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Archive for June 2015

What I learned from Rolf Gates

Rolf_GatesConference at Kripalu

During my life changing experience at Kripalu I had the blessing of attending some of Rolf Gates classes. When Rolf walked in the room immediately I saw his warm smile and his calming presence. He is so grounded and present and extremely funny, which makes him a great speaker and teacher.
He has a great quote;

What we carry in our hearts is who we are, and who we are is our gift to the world.

What a great way to set the tone for a practice. I also noticed that he is a great listener. Throughout the conference he would listen and then take time to talk to the individual about what they had spoken about. In his teachings he spoke about acceptance and surrendering. He helped us explore the concept of being your own best friend. He taught us about feeling the ground of the earth, being grounded. He said that;

YOGA is what you are doing and it is in BEING that is the pose. ~ Rolf Gates


Rolf asked me what I got out of the Recovery Conference. I said TRUTH. To be honest with myself and others. To not run away from the truth and deal with it head on. During the conference many of us spoke candidly about our feelings. We felt safe with our group. His magical words when he ended a session were;

“May you be safe, may you be healthy, may you be happy, may you know freedom, find peace and walk through the world with ease” ~ Rolf Gates

My big take away was that I’m always protected by our higher power so it is safe to say that the truth will guide me and set me free.

Rolf Gates, author of the acclaimed book on yogic philosophy “Meditations from the Mat; Daily Reflections on the Path Of Yoga,” is one of the leading voices of modern yoga. Rolf conducts 200 to 500 Vinyasa Intensives teacher trainings throughout the US and abroad annually. He is also the co-founder of the Yoga + Recovery Conference.

Thank you for listening Rolf

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How I Started Teaching Yoga to Special Needs Kids

_MG_9747As many of you know, my daughter Jasmin was born with Down syndrome. In searching for a local school that specialized in working with kids that needed special care, my husband and I came across the Summit School. Their people were so kind and dedicated, we were relieved to have found a place where we knew our daughter would flourish.


I Wanted to Help

If you are a parent of a child with special needs or a professional who works with one, you know how challenging it can be for them to sit still, to cope with change, to focus on self – soothing strategies, and to interact successfully. For these kids, a yoga lifestyle can provide crucial support. With my background of yoga and teaching, I jumped at the opportunity to teach at Summit School when I heard there was a need.

Summit School Student with apple


There is a wide range of students at Summit school with different needs, autism spectrum, with ADHD, emotional or behavioral disorders, down syndrome and processing disorders and other challenges.

In the beginning I really kept my teaching to the basics. The students had such a wide range of needs it was important to slowly develop a system that worked well for them. At first it was a real challenge but after several years the system had yielded some fantastic results.

Real Progress

IMG_0624The Yoga practice has helped to improve the students behavior and focus, strength, flexibility, balance, and self regulation through our regular practice. The most important part of my teaching is breathing techniques that help to calm the nervous system. Without a regular slow steady breath little changes can happen.

Over the years I have seen my students make real progress. They have gained improved self-awareness and confidence with their physical and emotional bodies. This is very important because it gives them a sense of strength and pride that they have some control over their well-being. My experience with the students and the wonderful staff at the Summit School continues to be a source of great joy and, I hope, mutual benefit.

This is all that I can wish for.

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My Day with Niiki Myers

About Niiki

IMG_0294How to describe Niiki? Awesome, trail blazer, dynamic, queen bee, beautiful goddess, compassionate…… Can you tell that I love her?!

What an amazing women! Niiki founded Y12SR: THE YOGA OF 12-STEP RECOVERY, a relapse prevention program that brings together yoga philosophy and practices that weave together the ancient wisdom of yoga with the practical tools of the 12-step addiction recovery model. Niiki travels all around the U.S. giving leadership training for her program. This stems from her recovery of many addictions .

At Kripalu

Niiki talked about co-dependency, the disease of the lost self. ” You can’t see the picture when you are in the frame.” She spoke about healthy boundaries and healthy self esteem. Our yoga practice was about holding the space through our asanas (poses) and to feel our own boundaries within. Trusting our intuition of self reliance. Niiki is a dynamic teacher who holds her own space. You can feel it from her. At the same time she is vulnerable and open with her words and actions. She really WALKS THE TALK!

(More about my time at Kripalu in coming blogs.)

What I got from Nikki

When you have a role model like Niiki Myers she inspires you to be your best self. There was this deep inner strength that I got from her that allowed me to feel it too. I loved how brutally honest she was. Nothing was left unsaid about her past. Ask and you will receive. Niiki helped me to not hide from the truth. To face my fears dead on. So leaving with her words of wisdom I have a tool box;

truth, caring, responsibility, courage, acceptance, communicate, understand and to be honest. It all starts with myself.

So much gratitude!
Thank you Niiki

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We were proud to be a part of the Autism Speaks Montréal Walk event!

On the 24th of May 2015 the staff of Monica Merleau Holistic Lifestyle were so very pleased to have joined with Krista Leitham and her fabulous team at Autism Speaks Canada to put on such a fabulous event. Held at the historic Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, home of the world famous Montréal Alouettes, the event brought together members of the autistic and special needs communities of the Greater Montréal area. The amount of caring and sharing of valuable information and support was truly inspiring.

Many of the parents I spoke to were extremely grateful for all the work being done on their behalf to help the kids.

It was a super experience and we look forward to working closely with this amazingly dedicated team in the future.

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