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macaroons and junk food

So January 1st rolled around the corner and WHAM you were right back to your 5x a week practice or workout routine, healthy eating and drinking habits, daily meditation practice, daily journal and weekly meal prep routine right?

Queue the crickets… If you’re like me… that didn’t happen.

I am pretty disciplined with my health routine most of the time. I commit to daily movement and mindfulness practices, I enjoy a good sweaty workout and I love a weekly simple healthy meal prep.  None of it feels restricting and I do it all because it feels really really good.

So what happened? Christmas happened that’s what. Actually Halloween happened… then a Mexican vacation…THEN CHRISTMAS.  I feel like its been months of celebrating. While I was still moving, practicing and eating kind-of-ish well… I  as also moving less than normal, having many celebratory cocktails and eating a lot of sugar, gluten and all of those things that drain me. I also got a hell-of-a-cold that lasted about 4 weeks and counting.

The result? By the time January came I had ZEROOO energy. A simple body weight workout felt like hell. I would get light headed inverting in yoga class, I was very addicted to my daily bailey’s coffee and chocolate in the afternoon program and I couldn’t seem to shake those sugar addictions.

Go straight to the gym and workout as hard as you can and do a juice cleanse right??? Nope. I couldn’t… it felt like hell. My energy was zapped and my old routine (that I used to love by the way) felt heavy, arduous and stressful.

Not to mention the added stress that it was supposed to be “new year new me” with everyone on the January fitness bandwagon and I was supposed to have ditched all those bad habits by now.

Notice the words “supposed to.” Says who? I quickly shut that voice up and forgave myself (in fact celebrated myself for a wonderful holiday season). I then gently reminded myself that I felt better back then so let’s get back to that place.

Instead of taking away all of my holiday addictions away at once and leaning towards something restrictive or punishing (ie a cleanse or extreme workout program), I took it slow. I just started adding in the good stuff again (instead of taking things away).

I added in longer, brisker dog walks. I added in daily celery juice and weekly meal preps having tons of fresh veggies, proteins and grains on hand. I added in water and green tea. I added in organization and meal planning. I added in my daily meditation practice which had slipped away over Christmas.

A bonus of adding in your daily meditation practice is it decreases your cortisol and increases your self awareness meaning you’ll feel better, eat better and be more inclined to move more often.

If you’re like me and January 1st is actually Jan.15th this year (hey we’re all just following the Ukrainian Gregorian calendar instead no biggie) fear not. A date is just a date and it takes time to build healthy habits again. This is normal. Guilt and shame won’t get you there. Only self love.

woman with prayer hands

Love yourself for having the good time that you needed. Love for yourself for giving you a much needed break. Forgive yourself for any and all unhealthy behaviours and love yourself for choosing a new path.

Take it slow. Take all the time you need. Add in the good. Celebrate small successes and love yourself along the way.

I’m putting on a 10 day online FREE course to get us back on track, will you join me? January 27 – Feb 5 on Facebook Live!  JOIN THE WAITING LIST HERE

women doing yoga in studio

I tried yoga a few times before I really enjoyed it. The first class I went to was a hot yoga class in Winnipeg. The room was carpeted, the walls, white and empty. It was sauna hot. I remember the heat being unbearable and there was a large shirtless man in the back corner who didn’t participate in the class but stayed in the back and watched.

I was horrified. I never came back.

A few years later I tried a class in a community centre basement in Ontario. I think we did maybe 6 poses, there was lots of dogmatic talk without explanation that went over my head. The teacher would do one side of the body but would forget the other.

I didn’t try again for awhile.

I can’t really remember the time that it “stuck,” the time that brought me back for good. I think it was at a yoga studio in Whistler. All I remember is that once I was in a class with a good teacher – I was hooked. A room filled with people moving, sweating, and healing together with the intention of growing as human beings. A room led by an expert teacher who knew how to run the room, kept people safe and made them feel comfortable.  Someone who said the right things, and offered the appropriate options.

I was hooked. Once I took the bait, I became a lifelong student. I immediately knew I wanted to learn more. I jumped into teacher training really quickly. I think I only practiced for 6 months before I took my first YTT.

I agonized over choosing my first ‘would be’ teacher trainers. I asked all my friends, I scoured the internet. Did I want to travel to do it, could I do it online? How much money would this cost me??? How many classes would I have to teach to pay for my training?? I felt scared to invest in myself.

I decided on a local training through YYoga in my home town at the time of Whistler BC. My daughter was 8 months old and I couldn’t imagine flying off somewhere without her for 30 days. It was a bit of a scramble still. I came up with the money, I had my mom fly in from Manitoba to watch my daughter during the long days. I cried at the thought of leaving her for any amount of time but it was the best decision I ever made – and only a blip in time, now.

Training blew me away. My teachers were amazing. We had my kind yoga mother Kristin Campbell and my tough (and sometimes intimidating but equally amazing) Rachel Scott who were both highly skilled, experienced and very intelligent. We had to work hard, study hard and I was blown away by the amount of information that I was expected to know.

A new language, an in-depth study of anatomy. History, philosophy, energy work, sequencing, ethics and so much more. If you’re a teacher already – you know how much there is to study. It’s not just about the body.

We practice taught from day 1. It was awkward and uncomfortable but I’m so happy for that experience because it let me safely get my shyness and uncomfortableness out in a safe environment amongst peers.

I shifted, I cried, I opened myself up to a whole new world in teacher training. I was a simply a new person by the end of it with a passion for this practice like never before.

I began teaching immediately out of teacher training. I would study classes, techniques and philosophy every day. Every…. single…. day…. after my YTT. I was so thirsty for more. I learned that there was never an end to learning yoga. It would never be boring and I would never “know it all.” That was so exciting for me as someone that likes to learn.

Since that training, I’ve done a million more trainings, courses and immersions. I’ve taught in 3 countries, 4 provinces, in chocolate shops, on beaches, in community centers, churches, schools, homes, studios, on docks, in parks, first nation healing centers, on stages, in hotels, on skype sessions, at festivals and retreat centres. I’ve run workshops, events, fundraisers, teacher trainings, and retreats myself. I own a studio now too, and I get to do this full time.

My clientele ranges from small children to jocks to the elderly and everything in between. I work with people through their physical pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma. Teaching allows me to share these powerful tools with people through their toughest times.

Teaching allows me to create space for people to access joy and celebration. I get to build community through movement, connection, laughter and grace. I get to have purposeful work and that brings me so much joy.

My world is so expansive now. I can’t believe I ever hesitated for a moment about jumping into teacher training. Those first 30 days seemed like such a big commitment. Had I known what my world would become I never would have hesitated. I have some serious job love! My job brings me joy – others joy – and I get to travel the world sharing these tools while having the flexibility to be a mom, be a wife and be an active partner in my local community.

If you’re thinking about taking a teacher training here are some things to think about

  • Not all trainings are created equally – do your research, especially with international trainings – choose a quality, yoga alliance recognized school.
  • Choose a teacher who is experienced and jives with your personal values (note: you do not have to succumb to someone’s particular dogmatic beliefs if they don’t resonate with you), your chosen style of yoga and is someone that you want to spend 30 days with.
  • There will never be a perfect time to put your life on hold for 20-30 days – choose a time frame that is the least harmful to your personal and familial lifestyle – but know that it will be a shuffle at any time whether you choose weekends, an immersive experience or otherwise.
  • Your 200hr should always be done in person – online trainings are great for continuing education but not for your base YTT.
  • Your 200hr is just the tip of the iceberg – there is infinite opportunity for learning afterwards

* If you don’t want to teach and you just want to learn more – you still get the same amazing benefits as most of this process involves learning more about these tools, and yourself.

* Get ready for some serious purposeful work


pumpkins in wooden crates

Slow Living | 3 Ways to Detox This Fall

By Heyitsmekylie

Fall is a great time of year for detoxing your life. As the seasons transition, so do we. Our lives often get a little bit less busy, as we unwind from the summer months and ease into the cooler weather. Sometimes, Fall means new jobs, new schools, or returning to those same activities we always do this time of year. It’s a natural time of year to want to want a fresh start, live more slowly, more mindful, and take time for ourselves. For me, summer is the busiest time of year, both at work and socially. Fall, though, is my favourite. I find a bit more time to breathe, to reflect, and to focus on myself. It’s a time to help me get prepared for the Winter cold, when sustaining a healthy mind and immune system can often be difficult. 

Detoxing doesn’t have to mean a cleanse of a diet. It doesn’t mean that you have to drink smoothies or salads for a week straight – it can mean so much more. Here are my favourite ways to detox, and what I plan on doing this Fall. I’m already a little late! 

woman laying on yoga mat, grateful

Slowing Down

The first step for me, is to slow life down and do my best to reduce stress and over-activity of my mind. Personally, I find myself getting caught up with taking on too much, also known as “multi-tasking”. I think that our society pushes for this a lot, but in the attempts to get as much done as quickly as possible, we leave ourselves with little room to get bored. With boredom, comes creativity. When we task ourselves with so many things at once, it is unrealistic to imagine that we can do each and every one of those things as best we can. Instead, we do each of those things mediocrely. 

Boredom gives our minds the space it needs to think outside the box.

Overloading our minds with information leads to stress, therefore increasing cortisol in our bodies. The effects of increased cortisol are not good, and it can lead to various health issues such as irregular menstrual cycles, insomnia, indigestion, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, etc. While there are treatments for these symptoms of stress, it does not correct the cause. How can we get rid of the stress? Slowing down. This could mean saying no to activities that drain you of your energy and attention. It could also mean taking time to exercise through the activities that you love. My personal Fall favourites are going on hikes and doing yoga. For you, it could mean going to the gym, exercising your mind through meditation, or reading.  

Fall is a great time for a fresh start and a fresh mind. Live more slowly. 

Eating Seasonally

This one has been relatively new for me, but it is something that I’ve thought about for a long time. 

The definition of seasonal eating is basically exactly what it sounds like – eating with the seasons. When we eat seasonally, we cook and eat foods that are harvested in the same season (or we store/preserve foods from the previous season). For the most part, vegetables, fruits, and other crops grow at certain times of the year. A lot has changed in this century, as globalization has changed food supply quite a bit. Now, most veggies and fruits can be found year-round. However, with that, we’ve lost sight of the importance of eating with the seasons and the benefits it can have on our health, the environment, and on our wallets. 

It’s not to say that eating these global foods is unhealthy, especially if they are also fruits and vegetables. But, it has been shown that people eating “seasonally” are more likely to choose an abundance of fruits and vegetables. 

Eating seasonal foods means that there is a good chance that those foods are fresher and higher in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. If you think about it, when food has to travel from one side of the planet to the other, it’s going to take much more time to get there and those vitamins and minerals will be depleted. Also, seasonal food often means local food and buying fresh produce, especially if you’re attending local farmers markets. 

For Ontario (October – November) this is the time of year for sweet potatoes, pears, apples, zucchini, tomatoes, and more. Once Winter hits, that’s when we get into root veggies and squashes – so good! 

Eating seasonally lessens your environmental impact because the produce isn’t shipped across the Country. If you’re able to buy local food – or at least food grown in Canada – there is far less distance to travel (aka emissions) and you are supporting the local economy. Eating with the seasons is another way we can all do our part (large or small) to reduce negative impacts on our natural environment. I do not believe this is the sole solution to fighting climate change; however, it can be part of a multi-product approach and can be seen as a starting point to changing current food consumption patterns. 

Eating seasonally can also be very affordable because you are more likely to choose whole foods and plant-based foods at that. You don’t need to buy fancy goji berries, tropical fruits, or other superfoods. If you avoid packaged foods (even if they are healthy), your wallet is going to be much heavier, in a good way! 

Natural Products

Another thing that I’ve been slowly transitioning into is being more conscious with what I buy and what those products are made out of. Within the last few years, and more so in the last several months, I have started to make an active effort to buy items that are natural, biodegradable, and non-toxic. From cleaning products to skincare. Click here for a previous post on my natural (ish) skincare routine (

The most important takeaway in all of this is that a fall detox, or any detox for that matter, should not be about perfection. It is about progression. Especially when making the switch to natural products, it is understood that it is going to take some time. Some people may go about it by tossing all their old products, while others are going to use what they have until the products are empty, and then slowly transition. I personally do the latter, as I hate wasting things. Switching to a cleaner face wash or natural deodorants are a great way to start. I personally have been loving the routine brand in the scent Johnny’s Cash. It has notes of cedar, pine and lumberjack and blends into your skin like a dream!

routine cream deodorant

Whether it is slowing down, eating seasonally (and whole plant foods), or making the switch to clean beauty/skincare, there are so many ways you can detox your life this Fall and prepare for the Winter months ahead. What are your favourite ways to Fall detox?

~ Kylie


No Time or Energy to Exercise? 

Getting fit can make you a better parent, even if you’re handling the child-rearing duties all by yourself. Here’s how:


  • Parenting is stressful, as you already know. One way to counter the effects of stress is to exercise. Vigorous physical activity releases natural tranquilizers called endorphins into your body, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). You’ll feel more relaxed and alert as a result.
  • Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it also boosts your positive, motivating emotions, too. Part of this is biology—the body is regulating itself during exercise, but it also has to do with seeing and feeling the results of your efforts. This will give you the self-esteem and self-confidence to handle any challenge you face, including parenting.
  • You set a positive example for your kids when you exercise. Children imitate their parents’ behavior, whether for good or ill. Seeing you taking care of your health will inspire them to do the same.


Despite these benefits, many single parents have trouble finding the time, energy, or money to exercise. So in this post, we’ll look at ways to overcome each of these challenges.


Finding the Time


The key to addressing this issue is to integrate exercise into other activities. Here’s how:


  • Get off the sofa during TV commercials and do some jumping jacks, pushups, or squats as a family. Encourage your kids to get into the act and reward them for doing so. This is one way to form healthy lifelong habits.
  • Limit daily use of TVs or computing devices to avoid impinging on exercise time. An alternate strategy is to allow internet or gaming time only after completing the daily workout.
  • Keep a gym bag in your car if you have a fitness club membership. This can help you to take advantage of exercise opportunities as they present themselves, according to HuffPost writers.


Finding the Energy


It’s the old chicken-and-the-egg dilemma. You need exercise to feel more energetic, but you can’t exercise because you have no energy. Sound familiar? Here are some suggestions for tackling this problem:


  • Start slow and short. Even a few minutes of exercise can lead to longer, more vibrant workouts down the road.
  • Get some shut-eye. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night, according to Harvard Medical School’s Healthguide website. Adequate rest is essential for having enough energy for exercise.
  • Avoid trying to drown your fatigue in so-called “energy drinks,” which can dehydrate your body and rob you of much-needed energy.


Finding the Money


Money is one resource that most single parents have in short supply. So we understand that your workout budget is limited. Here are some strategies for dealing with this issue:


  • Check with your employer’s HR office for employee discounts on fitness memberships and other health-related expenses.
  • Keep an eye out for money-saving specials. For example, many fitness clubs offer reduced rates for new members, especially around New Year’s.
  • Turn a corner of your home into your gym, either by investing in home fitness equipment or by going at it old school with pushups, situps, squats, triceps dips, and other freehand routines.
  • Plunge yourself into the great outdoors by using a local park as your fitness headquarters. Get your kids into the act by integrating exercise into their playtime.


Staying fit is always challenging, doubly so for single parents. But you can rise to the challenge with the tips outlined in this post. So give it your best shot and keep your eyes on the goal. We wish you all the best.

Alexis Hall

[email protected]


Ayurveda, India’s traditional medical system dating back over 5,000 years ago, is the lesser known sister science of yoga. While yoga gives us spiritual direction, Ayurveda works to keep our body healthy in order to achieve our dharma, or spiritual goals. Both Ayurveda and yoga are steeped in tradition and are intricate sciences; however, both at their root, encourage us to cultivate simple daily practices that are accessible to us all.

If Ayurveda is a new word for you and you are wondering “how can I bring this science into my life?”, it is always good to go with the motto less is more. For instance, it is ideal in yoga to break down 2-3 postures at a time rather than try to learn 20 postures at once. The same applies to Ayurveda: incorporate Ayurvedic lifestyle practices into your life slowly, preferably, one at a time. Each week, bring in one new practice to cultivate into your routine. If you are successful at implementing the practice daily, then go ahead and add on from there. If you find yourself only doing the assigned practice a couple times that week, then simply keep working at integrating that one practice into your day. Stick with only that one practice until it becomes a habit, like it is a habit to brush your teeth. Once, your new practice becomes a habit you can begin to move onto weaving in another Ayurvedic practice. Got it? Okay!

Let’s look at 4 Ayurvedic actions you can implement this month to cultivate a happier, healthier, more mindful you.

1. Tongue Scraper/Cleaner

Tongue scraping is the action of removing ama or toxins from the back of the tongue. By removing these toxins from the tongue, ama is inhibited from entering back into the body, the breath is kept fresh throughout the day and healthy digestion is supported. This practice is ideal to do upon waking because while you sleep, your body is working to repair all the wear & tear that was placed on it throughout the day by initiating processes of digestion and detoxification. This detoxification process can be physically seen as a film on the back of the tongue.

When you rise in the morning, before you take a sip of water, inspect the back of your tongue for a coating. To remove this coating, you will place your tongue cleaner all the way towards the back of the tongue at the center and then gently draw the cleaner towards the front of the tongue. Repeat this action until there is no more coating on your tongue. Remember, each time you scrape, rinse the ama, or gunk, off the tongue cleaner before starting the next round.

Now some of you may have friends that say “I brush my tongue with my toothbrush, so I don’t need a tongue scraper”. Well, those people I am confident have never spent a week tongue scraping! Do it, and I promise it will change your life!

*You can purchase a stainless steel tongue scraper at your local natural food store or online at PAAVANI Ayurveda.

2. Oil Pulling- Kavala Graha

Oil Pulling or Kavala Graha, is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual that has seen quite a buzz in recent years.

Oil Pulling pulls toxins from the body, whitens teeth, reduces receding gums, works to ward off cavities, bad breath and unwanted bacteria in the mouth; in short, it is an amazing practice for oral hygiene and your body as a whole. So, how do you do it?

Herbally infused oil such as those found online at PAAVANI, is swished in the mouth and pulled through the teeth vigorously for at least 5 to 20 minutes. Ayurveda recommends 20 minutes, but that is something you can build up to. As long as you are doing this practice, you are taking the first step into making this a ritual in your day.

3. Drink Warm Lemon Water in the AM

This Ayurvedic practice is as simple as it sounds.  After tongue scraping and oil pulling, make yourself some warm water with fresh squeezed organic lemon juice. This simple morning ritual helps to stimulate agni or digestion, and to alkalize and detoxify the body. Remember to have your lemon water even before your cup of coffee or breakfast, to get your day started right.

4. Replace your Body Lotion with Body Oil

Ayurveda recommends the use of body oil instead of body lotion. By incorporating this practice into you day, you will bring balance to the body, increase circulation, nourish the skin, detoxify the body and also calm the nervous system; without using any synthetic ingredients. It is important to use a body oil that is 100% earth based, because everything you put on your skin absorbs into your body. PAAVANI Ayurveda specializes in Ayurvedic Herbal Body Oil, infused with a formulation of herbs over a 72 hour period. Each time you lovingly massage oil onto your skin, you not only receive the benefit of the oils themselves, but you also receive the benefits of the herbs. Once you begin to replace your body lotion with oil, you won’t want to revert back.

To apply the body oil, massage onto the skin 20 minutes prior to your morning shower. Let it sit on the body and then step into the shower. The steam of the shower will help the oil absorb into the skin. If you do not have the time in your morning routine to apply the body oil and let it sit for 20 minutes, simply apply the oil after your shower, while the skin is damp and air dry.
By incorporating these four easy routines into your day, you will begin to feel the powerful effects of living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. As these routines are established into habits, they will soon become practices that you can not live without. Ayurveda, although steeped in tradition, has practical, effective and endless benefits for us to continue to use in the modern world. This science empowers us to make these ancient practices daily self-care rituals that allow us to cultivate self-love and a deeper connection to our soul.

Trudy Collings, B.A. , A.H.P., C.M.P

Trudy was born in England but raised in Vero Beach, Florida. In 2008, she graduated cum laude from the University of Florida with a double major in British Literature & Anthropology.

In 2009, her inquisitive & wanderlust nature brought her to San Francisco, CA & she eventually landed in her first yoga teacher training in 2011. From there, she learned of Ayurveda & was instantly in love with the science.

By the fall of 2011, she was enrolled at the California College of Ayurveda. This science encompassed everything Trudy was looking for: yoga, traditional ecological knowledge, cultural understanding & a holistic approach to well-being.

Today, Trudy is an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, Herbalist, Ayurvedic Massage & Body Therapist, yoga teacher & co-founder of PAAVANI Ayurveda.

What she loves most about offering Ayurvedic Body Therapies to people is the meditative experience it offers & the healing connection she gives & receives from each client.  While not immersed in Ayurveda & Yoga services, Trudy relishes spending time with her partner, Brandt, & their two dogs & kitty cat. She loves all things Phish, Grateful Dead & Bluegrass related as well as hikes in nature, traveling, cooking & time with her beloved family & friends.

2016 you were cruel and unforgiving. You brought storms like nothing I ever could have expected. Illness, injuries, and the death of many loved ones. I found myself continually thrown into a dark pit of uncertainty and fear. Fear of coping with what had happened, and fear of what was next. When it rains, it pours, and this storm was a hurricane.

The only good thing about hitting rock bottom is you’ve only got one way to go from there…..up. When everything comes crashing down around you, how do you move forward, how do you push on? Sometimes when we’re in that pit we just want to stay there. Its too difficult to crawl out. But I didn’t want to stay in the pit. Not forever. I crawled, I scrambled, I fought my way towards the light. Everyday I did the things that I needed to to shed light on the darkness. I did yoga, I meditated, I volunteered, I practiced gratitude, I journaled, I read, I prayed. It sustained me but it didn’t “fix” me. This is important because when you’re in the pit, sometimes there is no fix. Sometimes you just need time. You need the things to sustain you because you may be in the dark for a long time. And thats ok. If you sustain yourself with life giving things (gratitude, health, community) you’ll survive whatever hardships are thrown at you. It may not be quick, in fact, it could take years. But you’ll make it. Don’t feel like you’re doomed because you didn’t read the right quote at the right time, or have the epiphany of a lifetime. Sometimes we just need to live out the chapters as they come. There are lessons in the dark.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” -Rumi

It took awhile to feel better, but there were things that I learned this year that I never would have invested in should my life taken a course of simple, self gratifying and easy. Is easy, fun and gratifying a nice place to be? OF COURSE! But you can’t stay there all the time. There’s beauty in the darkness; in the experience of self discovery and growth.

I believe in something bigger than me. That these lessons are meant to be learned. That our lives are inextricably intertwined and meant to be lived for each other. You may not have enjoyed your hardships, but what did you learn? How did it strengthen you? What can you take away from that experience that will help others? I believe that thats where the magic lies. Discovering the meaning behind your journey. Listening, watching and believing in your own personal journey is where life starts to get interesting. Are you ready to put aside what you’ve designed for your life and instead ask what life has instore for you? When it answers, and its not what you expected, desired or thought possible…can you be brave and follow suit?

“Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender who you are for what you could become” – unknown

For 2017, I’m making gratitude a daily practice. I’m running into the new year with an open heart, a passion to serve and a desire to ebb and flow with life as it comes at me. I promise to fill my year with good friends, adventures, laughter and as many good days as possible.

Gratitude. You hear and see slogans everywhere these days touting “choose happiness”, “happiness is a choice”, “be grateful.” But is it that easy? Can you just flip a switch and MAKE an emotion happen? When things are going well in your life its easier to feel that. Sometimes everything is going right yet we still can’t tap into that emotion. “What’s wrong with me? AM I BROKEN?” There’s a missing piece here. We can have everything in this world handed to us on a platter and still be void of happiness if we’re not reflecting on our life and what a blessing the little and big things can be.

So what do you do when everything is going wrong? Maybe you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for? Maybe the world has taken everything from you. Sometimes when we’re down the last thing we want to do is be positive. It seems fake, unrealistic, and downright annoying. You want to listen to that depressing song, treat your body poorly and numb it with vices. Sometimes it feels good to relish in those terrible feelings whether we realize it or not.

Some people have it rougher than others, there’s no getting around that. Its true that ALL of us will experience ups and downs in our life. But how to do we cope with the bad. How do we “choose happiness” when everything is dragging us down? Well, we can train our brains to think. We train them to be depressed, we train them to be happy. The training is a daily practice. If everyday we are reflecting on the bad, the negative and depressing, it starts to become our reality. Those synapses in our brain become stronger and stronger until its a constant wheel in motion. The negativity train starts to run without us even conducting it anymore. Its a common human trait to complain. We think its conversation. Its normal. But who has a daily conversational habit of gratitude?

What if every day you got out the pen and paper and wrote down the things that you were grateful for. The little, the big. Maybe your life is so shitty that there’s only 1 or 2 things on that list? Well…focus on it. Get creative with the detail. Don’t just say “your family.” Write my uncle Larry is hilarious when he embarrasses my aunt and I get a kick out of it. I’m grateful for pumpkin spice everything. I’m grateful that i’m not in physical pain today. I’m grateful that I have 2 legs to stand on. I’m grateful that I didn’t live through WWII. I’m grateful for little kids laughing, or my favourite song. Don’t be fake about it. If you’re not actually grateful for that thing, don’t put it on your list. If your family pisses you off, emit it from your list. Be true, be authentic.

The options are limitless.

Personal development guru Tony Robbins was beaten relentlessly by his mother when he was a boy. When the now billionaire shared his gratitude list he mentioned his mom. He told her he was grateful for her because she made him the man his was today. An initial reaction to that statement is usually met with anger. When you think about it, it couldn’t be truer. She was responsible for turning him into the man he was today. He set out a new path for himself and his future family to do better, to be better and to help others who needed help. Not only did he find forgiveness for her, he found gratitude. “Gratitude is the antidote” he says and includes this ritual into his life daily.

Slowly but surely you’ll start to grow new eyes. Your positive synapses in your brain will get stronger and that old train will crash. A new technology will emerge in your head and you’ll be headed in a new path. Maybe you only have ONE thing, or ONE person that you’re grateful for. Maybe thats all you need. That’s the starting point to a new understanding and new you.

The Kid’s Aren’t Alright

November 28, 2016

MVMNT is passionate about serving youth. We don’t have a good foreseeable future without them. Its never been easy being a teen. Bodies are changing, friend groups are shifting and your biology is working against you. You’re working your way through the system, buried by school work, maybe working a part time job. It sure wasn’t easy when I was a teen.

I was bullied hard for 2 straight years. A group of individuals made sure that I didn’t have a friend in the world. I fought a lot. I went home devastated every single day for grade 7 and 8. My future seemed bleak and hopeless. It crushed my confidence, weakened my resolve and it led me to develop some pretty big negative behaviours that stayed with me for more than a decade. To those that think that bullying is just “kids being kids” – remember this, suicide is the #3 killer of adolescents. The right mixture of isolation, bullying, and lack of support can create a toxic cocktail.

When I was a teen, there was no social media. There was no Facebook, no Twitter. At home, I was safe. That’s not the reality for teens today. Not only are their entire lives being lived out on social media 24/7, access to constant media from local and global sources shows youth all the bad things that are happening outside of their immediate circle. Its creating a very stressful environment for those not fully equipped to handle these stressors. Lets not forget that some face extreme stressors and poor living situations at home. Home is meant to be safe, but often thats not the case.

Youth programs at MVMNT serve a few purposes:

  • physical activity
  • mindfulness work
  • community
  • a safe place to go

We invite youth to come and take part in engaging physical activities. Yoga flows, marital arts inspired workouts, wrestling, outdoor activities and creative endeavours. We provide youth mentors that are young at heart, are inspiring and healthy role models and are skilled at their craft.

Our Girlvana programs use raw conversation and meditation as powerful tools. These tools help teens open up, develop coping skills to everyday stressors and get them in their heads and their hearts. We us simple activities to get some serious results. MVMNT would like to thank Girlvana creator Alex Mazerolle for creating this life changing program. You can read more about her vision at We hope to share this work with as many youth as possible.

Level Up is a safe and healthy physical outlet for all teens (boys and girls 13-18). We provide various activities, a safe space, learning opportunities and strong role models. Its been proven over and over again that participation in sports, clubs and out of school activities leads to better school performance, higher rates of graduation and an overall sense of improved life circumstances.

Programs are offered at schools, community centres, clubs and residences. Girlvana and Level Up programs are also offered in studio several times a week.

If you’d like to find out how your group can take advantage of our programs, send an email to [email protected]

Take Your Time

January 4, 2016

So you’re on your way to a healthier lifestyle, congratulations! There’s many ways to go about this. Some of us take baby steps, adding in little healthy activities, foods and events into our lives everyday. Others like to think about all the healthy things they’re going to do one day but they’re not quite ready yet (hey, its ok, at least you’re gearing your attention that way!). Some of us are hit hard with a health crisis or life changing event that puts everything into perspective quickly. Some are already on that path but are looking to fine tune their commitment. No matter what path you’re on its important to realize that there is no right or wrong way!


Enjoy it, reflect on it and grow from it. Our mistakes make us human. Our obstacles make things interesting. Know that you’re not the only one. Its a process for EVERYONE.

Our number one tip? Learn how to pay attention to your body, your mind and your actions. Does your body need that bag of chips, will it make you feel better afterwards? Maybe yes, maybe no. There is no right answer. Sometimes we need a food hug. Maybe you’ve been living a super green and clean life and that bag of chips would really hit the spot right now! Maybe you’re eating it quickly and mindlessly and you’re going to beat yourself up after it. If that bag of chips is going to make you feel sad, PUT IT DOWN!!! If it brings you joy (during and after) go for it!

Same goes for exercise. Does your body really need to chill or have you been sitting around too much and things are starting to stall out. You’re tired but you know that if you do that early am yoga class you’ll have more energy for the rest of the day. Maybe you’re fighting an illness or healing an injury and the body is telling you to SLOW DOWN. You’re body is pretty amazing at telling you what it needs. You just have to listen. Enjoy the road.