All Posts By

louise@foreverkindness.com

0 In Featured/ Society

Rusiana Mannarino, A Real Gem of a Woman

We all meet many people throughout the course of our lives  but not many can we call a friend.  Friendship is a value I hold dear and I chose one of my friends to be the first “Unforgettable person I have ever met” not only because I like her but because she has been such an inspiration to me throughout the few years we have known each other. I met Rusiana at a Yoga studio and I liked her right away: her big smile, her twinkly eyes but most of all her friendly disposition.  As I got to know Rusiana I realized that there was much more to this bubbly-smiley- friendly person I was always happy to run into.  She had a background story that I would never of guessed in a million years.

Rusiana grew up  in a poor neighbourhood in Indonesia and had a very difficult childhood. By the age of six she had endured very tough circumstances and was lacking the role models most children have growing up. Those feelings that something was very wrong with her environment, although she didn’t understand what was normal or abnormal, did cost her to lose her innocence.  Not knowing what she was actually doing Rusiana found a way to adapt to her surroundings by building a façade that could  change at her will so as to please everyone and therefore avoiding  the pain of being rejected.  This façade, she believed, was her personality and this ‘act’ worked out for many years. Although Rusiana followed her passion for Marketing and Business Management and graduated from the University of Tarumanagara in Jakarta,  she chose to work as a flight attendant for ten years instead of working in her field. Over the years Rusiana felt completely cornered by her choices and eventually she chose to face reality. Maybe she wasn’t the ‘happy-g0-lucky’ girl and realized she needed to make changes in her life.

That is the reason I believe that Rusiana is such an inspiration for women who are afraid to step out of their comfort zones.  I believe I read somewhere that “Nothing great ever comes out of comfort zones.” Ain’t that the truth! Unfortunately it is easier said than done. Rusiana’s strength is in her ability to step out of herself and take a hard look at who she really is. It takes an enormous amount of courage to face oneself, but it takes even more to be honest with what you do not like about yourself. Rusiana felt that she did deserved peace and harmony as much as others did but she felt nailed down by her fears and limitations.

The first step Rusiana took was to accept the fact that she had been mistreated in the past and the second was that she wasn’t going to be a victim anymore.  She took her power back with the help of what she calls her “Higher Power”: she listened to what her soul was starving for all those years.  No matter how deep the wounds were, Rusiana now had faith. This faith was what she hung onto whenever she felt weak and afraid. Then came the real challenge: she was offered a business opportunity that allowed her to reach her goals and transform herself into the woman she is today although  it meant facing her fears of success, failure, lacking skills, as well dealing with a  language barrier. The offer being in her field and leaning on her newfound faith, she rose to the opportunity. Rusiana never quit. No matter how rocky things got and how depressed she would get. Looking at the bigger picture helped her to stay focused and today, she is a successful businesswoman. When Rusiana feels she is reverting into her old self she uses gratitude, forgiveness, acceptance, and faith instead of the negative opposite such as fear, self-pity, self-hatred and procrastination.

In all humility, Rusiana believes she was put on this Earth to deliver a message of love and wishes that everyone could see the perfection her Higher Power has shown her. She wants to guide others on that road less traveled and that is why I believe she is one truly amazing and unforgettable person. I am without a doubt that she has found her deeper purpose and that as she continues to live her life, will help many others attain freedom from the fears and limitations that lurk in their minds. I am very lucky to count Rusiana as one of my friends and I will always be inspired by her relentless desire to be the best person she can be.

 

Rusiana is an Independent Consultant- Area Manager at Arbonne Canada and is the co-author of “Dear Stress, I’m breaking up with you”  and “Dear limits, get out of my way” from the series of books “Dear Women Guide Book Series” published by Golden Brick Road Publishing House Inc.

 

6 In Animal Rights

Un rodéo à Montréal?

Vous vous demandez en quoi le débat entourant les rodéos consiste? Bien que les rodéos aient lieu depuis 200 ans, ce n’est que dernièrement que le public commence à se rendre compte que ces événements causent de la douleur physique et émotionnelle aux animaux qui sont forcés d’y participer.

Récemment, une société publique a été créée afin de mettre sur pied des activités pour célébrer le 375e anniversaire de Montréal. Le rodéo de Montréal, d’une durée de quatre jours, en fait partie.  À l’annonce de cette activité, des réactions négatives ont fusé dans les médias, en partie à cause des blessures subies par les animaux lors de rodéos. Malheureusement, ces blessures peuvent être fatales.  Le cas de Grady, le cheval décédé d’une fracture à la colonne vertébrale au rodéo de Ste-Tite, le 28 mai dernier, a largement été rapporté dans les médias. Cela a fait rapidement naître les inquiétudes quant au manque d’éthique des rodéos.  À chaque année, des centaines d’animaux subissent des blessures sévères ou décèdent lors de ces rodéos. Évidemment, les organisateurs prétendent assurer la sécurité et le bien-être des animaux. Cette affirmation est remise en cause, autant par les activistes de la cause animale que par le grand public qui s’informe dans les médias.  Nous savons que les rodéos peuvent entraîner des retombées économiques importantes, mais il n’est ni juste ni humain que les organisateurs de ces événements s’enrichissent au détriment de la santé et de la sécurité d’animaux innocents.

Alors que je devenais de plus en plus consciente de l’hypocrisie des rodéos, j’ai décidé d’aider le professeur de droit Alain Roy et son équipe remarquable d’étudiants dévoués dont la tentative d’empêcher la tenue du rodéo de Montréal pourrait changer le futur de ce sport abusif envers les animaux.  Professeur de droit de la famille à l’Université de Montréal, Alain Roy est bien connu comme défenseur du bien-être des enfants et des animaux.  Le Professeur Roy m’a expliqué que la province de Québec a reconnu, en janvier 2015, l’animal comme étant un «être doué de sensibilité ayant des impératifs biologiques».  Auparavant, aux yeux de la loi, les animaux n’étaient que des biens meubles.  Cela veut dire que les lois du Québec prohibent maintenant toutes les activités qui compromettent la santé et la sécurité de l’animal, sauf lorsqu’il est question d’agriculture ou de science.  Il est assez incroyable que ce soit seulement aujourd’hui, en 2017, que les citoyens se battent pour s’assurer que les lois archaïques concernant les animaux soient mises à jour.

Heureusement, le débat entourant le rodéo du 375e anniversaire de Montréal a donné voix à ceux qui sont contre l’exploitation d’animaux sans défense, à des fins lucratives et sous prétexte de divertir.  Le Professeur Roy fait remarquer que le traitement infligé aux animaux lors des rodéos serait jugé révoltant et inacceptable s’il était infligé à nos animaux de compagnie.  Pourquoi est-ce plus acceptable lorsque les animaux en cause sont des chevaux, des veaux ou des taureaux qui participent à des rodéos?

En intentant une demande d’injonction contre Nomadfest Rodéo, le Professeur Roy et son équipe ont réussi à faire homologuer par la Cour supérieure de Montréal une entente survenue entre les parties.  Selon cette entente, un Comité consultatif, composé de trois représentants de l’industrie du rodéo, trois représentants des droits des animaux et deux représentants du MAPAQ, le ministère québécois responsable de l’application des lois concernant les animaux, sera créé. Le but de ce comité est d’évaluer la légalité des rodéos dans une perspective de sécurité et de bien-être des animaux qui sont forcés d’y participer.

Le Professeur Roy a nommé deux experts, vétérinaires et béhavioristes, et un photographe qui recueilleront des éléments de preuve lors des quatre journées du rodéo de Montréal et des onze journées du Festival western de Ste-Tite.  Ces experts auront un accès illimité aux animaux avant et après chaque épreuve pour les examiner et les filmer.  Les épreuves seront elles aussi filmées.  Les données recueillies seront compilées et analysées par des experts externes qui rédigeront un rapport final.  Ce rapport sera soumis au MAPAQ d’ici un an et sera étudié à la lumière de la nouvelle loi entrée en vigueur au Québec.

En terminant, j’aimerais mettre au clair une dernière chose.  Hormis les experts et le photographe dont les dépenses doivent être payées, toutes les personnes participant à ce projet — le Professeur Roy, ses élèves et son avocat, les trois membres du Comité consultatif représentant les animaux et toutes les autres personnes dévouées qui travaillent dans l’ombre — oeuvrent BÉNÉVOLEMENT.  Ainsi, pour défrayer les coûts de déplacement, l’hébergement et les honoraires des experts externes et du photographe, le Professeur Roy et son équipe ont créé une campagne Go Fund Me en ligne.  Le succès de la collecte d’éléments de preuve dépend grandement du travail de ces experts externes.  J’invite tous ceux qui ont à coeur le sort des animaux sans défense utilisés lors des rodéos à contribuer à l’effort du Professeur Roy via la campagne Go Fund Me.  Je crois réellement qu’ensemble, nous pourrons protéger ces animaux, maintenant et pour toujours.
https://www.gofundme.com/Rodeo-illegal-Rod-o-ill-gal

0 In Animal Rights/ Featured

What’s up with a rodeo at Montreal’s 375th Celebrations?

Here is what the whole rodeo debate is all about: while rodeos have been going on for 200 years, public awareness has been growing that they cause physical and emotional harm to the animals forced to perform in them.  Similar concerns have been arising about circuses and whale and dolphin acts, and of course the most barbaric abuse of all: bullfights.


Recently a Public Corporation was put into place in order to choose the activities for celebrating Montreal’s 375th anniversary. They decided to promote a 4-day rodeo as part of the festivities. There was negative reaction in the press concerning rodeos partly because of some very serious injuries being reported. These range from torn ligaments to, sadly, even death.   The case of Grady, the horse who died of a broken back at the Festival Western de St-Tite on May 28  was given a high profile in the media and concern abruptly mounted about whether rodeos were in fact ethical.  The truth is that hundreds of these animals suffer severe injuries in rodeos and many of them die every year. The organizers of such events claim that they are ensuring the safety and welfare of their animals, of course, but this just doesn’t seem right to many people; and not just to animal activists but to regular folks watching the evening news or reading the morning newspaper. Everyone understands the economic benefits that such events bring to a region but it just doesn’t seem fair, or even remotely humane for that matter, that these organizers make money by entertaining (?) crowds at the expense of the health and safety of innocent animals.

As I became more conscious of the hypocrisy surrounding these rodeos I decided to help law professor Alain Roy and his amazing team of dedicated law students  whose attempt  to block the rodeo from coming to Montreal may succeed in changing the future of this abusive sport.  Professor of family law at the University of Montreal, Alain Roy is  well-known as a defender of children’s as well as animals’ welfare.  Prof Roy explained to me that as of January 2015 the Province of Quebec has accorded to animals – who until then were just property according to the law — the status of  “sentient beings with biological needs.” This means that Quebec law now forbids any activity that compromises the health and safety of any animal (except animals used in agriculture or science). It is quite unbelievable that it is only today, in 2017, that citizens are fighting to ensure that archaic laws on the treatment of animals are getting updated and enforced.

Thankfully the debate about the rodeos during Montreal’s 375th Celebrations has opened the door for those who do not believe that we should be creating revenue from the fear and distress we inflict on helpless animals under the guise of entertainment.  Prof. Roy points out that what is being done to rodeo animals would be judged as appalling and unacceptable if it were being done to our own beloved pets or anyone else’s. What makes it any less unacceptable when it is done to the horses, calves, and steer in a rodeo?

Prof. Roy and his team, filing for an injunction against the Nomadfest Rodeo, succeeded in negotiating a court-certified agreement to create a balanced Consultative Committee consisting of 3 representatives for the rodeo, 3 representatives for animal rights, and 2 representatives from MAPAQ , which is the Quebec ministry responsible for the enforcement of the laws governing these animals. The goal of the Committee is to identify and assess the standards currently in practice for the security and well-being of rodeo animals.

 Gathering the direct evidence for the Committee will be two external veterinary and behavioral experts and a photographer, appointed by Prof. Roy, who will be given unlimited access to examine and film each animal, before and after each trial, as well as to film each trial, throughout the 4 full days of the Nomadfest rodeo as well as the 11 full days of the St-Tite Festival Western Rodeo. All the data will be compiled and analyzed by further external experts, who will then write a final report to be submitted to MAPAQ within a year for review and recommendations in light of Quebec’s new law.

I also want to make it clear that apart from the appointed external experts and photographer, whose expenses need to be paid, all those who are involved in this project – from Prof. Roy, his students, and his attorney, to the 3 animal-rights members of the Consultative Committee and all the other dedicated helpers in the background — are doing this on a VOLUNTEER basis. It is in order to raise the funds to pay for the travel, lodgings and time of the external experts and photographer that Prof. Roy and his team have created a GOFUNDME campaign on the web. The success of their evidence-gathering mandate depends critically on the work of these external experts, so I urge all those who care about the fate of the hapless victims of the rodeo to contribute to this effort on GOFUNDME. I truly believe that together we will be able to protect the welfare of these animals, now, and forever. https://www.gofundme.com/Rodeo-illegal-Rod-o-ill-gal

13 In Animal Rights/ Society

Stop Breed Specific Laws

Since December 2016 Montrealers have had to abide by the new BSL by-law imposed by Mayor Denis Coderre. This breed specific law, known as “the bull shit law” amongst animal activists and most dog owners,  is definitely controversial. Therefore I decided to explore it some more and was quite surprised by my findings.

In all fairness I truly understand the gravity of this situation but having looked at both sides of the issue I believe this is a knee-jerk reaction coming from the Mayor’s office. Of course everyone was appalled when Lucifer, a 7 year-old Pit Bull , killed a 55 year old woman in Montreal after he had escaped from his backyard. The Quebec court pressed charges against the owner but he was acquitted; a decision that I struggle with since the dog had lunged at by-standers outside a convenient store,  bitten a cousin and was muzzled at home when guests came over. The owner had also asked the SPCA for help in order to reduce Lucifer’s aggressive behaviour. Who is to blame? Is it the dog’s fault or the owner’s? In this case it seems that the dog was at fault and was killed by the two police officers at the scene. In other cases the owners were not so lucky and were charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty to criminal negligence. Where do we draw the line?

Apparently by deciding that all the dogs that look like Pit Bulls have to have a special licence, must be muzzled outside the home, be neutered (therefore trying to extinct the breed); also no new Pitt Bull types are to enter our municipality. What does this mean exactly? Any dog that has a square jaw and a muscular body fits that description. Personally I found that this by-law installed more fear then anything else. I will give you an example: I was at the convenient store with my Boston Terrier and someone asked me why my dog wasn’t muzzled? Here is a picture of my dog Tommy.

After more dog digging I found that many municipalities that had enforced this regulation had actually REVERSED it because it was unfair, unenforceable and ineffective. According to the statistics in Canada you are 18 times more likely to be killed riding your bicycle but I don’t see any municipality outlawing bikes?

I believe that any type of dog can be dangerous and that each case should be treated individually. I used to own a Miniature Pinscher named Jack that was a lot more unpredictable then any Pitt Bull and I had to take special precautions in order to restrain him. There are roughly 500,000 dog bites per year in Canada and less than half of them are done by Pitt bulls. According to an article in the Globe and Mail by Stanley Cohen some dog experts have stated that dog bites could be reduced by 89% if dogs received basic obedience training. Now that makes sense to me.

Please help to put pressure on the City of Montreal to stop the BSL enforcement. There are many demonstrations happening around the city and many organizations you can join to fight this ridiculous by-law such as Ma voix pour Eux and the SPCA, for example.

 

 

2 In Animal Rights

Giving animals a voice

Coming back from the first edition of Ma Voix Pour Euxs (My Voice For Them) mini-conference I felt a deep feeling of gratitude for those who dare go where most citizens flee – the world of animal activism.  It is without saying that this movement has had some kind of an impact on society although the statistics remain bleak; only 2.5% of the population of the United States is vegan and there is a staggering 15% of those who have reverted back from veganism and vegetarianism and this within only 3 months. The main reasons for their change of heart is merely due to their lack of knowledge on how to be vegan and from them being ostracized by their peers having failed to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Still it is staggering that these numbers are so low when the reality remains that million upon million of animals are tortured and killed each year for us to eat, wear, use and be entertained by.  As one of the guest speakers explained it takes a lot of courage to be able face the real facts.  Modern society has manipulated us into believing that farm animals are commodities and that their lives do not matter in any way.  I thought that most people knew by now the horror of slaughterhouses and the lack of laws protecting animals in industrial farming… sadly just a handful seem to care. Why has governments and industries led us into making unkind and monstrous decisions which are obviously morally depraved and insane? Decisions that seem to possess no sense of ethics? Herein lies the debate of animal activism.

The human animals behind this movement consider non-human animals as they would other human beings. They see them as they truly are:  sentient, intelligent, emotional and in no way do they feel superior to them.  This is the reason animal activists are calling for the end of their exploitation.  Animal activists, often seen as marginal and disturbing people, are doing all they can because their goal is for others to see what they have seen and to feel what they have felt. They are the ones who dare watch the documentaries, read the books, look at the statistics and go to the forefront of this battlefield by showing up with their picket signs at slaughterhouses and demonstrations.

This dark reality lies in our every day lives yet society seems to want to cling to its immunity.  Our entire way of living depends on imposing cruelty to animals which sounded disturbing enough for Rick Hinojosa and Daniel Lussier,  two vegan friends that have decided to step up their involvement by giving back a voice to these muted animals. It is one thing to step out of the box and make better choices for yourself yet these guys have decided to push the envelope further and stretch out their own necks out by showing up at demonstrations with their banner, by going to city hall and demanding answers and now by giving a platform for fellow activists to educate others. While the decision to fight for animals is definitely a personal one it is by no means an unimportant one,  a fact which was well underlined by each and every one of the six chosen speakers.  Animal activists want the truth to be said and they will never stop until every cage is empty, every slaughter house closed and every animal freed. Why? Because it is the moral thing to do.  As Sir Paul McCartney once said:

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

Ma Voix pour Eux wants to educate others on the horror of slaughterhouses, on the impact of the dairy and cattle industries on climate change and on the benefits of a plant-based diet for example. What struck me the most about the conference was not just the facts because I am quite familiar with them, it was the love and kindness you could feel in the room.  Animal activists are just people who wish to speak to your heart in order to plant a seed of compassion for these beings.  There is an invisible war happening – animals are brutally raised and murdered, trees and rainforests are being burnt and bulldozed and waterways are being poisoned by industrial farming.  Human beings have never been so sick and pharmaceutical companies are laughing all the way to the bank.  We have been deterred into making choices that are sick and disgusting for the animals themselves,  for the sustainability of our planet and for our own health.  Yet 98% of society still chooses it.

After listening to the speakers I retained many things such as:

  1. I cannot just sit behind my computer anymore.  Although I have been to a few gatherings my activism must become more ruthless because there is no justice for these animals.
  2. It’s ok to be loud and disturbing sometimes because it’s time for this war to end.  As one speaker said: ” If each vegan today turned 6 others to veganism and so on most people in the world would someday be vegan.”
  3. No matter what people say (and trust me people social media can be very mean) I will NEVER shut up.
  4. I will keep supporting industries that are cruelty-free – keep putting my money where it counts.

The event which was held at Le 5e Griffintown, a vegan and zero-waste café, also held a raffle which raised money for Jacomo et ses amis, a refuge for farm animals in dire need of your generosity. Thank you so much to Ma Voix pour Eux for encouraging people to keep fighting a good fight. I am without a doubt that you have inspired others and will keep doing so with your next events.

 

If you wish to join or donate: Ma Voix pour Eux as well as Jacomo et ses amis have a page on Facebook.

There will be a video of the conference coming out soon-keep posted!

In Health and Wellness

The Universal Language of Micro-Energy ®

There are not too many people like Nathalie Poulin Neylan on the planet. Actually there is only one,  and she is definitely unique. You can trust me on this one because I have had the chance to see her work for 17 years now. What is so special about Nathalie Poulin Neylan is not that she is a naturopath, a naturotherapist, a plant-based dietician and what not (she wears many, many hats), it is the fact that she is a true innovator in the field of Micro-Energy® which she created. Nathalie Poulin Neylan started her journey into quantum physics at a very young age, intuitively feeling the electro-magnetic fields of people. By the tender age of 12, she had already combined crystals and Bach flower remedies and had observed their effects.

There are no coincidences in life and it brought me into Nathalie Poulin Neylan’s office in Outremont in the spring of 2000. I have to say that at the time I had no idea what I was going to experience. And what an event it was and continues to be! I didn’t understand what was happening after I laid down on her massage table. First she ‘read‘ my energy with a spin tester (pendulum), then she covered me with these little round tools which she explained had different frequencies. All I know is that I went into a deep relaxation. I remember it was the first time that I was awake but that I had no thoughts – what a relief! I felt transported into another realm and when I came back from this vacation from myself, I had a general sense of peace and harmony. I wanted more! A vacation from my brain? A deep sense of serenity? I’m In!!  So I booked more appointments and there I went into my own personal  journey into Micro-Energy.

Through the years the sessions I received helped me in many ways. Again this is my experience. I felt that my mind was clearer and that I was less stressed. People around me noticed a change: they said I had a glow and that I was different yet they couldn’t figure out what it was. He he.. Of course I shared my secret with them and they too decided to try Micro-Energy and benefited from these sessions. I remember one time I had pain and swelling in an elbow that the doctors wanted to operate not knowing exactly what was wrong with it in the first place. I was frightened so what did I do?  I called Nathalie Poulin Neylan!  I will always remember that session like it was yesterday because it was so painful. It hurt so much I was crying but whatever was wrong with my elbow went away and never came back. The doctors were dumbfounded.  They couldn’t explain how it went away and let’s face it, neither did I.  I have come to the realization that my role here is not to understand Micro-Energy applications,  it is to learn how to use it for my own benefit.

Through the 25 years that Nathalie Poulin Neylan has been innovating in the field of natural health, music therapy, polarity, nutrition as well as different biofeedback systems therefore she applies different modes of frequencies in each session, which is specifically designed for each person. Micro-Energy can also be used on animals and in different environments.  Nathalie Poulin Neylan has always pushed and keeps pushing into new frontiers in the field of quantum physics. She has even trained her own little army of professional practitioners at her Micro-Institute and they now operate in their respective places.

Armed with tons of stories and interesting facts about her work with Micro-Energy, Nathalie Poulin Neylan is coming out with a book soon which will explain her technique and its application in more depth. There will also be some Webinars on different applications of Micro-Energy in the future.  For myself  I know that she just magically reappears in my life whenever I am at a crossroads. Nathalie Poulin Neylan has helped me not only to reconnect my heart to my head when it needed to but also helped me to re-direct my “antennas”, as she likes to say, in their right direction so I can make better and wiser decisions for myself.

I feel very blessed to have Nathalie Poulin Neylan in my life. I call her my “cosmic sister” and I thank the Universe for her because without her sessions my life would of been much harder and honestly, there probably would be no Forever Kindness. Thank you cosmic sister… I cannot wait to see you reach the stars once again with whatever new invention you will come up with. Just make sure I’m first on the list to try them out!

In Health and Wellness

Why Pilates?

I was introduced to Pilates a few years ago following an injury to my lower back. I had consulted a chiropractor as well as an osteopath but was never completely relieved of my back pain. I decided to try Pilates after hearing through the grapevine that it could help my lower back.  Although Pilates does not make any medical claims, I assure you that it was the best decision I ever made!

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates in Germany, in the early 20th century. It was then called  ‘contrology’ due to the control the practitioners must have during each movement.   Contrology was not meant to be a therapy  but rather a form of exercise which could help with the body’s alignment, strengthen core muscles, as well as improve coordination and balance. These exercices were done either on a mat or on a machine which Joseph Pilates himself built out of hospital beds. This machine, which was later refined, now holds the name of “Reformer”  and it is at the center of the Pilates workout.

Pilates is a sort of medical gymnastics which is also meant to develop and strengthen the body-mind connection. Practitioners learn to re-condition deeper layers of muscles whom have become latent due to their lack of exercise. Doing Pilates requires mental focus; one must concentrate on a specific movement as well as on a particular muscle.  A Pilates workout, contrary to other exercices, requires both the concentric and the eccentric motion of muscles therefore enhances control. This increases the strength of the muscles around the joints, for example, which in turn decreases injuries and helps repair them as well. In Pilates there are many different accessories with strange names like spine corrector and the Wunda chair which sound kind of creepy but are actually designed to enhance the Pilates experience.

I spoke with Catherine Tremblay, the owner of Synergie Pilates on Nun’s Island in Montreal,  as to deepen my knowledge of what Pilates could or could not do. Tremblay, who has a background in gymnastics and dance, was also an occupational therapist so she is truly an expert in the human anatomy. While enthusiastically sharing the why and how she got involved in Pilates, her eyes got all fired up and I have to say that I understand why. Tremblay was introduced to Pilates when she was living in Texas in 2004 and fell in love with the practice. She explained that there were many approaches to Pilates but that she had chosen the Stott Pilates approach,  which was founded in the 80’s in Toronto, Canada.

Tremblay chose the Stott Pilates method because of its respect by health professionals throughout the world.  The Stott approach is basically a contemporary version of Joseph Pilate’s concept and is the result of the extensive scientific knowledge we now possess about the functions of the human body.  Stott Pilates consists of 500 systematic mat and equipment-based exercices which degrees of difficulty ranges from beginner to advanced, as well as being addressed to special populations such as pre-post natal, dance, post-rehabilitation etc.  Each Stott Pilates instructor has to be certified in the basics of its practice and, in order to keep their certification are required to attend workshops every year.

Stott Pilates studios offer a range of different classes from Reformer Essentials to Intermediate and Advanced, to Cardio-Jump (which is done in faster sequences as to raise the heartbeat) and also cater to special needs by offering private or semi-private sessions.  If you are interested in trying Stott Pilates I would urge you to read the biographies of the team of certified instructors which usually appears on the studio’s website as to see which instructor might best suit your needs. Of course I really enjoy the team at Synergie Pilates that’s why I joined and I am just loving it! After a few months my back is much better. I have not taken any pain medication or visited the E.R. for my back since which is quite an achievement! Although Pilates was never meant to be a therapy it is what worked for me and I hope you give it a try – wether it is to tone your muscles or heal an injury – it is truly a fun way to exercice.

There are many Stott Pilates studios in most cities so you will surely have your pick. Synergie Pilates is located at 7, Place du Commerce studio 202 in Nun’s Island, Montreal. Tel: 514.761.4001

**Stott Pilates is a trademark of Merrithew**

In Health and Wellness

Toxic chemicals in our products?

Why is it necessary to know the ingredients that make up a product? The answer is quite disturbing:  it’s because they contain toxic chemicals. From baby toys to cosmetics and to food, we are bombarded by these harmful chemicals every day sometimes without our knowledge. These toxic chemicals are not the first thing you think about when you apply your moisturizer in the morning, when you smell your boyfriend’s Cologne, or when you wash your clothes; yet there are thousands of these toxins that have fallen through the cracks of labelling and found residence in your laundry basket and in your bathroom.

According to a U.S. Researcher’s Report, 1/8 of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are either industrial chemicals, carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins or hormone disruptors. Some even include plasticizers which are chemicals that are used to keep concrete soft. Being vegan I care very much about what is absorbed through my pores and am very concerned about the carbon footprint of the products I buy. Putting money towards products that do not contain these chemicals is a no brainer to me, but I admit that I was sickened at the level of toxicity of some products.  The most common toxins,  known as ‘the dirty dozen’,  can be found in around 80% of personal care items and laundry detergents.  There is definitely a loophole in labelling laws, to say the least. I was surprised to find out that the detergent Tide was at the top of the toxic list. Tide has the highest level of 1,4 dioxane (63 PPM), a petrochemical found in paint and varnishes, which is a carcinogen. It is even considered dangerous when inhaled (like when you smell you clean clothes) and is absorbed by your body when you sweat.

Toxic ingredients have found their way in our products and in turn pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. I thought of naming a few but there are really thousands. Here is a list of a few TOXIC INGREDIENTS you want to avoid at all costs:

  1. Phenols: found in laundry detergents….  Banned in the E.U. Known to cause damage to lungs, heart, kidneys and liver. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health it can cause serious health condition and even death in extra-sensitive people.
  2. Optical Brighteners: found in laundry products in order to alter ultra-violet wave lengths to make clothes look whiter. It is highly toxic to fishes in the sea where it ends up, causes mutation in bacteria and can trigger strong allergic reactions in humans when exposed to sunlight.
  3. Parabens: used in products for preservation purposes by blocking the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold. PARABENS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN BIOPSY SAMPLES FROM BREAST TUMORS. It can be found in make-up, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, facial cleansers, food and pharmaceutical products.
  4. Triclosan: an anti-microbial chemical found in toothpaste and anti-bacterial soaps and gels. Considered an endocrine disruptor therefore can alter the thyroid gland and replicate hormones. Is causing us to become resistant to antibiotics and has been called for a ban from the Canadian Medical Association. It is highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Even more troubling is that it can be found in many items such as: garbage bags, toys, linens, mattresses,toilet fixture, clothing, furniture fabric, paints, laundry detergent, facial tissues ans cosmetics.
  5. Phatlates: Increases the flexibility and softness of plastics. Found in nail polish, perfumes, lotions,hair spray, deodorants. Also an endocrine disruptor which has been linked to breast cancer.
  6. Sunscreen Chemicals: Benzophenone, PABA, ethoxycinnate. They are all endocrine disruptors and have been known to cause cellular damage as well as cancer.
  7. Sodium Laureth Sulfate/ Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Found in more than 90% of personal care products as well as cleaning products. They are a skin, lung and eye irritant and when bound with other chemicals can become carcinogen and have been known to cause damage to kidneys. Found in shampoos, body washes, moisturizers, mascara, and acne treatments.

Faced with this information what is one to do?? I have compiled a list of suggestions as to avoid toxic ingredients:

. Limit the amounts of toxins you expose yourself to.

. Avoid chemical-laden, processed foods.

. Drink lots of filtered water.

. Buy safer and more natural products.

There are many companies that do not believe in poisoning their clientèle in the name of profit. One of them is Arbonne and I sat with one of its Consultants, Rusiana Tiju, a friend of mine who truly believes in Arbonne’s vision and whom was completely shocked when I told her she needed to stop using Tide!   I mention this company because I do use their products and like them. Arbonne is 100% Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free, GMO-Free, and Kosher. I was very impressed when she announced to me that their supplements which are nutrition based products were just labeled Drug- Free which means that they remain 100% accountable when it comes to their ingredients. Arbonne has cosmetics, personal care , spa and wellness, men’s and baby products as well as a whole array of nutritional items.

There are many other companies worth mentioning such as Tom’s of Maine, Green Beaver, Druide and Kiss My Face to name a few. I think it’s important to put our money where it really counts. There is no need to expose ourselves and destroy our beautiful planet as well since there are many other safer alternatives to choose from.

For more information on Arbonne contact:

Rusiana Tiju

http://rusianatiju.arbonne.com

 

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In Society

The healing power of music

I have always been deeply touched by music. Having studied classical piano I still play and sometimes like to compose. Those have been the best moments of my life. They are the times I have felt the closest to my Creator. As Kasey Kasem once said: ‘Music is the soundtrack of our lives’. Who hasn’t listened to a song and was immediately transported into a world of emotions and memories. Music has the power to touch our souls and to make us feel many different emotions such as happiness, excitement, joy, and sadness.

Music’s healing powers have been the subject of many researches and they have concluded that music not only improves our memory and brain function, it also can lower stress and anxiety, make us happier, lower blood pressure, slow our heartbeat and so on. But the most grandiose benefit of music is that it is divine. It has the ability to keep us alive in very difficult times. Being lodged away in our minds, no one has the power to take music’ s infliction from us.

The most compelling story I ever encountered concerning this ‘miracle’ was that of Alice Sommer- Henz a pianist from Prague who survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi Occupation. Her beautiful vision of life and how music has saved her from being killed is quite compelling. Although the prisoners were not really fed and lived in atrocious conditions, the musicians were the ones who were the most optimistic about surviving the death camps and  to refuse accepting its horrors. The Nazis could take everything for Sommer-Henz but  music remained untouchable in her mind. It was her paradise within hell.  Knowing that she would play at night , even if it was for the Nazis, was her saving grace.

 

Words cannot express what this woman and her family went through but the lesson she left the world are even more powerful than her survival itself. Her life is a service to anyone who is going through a strenuous period in their life. The healing power of music is true wisdom and if you let yourself be carried by its melodies it will touch your heart and change you forever. Thank you Alice  Samson-Herts for inspiring all of us to see beauty everywhere. Your courage and strength as well as your belief in the healing power of music will never be forgotten.

 

 

 

In Health and Wellness

Dear Stress – I’m breaking up with you.

 

The review of ‘Dear Stress -I’m breaking up with you’, which is a part of  ‘Dear Women Guide Book Series’,  couldn’t of come in my life at a better time. I myself am at a turning point with my work, my relationships and with mid-life issues so it is without saying that I am experiencing a significant amount of stress. Can we say: THE S WORD?? Stress, a norm in our everyday lives,  has become more of a subjective term then a scientific one.  Here, well-known author Ky-Lee Hanson presents an amalgam of stories for women written by a selection of 17 women co-authors who, by sharing their own life experiences dealing with stress, help and inspire other women to do so.

This book is not only an easy read, it is cleverly divided into 5 sections making it easier for the reader to understand the different types of stress and how to either eliminate or deal with it. Wether read linearly or picked at by story, it definitely delivers many realizable solutions. These are creatively put forward in each individual story in the form of suggestions, recommendations, explanations, lists, poems and quotes from everyday women that are easy to relate to. From teachers,  mothers,  business women, to physicians these women have suffered from stress, wether internal or external, and they each offer their unique perspective on how to overcome its grip.

The first section ‘The Weight Within’ deals mostly with the negative inner dialogue we women have. I found there many ways to change ‘stinking thinking’ into gratitude. Stress can make us or break us: that is our decision. We can accept to be victimized by stress by holding on to it and stay ridden by guilt and shame or we can see stress as a great teacher and learn from it.  Knowing this is not an easy task, this part of the book offers many ways that women can identify what is good stress vs. what is bad stress and in the second hand use self-development and learn how to turn negative experiences into positive ones.

Many women who juggle family life and work will find solace in the second section ‘Family Matters’, which helps women prioritize themselves and encourages them to give up their ‘limiting’ thinking. Living for yourself is not an easy task for mothers who often feel guilty by putting their needs first. In these stories women will find ways to prioritize and organize their lives as to lessen stress and be more joyful.

Next comes ‘Healing the Body with Knowledge’, which addresses the educational value of understanding internal and external stressors and their link to illnesses. There the reader understands the underlying causes of stress, such as fear, and that not all stress is detrimental to our health. Some types of stress are only problematic if they are at an unhealthy level. Here there are many examples of the relationship between stress and disease with solutions and even recipes which promote health and therefore reduce stress.

The book then moves on to ‘More than just a girl’, which deals with the injustices we face today,  just by being women. In this part of the book women share how they overcame stereotypes and limitations by accepting stress and how they found ways of letting it go –  forever. Although the unfortunate reality is that we are not socially and economically equal to our counterparts these women have found ways to break free from the ideas we have internalized as women either from the culture we grew up in, from injustices we have endured or from our parents belief system. It is an enigma that in 2017, wanting equality for women is seen as feminism and has a negative connotation. I just loved how these women cheer others on to stay true to themselves and to just go for it!! Why not? Are we not meant to be equal after all?

The last part of the book, ‘The break up with no return’,  is written by the author herself and digs deep into the importance of communication. Talking about our issues is the first step in moving away from them; and this fact is important in all areas of our lives. Women are encouraged to really connect with themselves: physically, emotionally and spiritually.  All in all, the author stresses how women often crippled by stress, miss the boat and realize that their lives are passing by them which leads to depression and low self-esteem. Hanson, by motivating women to ignite this change in their lives,  helps women move from a dark place into a place of light and peace.

Stress will always be an inevitable part of life but after having found so many ways to break up with it, I can say that I no longer have a reason to keep enduring it and, with a big smile smile on my face, I can dearly say: GOODBYE STRESS!

Dear Stress: I’m breaking up with you is available at all bookstores and online