Last week, I had the honor of hosting my first charity yoga, meditation and nutrition workshop with my amazing friend Ysa. Why is she so amazing, you ask? She is climbing the Kilimanjaro in September with the Cancer Research Society and is raising 25 000$ to fund cancer research. If that doesn’t fit your definition of awesomeness, I don’t know what does!
To bring awareness to the disease, she is hosting several events that have the theme of preventing cancer by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. When she asked me to help her organize this wellness workshop, there was no way I could say no! Considering how strongly I feel about preventative health, this kind of event was right up my alley (it also gave me a chance to practice my meditation teacher skills on willing guinea pigs)! After some debate, we decided on the theme “Raising Body Awareness Against Cancer”.
Listening to your body to prevent illness
I got the idea from my patients, actually. Recently diagnosed cancer patients would sometime share their thoughts with me, and one recurrent reflection is that if they had listened to their body or gotten that pain checked out sooner, maybe their cancer wouldn’t be at such an advanced stage. This “maybe” always breaks my heart. It also made me realize how disconnected we’ve become from our bodies. We forget to eat or go to the washroom because we are so busy. Stay up past exhaustion. Push past the pain that’s been lingering for months because we’re told to “man up”, or some other macho saying.
We basically send a big F you to our bodies each time we do this. And yet, if we take the time to listen to what it had to tell us, we realize how intelligent it really is. We come to understand that it knows exactly when something isn’t right.
If we’re sensitive to these signals, we can change our behaviour that may be causing these discomforts in the first place. We can also act upon the problem quicker and have it examined by a doctor. When we ignore these signals for too long, there is often a price to pay. And that price is usually our health. With this in mind, the goal workshop was to help people reconnect with their body and learn to listen to its needs.
What did you miss?
We started out with an invigorating yoga session. If you didn’t feel your body before, our yoga teacher Stephanie made sure you feel it during your down dogs! Afterwards, I lead a self-massage workshop for people to literally get back in touch with themselves. I even made homemade massage bars for the occasion! I however neglected to inform the guests what these bars were while distributing them. As a consequence, one guest thought it was food and actually took a bite out of it! Thank goodness it was only shea butter, almond oil and beeswax…
I made sure that everyone lovingly buttered themselves up and felt each nook and cranny of their bodies. Once the self-massage was completed, I ensued with a 20 minutes body scan meditation. This meditation asks that you bring your focus on different areas of your body and become aware of the different sensations that arise. I chose this meditation because it helps you become familiar with how your body feels when it is in good health. As a result, you also become more sensitive to when something doesn’t feel right.
During our break, we served a refreshing green smoothie and my all-natural protein granola bars. I’m happy to report that the bars were gone within in 5 minutes! You can check out the recipe for them here. Our goal was to feed our guests with wholesome plant based snack to tide them over until our grand finale, the nutrition workshop.
Nancy and Laura showed us how to make delicious fudge protein balls using dates, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, cacao and vegan protein powder. I loved that it was a hands-on workshop and that we could have some real messy fun.
Would I do it again?
Yes totally! A few people asked Ysa and I when was our next wellness workshop. Truth be told, when I signed up for this experience, I thought it would be a one-time thing. However, I realize it’s a great opportunity to teach people about self-care and healthy lifestyle habits in an enjoyable setting. So who know? Maybe we can make it an annual charity event!
I would like to send a big warm hug to all those who came to our event. Thank you for supporting the cause! I hope you had as much fun as we did organizing it!
Much love and hugs,