My celebration of life began in Montreal, and I can honestly say I had a great childhood. With two physical education teachers as parents, I went camping, built forts, collected super hero cards and performed my version of Flash Dance and/or Dirty Dancing during every show-‘n-tell throughout kindergarten and grade one. While my competitive athlete father taught me how to set goals and properly throw a ball, my mother instilled in my brother and I an appreciation for art and culture. My mom also introduced me to meditation, holistic healing, and activism, which set me on the path I am now.

As a child, I would observe my mother’s daily meditation practice with great curiosity. She would often invite me to join her, laying a big quartz crystal in my lap and asking me if I could feel the energetic properities of the stone. I became engrossed in this magic of peaceful sitting and soulful contemplation. My maternal grandmother, an artist and clairvoyant, also enhanced this interest in spiritual development, as she was a follower Sri Sathya Sai Baba and would sometimes bring me to the Sai Baba Centre in Montreal.

With the help of my vivacious mentor, Gigi Cohen, I was introduced to yoga at age 14. It was the perfect balance between spirituality, dance, and gymnastics— all things that inspired me. Ashtanga Yoga teacher Mark Darby was my first instructor. I was an awkward teenager, tall and clumsy. Darby was strict with me, and from him, I learned the importance of tapas (discipline and commitment), and became more coordinated. In 2001, following two months of intensive study in British Columbia with a Kripalu Yoga teacher, named Claire, I began leading kids yoga classes. I then started teaching hatha yoga to adults, and participated in David Swenson’s 40 hour Ashtanga Teacher Training in 2002. Over the next few years, I graduated from Concordia University in Journalism & Communication, and amassed more than 1000 hours of yoga workshops and teacher trainings with various senior instructors, including Mark Darby, Donna Farhi, John Friend, and Hart Lazer.

I have yet to look back. I have taught yoga on four continents, presented at five international yoga conferences, instructed professional athletes, and released two yoga DVDs, plus an instructional audio guide. I bought, developed, and recently sold a successful yoga studio— the one Ms Cohen used own, and where I took my first yoga class with Darby. In 2010, I set out to explore the limits of my yoga practice. I practiced a Yoga Mala (108 surya namaskar or sun salutations) everyday for 108 days. It was the most amazing journey of my life so far. I met incredible people in the yoga community, who helped me raise more than $15,000 for three charities— the Canadian Institute for the Blind, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. At the end of these 108 days, my supporters, even encouraged me through a 32-hour Guinness World Record setting marathon, an experience that has changed me forever.

Through the sometimes-arduous practice of 108 daily sun salutations for 108 days and the preparation and execution of 32-hours of consecutive yoga, I discovered that with everyday and every practice comes a new challenge, a new opportunity for exploration and growth. I now practice and advocate Sustainable Yoga for Long-term Happiness (SuYoLoH), an approach to yoga that encourages adapting the practice according to the seasons, the body’s natural ebbs and flows, as well as with our individual limitations and strengths. There are countless variations for even the most basic yoga postures, and so, the work becomes about being creative. It’s about witnessing what’s happening in the present moment, assessing our state, and then finding innovative and inspiring ways to respond to our observations. It has become my passion to guide students in this process, as it allowed me to heal deep pains in my body and heart.

Expanding my knowledge of Ayurveda has also been a big part of this shift in perception for me, as it has deeply enriched my practice and health. A sister to yoga, Ayurveda is a healing science based on the five elements—earth, air, fire, water, and space. Currently, I am a third year student of Anita Sharma, and accredited Ayurvedic Practitioner with the National Association of Naturopaths. I offer Ayurvedic consultations at Ms Sharma’s clinic in Notre Dame de Grâce, as well as at my office in Pointe Claire. My specialties include improving women’s health, digestion, sleep, and respiratory issues.