What’s your story?
My Nannie introduced me to mantra at the age of five; I was never really able to look back. My father’s mother, she used to hold fire ceremonies in her living room. It continues to be a touchstone for me.
I grew up in a town that a ten minute walk could get you to farmers fields. My backyard was an open space, a sky powdered with stars. Now, a tree I planted in that backyard is four times my height. I live to find that space within myself everyday. And to offer others methods of finding it for themselves.
I spent 12 years devoted to Rugby, aspiring to play for Canada. It taught me a lot about community, grace and leadership. Truth is I apply all the lessons I learned on the pitch, on the mat. They’re two activities where everyone is welcome.
What did I want to be growing up?
Pretty much, Batman. I love the detective’s nature. The curiosity of revealing. It’s a relentless nature, always investigating. The Light is that curiosity never flickers. The shadow is that I have good reason to appreciate the stillness of meditation. It gets exhausting, detailing all the details…
How would you describe yourself?
I am a traveller of both time and space. It’s a line from Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. It was the first thing that came to mind. It describes succinctly, my time here. My parents taught me that travel is the best education and I continue to do so. It is a mindset that prompts adaptability and openness.
How would others describe you?
I am enrolled in an online course right now and had to ask: What people believe my three best qualities are. I highly recommend this exercise. Note who you ask. Good fun!
Able. Adaptable. Adventurous. Affable. Those are just the A's...
How would your Mother describe you?
Philosophical. Idealistic. Intelligent. Warm. She was one I asked the previous question to.
What do you most value in others? Why?
Kindness. We are all in this together. Astronauts often return having seen a planet without borders, and they are changed. I would like so very much to offer that perspective to others. I think it would promote courtesy and comfort in some rigid spaces.
What does it mean to you to be living you highest health life?
So many things it is hard to confine it to one discipline or area of life.
I am in integrity with myself first and foremost. I am saying yes to things that serve my growth and expansion. I am saying no to things that I am ready to leave behind with gratitude for them getting me here.
I listen to my body, feeding it things that nourish my body, my mind and my spirit:
This means many things. I think of food as medicine and have been diligent the recent years in ascertaining what works for me and what doesn’t. I base the guidelines for this off of Aryuveda and Dr. D’adario’s ‘eat right for your blood type.’ Dr. Mark Hyman is also doing some great work in sharing information about the value of fat in our diet.
I love reading. Books actually make me feel safe. The information contained within inspires. I have a commitment to read from a book everyday. And allow me to be clear, not from a screen but from a book. This is due to the affect of light on the pineal glad and regulating the circadian rhythm, but also just for the romance of picking up a book, the scent of it, the joy of it’s heft. I am in love with books for a number of reasons but the gift that they have been to my imagination, creativity and enjoyment inspire me endlessly. Lifetime love affair.
With Spirit, I work daily to cultivate a relationship. Sit meditation. Practice Gratitude. Be mindful. I have a strong intent to be asleep and to wake daily at the same time. I also allow that life happens and I yearn for connection, so when that presents, I am not too hard on myself or my routine.
All of this allows me to be of service. I work daily to leave this world better than I found it. That means different things to everyone, but for me that is taking care of myself first and foremost. I think of it like this: I cannot draw water from a dry well. In airline vernacular, put your own air mask on first before helping another.
Do you have any tips or recommendations for daily routines or practices to aid this intention? What do you do every day to keep yourself healthy and happy?
Ritual is very important for me. I have a routine that creates the bedrock for my day. Ideally I am asleep and awake at the same time.
Waking, I drink some water, scrape my tounge and use a neti pot to flush my sinuses with saline solution. Then I sit. My meditation practice has becomes the foundation of my day.
I’ve also used a number of practices: I wrote morning pages, a type of journalling and self dates from The Artist’s Way; I’ve hiked mountains and cities; I’ve not worn shoes for months, scuba dived to learn about the breath. I’ve tried different foods and figured out what works for me…
When did you last cry? What was it over?
I was on a plane watching a film.
I was flying to do something outside of my comfort zone and I felt exposed. When it comes to women, I don’t often put myself in a vulnerable position. I always hold something back. In the movie, the protagonist was realizing he couldn’t do it alone. It deeply resonated. I have tried to go it alone all of my life and I am so tired of it. I sobbed. Like ugly cried. It was extraordinary. Clearly ready...
And here is something that I learned from then till now. I have expectations. 20 years of this practice and I still come with an desired outcome.
I didn’t get what I thought I wanted. No saying how that will work out but I may have just earned a friend for life and followed my heart in the same moment. Forgive my saying so, but fuck the result. I am richer for the experience and spent spring in London. On top of that, it’s never what I think it is. Something wanted me to be here. So here I came.
Trust yourself. Retrofit the answers if you must, but trust yourself.
Is there anything you preach but don’t practice?
I offer people that to say less is more, but I have a really hard time with this. I'm a wordy mofo.
Could you tell us about a time one of your sessions or clients experienced a breakthrough in their health or mindset through holistic healing?
A friend of mine was a collegiate athlete, soccer player. Grew up skiing and such. Very active. Had a dog she took for walks a lot. A year ago or so I was watching her walk down the street and I just knew I could help her.
We did a 2 hour session. It was something that I wanted to offer her. She allowed me. Upon getting off the table, she was different. Her back had returned to a natural curve which had relaxed tension along her spine, from head to tail. She was standing on both feet and that felt effortless. Her breath was descending to her pelvic floor and she was astounded.
6 months ago she was in a terrible ski accident. Complications required three surgeries. She was having severe anxiety for the possible loss of her body’s capabilities. There was a week during surgeries that she would call me hyperventilating, very anxious and nothing was working. She couldn’t calm down or sleep. Through guided meditation and breath practices, she and I found a way through the future outcome of it all and settled into the present of what was. She got rest, which was vital for her rehab, and that woman is currently in Bali, learning new ways of caring for herself. She’s a visionary and super rad!
It was very cool to see the immediate practical applicability of these tools I’ve been studying for ages.
Something that I am not proud of?
I grew up in community where drinking and driving was an acceptable practice. I have driven a car blackout drunk. I had to find out the next day from my mates who were in the car. It seems I was laughing about driving next to the cops.
That morning, the level of incredulity in that moment, finding out about it…
Alcohol isn’t really my medicine.
My father is an alcoholic. I worked for a few years as a representative for a wine and spirits company. When I really sat with it, I was out of integrity. Earning a living off of something that was robbing me of my father and his spirit….
So I am sober. Of all the things. I am trying it for a year. There is a creeping suspicion that I shall not go back, I am alright with that. I am richer for my unfiltered consciousness.
Mom’s curry. She will mash it all up in a bowl, with all the sauce and roll it in a roti. The part of me that loves sauce knows my Indian soul.
Geez. I used to manage a Bar. I worked as a wine and spirits rep...
I miss a 1997 Amarone, I would love to drink an Aviation cocktail: delightful and refreshing mix of gin and Maraschino with lime juice, I leave the violette to a minimum. OHH damn. Rather, I want The Last Word! Equal parts gin, maraschino, green chartreuse and lime juice. I know what you’re thinking but it’s awesome!!!
As much as I want to go with The Count of Monte Cristo, I think that ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ By Carlos Ruiz Zafon is 100% IT!.
I’ve bought this book 21 times to gift, most recently for a friend who is pregnant. I love turning people on to this book. She already knew about it! It is her favorite book too! Barcelona is the protagonist in a story set just after the civil war is ended, and the city is coming to grips with the horror it is left to face. Daniel is given the gift of a secret from his grieving father that unravels time and space. Part mystery, part thriller, part gothic fantasy, this book was the start of my romance with life. My romance with books, eternal.
What modalities or practices would you recommend to clients to assist their intention of living a 360 degree healthy life?
Yoga is how I heal. I treat myself with it. It is the best gift I have ever given myself.
Meditation has been pivotal for myself. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Reading before going to bad from a book and not off of a screen has been marvelous for my sleep patterns. Artificial light affects the pineal gland, which produces melatonin, responsible for moderating the circadian rhythm and our cycles of sleep.
I have a few trusted sources when it comes to manual therapy and finding a skilled practitioner is key. I appreciate Craniosacral therapy and Visceral Manipulation. They have helped me significantly.
Acupuncture is growing for me. I have a few friends that I trust and respect.
There are so many really. What is key for me is finding someone that I trust to touch me safely. Easier said than done.
Ok, Let’s talk about yoga, how’d you get into it?
My nannie taught me Gayatri mantra at the age of 5. It works to remove obstacles and I truly believe it has been in there working ever since. I had been playing rugby for about 5 years when I took a class at the local gym. Amidst the clank of plates being pressed, I found scorpion pose. I couldn’t move for 15 mins upon waking the next morning and I was hooked.
Cue adventure. Landed in Vancouver. Was staying with family and one day my cousin came home and said, I found this at the library…
It was an advert for a teacher training that began in four days. I quit the wine shop and have been teaching yoga since.
My teacher training was all the things: up at 4:30 for shat karma, meditation, asana, vegan food, philosophy, anatomy. Looking back, it was a brilliant mix of esoteric with real world practicality. They were dedicated and took the time to introduce the practices in mindful way. I will always be grateful for my time with the Salt Spring Center.
What was the biggest challenge when you first started practicing?
Probably cultivating consistency. It is still there. The frame is different but I find that there has been a certain liberation in committing myself to this practice daily. The practice of practicing…
Why do you keep coming back?
I don’t have a choice.
What would make you skip practice? (e.g. a girl? a hangover? a match?)
I am better with this than I have ever been, but I would still drop my practice to stay in bed with a woman that makes it clear she wants me to…
Do you teach? What’s it like?
I teach. I have course content online at www.oneoeight.com and that is a whole new world to me. I am really embracing how to meet it. I like being in the room with people. Yet I am learning that I have a lot to give and am creating ways to scale up.
Teaching is a thing that I was designed for and I am privileged to have found it.
Not everyone is so fortunate as early as I was.
I am honored to have a skill set that others want to know more about. That’s a number of different looks. I teach anatomy and physiology for teacher trainings. I teach private clients who are dealing with a host of injuries, from post surgery to health goals. I guide mediation. I study the science behind consciousness, looking to link this practice with the greater good.
It’s a blessing.
Other than yoga, what keeps you busy?
I am a 3000 hour trained massage therapist, so I spend a lot of time supporting my clients hands on.
I do that in New York, but also, Los Angeles, London and Vancouver. I also have an amazing community of people that I dedicate time to creating with so I prioritize them.
How did you find massage?
I was helping to manage a high end restaurant, working on the bar side. I would get home often at 2 but sometimes as late as 4am. My partner at the time was a yoga teacher and she was waking up at 6 am. It wasn’t very conducive to the level of relating that we aspired to. In talking about it, I went through a list of things that I was good at. Filtered through my core values, there wasn’t too many things that I was drawn to. The program really impressed me: Canada has one of the highest standards of education when it come to massage therapy. Our program was competency based and taught a number of valuable skills: professional development, hydrotherapy, Anatomy and Physiology, Manual skills. I had a hard time with the program, kept asking why I was learning all of these things. When I was introduced to Craniosacral Therapy, everything dropped into place. It all made sense.
It is said that the two most important days are the day one is born and the day one discovers why. I was born to support others becoming whole and I have been developing the skills I was strong in towards that mission. Craniosacral Therapy introduced me to an extraordinary world that continues to inspire me to help others.
What advice would you give to someone stepping onto the mat for the first time?
Commit to a fixed amount of classes that are reasonable to your schedule over a set time period.
Marry movement to breath.
Watch everything you perceive change.
Tell us about a time your yoga practice came into play off the mat?
I have strong intuitions that are byproducts from my Yoga practice. I listen to them, even when there is the potential for mishap. I have survived every one of those experiences. 100%
I had just written my board exams and was recovering from a breakup. I wasn’t ready to settle into my career. So I asked my online community what doing and I got invited to Nicaragua for 6 weeks. I was living rent free and massaging the staff and teaching yoga. While I was there I got invited to teach anatomy for the first time.
I found a dear passion.
Had I listened to my left brain, I wouldn’t be able to guess where now could have me but it feels like someone else's life.
What challenges or issues have you experienced being a guy who teaches/practices yoga?
I taught naked men’s yoga for 6 years. I got a lot of strife about that. The first question was always, and ‘you’re naked too?’ Well yeah, I was. It took a lot of cojones to be in that room, teacher or student. I wasn’t going to let anyone be left behind.
I found the community very welcoming and super willing to learn. They were all there to practice and I was there to teach and it was incredibly open minded and supportive. The community was predominately homosexual but they all respected my being straight and I never once felt anything but gratitude. It was always in the world, when I would share with people what I was up to, that I caught weird looks and jabs. That experience was foundational for me to reserve judgment on any one thing. And to walk my line and worry less about what others think.
What’s your favorite pose? Why? Can you cue us into it?
I am a big fan of the neurological principles that are buried in the practice of Yoga. Reciprocal inhibition lets us communicate from the body, via the body, to the body, permitting us to input large swaths of information.
For example, by engaging the back body, the front opens in a way that negates something prevalent in our culture, the shoulder slump.
For this reason, combined with the large amount of time that we spend seating in our western culture, I appreciate serpent pose, or bujangasana.
Lay upon your stomach with your hands beneath your shoulders. Keep your hands here or explore walking the hands wide, placing them under the elbows. Spider the fingertips, lifting the palms from the ground.
Maintain hip width between the feet and root ten toes, particularly the pinky. (This helps to root the foundation and also gaps the Sacroiliac joint, protecting the low back by creating space.)
Root the pubic bone. Engagement of the thighs lifts the kneecaps off the ground.
Find your breath in the belly. As you inhale, maintaining a slight tuck of the chin with an engagement of the pelvic floor. Invite the heart to lift forward towards the front of the room and then rise towards the sky. (Tucking the chin keeps one from compromising the neck; Pelvic floor lift initiates support for the lumbar spine; inhale creates an eccentric contraction on the diaphragm that strengthens internally, this inhale also fills the lungs, supporting the ribs and spine, preventing collapsing into the lumbar spine, protecting the low back).
Keep space between the shoulders and the ears.
Ride the breath, as you rise and fall with each inhale and exhale.
Embody the character of a snake. Feel the muscles along the spine. Hands light on the earth.
Root the pubic bone to rise.
Build to floating the hands off the ground.
What pose do you fucking hate? Why?
Whatever the fuck that wild thing is. It’s generous to call it a pose.
People are just chasing a stretch.
It’s a modern made up pose that looks pretty but it compromises the safety of the shoulder joint. It’s superficial and dangerous. That’s not yoga to me.
Your quote or mantra: where you focus grows