Working as a corporate lawyer in Toronto, I used mindfulness meditation to manage my stress and anxiety and to perform better at work. The more I practiced, the more I realized that having a regular meditation practice gave me a huge advantage in dealing with every aspect of my life. I am now fully committed to teaching mindfulness and to educating people on how meditation can make your life easier.
And life just keeps getting better and better the more I practice.
WHY I STARTED PRACTICING MEDITATION
My mother introduced me to yoga in high school. If I went to a hot yoga class with her, she would drive me to the movies or the mall that weekend. It was a good trade.
I continued practicing yoga daily throughout undergrad at Queen’s and law school at Emory in Atlanta. In between degrees, I went to Goa, India, and completed a 200hr level Yoga Teacher Training in the style of Vinyasa and Ashtanga. It was there that a meditation practice became part of my life as I saw how great I felt after meditating with the group every day for a month.
In the last semester of my last year of law school, I woke up one morning to excruciating pain along my entire spine. For the next four months I could barely walk. I had a bulging disc and I tried everything to manage the pain – way too many painkillers, chiropractics, acupuncture, massage, a steroid injection into the disc, physio. Nothing helped.
This is when I got back into a regular meditation practice. I started questioning why this pain had arisen in the first place. I was healthy and fit – not someone you’d expect to have severe back pain. As I focused on the sensations within my body and got to know my thoughts more through meditation, I learnt that I held all my stress in my lower back and neck. Years and years of stress and anxiety, which I thought was normal and didn’t really affect me, had built up to the point that my body had to physically force me to slow down. I never would have realized this without meditation.
As I recovered through patience and slow strength building through yoga and walking, I moved back to Toronto and began working as an associate at a corporate law firm downtown. I would periodically go to yoga ashrams in the Bahamas and India when I had the time to focus on my meditation practice, and took courses on weekends in the city. The more I meditated, the more I learnt about what I really cared about and who I really was, aside from all the expectations society, family and myself had imposed on me throughout my life. After a lot more reflective questioning and learning about myself, I realized that law wasn’t the right place for me.
I know firsthand how stressful it can be to work in a fast-paced, high-expectation environment, and I know that meditation can help EVERYONE in that space. I hope you give me a chance to teach you and maybe you’ll see how meditation can help make your life more enjoyable and easier.
Experience and Training
Every single thing I've learned has contributed to where I'm at now
- JD from Emory University (Atlanta)
- I specialized in International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law and Environmental Law
- BSC(Honours) in Environmental Geology from Queens University (Kingston)
Retreats and courses that have significantly deepened my mindfulness practice
- 200hr Yoga Teacher Training by Tribe Yoga, Goa India - February-March 2010 (5 weeks)
- Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Nassau, Bahamas - July 2015 (2 weeks)
- Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Kerala, India - November 2015 (9 days)
- 200hr Meditation Facilitator Training Program hosted by Jivasu of the Naturality Path, Toronto - October 2016 (10 days)
- Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Nassau, Bahamas - April 2017 (7 days)
- Silent Meditation Retreat at Harmony Dawn Retreat Centre, Cobourg, Ontario - April 2018 (5 days)
- Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Grass Valley, California - October 2018 (4 days)
- Jack Kornfield semi-silent retreat at The Kripalu Center, Massachusetts - January 2019 (5 days)
- Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat at Harmony Dawn Retreat Centre, Cobourg, Ontario - April 2019 (10 days)
- SoulCollage retreat with Mariabruna Sirabella at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California - February 2020 (5 days)
- Medicinal Mindfulness Psychedelic Sitter Training Level 1 with Daniel McQueen - October 2020 (5 days)
- Medicinal Mindfulness Psychedelic Sitter Training Level 2 with Daniel McQueen - January 2021 (5 days)
- 50hr Yoga Nidra Facilitator Training with Tribe Yoga, Online - December 2021
- Reiki Certification Level I+II - March 2022
I am a life-long student
I'm currently enrolled in the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Mindfulness Certificate Program offered by the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, and have thus far completed the first year of the two year program.
I am very keen to deepen my understanding of Buddhist and mindfulness-based philosophy and psychology so I can improve my personal practice, but mainly to improve the quality of the coaching I provide in corporate settings, to private clients and during retreats.
I am fascinated by the ongoing developments in neuroscience in this field and am constantly reading every resource I can find on this topic.
I have committed my life to learning and sharing these practices to help others heal and skillfully manage anxiety, stress and trauma. I intend to continue on this path of increased presence, compassion and connection with other people and our planet.
- JD from Emory University (Atlanta)