• 5 Awesome Things That Happened When I Tried this Organization Technique

    doug-robichaud-3531

    As a longtime list maker and former stationery addict, when I began seeing the recent influx of posts on the organizational trend that is the ‘Bullet Journal’, I was instantly intrigued. Not one to follow crazes but always open to anything that is a self-started organizational tool, I started my own. Though I have always kept somewhat coherent lists and notes, often jotted throughout a tiny spiral book, what I noticed instantly about the ‘Bullet Journaling’ technique, (which I translated very loosely into a larger spiralled notebook) was that the segmentation and occasionally drawing little images to break up the monotony of the written chaos did in fact seem to help. Here are a few ways in which the bullet journalling technique has upped my daily game in concentration, prioritization and relaxation.

    I feel less stressed.

    Blessed with the gift of a good memory, I have a tendency to rely on it and overload my internal to-do list to the point where my present tasks take a hit, as I am pre-occupied with the up and coming tasks that subconsciously whirl through my mind.

    Even if some things do not get checked off at the end of each day or desired timeframe, the mere fact that they are now residing in their respective spaces in the book allows me to clear my head and focus on present endeavours, free from constantly ‘reminding myself to remind myself to remember’.

    I feel clearer about my progress.

    As a visual person, it helps me keep tabs on goals, tasks, and the like by providing an image I can latch onto instead of consistently having to refer to my own chicken scratch. This way of maintaining clarity in the book also proves to maintain it in my mind. Although perhaps silly, this allowed me to take time for myself more and practice self care

    cathryn-lavery-67852

    My daily intentions and mantras have become more consistent.

    Keeping a written recollection of the intentions and positive reminders that I strive to make a part of my everyday routine has become easier, as upon waking, I can refer to these points as a kickstarter for a successful day, even if I am feeling out of sorts or running late with a million things going through my head.

    My shopping has become streamlined.

    Although as aforementioned a proud list-maker, where it seems to take the wayside is when it comes to grocery lists. But employing a specific section for this entices me to actually include my desired ingredients there, and utilize it when out. In turn, my mealtimes have recently become more organized and balanced, which has helped me save money.

    I feel less confused in general.

    Keeping everything in one book has been a big one. In the past, I would designate different notebooks for their own specific subject, but since merging into one, I find that having one book instead of two or four has greatly reduced the impact of external disjointed topics, and in response, the internal. Unloading all of the ideas, inspirations, ‘to-dos’ and projects that come up on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, has allowed me to focus on the present moment, prioritize within them, and find a new sense of freedom even with a busy schedule.

    The best thing about starting your own ‘Bullet Journal’ is that there are really no rules, just guidelines to help you design a system that works for you!

    Check out this post with tips on how to start: http://creativesavingsblog.com/life-and-style/time-management/how-to-start-a-bullet-journal/

  • RMT Fast 5 Spotlight: Get to know the Soma team!

    We hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend as the days become warmer and brighter!

    Next in our therapist ‘Get to Know’ series is Mandy Ryan. Utilizing a passion for working with women, children and families, she thrives while helping people to identify and achieve personal goals for wellness at whatever stage in life they may be. With extensive skills in a multitude of therapeutic techniques, she possesses a strong ability to treat a wide variety of conditions, from post-surgical therapy to pre-natal care and everything in between.

    Read more about Mandy here: http://www.somastudio.net/mandy-ryan-rmt

    mandy1

    Here are some thing that help her create her own personal wellness lifestyle:

    What are some of your favourite ways to unwind?

    I love to listen to audiobooks while walking, practice the ukulele, and cook.

    Things that you must always have on hand in your kitchen? 

    Life just wouldn’t be the same without my espresso machine, yummy espresso beans and cream.

    Preferred exercise style and why? 

    I see a trainer twice a week which has really improved my strength and helped to reduce pain from plantar fasciitis. And I love to walk around this beautiful city!

    3 words that come to mind when you think of massage therapy? 

    Relax, Connect, Relief

    A favourite quote? 

    Start each day with a grateful heart.

    Thanks Mandy! 

    Feel free to give us a call to book an appointment, or have a look online. 

     

  • RMT Fast 5 Spotlight: Get to know the Soma team!

    Next up in our RMT ‘Get to Know’ series we have Carla Van Elslande.

    SOMA2017-383

    As a musician with an intuitive passion for helping others through music and teaching, Carla found that massage therapy provided an equally powerful outlet for her to connect and support healing and growth. Here are her answers to our fast 5!

    What are some of your favourite ways to unwind?

    I enjoy spending time with family & friends, going for bike rides and walks along the seawall, chatting over a glass of wine, watching movies with my partner and reading.

    Things that you must always have on hand in your kitchen?

    Extra virgin olive oil, wine, olives, fresh herbs.

    Preferred exercise style and why? 

    I love hot yoga because it provides me with a good workout, and helps with strength, flexibility and balance all at once. It gives me a sense of community in a non-competitive environment, and allows me to engage in active meditation.

    3 words that come to mind when you think of massage therapy?

    Intuition, effectiveness, healing

    A favourite quote?

    ‘Forever is composed of nows’
    -Emily Dickinson.

    Read more about Carla’s massage story and philosophy here: http://www.somastudio.net/about/our-registered-massage-therapists/carla-van-elslande-rmt/

  • RMT Fast 5 Spotlight: Get to know the Soma team!

    We hope everyone is enjoying their transition into a beautiful spring!

    We are very pleased to be welcoming two new therapists to our team at Soma, and are excited to have such skilled RMTs joining us! To help you get to know our therapists here at Soma we are happy to kick off our RMT Spotlight with one of our lovely new team members, where they share a bit about what makes them tick and ways they find balance in a fast paced world!

    Introducing: Tess Halldorson

    image1Tess graduated from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, where she learned to effectively address a variety of conditions. She is proficient in several modalities, including Swedish massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy and joint mobilizations, and believes in keeping up to date on the latest treatment techniques, obtaining measurable outcomes before and after treatment assessment. She is passionate about helping her patients reach their therapeutic goals, whether it be injury recovery, stress related, or maintaining general wellness.

    What are some of your favourite ways to unwind?

    Relaxing in the bath with a good book is the ultimate way to unwind. As long as you don’t mind all your pages starting to curl!

    Things that you must always have on hand in your kitchen? 

    My fiancé, haha! I’m not allowed in the kitchen anymore, I’d burn water if I could.

    Preferred exercise style and why? 

    Honestly, taking my dog for long walks. I’m much more of an outdoorsy exercise girl. The constant change of scenery, the fresh air, with the added perk of giving my Puggle a good workout!

    3 words that come to mind when you think of massage therapy? 

    Tranquility, Good-pain (I’m counting that as one!), Preventative

    A favourite quote? 

    My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

    Thanks for sharing! Give us a call of have a look online for Tess’ next availability. 

     

     

  • 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.

    IMG_5897

     

     

  • Hello from Carleigh.

    Hi all, I’m Carleigh, and I’m thrilled to be here at Soma Studio. In addition to my reception duties, I’ll be editing Soma’s Blog and monthly newsletter. I’ve already met a few of you at the front desk, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you all in the months to come. One of the things I’ve noticed about Soma is the compassionate, personal feel to the place. So many of our clients have been coming here for years: through pregnancies, recovery from an injury, or simply to nurture their body and spirit. Massage is an integral part of a preventative, holistic approach to wellbeing. So yes, I’m a writer, but I’ve also had a longtime interest in holistic health, so I thought I’d tell you a little about one of my interests: Vipassana meditation.

    You don’t have to go to a retreat to meditate, but for those who appreciate the baptism-by-fire approach to spirituality, this is it. The Vipassana course schedule is intense. For ten days, I meditate for eleven out of the sixteen hours I am awake, mostly in 1-2 hour intervals. For the duration of the course, speaking is only allowed if I need to communicate with a course instructor.

    I’ve been going for a few years now, but here’s a story from my first time.

    Two days after New Year’s Eve, I pack up the bare essentials and head to Chilliwack, to the Po Lam Buddhist centre. I haven’t given this much forethought. It seems like a great way to start the new year, I suppose. Some people go to Thailand to find themselves. I’m going inward.

    I arrive at the Po Lam around 4 pm, and tearfully kiss my boyfriend goodbye. I’ve been told not to bring any books or journals, and no cell phone. Nothing to distract me from the practice. All our food—simple vegetarian meals—is provided. There is no charge, though you’re encouraged to donate at the end of your stay if you feel you benefitted from the course. After a meal and a brief introduction, myself and 19 other women are sent to our rooms and told to prepare for our first meditation. This makes some of the new students laugh. How on earth do you prepare for this?

    It’s hard.

    It’s hard to be quiet for 10 days. It’s hard to sit still for an hour at a time. It’s hard to keep my eyes closed for the better part of the day. For three days, we breathe and focus on the feel of breath as it moves in and out of our nostrils. As I slowly quiet my mind and become more aware of my body, I become exponentially more conscious of how uncomfortable I am.

    My back is on fire. My legs are numb. There is frustration, and a feeling of being out of control. If I were at home, I could stand up, stretch, scream at the top of my lungs. Anything to relieve the tension. Here, I feel trapped inside my body. Pain from old injuries re-surfaces to taunt me. A torn ligament in my ankle from volleyball. The time I slipped and fractured my tailbone in third grade. I start to feel doubt; what If I can’t do this? It’s only day three! I know I’m not alone, many students have caught colds, and I can hear their sniffles and wheezing all around me. Most Vipassana courses lose a few new students. I want to see this through to the end.

    The instruction we’re receiving in between our meditation sittings is all about compassion. Compassion for others, but also, compassion for yourself. Around midday on day four, I realize that maybe I’ve been doing this wrong. I’ve been trying to power through the course. Forcing my back to stay as straight as the nuns, and begrudging my knees their creaky complaints. Mentally punishing myself for not being some kind of meditation superhero from day one. So I try, for the first time ever, being compassionate with my body.

    We have a little dialogue. Might as well, since I’m not speaking to anyone else. I tell my back that it must be difficult to support this posture for so many hours a day. I respect the work that it does. I thank it. I tell my legs that I’m truly sorry about their situation. Tell them if they’re willing to work with me on this, I’ll be sure to take extra time to stretch on my lunch break. At first, they’re not speaking to me, and I can’t say I blame them. But I keep at it. By the end of day five, I have a breakthrough. I’m not sure if the pain recedes, or my acceptance of its presence grows, lessening its power over me. I suspect the latter.

    There, in that modest meditation hall in Chilliwack, the experience of being kind and generous to myself makes me weep. I cry for the thirty years I’ve never once considered my body an ally. It had seemed more like an enemy: menstrual cramps, chubby thighs I’d abhorred, bad knees that made exercise difficult. So we kiss and make up. I promise to love and nurture it, as I would any dear friend. And through Yoga, massage, healthy eating and regular meditation, I’ve kept that promise. There’s compromise, like coffee. And wine. But compromise is okay. It’s a necessary part of any loving relationship.

    * * *

    I would love to hear your stories, testimonials and personal experiences with massage, meditation, or anything you would like to share with us here at Soma.

    Be happy,

    carleigh.