• Happy New Year Soma Clients!


    My very good friend, Laura Fitzpatrick, RMT wrote this piece and I couldn’t have said it better.

    All the best in the 2016!

    -Lori Johnson, RMT

    IMG_3143I always find it interesting how we create in our minds, such great expectations as the eve of a new year approaches. I am not a fan of new years resolutions. In fact, years ago, I set a resolution to never again make a new years resolution, and it’s been the only resolution that I have kept. I decided that I was done with setting myself up for failure, and with the negative connotation that I would surely be stuck with in the back of my mind, as yet another failed attempt to be a better me than I was in the previous year was coming to fruition.

    So take a moment now and envision the past year. At the beginning of 2015 did you set a resolution? Perhaps you pledged to get yourself into better shape, lose weight or take better care of your overall health. How did that work out for you? What steps did you take to achieve your goals? How long did you work at them before they either faded into the oblivion of daily living or you actively decided to give up on them?

    I think the problem with a new years resolution is that it rarely comes with a plan of action, often has a deadline, and in many cases is based on a feeling of inadequacy. So let’s make a change to not set a resolution, but rather to make a promise to yourself to design an achievable plan that results in your feeling better, feeling stronger, and will lead you to becoming the best person YOU are capable of being. This is about a journey, not a destination. It’s about developing a mindset, that regardless of age, injury, current fitness level or time constraints positive change is still possible.

    There are several things to consider when making your plan. Start by asking yourself the questions that will help to determine your path. Take, for example: you have become less active over the last few years and your body is now beginning to feel the effects. Instead of just thinking “I am going to become more active this year”, ask yourself why you want to become more active. Is it because increased activity will improve your daily endurance? Will it improve your circulation and general strength? Will it promote a better mood as it increases your endorphins and therefore decreases aches and pains? When you find yourself answering ‘Yes’ to each of your questions, start to imagine what your body will feel like as you take steps towards these improvements. Envision yourself in the future, not by a specific date, but across time, how do you want to be? Be realistic, and then start to look at what small changes you can make to turn your vision into reality. What is your starting point? It may be walking up and down the stairs in your home or walking up and down the block. Start with small doses of activity and increase them slowly over time, as it feels right, remembering that a small amount of activity is far better than none at all. As you start the process, look at each step forward as a success!Each and every incremental step, is a step in the right direction.

    Set yourself up for a lifetime of success. This is not about a short term fix. When you have moments of success, celebrate them in a healthy manner and let the momentum carry you. When the results come slowly or even plateau, be kind to yourself and allow yourself to be human. Don’t give up! If you slip, accept the moment with honesty and envision once again how you will feel when you re-engage in your healthy process. Enlist the help that you need. You might include your doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, trainer, family and friends, or all of the above. You are never alone in your pursuit of better health.

    This is not a resolution for 2016, but an act of self-love. It is a promise to yourself that you will live a life of vibrancy and vitality, with respect for yourself that not only continues throughout the year but throughout your entire life!
    Fill every one of your days with positive thoughts, positive words, positive action and positive living.

    I wish you a wonderful journey into 2016 ~ and beyond!

  • Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

    Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.58.52 AM

    Pamela Nadav has said, “There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.” Preganancy is a remarkable journey that invites a woman to completely new terrain, and to explore facets of herself that she may have never uncovered lest she embarked up this journey. It’s a time of introspection and inner nurturing, a time when she learns the intuitive capacity she has for being a vessel of life, of caring, and of love. Yet so often, the adventure to motherhood is fraught with physical discomfort and emotional ups and downs! Because a woman goes through so many changes during this time, having a support network in place in the form of community, breathing classes, massage, and yoga, can give a soon­to­be mom exactly what she needs.

    Preganancy is a time that prepares a woman to connect with her own intuition and
    wisdom. Especially for a woman, parenting begins with conception, as the tools she
    develops while carrying her child will be important ones she uses once the child is born
    and growing. It’s a time that is meant to allow the woman to rely more fully on her
    instincts, as these instincts are what give her the ability to move gracefully through the
    birthing process, no matter what the outcome, and to parent in a way that is connected to
    her deep inner knowing.

    A woman’s body inevitably experiences a multitude of changes during pregnancy, which
    can at times disconnect her from her own inner voice. As her uterus expands with the
    weight of the growing baby, there is more stress on her back, neck, shoulders and
    abdominal muscles. An aching lower back is a common sensation for many pregnant
    women, while others may experience aching legs, sore hips, swelling and/or insomnia.

    To reconnect inwardly, find ease in her body and mind, and reconnect with her spirit,
    prenatal massage therapy is a wonderful way to lessen her discomfort. A massage during
    pregnancy brings about a sense of well­being through relaxation, giving an expecting
    mother a once again clear channel to her own intuition, as well as a feeling of being
    settled and grounded.

    Benefits of Prenatal Massage

    • Soothes tired and tense muscles

    • Improves sleep

    • Relieves muscle cramps, spasms and tension in the lower back, neck, hips and


    • Reduces the release of stress hormones

    • Reduces heart rate and blood pressure

    • Improves blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling (edema)

    • Can improve labour outcome and ease pain

    Soma’s therapists seek to support their pregnant clients by helping them to reconnect
    with themselves, to feel good in their bodies, and to feel prepared for the adventure of a
    liftetime. Our therapists are professionally trained prenatal massage therapists in
    Vancouver who understand the needs of a pregnant body, which techniques to use, and
    how to safely massage it to alleviate some of the discomfort. We recognize the
    importance of positioning the body during a pregnancy massage not only for comfort, but
    also for a woman and her baby’s well­being.

    As well as pregnancy massage, our prenatal massage therapists are happy to share their
    expertise in other aspects of prenatal care, from abdominal exercises to sleeping
    positions to postural correction. And when the time is right and a woman is ready, Soma’s
    therapists are also trained in postnatal massage.
    “The most important thing a woman would learn over the years was that there was no
    way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one” (Jill Churchill). Let Soma
    support you in your dynamic and exciting journey to motherhood, and feel the benefits


    By Lori Johnson, RMT & Owner of Soma Studio

  • The Process of Letting Go by Lori

    FullSizeRenderThe other day I had a timely and wonderful exchange with a stranger on the ferry. She and I started talking about one thing and another until we eventually fell into a meaningful conversation about empty nest syndrome. Her children are still at home with her but are beginning the separation process. It is not an easy time when your kids want friends more than family. I told her that my girls were already on their own and out in the world. She asked me how was it letting them go. My response was, “it was awful!” When it was time to let go, my head was saying that kids moving out of the nest is normal, and it’s a sign that they are well-adjusted and able to handle real life. But my heart was breaking! It honestly felt like someone I loved was splitting up with me. I experienced real grief, and I cried a lot. The emotions I felt were directly related to how well I had bonded with my girls, which is such a beautiful gift to me. But I had to deal with the loss as well. There are lots of books written about how to bond with children so they feel secure and loved, but there is precious little written about how to let them go when the time is right.

    Throughout the process of letting go, I talked to other mothers, sharing my grief and tears. As women often do, I received an abundance of good advice, love, and support. A few of my big questions were, “what else can I do in the world that is as significant as raising children? How can I express myself now that they don’t need me as much? What else is going to be as rewarding?” I didn’t know the answers for a long time; I just had to sit with it, sit with myself, and begin to remember who I was before children. I had to ask myself, “what do I love? What do I like to do? What brings me joy?” As mothers, we often put everyone else first and forget to leave time for ourselves and our own development.

    Asking these questions and sitting with the process within myself allowed life to unfold in a graceful way. It didn’t mean that I didn’t experience pain or even heartbreak, but it did mean that I was able to be fully present for the mourning process. In situations such as these, “the only way out is through,” and I trusted in my own capacity to find myself again, yet a version of myself I hadn’t experienced before. It reminds me of the process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. The time spent in the cocoon is completely necessary for the metamorphosis to take place. When the butterfly emerges, she is whole in a way that she intuitively knew was possible, but had yet to experience.

    I have come out on the other side and am reinventing myself slowly, learning to put myself first. The somewhat surprising thing is that my adult children are coming back to me, and we have a different relationship that is rich in ways I couldn’t have anticipated before. I am coming to life in a new way, one that is an authentic expression of who I am now, and not based on me solely identifying with the role of the mother.

    Joseph Campbell says, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” I feel like this quote applies beautifully to this scenario. When I birthed my children and nurtured them through their early and adolescent lives, I had to let go of ideas of who I thought I was or should be in order to give them as much of myself as I could, in order to be the best mother I could. And when I let go of them so they could continue becoming the people they’re here to be, it took every ounce of myself to stay present in the midst of grief and sadness. Yet each step of the process invited me to a richness and fullness I couldn’t have experienced otherwise. It fills me with deep joy and gratitude to have had this amazing experience of giving birth, loving my children, giving them all I could, and then letting them go. This is not an easy task, but I have learned so much about myself through the entirety of the process and wouldn’t trade the times of struggle for anything. This is what life is about!

    Another fruit of this beautiful process is the deep realization that I didn’t have children for anyone else; I had them for me. I wanted this whole experience so I could know myself. They don’t owe me anything. I chose to be their Mother, so the gift of their relationship adds to my life, but it isn’t my whole life. And now that they’re amazing beings in the world, living the lives of their making, I get to watch with a glimmer in my eye and a sweetness in my heart that are the gifts of being a mother. And now I am the butterfly, with its freedom, its fullness, and its deep content.

    I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful, amazing women I am so blessed to know! May each phase of your journey be blessed!

    By Lori Johnson, RMT & Owner of Soma Studio

  • Lessons from the Road by Cheyne, RMT

    photo 3 (1)¡Buenas dias a todas los personas!

    We’re almost back from our travels; we’ve seen so many places, met so many amazing people! Traveling is such a gift. Being able to work, supporting my partner Lila’s yoga workshops while on the road, has made it such an amazing journey.

    We’ve been to the Interior, the Prairies, east coast United States, Hawaii, but mostly Central America, in the past seven months. We’ve taught workshops, yoga teacher trainings, took a two week permaculture course, lived with handfuls of Central American families, and traveled with some of our best friends to some truly amazing places.

    From the deep wet jungle to the oppressively hot coastlines, what resonates most deeply for me after reflecting on the past seven months, and often what we all come back with after traveling, is memories of the people we’ve shared our lives with. It seems there’s a wisdom that comes with developing new routines. Playing soccer with the children in the dirt, howler monkeys in the trees, hand washing clothes, speaking a different language, listening to their stories… It seems we travel in search of something. Something beyond our lives back home; an inherent sense of humanity that crosses culture, language, ethnicity, even belief.

    To be honest, the majority of people traveling for a few weeks from the west are there to drink. Some stay, and develop ways of bringing their Western luxuries and lifestyle to, quite frankly, these impoverished areas that are economically forced to serve them. Some people are searching for something better when they travel, more so when they move there, studiously avoiding whatever is left in their wake. Chasing happiness as a set of preferences that seems fundamentally unattainable. Others come with a beautiful sense of exploration, some with an inner churning, some come with a burning desire to help the world. Or maybe a mix of all of them. But that’s an essay for another time. Traveling deeper into Nicaragua, past the areas with these socioeconomic challenges, there’s a different vibe. Bustling sidewalks, kids playing in the dirt roads, hungry dogs looking for scraps, and the stare of unfamiliarity from the locals as they assume you’re not Catholic. Nicaragua. It’s in these places, and deeper into the jungle, that we came across new friends, some we eventually traveled with, and communities we visited that left permanent impressions on us. There are some amazing things happening everywhere, and many people to be inspired by. Sometimes you just have to look with the right focus.

    After being on the road for what feels like a very long time, I’m sitting with some reflections before I head back to BC. Part of our intention on this journey was to gain knowledge and inspiration for some projects we have when we return home. For that part, we were overwhelmingly successful. Being able to share with yoga teachers the deeper physiology behind their craft and work has been super fun. But in the feeling of connection to people we’ve parted ways with, and others we can’t wait to see again, I’m left with something that’s quite hard to articulate. Being in developing parts of the world, working through times when we were seriously ill, broke, and seeking refuge at a Red Cross with dirt floors and questionable medication, comes with it some obvious perspective. I now care a lot less if there’s a coffee stain on my shirt or if the line is too long for my liking at the market. What comes to mind for me is that inherent sense of life and vitality in everyone, everywhere: the humble nature that pours out of the women in Nicaragua, despite the general lack of rights they’re subjected to. They’re not chasing a dream, they’re happy with what they have and the food and love they provide.

    That proud vitality, and vibrant sense of life and happiness that we all know comes from something other than what’s material, is what makes me so excited to be home, to my family and friends. Doing the work I love to do, living in the city and country I love. We describe it as the mountains, fresh air, cherry blossoms… summer in Vancouver. But it’s the essence of what’s behind all of those things. It’s the virtuous life, and the communities we build that sustain us.

    With grace and gratitude,

    Cheyne Cameron, RMT

    Cheyne will be returning to Soma at the beginning of April! Go online to book with him.




  • EVENT: Normalizing Birth: Is the way we do birth bankrupting future generations?

    Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 12.16.33 PMThis looks like a great event! Details below if you would like to check it out.

    “What has always fascinated me is the sense that the process of childbirth is far more than just getting a baby out. It is something that links us back through all our ancestors, and into the future, and we are all (mother, father, baby) irrevocably marked by it. It is also one of the few experiences left in society which, when undertaken physiologically, is ultimately unpredictable and uncontrollable and, as a consequence, deeply emotional. It takes all those who experience it authentically to the very edge of their capacity to cope, and it says to them, you can do this – and if you can do this, you can do anything. Getting it right is therefore profoundly important for the wellbeing of families, and for future generations. While I have always believed this intuitively, recent exciting evidence from epigenetics seems to suggest that there is biological evidence for the impact of labour and birth on way genes might be expressed for the child, and for their adulthood, and then their own children in the future. So, for all these reasons, the normal birth agenda is really important to me.” – Dr. Soo Downe


    Tuesday, March 10, 2015

    CFRI Chan Auditorium, BC Women’s Hospital

    4500 Oak Street, Vancouver


    6pm       Doors open and reception

    7pm       Lecture


    Please RSVP to Karen Gelb at karen.gelb@midwifery.ubc.ca or 604-822-7998.


    Hope to see you there!



  • How I Met "Music with Marnie"

    Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 9.53.25 AMThere are many wonderful people in my life who have come along just at the right moment and make all the difference. Marnie Grey is one of those people. She was a client of mine who was coming to me for bad headaches. I would work on her neck to release the trigger points which I hoped would relieve her pain. She was a friendly, happy person who didn’t complain about her life much at all. The one big thorn in her side was that she hated her job. She worked as a receptionist for a newspaper company. Her job was to field the complaints that came in. If you knew Marnie you would know that she is far too sensitive for a job like that. I think that was the main source of her headaches and one day told her what I thought. Deep down I think she knew it all along.

    One day she arrived for her massage and announced that she had quit her job! I was so happy for her. It took a lot of courage to do that especially because she didn’t have any other job lined up. She was trusting her gut and knew she had to take the pluge. That very day my babysitter told me that she could no longer take care of my 2 preschool aged girls. She was looking for more full-time work. I mentioned this to Marnie and she said, “I’ll take care of your kids!” I was in a real pinch as most of you who parents can imagine. Childcare was difficult to come by then as it is now. I thought it was a great idea. She started caring for my girls the next week. They loved her immediately. She would take them on outings, bake cookies, and play with them all day. For my birthday one year she even took photos of the girls doing all these fun things with her and made a booklet for me.

    She was a total natural with children and the time spent with my kids prepelled her into her next, and current career. She took the Early Childhood Education degree and now runs music classes and performs for children. “Music with Marnie” is really quite famous in Vancouver with waitlists for most of her classes.
    She was there for me when I needed her and she found her calling at the same time. It is so wonderful to know Marnie and to be a part of her success.

    Marnie and her Rock n’ Roll Band, work as a team to captivate their audiences and deliver stimulating, high-energy performances that involve children mentally, physically and emotionally. The lively and interactive performances promote audience participation through music and movement, imitation and sing–a-longs. Marnie’s interaction with her ‘’characters’’ (i.e. Mumbu the Monkey) creates a dynamic and theatrical environment that’s guaranteed to enthrall the crowd and keep them wanting more. Marnie and her Band have performed to raving SOLD OUT crowds at many festivals and theatres across Canada and continue to develop a huge fan base and mosh pit wherever they go!

    Marnie will be holding a concert at Kits Community Center on Jan 17th. This would be a perfect holiday gift for your whole family! Soma will be holding a contest with a chance to win 4 tickets to her show, a CD, and a stuffed Monkey! To enter take a look at our Facebook page and make sure to LIKE and SHARE the contest post. And don’t forget to LIKE our page in the mean time!

  • How to LOVE Rainy Days in Vancouver by Lori

    photo-8It is definitely the rainy season in Vancouver! Wow, the days are so short, dark and wet.
    We Vancouverites really give ourselves permission to complain about the weather when it is like this, don’t we? Well, I have been thinking about a different angle that I would like to share with you. The rain is what makes our city so vibrant, clean and fresh. Sure, it can cause havoc on our new hair cut, get our clothes wet and make cycling downright miserable. Putting these things aside, I am challenging myself to think differently about the rain and dark days….here is my secret….I am trying to love what is.

    That simple…Love what is actually happening. I learned about this idea by reading Byron Katie’s books. She has helped me to stop arguing with reality, thinking that I have the power to change what is actually happening. Her approach is simply question any stressful thought,(like, I hate the rain!) ask yourself if it is true and can you know absolutely that it is true. Then ask yourself who you are without this thought, what mood would you be in without resenting the rain for example. Finally, turn the statement around. “I love the rain”. See if that is true…it may be even more true than hating the rain…

    This is of course a simplified version of her approach. For more information about her work, go to www.thework.com

    As I walked to work in the rain today, I asked myself what I loved about the rain and came up with these answers:
    -I get to carry my beautiful purple umbrella that my husband gave me.
    -I love the smell of the rain
    -I love how dramatic the rain can be when if comes down really hard.
    -I love how happy the plants are with lots of water

    This approach helps me to not be a war with reality….Here is one of her quotes:

    “Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside of me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility. It’s only when I believe a stressful thought that I get hurt. And I’m the one who’s hurting me by believing what I think. This is very good news, because it means that I don’t have to get someone else to stop hurting me. I’m the one who can stop hurting me. It’s within my power. What we are doing with inquiry is meeting our thoughts with some simple understanding, finally. Pain, anger, and frustration will let us know when it’s time to inquire.
    We either believe what we think or we question it: there’s no other choice. Questioning our thoughts is the kinder way. Inquiry always leaves us as more loving human beings.” -Byron Katie

    By Lori Johnson, RMT and Owner of Soma

  • How to Prepare for Baby

    Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.32.13 AMFor expectant parents it’s normal to focus on and get ready for the upcoming birth. Once baby arrives, some say, ‘We wish someone had told us to prepare more for THIS.’ Life with a new baby IS a precious time, yet at moments it can feel overwhelming.
    For 25 years as an educator and postpartum doula I’ve been helping families prepare for their baby’s arrival. Easing parents’ transition during the first months is my area of expertise. For information on my services, visit http://www.dakinidoula.com/postpartum-doula.html
    In this article I offer some tips on how to prepare BEFORE your baby arrives.

    honor the ‘baby moon’, imagine snuggling with baby, bonding and resting
    contemplate lowering your expectations/standards of what will be accomplished in a day, recognizing that you and your baby come first!
    envision a very short ‘to do’ list for yourself (Realize that accomplishing one major chore daily is a triumph! Rest trumps all.)
    plan realistically your partner’s participation, ie. night time waking & daily household work load, plan for once they return to work, having extra support
    inform family/friends that visits will be limited in the early days and weeks
    make a ‘to do’ list (chalk board in kitchen) so friends & family can check off chores they will do, ie. folding baby laundry, loading dish washer, emptying recycling, tidying up
    suggest baby shower gift ideas – ie. a cleaning service, doula chef, postpartum doula
    create menu plans for the first 2 week period with easy recipes
    prepare & freeze 1 pot meals for the first 2 week period
    designate a friend to organize a ‘meal train’
    hire a ‘doula’ chef to prepare nutritious meals in your home
    stock up on household supplies & non-perishables
    buy paper plates, plastic utensils to cut down on time spent washing dishes
    arrange for a temporary house cleaning service
    video tape your favorite shows to watch later on when you are nursing your baby
    pay some bills ahead of time
    close off some rooms that you may not use, make space, de-clutter
    set up a grocery delivery service for the first couple of weeks
    organize pet care/dog walking services
    line up a neighbor’s teen or a student to do odd jobs
    attend a La Leche League meeting to learn from breastfeeding moms
    research cloth diaper services
    create a Facebook page to share info with couples from your childbirth prep class
    join Facebook swap groups to find great buys on gently used baby stuff – ‘Vancouver BC Kids Shop and Swap’, ‘Baby and Children’s Clothes, strollers, toys for sale or free’

    Congrats & all the best on your parenting journey! Debra Woods