) Oxytocin is released. Known as the “love hormone” when it is released it is said to strengthen empathy, trust, your sexual desires and helps to strengthen your relationship. Oxytocin also helps as a treatment for depression, anxiety, intestinal (digestive) issues and a lack of sexual desire. If you know someone is down let that hug last a little longer, a little tighter. Get that Oxytocin flowing!

TAKE A VACATION AND IF YOU CAN’T TAKE A VACATION STICK TO A SCHEDULE: This might not always be feasible because of work, children, life, money or whatever your circumstance might be in. Travelling is soul food. It heals you on a whole new level. It gets you to step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown, maybe you don’t know the language, maybe you get lost, maybe someone helps you along the way – you get to see life from a different perspective. You get to meet new people, understand new cultures and if you forgot to appreciate the life you have back at home 9 out of 10 times you will realize how lucky you are and how much you having been taking your life or people in your life for granted. Vacation time is sometimes not achievable due to the busyness of life – if that is the case try to schedule time for you. Book a massage, schedule a float, give yourself a manicure, a facial, a pedicure. Listen to a guided meditation. Try to follow a schedule and/or a routine. Go to bed at the same time each night. As “boring” or mundane as this might sound, getting into a daily routine can be very healthy and great for your well-being.

THINGS TO AVOID:

NEGATIVE SELF TALK: A lot of mental and emotional suffering can come from the way we talk about ourselves. It is scientifically proven people who talk negatively about themselves are under higher stress, have trouble getting into routines and can often be overweight. All of those cant’s, wont’s, don’ts shouldn’t, couldn’ts… can really eat away at our self-esteem. When our self-esteem is low we can have trouble making decisions. If our thoughts determine how we feel, our feelings often become our stories, and our stories become our truths. When we keep telling ourselves negative stories we start to believe them and they become our reality. However, when our stories are about how amazing we are, how lucky we are or how awesome our lives are…. THAT becomes the story. THAT becomes your reality! Start your day by telling yourself 3 things you love about you!

ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol and substances are temporary “fixes”. At the time we feel good, but alcohol is a depressant. When you start to come down you will often become lower or bluer than when you started. Drinking too much is harmful to your cognitive function, your memory and can also lead to depression. When you drink too much you are more likely to act on an impulse and make bad decisions. Alcohol and substances can lead you further down the rabbit hole into depression.

LET GO OF OLD PATTERNS AND TOXIC BEHAVIOUR: Sometimes it is easy to stay in the same stagnant patterns. Sometimes we get used to eating poorly – greasy, fatty foods or drinking too much… These patterns can have a negative effect on our bodies, our self-esteem, our well-being and how we view ourselves and the world around us. It takes 30 days to create a habit. If you want to try to introduce something new into your life… start small. Maybe eating a vegetable at every meal or cutting soda or super refined sugars from your diet. Once you are able to stick with these small changes for 30 days you will notice how much easier it becomes to add on healthier habits! Start small and tell yourself – “Yes, you can!”

We are all going through something in our lives, we are all at different stages. Be kind to everyone you meet, because everyone is fighting their own battle and has their own unique story. When you can live with compassion, you can learn to drop judgment and realize we are all just skin, bones and souls. 


Michelle Hudecki
245 h RYT Hatha-Vinyasa-Yin

Dreaming In Real Time – by Myrtle Sodhi

Have you ever drooled over something so much that you could barely wait till you got it? Like the time I saw this very striking jacket with 3 quarter length sleeves, with a skirt that flowed out like a tutu at the waist, and was held together by a lavish belt. I know-  irresistible.  I literally couldn’t wait until it was delivered to my house.  Everyday I would check my emails to see if any delivery notifications appeared on my inbox. 

Well it did arrive and as I ran my fingers down the quilted fabric of this extravagant purchase I felt such excitement.  I tried it on and twirled around in front of my mirror, watching the sides of the skirt flare open and ripple all around me.  I couldn’t wait to wear it out – maybe my birthday dinner – who knows.  Well it has been 2 years to be exact and I still haven’t worn it.  It still stands on a hanger in my closet poking out from all the other dream outfits.  The dream outfits will never cut it. The problem is the more we devour is the more we are devoured. The system we live in was intentionally created to keep us consuming without being satisfied.  Realizing this I embarked on a journey to figure out how to live outside of this misaligned value system.

Dreaming at What Cost?

Since Covid came through and swept us up into a state of stillness, reflection and a bit of life assessment, I have come to realize that I had been sold a big, big, big lie.  Not just one about fashion either – about everything.  As a child of an immigrant single mother from the Caribbean I was expected to fulfil the dream dreamt by my mother and her parents.  To go abroad, settle, and acquire all the things that show that we were worth the stamps on the visas, the seats on the plane, the desks in the schools, and the jobs that were so “graciously” handed to us.  We wouldn’t waste this opportunity – this chance at happiness, and success – at dreaming in real time.   One problem remained – the dreams stole our ability to experience living.  Yet, we still continued with them. We devoured them even though we choked on them from time to time. 

The truth is the dreams we were sold came at the cost of community, service, self-care, leisure and renewal.  We had no time for rest, to linger long enough on a thought to invite a spark, to sit long enough with a pause to welcome the creative spirit that usually accompanies it. The dreams also told us the lives that we left behind were somehow substandard, backward, and lacked value.  Moving at a slower pace meant we didn’t value work.  Taking a break meant we were not valuable.  The hard to swallow dreams raged on.

Back to Covid and how it made all of us sit, wander, and contemplate the value, the meaning, the necessity of living.  Of living – for the living.  I started looking closely at what I took joy in.  I was ushered back to community.  To people.  To my mother who from 17 – 65 spent her life working for others – for their happiness, for the fulfillment of their dreams. All the while she endured oppression, racism, and stress induced illnesses.  During the summer of Covid we spent many mornings out in the garden harvesting and planting – noticing all the small changes in nature with each sprout, with each offering.  There I started experiencing dreaming in real time. I was also brought back to my children who forced me to accept that their value was not embedded in being a product of the education system, my parenting, or society’s offerings.  They are evolving beings on their own journey.  With their own right to explore their role in community. To my neighbours and friends who show me that pulling up a chair in the driveway, dropping by to say hello, witnessing voices on the phone are what sweet dreams are truly made of. 

The Community: The Center of the Universe

In The Courage to Be Disliked, Ichiro Kishimi explains that the community is the center of the universe and it is our service to community that brings fulfillment and happiness. Not the acquisition of wealth or approval from others – but service without need of praise or ego stroking. This is the heart center of the universe. So simple. So accessible. Considering all of this – why are we still chasing the capitalist dream? Why do our actions continue to stoke the flames of a system that cares little for the every in everybody? Why do our actions continually place product over people, and profit over impact? All those who have sold us the lie – the capitalist lie of accumulation and domination, are not happier, more fulfilled, or at peace. So why do we keep believing them? What is the root of this cognitive dissonance?

Three Questions for Creating A New Dream

 Before Covid being busy was a sign of success. You gained a sense of worth and value from how in demand your time was from your employer. Now we have been gifted time. Time is the real killer of a capitalist regime. Capitalism tells us that too much time means we will grow weak, stupid, lazy – that our brains will shrivel. But for the first time many people had time to reflect on the tasteless mouthfuls they were consuming. Some of us took the time without guilt to really ask some questions. According to Deepak Chopra, yogis live by 3 questions: Who am I? What do I want? and How do I serve? I started writing these questions down at the top of my daily to do list. Everything that went on that list had to answer one of those questions. It was in the answers I found a way to address the cognitive dissonance that plagued my life. It was also the path to dreaming a new dream that aligned with my values.

Who am I? I am a being with worth just as I am. No degrees, awards, recognition, accomplishments, failures, breakdowns, or heartbreaks can add to or diminish my worth and value.

What do I want? Time to wander, wonder, create, connect and learn.

How do I serve? Inviting others into spaces that help them recognize their worth, explore their connection to community, and experience moments of joy.

So take some time today to explore these three questions and see if your dreams are aligned with who you are, what you seek, and how you serve and start dreaming in real time.

7 Things You Can Do During The Day To Reduce Stress & Increase Overall Energy – by Michelle Hudecki


Working long hours, having a phone glued to your ear, sitting hunched over a computer desk, skipping lunch and rarely taking a break can and will take a toll on your overall well-being and mental health. Make time for yourself during the day! You are never too busy to take proper care of yourself. When you are taking better care of yourself you will notice you naturally have more energy, you will feel less stressed out, will generally feel happier and you will find you are more present for those in your life! I am a 200 hour RYT (registered yoga teacher) and I believe a body in motion stays in motion. You should try to take at least 30 minutes a day to stretch, move and breathe properly.

Here are 7 things I do during the day to keep myself moving, healthy and happy! Here are my seven quick tips to feeling better during the day:

1. STRETCH – Moving your body and connecting with your breath during the day is a great way to kick-start your mind to future tasks. Stretching during the day will keep you positive, build confidence, strengthen your body, relieve headaches, neck and back strain, improve posture, decrease the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome and decrease work related injuries from repetitive motion. If you have the time maybe think of getting to a yoga class before or after work. If you don’t have the time here are 5 stretches you can do at your desk (standing or sitting). (a) Palms up stretch – Reach your arms up with interlaced hands, palms to the sky, hold for 30 seconds or more. Then reach over to the right side and then the left side for approximately 15 seconds or more. (b) Seated forward bend – Keep both feet on the ground and fold forward in your chair, belly thighs and let your head and neck hang. Keep your breath long and deep. (c) Thoracic Spinal movement – Make robot arms with your arms and repeatedly turn to one side and then the other. (d) Seated Cat/Cows – On an inhale squeeze your shoulder blades together, press your chest forward and on an exhale then round your back and tuck your chin in towards your chest for seated cat/cows. (e) Seated Hip Stretch – Start with both feet flat on the floor, cross one leg over the other (the top of your ankle should be on the top of your knee, so your legs look like the number 4) if you need more of a stretch for the hips begin to fold forward, belly to thighs.

2. BREATHE – Proper breathing is vital to our overall health and well-being. You likely don’t pay much attention to your breath, you do it all day long and it has become completely automatic, yet it is the only thing we cannot live without for 2 minutes. When we become stressed our breath tends to become shorter and we begin to breathe only into the chest, which can send our bodies into a fight or flight response and create more stress hormones in the body by decreasing the oxygen levels in our brains and in our blood stream. Deep breathing is the most powerful stress reduction technique we can use. There are many different breathing techniques you can use to slow the body down, increase the supply of oxygen in the blood and to the brain and promote a state of calm. Here is an example of my favourite breath exercise: (a) Sit up nice and tall with both feet flat on the floor. You can take the hands into the lap or palms facing up beside the body. Close the eyes and deeply inhale for a slow count of 5 and exhale for a slow count of 8. I recommend taking about 10 to 20 rounds or more if you feel comfortable. I am very visual so I like to picture the ocean. On my inhale I picture the waves coming into the shore and on the exhale I pictures the waves moving outwards into the ocean. This can also be done in the car when you are in traffic, but with the eyes open and no visualisations.

3. MEDITATE – The most common thing I hear when I tell people to try meditation is resistance – “but I can`t turn off my brain or my thoughts“. Perfect! Either can I! Your mind will never be completely quiet, but allowing space to move between the thoughts will allow you to more clearly, improve memory function and help you to become less distracted during the day. If you are newer to meditation there is an app you can download called Headspace. It starts you off with just 10 minutes of guided meditation. I have found this to be very helpful and easier to incorporate into my life. It is very beneficial to your well-being to take the time to slow down, focus on deep breathing and induce relaxation. Meditation induces relaxation by increasing the compound of nitric oxide that causes blood vessels to open up and subsequently, blood pressure to drop. You will notice how things flow much more naturally when you slow down and enjoy each present moment. “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb

4. LAUGH – It is true what they say, laughter really is the best medicine. Keep something in your desk that makes you laugh, buy a joke a day calendar, talk to a co-worker with a hearty sense of humour. A willingness to laugh at yourself sometimes can also serve as a good reminder not to take life so seriously, which can do wonders for your stress level. Laughing reduces your stress hormone level, helps to lower blood pressure, a good belly laugh will work your abs, improve cardiac health and trigger the release of endorphins.

5. BUILD A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT – The next time you notice your thoughts moving towards negativity, think of three positive things that have to do with your environment, job, yourself or someone in your life. If the negativity is towards yourself – drop the negative self-talk! Build and create a positive environment by leaving the gossip to ETalk. Give your co-worker a complement about his or her recent accomplishments!

6. TAKE A WALK – One thing I like to do is plan a healthy lunch with a co-worker or two and begin afternoon with something positive. After a healthy lunch move your body, take a walk outside, or if your office has stairs take the stairs. Breaking up your day with a healthy snack, a walk, and some movement will help you come back to the second part of the day feeling relaxed and ready to take on all the new challenges the day can bring. If the weather is nice get outside. It is proven that natural sunlight, blue sky and green grass naturally cheer you up! This is why 75% of the population favour the colours green and blue.

7. DRINK MORE WATER: Kick that afternoon sugar craving – Get your blood flowing out of your stomach and into your brain! Drink more water. Mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1- 3%) can impair energy levels and mood, and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance. Drinking water can actually help you to lose weight too. It is actually best to drink cold water, because then the body will use additional energy (calories) to heat the water to body temperature. Stay hydrated!

GIVE YOURSELF TIME Relaxation exercises take time, patience and practice. Don`t be discouraged if you don`t get immediate results. Incorporating a new routine into your day can take about a month (approx. 30 days) before it becomes a habit. With continued practice you will train your brain and body to react to stress differently so you can prevent stress and anxiety from hindering your daily performance. 

Michelle Hudecki
245 h RYT Hatha-Vinyasa-Yin

Words by Jennifer Iacobucci

“How old were you when you remember first having these feelings?” was a question that began to cause notable physical tension in my shoulders. I was most recently asked this question by my psychotherapist during our bi-weekly appointment last Thursday. The first time I was asked this question was in October 2017 by my Nurse Practitioner as I broke down in her office begging for a medical note to take a stress leave at work and for the first time ever, opened up about my addiction. Addiction. That was a tough word to say out loud. 

It isn’t so much the question itself, but rather, the answer to that question that is causing this great deal of physical tension. Back in 2017 my answer to this question was, “a few months”. However, the more I continue to understand myself, and dive deeper into past trauma and suppressed emotions the answer has transformed into, “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have these feelings”. 

The earliest I can remember the overwhelming dark clouds and depressing thoughts that loomed over me was in grade 9. My parents’ divorce. My brothers and I were sat down at the kitchen table by our parents to talk. Communication was never a strong foundation in our family. 

Flash forward to my worst experience with these dark clouds and depressing thoughts in 2017. Between the years of 2016 and 2017 I was searching for a deeper purpose in life, without even knowing what that meant. I had a great job, friends, family, and money in the bank; and still something was missing. It was an overwhelming feeling, this sensation that something was missing, and back then it seemed the only way to deal with it and fill that void was to get high or go out partying. So that’s what I did. I lived for my days off. 

Long story short, it didn’t take long before I hit rock bottom. After more than a few breakdowns, I shook my head and knew I wanted way more than this life I was currently living. 

When I asked for help from my Nurse Practitioner, I was given anti-depressants. I have been on and off them for a few years now. There was a time when the best I could do is shower each day…it seemed like such a simple task. But eventually, that shower turned into getting out for a walk, spending some time moving my body on my mat, enjoying quality time with my brother and sister-in-law, and weekly counselling sessions. 

When I first started to take the medication prescribed to me, I thought I had solved all my life problems. I was naive, and I didn’t think about the amount of work I needed to put into my healing and better understanding myself. It was exhausting. Spending countless hours with my thoughts, having to make amends with people I still wanted in my life, and having difficult conversations with those who I knew I needed to cut ties with. I could write pages upon pages describing my roller coaster of healing, but I believe the most important thing to understand is how different this looks for each individual person. 

Just when I thought I had fought all the battles with my mind, I suffered a minor concussion in the summer of 2019. This traumatic brain injury caused my depression to come back swinging. 

And this time, it brought anxiety along for the ride. It was an overwhelming feeling when all of these emotions seemingly came out of nowhere, and they were so powerful to make matters even more challenging. However, I decided to approach the situation differently this time, immediately being open with those I lived and worked with to help them understand how I was feeling and what I needed during this tough time. It was one of those moments where I realized I wouldn’t change a thing about my past, because it has brought me to this great realization and where I am today. I had learned so much and came so far, that I was able to better help and support myself in a healthier, positive way this time around. 

Presently, depression and anxiety are not terms that define me. Sometimes, I present with physical symptoms of an anxious mind. But I know the tools I possess, and professionals I continue to work with can help relieve some of those symptoms. Some days I don’t feel like doing much at all, and I choose not to, and that is okay. 

I currently work with a psychotherapist to help me unpack suppressed emotion and trauma. I work with a homeopath and a naturopath to ensure I am functioning optimally daily. I receive energetic healing. I meditate and journal. I am mindful of what I put in my body. Most of all, I make sure to move my body. I teach and practice yoga. I love going for walks with my dog and being in nature. It’s a sure way to move my energy around and put a smile on my face. 

I would not be where I am today without the help and support of many people around me. Whether that be emotionally, physically, mentally, or financially. Some of these people are my closest friends and family, and some of these people I don’t speak to anymore. And that’s okay, not everyone is meant to be a part of your journey for the long haul, sometimes they are brought into your life to help you learn and grow, and then you each grow and venture down seperate paths. 

Working to understand your mental health is not easy and the path to healing is not linear. It’s messy, exhausting, isolating, and a goddamn roller coaster. There is no finish line, no list of boxes to check off. However; the more I learn about myself and my mental health, the more confident and proud of myself I am. 

Pain Tolerance by Katie Brown

Hello! My name is Katie, I am involved in Church due to my friendship with
Monika and the good vibes/needed vibes. I work in social services, currently in a
residential care facility which to put it simply 24/hr care for individuals affected
with complex mental health issues and developmental disabilities. I have been on
a recovery journey for just over six years now. It ebbs and flows much like the
rest of life, I have a lot of trauma. I have struggled with addictions both to
substances and behaviours (self harm being a huge one) for many, many of the
years I have been alive. I still struggle with myself a lot, and I have been trying to
write more because it’s always been an outlet to me. So that being said, it does
tend to have a rather sad undertone to it – because it is catharsis but afterwards I
always feel lighter and more “sane.” My mind is less chaotic I suppose… much
like yoga and music. Sometimes you need all three, together.

Anyway. These are just some of my thoughts I needed to get out a couple of
times, I thought it would be good to format them together. I suppose the reason I
like to share these things is in the hope it will open up “the conversation” a bit
more – and perhaps someone will find it relatable and not feel quite so alone.

Side note: This was written in two separate sittings in about a 1-2 week span. I
mushed them together because I wanted to.

I don’t even know where to begin.

It was March just yesterday, not it’s October and the leaves are falling.
at least the leaves still fall

I’m at a time in my life where I am acutely aware of my vulnerability – and very
quick to put up those walls.

People tell me my empathy is “beautiful” but it is also one of the qualities I
possess that brings me the most turmoil. I like my sleep more when I don’t remember my dreams, just black. empty. silence.


I am still feeling a need for constant sedation in some form, am I heightened or is
everyone else just numb?

I like the moments when the pain subsides, and I can enjoy some of the beautiful
things in life again – instead of focusing on what I am missing. Unfortunately,
these moments can be fleeting. Perhaps I need to stop trying to dictate the process

I guess sometimes exposure therapy works. It is jarring, but I am learning now
when I need to walk away. I’ve always been the type to “stick it out” and glorify
those precious moments because they. are. irreplaceable. – and I’m afraid to
lose them; I feel like they’ll be gone forever, and I’ll be left empty.

My pain tolerance grows as I do.


Sometimes (often) I accept a situation I know isn’t going to benefit me in hopes
that what I contribute and receive will be enough.

That I will be enough.

It’s also been difficult for me to accept that my journey has been in many ways a
solitary one for the past 5 years. I lose my mind constantly. I utilise poor coping strategies that typically only harm me further and push others away – as well as further removing me from myself. I am realizing that although I have many things “going for” me in life I still feel a
crushing sense of loneliness and isolation I am reminded of every night when I fall asleep alone again.


Disconnected.


A nagging part of my mind wonders if I met my person, but he disappeared 3
years ago. It gets longer and lonelier every time. Another part of me likes to think that my person wouldn’t do that to me. I try to make new connections but there is always something off about every. one. I make that end up just hurting me more and then I find myself thinking about [them] again.


I don’t know if that “means something” or if I just miss the feeling of total safety
and intense connection. But: I’ve stopped trying to dictate the process, I am learning acceptance – what is worth fighting for and when to just let it go.

I also write my own blog, very sporadically… I tend to transfer journal entries into
there or sometimes I just go ham. It’s called word vomit and is
https://w0rdvomitblog.wordpress.com/ if anyone would like to read any of my other rants.

Interpretations + Inspirations by Alex Piccolo

“All channels to and from the heart must be cleared from all hindrance…”

– Dr. A. T. Still (1899)


This remains as a fraction of the entire quote, and I have reflected on it not only from an
anatomical point of view, but also from an emotional one. I’ll start with the anatomy, and
explain what I thought of as an emotional connection. The heart assists in the process to
propel blood to the lungs in order to interact with the atmospheric air for exchange. From there it is again propelled throughout the body.


This process happens by blood being brought to the heart via the superior vena cava
(upper body), inferior vena cava (lower body), and coronary sinus (cardiac). These vessels carry deoxygenated blood into one of the four chambers of the heart, named the right atrium. From the right atrium through the opening that contains the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle.

From the right ventricle it is shuffled through the pulmonary trunk into pulmonary arteries to the lungs. There is another filtration system here where an anastomoses (small network of veins and arteries) join to receive atmospheric nourishment (oxygen), and release the waste (carbon dioxide). The oxygen rich, nourishing blood is then shuffled via our pulmonary vein into the left atrium through an opening containing the mitral valve, into the left ventricle, through another aortic valve into the aorta, and out to the body for proper nourishment. That’s pretty cool!

The heart is definitely not the only organ that acts in filtration, but for this sake let’s stick with this one for now. Now here is the interesting part… Let’s say that I hinder one of these points where the blood must move in or, out of the heart? Let’s say I put a barrier up somewhere so that the fresh oxygenated blood could not find it’s way to be propelled through the body as nourishment? What if I only had the carbon dioxide blood coming into the heart, but it could not be filtered, and released? What if the blood stagnated? What would happen to the heart?

I found the heart inspiring as it applied to the emotions, relationships, friendships in my own life, and maybe it would to yours. I found this same sort of filtration process occur with information I was provided, new people I met, relationships I was experiencing. There was a system set in place for multiple levels of understanding (chambers) to go through. I took all information in from as many sources as possible, and pooled them together, constantly filtering out what worked, and what didn’t for myself. I was attempting to filter in, and nourish with as many good experiences, love, and nourishing people as I could.

The only catch!… I found that like the heart if I decided to put up blockages, turn away
information or people, shut off my ability to feel, or take anything in. Well maybe you can guess where I’m going with this… I felt stagnant unable to allow fresh nourishment, and filtration of the waste, or anything/anyone that may have been detrimental. This got me to think that the body has much to teach us, as it allows us to reflect upon how it functions, not only as individual pieces, but all together. Not only that but how it can apply to every part of our lives.

Now, please understand that you can interpret this as you would like, again this emotional
interpretation is not the rule for everyone. I just think the body is cool, and wanted to share.