The Wisdom Within

Sometimes we come to yoga simply for the physical benefits, let’s be honest the physical potential within our practice is amazing. We flush our organs, stretch our muscles, lubricate our joints, increase our thoracic capacity, support our full body oxygenation, we strengthen and lengthen, support our hormone health and our lymphatic system – this is only a small list of the potentiality of your practice.

Over time we may get to know our bodies better, by listening to the sensations our bodies send us as we move through our practice. When we really tune in, we realize our practice also has the potential to positively affect our mental and emotional health. We may start to feel more at home inside of ourselves, and more responsive to life rather than reactionary. Yoga, and mindful movement, can offer us another way to experience ourselves in the context of our lives.

As we come to our mats, part of what we may begin to seek is this beautiful invitation for transformation, as we notice the limiting memories and stories we often tend to carry and the ability to learn from them, honour them, perhaps put some down, and create new imprints that instead serve our inner growth.

Our lives consist of a constant series of integrating, taking in, letting go, learning and evolution – well, if we give ourselves permission.

With greater awareness and practice, we are able to begin to recognize and discern past associations that we hold in our bodies as constriction, but we also begin to notice the stories our bodies hold that are in fact expansive and empowering. When we feel safe and supported, our bodies hold such potential as we learn to follow our inherent wisdom and the guidance we’re offered through our physical knowing.

This reflection brings to mind the work of; Candace Pert and her pivotal work in Molecules of Emotion, Peter Levine and his groundbreaking work with Trauma and the Body, Jon Kabat-Zin who changed my life with his work with mindfulness and the body, and Bessel Van Der Kolk in his incredible gift to us The Body Keeps The Score. I am grateful for these works, and countless others, the list is endless.

In yoga, mindful movement, and hands on therapy, we understand that memory isn’t only in the mind. Our bodies, like our minds, hold the imprints of past physical, emotional and psychological experiences – both positive and negative, joyful and traumatic.

The body, when guided with compassion and kindness, also has the intelligence and wisdom to free us from the stories and the experiences we don’t need to carry anymore. Through gentle asana, movement, and compassionate hands on healing work, we have the potential to create space inside of ourselves and welcome in new imprints that support us, rather than hold us back.

Take some time this week to come to your mat, or find a quiet place outside. Perhaps move a little slower, breathe a little deeper, and listen a little more closely to what the wisdom of your body has to offer you. You may want to take some time to write in your journal.

I offer you this reflection with the hopes that you will become more aware of the parts of you that perhaps need some extra compassion and love. I also hope you’re able to become more aware of those places inside of you where you do feel expansive, where your breath flows easefully unobstructed, and where you carry the sacred seeds of potentiality within.

May you move with a gentle heart, and kindness, not only on your mat – but also as you travel through your days.

Love Amber


Do you want to practice together? You can see my schedule (and find our more details) here.

Learn more about Because You Matter, a beautiful 6 week journey into your breast health and whole body wellness. Click here for more information. My next offering starts in October, 2022.

Soul Wisdom Self Reflection cards, a little extra support on your journey.

Offerings – An Update

The most important thing each of us can know is our unique gift and how to use it in the world.  Individuality is cherished and nurtured, because in order for the whole to flourish, each of us has to be strong in who we are and carry our gifts with conviction, so they can be shared with others.  Being among the sisters provides a visible manifestation of what a community can become when its members understand and share their gifts.  In reciprocity, we fill our spirits as well as our bellies.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer from Braiding Sweetgrass 

These wise words from Robin Kimmerer reach inside of me and make me want to shine this light on everyone – each of us has to be strong in who we are – the wholeness of who we are, so we can carry our gifts, and live them, with conviction. She is referring to the three sisters in our gardens; corn, squash and beans – all needed strong in their authenticity for eachother to thrive. For the first time in my life, I actually understand this – not from ego, but from a deep well of compassion and dedication to being in service.

This is not a time in our lives to shrink or avoid our responsibilities, that’s for sure. Why are you here, and what do you care about? I have been asking myself this question since the beginning of all this shifting, settling a little more everyday in to the answers that arise for me.

It feels good to be back committed to my massage practice, offering treatments in peoples homes, in my private clinic/teaching space, and back with the incredible support at Carp Ridge. The years I ran the yoga studio were magic, but I realize where I’m most needed now with our present reality is in clinic – doing healing hands on work. People are feeling such a wide spectrum of emotions these days, I know I’m not needed to share that thought, but there is a deep awareness of how much support we all need right now – I feel that in my bones.

Being on my mat, practicing and teaching yoga, has evolved so much over the past few years. The yoga community I’m a part of also faced some raw truths during this time, and forced each of us to really answer the question – who am I, what is this path for me, tracing the roots for all of our teachings, and feeling fiercely about intentions and care in approaching these practices not only for ourselves, but also in the ways we hold safe space for others.

How do I bring forth the truth of these ancient teachings fueled by compassion and love, honouring all of my teachers (past and present), our ancestors and integrating the teachings from our natural world into the scientific and anatomical understanding of the movements in our body – weaving the science, the magic, the art, and the wisdom in our cells – truly embodying our yoga.

I’ve been teaching breast health workshops now for almost 20 years, born out of my massage practice, and inspired in so many ways from various trainings and teachers, and the intimate therapeutic and emotional work that has happened on my table. During this time, inspired by Sat Dharam Kaur’s work, I have put my energy back into these offerings and have threaded together an integrative approach within the container of my background; exploring our breast health, but also our whole body, mind and spirit wellness. This has taken (and continues to be in the creation state) time to craft, and I’m excited to hold this space. I am also so excited to be able to offer day long in person retreats starting again this spring.

Jessica and I launched our Soul Wisdom cards in June, that was a birthing process, and such a beautiful project, one very dear to our hearts. We have been spending some time pondering and visioning for our journal together, our next project to support you with personal and soulful reflective practices.

Through the last few years, spending more time on my own, I am acutely aware of what I love in the work I do in this life; writing, teaching, learning, exploring, and healing hands on work. I am hopeful over time that through these offerings I can help to support you to find your way into your own answers –

Why are you here? Start with the simple heart centered answers – to nourish your garden, to feel joy in your body, to be a support to those dear in your life, honouring self amidst your roles in this lifetime, to explore a creative endeavour that feeds your soul, to write, to serve food to hungry bellies, to dance, to be in service to the earth. The simplest and clearest answer here is the most profound and impactful – we have to begin with the simplest steps – remember that.

How can you best support yourself to thrive during this precious lifetime?

What do you care about?

What’s important to you? ,

Thanks for sharing these thoughts, I felt an update on my practice was due, as it’s been a while.

Please know my support is here – and there are many avenues we can work together through this wild human experience. I bow down to all of the amazing wellness guardians in our communities, supporting the whole to flourish.

You are magic unfolding, never forget that.

pink waterlily flower in full bloom

With so much love,


Do you want to practice together? You can see my schedule (and find our more details) here.

Learn more about Because You Matter, a beautiful 6 week journey into your breast health and whole body wellness. Click here for more information. My next offering starts in March of this year.

The Healing Power Of Touch

You Are Beautiful, and I am so grateful you exist!!

Welcome to your Wednesday Wellness Reflection,

A little exploration on the importance of healing touch during a time much of our world is deprived of positive physical contact.

Compassionate touch is one of the most sacred ways we can connect as beings; it allows us to move beyond the physical barriers we create and respond to each other in a deeply nourishing and healing way.

As the number of cases of illness in all of its forms increases in our world, there also exists an increased need to connect in this heartfelt healing and loving way, especially as we navigate a world where physical contact has been greatly withdrawn over the past year.  We are coming through a very fear infused and touch deprived chapter in many of our lives.

Touch given with a therapeutic and compassionate  intention has the potential to affect an individual physically, emotionally, and spiritually; it can soothe physical pain; and also create space for the mind to come to a place of stillness and acceptance.  Through simply being present with an individual and offering comfort, not ignoring their pain or even necessarily trying to fix their condition, an environment for a deeper level of healing is fostered.

When I began giving massage therapy to individuals with cancer, through complex care and at end of life; it increased my understanding of human suffering and the ways in which it is a shared suffering.  I have also witnessed the incredible impact touch can have on an individual when one meets them in this place.

My hands have made contact with a person and the separation between us seems to dissolve. I have physically felt and seen peoples bodies soften and rest into the support of the therapeutic massage, the healing intention and my hands.  I have watched their breath become deeper and more restful as they respond while the treatment helps to soothe their pain – on a physical and an emotional level.  It is in these moments that I truly understand the phenomenal power of touch.

Massage is a safe therapy to receive with many conditions, however this does not negate that there are important considerations when receiving treatment.  It is important to ensure you work with someone who understands pathology and the changing needs of the body.  With careful modifications, a well-trained and educated therapist can provide massage during diagnosis, during medical treatment, when in remission, through palliative care with a terminal diagnosis and through survivorship.

The benefits, which I have witnessed first hand, are invaluable. Reflecting on my clinical experience over the past 20 years, as well as reference to the reputable studies that have successfully been done, massage has helped people with; pain management, anxiety, depression, disconnection from the body and/or from people, self esteem, body image, muscular tension, stiffness and pain, nausea, fatigue and feelings of isolation or loneliness. It can also help with the emotional impact of the awareness of a problem that needs care, and a diagnosis of any type.

When I enter a therapeutic relationship I also often find that a primary goal of our time together, is to support the reintegration of a person, reminding them that they are so much more than a diagnosis, so much more.  Often what is needed most is a safe place to rest, to offer comfort, to offer positive and very human care, and to help with symptom relief specific to the individual

Massage  and therapeutic touch have the potential to be such a healing and supportive addition to a persons circle of care.  Every person is unique, and every person’s story is unique, which needs to be deeply honoured regardless of what a person is going through.  The experiences and the stories I have been privileged to share with people through my hands and my heart have shaped me as a massage therapist, as a yoga teacher and how I experience life as a whole.

General guidelines of important medical areas to discuss with your therapist would look something like this:

(adapted from Tracy Walton’s “Massage therapy for people with cancer:  Fear and Healing”)

  • Whether/how/where issue is currently manifesting
  • Current or past  treatments (surgery/radiation/chemo/bone marrow transplant/etc.), side effects, complications, and discuss how this will be considered in the massage treatment
  • Discuss lymph node involvement and risk of lymphodema
  • Discuss medications and their effects
  • Discuss if dialogue with your medical doctor would be appropriate and necessary, based on your health history, status, and stage of progression.
  • A continued update to any changes in your health is essential, and it is also necessary to check your response to every massage treatment to ensure you are always getting the best possible care.
  • Most importantly, how YOU are

This is definitly a simplification and a general look at some key specific medical areas that need to be covered when you have a more complex condition and you’re seeing a massage therapist for the first time. Not all areas noted above will be relevant to everyone, and in other people there will be a need to expand on the complexity of the above information.  When these concerns are discussed openly and honestly between you and your therapist, there will be a greater sense of trust and the treatment can proceed with more confidence for everyone involved.

The gift of touch is shared, as is the suffering, and connecting in this way can pave the path for true compassion and healing.  It is my hope that we as a society will not continue to embrace the fear of the unknown or the fear of illness, but rather embrace the mystery and humanness of life.  There is a sacred element in sharing this journey with others through touch.  The people that I have worked with have allowed me to integrate the beauty and the intuition of massage, but also to deeply respect the science behind massage, the body and disease and to see how massage can positively affect a person when the bridge between the science and the art are joined in a mindful way.

With a deep respect for the human body, and the safe spaces where we can put ourselves back together again,

Much love, Amber

(This is a modified piece I wrote –  honouring where we find ourselves in the present,  previously published with the Victoria Cancer Resource Center newsletter, and the East Coast massage network conference publication on cancer and massage)