Q: What exactly do you do?
I’m a Yoga + Meditation Instructor and Mindfulness Coach. The focus of my work is Employee Wellness. I help organizations reduce stress + prevent burnout within their teams through the practices of Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness. By being more present, grounded and connected, people feel less stressed, have better focus/ mental clarity, sleep more soundly and feel more motivated – helping to improve their career performance and enhance their life overall. (Less employee turnover and health care claims for the employer due to short term disability, sick leave or absenteeism).
Q: What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing awareness to EVERYTHING that you do. It’s about BEING present in each moment vs DOING 200 things at once. It’s also referred to as “the PAUSE” between the stimulus and the response. So instead of a knee jerk or defense reaction, there is a moment of observation and reflection BEFORE a response is decided.
Through cultivating greater awareness in our lives, Mindfulness teaches us that in any situation we always have CHOICE. It is up to US how we choose to respond.
Q: What are the benefits of practicing Mindfulness?
Mindfulness helps to:
- cultivate awareness
- reduce stress + anxiety
- lower blood pressure
- improve focus, patience and presence
- deepens connection with self and others
It reminds us that connecting with the body is the quickest way to come back to the present moment and to detach from the chatter of the mind.
By becoming present to your senses/ your body, you recognize where you are tight and tense, stiff or sore. You recognize your posture – how you sit or stand. Ex: when you’re super stressed your body becomes more tense and rounded – you might feel like you’re “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders”. Mindfulness reminds us that our bodies are not meant to hold on to or carry everything. We are not meant to live in a defense mode with layers of stress, pain or fear in the body.
Bringing awareness to the breath is another quick way to connect with your body. When you notice your breathing you can actually feel how you’re doing. When the breath is short, quick, constricted or held in, it’s a quick indicator that you might be in a stress response. By focusing on taking slow, deep breaths you help communicate to your body that it’s ok to relax. This deeper breath helps to tone the vagus nerve that runs from the brain to the low belly and shifts the nervous system from a stress response (sympathetic nervous system) to a place of calm (parasympathetic nervous system).
When we feel more calm, we’re better able to broaden our perspective. We notice more opportunities or ways to navigate a challenge, and we tend to be more creative and focused.
Q: How did you get into this field of work?
My own healing. The deep need to understand, accept and love myself. I had a very toxic dialogue and critical perspective towards myself and a deeply rooted perfectionist mindset which was not fun. I was quite unhappy and had a victim mindset. Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness helped to reconnect me with my heart, my body, my power and my purpose.
Q: What are some tools you use to reduce stress?
My favourite tools are:
- awareness: tap into your senses – recognize how you feel, allow yourself to feel + nurture yourself as needed (maybe place a hand or take a deep breath)
- breathe: connect with your breath + take 5-10 slow and deep breaths
- move your body: walk, dance, stretch (move the energy)
- practice gratitude: list 3 things you’re grateful for in AM or PM