Getting Ready for Starting School - 12 Great Tips to Make the Transition an Easeful Nourishing One for Your Kids and You

Summer is far from over and I hope you’re savouring it and getting chance to nourish yourself as well. Yoga nidra is one great way to replenish energy stores if you find your patience decreasing and your sugar cravings increasing!

One favourite memory last week for me was sitting around the fire at North Beach Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge (amazing campsite by the way!) reading a book I’m loving, smelling the fresh cedar air and listening to my brother Chris (the kids crazy uncle), his boys and my kids laughing and playing cards and chatting together. It was one of those, “wouldn’t change a thing moments'“ …

Dr. Laura Markham is a parenting educator that I like and this is her countdown to gently ease you and your family toward an enjoyable first day of school. Most are more for younger kids but I’ll be using a bunch with my 12 year old who is going to a new school this year.

* Note: I have added some naturopathic tips from my experience.

12. Start moving bedtime a tiny bit earlier every night. It's impossible to impose an early bedtime cold turkey on a child who slept in that morning and has the "school starts tomorrow" jitters.  One way to shift the schedule is to start having kids read in bed for half an hour or more before lights out, which is also good for their reading skills. (For younger kids, read with or to them.) Wake late sleepers a bit earlier each day. If your child is having a hard time falling asleep, be sure they're getting plenty of daily roughhousing that results in laughter, as well as outside physical activity.

*Chamomile tea is one simple child friendly way to help get into an earlier-to-bed rhythm that you could use the week or so before school begins. If your child is older melatonin can be used short term as well. I carry a mint flavoured low dose melatonin spray bottle in our health kit that our family uses as needed for jetlag/resetting sleep rhythms.

11. Tour the school, or at least the playground, with your child. If allowed, let your little one use the school bathroom. If your child will be walking alone, practice the walk several times.

10. Introduce your child to the teacher if at all possible. If you can, take a picture of your child with the teacher, put it on your fridge at your child's eye level, and talk to her like she's part of the family. "I know you'll love having Joseph in your class, Ms. Brown."

9. Set up playdates with a couple of other kids in the class so she feels more connected when she walks in that first day. If possible, arrange to walk with one of them (and their parent) the first morning.

8. Prepare your child emotionally.  Read books about the grade he'll be entering.  Describe to him what that first day will be like, how the drop-off will go, who will pick him up, etc. Listen to his worries. Reassure and brainstorm with him how he could handle those issues. Make up a "goodbye" rhyme or ritual and practice it.  Give him a laminated family photo for his backpack.

7. Decide any changes in family routines such as extracurriculars, chores or no screen time on weekdays, and talk with your child about the new routine.

6. Let your child choose her own school supplieswhether from around your house or from the store, and ready them in her backpack or bag.

5. Organize a place for each child to keep school books, supplies, backpacks, lunchbox etc. Set up a homework spot for your child to work (always in close proximity to the rest of the family rather than off in her own room.)

4. Organize paperwork with a different colored folder for each child to hold school forms and papers to be signed. If you don't have a family calendar that kids can read, set one up on a whiteboard.

3. Have kids pick out their outfits and backpacks the day before school starts, and make lunches for the next day. Don't wait until evening when kids are tired and need your attention to soothe their last-minute jitters.

* I like the Flower Essence Rescue Remedy to put in their water.

2. Have an end of summer family celebration the evening before school starts with an early dinner, and toast the highlights of the summer. Then go around the table and share appreciations:  "I appreciate that Michael helped in the garden this summer" ... "I appreciate that Sara worked so hard to learn to ride a bike."  Finish with "Looking Forwards,"  such as "I'm looking forward to when you come home from your first day of first grade and I get to hear all about it!"

1. Go to bed early yourself  the night before school starts so you'll be up early, rested and ready in the morning to deal patiently with any last-minute jitters or minor crises. Plan to leave the house 15 minutes before you need to -- at the worst, they'll have time to play at the school playground. And don't forget that "first day of school" photo!

* My kids are older now and love looking back at the first day photos where they pose with a piece of paper that says, “ First day of grade . When I grow up I want to be a ________.”

Dr. Monika Herwig ND is a Naturopathic Doctor, Acupuncturist, Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy Facilitator, mother of 2, and a Trailblazer with Happy Healthy Women in Canmore, Alberta. She practices Mind-Body Medicine especially around Adrenal, Gut, Hormonal and Mental Health in her clinic and leads Wellness Workshops and Retreats locally and internationally. Dr. Monika supports heart centered women shine their light and share their gifts with the world without burning out through whole life health and a functional medicine approach to wellness. She is especially passionate about supporting moms and moms-to-be and runs yearly Fairy Nature Camps for her clients’ children (and herself!). To book an appointment call (403) 609-8385 or go to

3 Simple Ways to Help Raise Healthy & Happy People Who Want to Come Home for Thanksgiving

#3. Understand their development.

This will inform your interaction and communication with them. It will let you meet them where they are at and allow you to be more compassionate and present with them.

Not many parents know that children under 7 live predominantly in the theta brain wave state and learn by imitation and by doing. They think in pictures and are physical. Modelling what you want them to do speaks louder than explanations. When you do explain pair the words with actions.

Their brain is not developed to include the higher executive functions and abstract thought yet so talking to them about things will not foster the close connection we desire. Storytelling that brings in their picture consciousness does.

#2. Love them the way they want to be loved.

Take time to figure out what their love language is and schedule something regular – even just once/month - where you are especially conscious about honouring that. My 15 year old’s love language is quality time & words of appreciation (and food lol!) so I take him out to dinner once a month – just me and him and in our time I am mindful of letting him know what I appreciate about him.

3. Be well yourself.

Children love to see their parents thriving. If you think about your own parents you’ll notice this might be true even still for you!

As moms we teach by how we are and when a mom is well she teaches wellness.

Self-care and self-love is getting lots of air-time these days! (-: Let it not turn into a ‘have to’ on the to do list. Self-love can take time to develop - just like any relationship. Find little ways in your day to nourish you and be curious as to what truly sparks joy and uplifts you. I have a lift list that helps . A hot cuppa Chaga tea to support my adrenals, a walk in nature, time with girlfriends, Epsom salt bath ... whatever warms your heart or gives you that home/cozy feeling will be your clues to the things that support nurturing a relationship of warmth and kindness with yourself. Our inner dialogue is a potent area where we can bring our kindness to our self as well with great effect.

Our adrenal health affects our mood, weight, energy and all our relationships so it’s worth keeping it healthy. I specialize in adrenal wellness in my practice as this is an area that is out of balance in some degree with 90% of the women I work with.

One of my favourite, yummy ways to support women’s wellness in my office is through the restorative practices of Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy. 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is said to have the restorative equivalent of 4 hours of sleep.

Below is a Yoga Nidra meditation for you. It’s basically a ‘can’t-do-it-wrong’ lying down guided mindfulness meditation that I’ve found so helpful in restoring adrenal wellness and capacity to parent in a loving, peaceful way (i.e losing your %$#@ less and recovering connection faster when you do). (-:

Yoga Therapy is really about releasing tightness and softening, letting stuck emotions of anger, fear or shame move through and out. Flow is essential for wellness and these practices are decluttering us emotional and tension wise. (-:

Out of all the practices I do Yoga Therapy is the one that clients tell me helps them truly feel love for themselves. The first time I heard a client say that I didn’t associate that with Yoga Therapy itself but since then it’s not uncommon for clients to say that at the end of a session. I think any practice that supports someone to hold loving presence for the unmet/tender parts of their self will do this. I love how simple and easy it is and how obvious the shift isWant to next-level-replenish yourself and live more present and centered with your family?

Getting away for a retreat and reconnecting to You (yes that’s a capital Y!) is a powerful gift to give yourself and those you love.

Consider our November 23-30, 2019 retreat where we will be heading south and sunny for a week of truly next-level-replenishment at Xinalani Eco-Yoga Centre. The theme of the retreat is of coming home to ourselves (in love, calm, clarity, confidence, simplicity, beauty and joy). Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy sessions will be part of our time together.

To learn more about She Shines 2019: Eat. Play. Love. Retreat click link below.

To your health and happiness! (-: xo, Dr. Monika


Dr. Monika Herwig ND is a Naturopathic Doctor, Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy Facilitator, mother of 2, and a Trailblazer with Happy Healthy Women in Canmore, Alberta. She practices Mind-Body Medicine especially around Adrenal, Gut, Hormonal and Mental Health in her clinic and leads Wellness Workshops and Retreats locally and internationally. Dr. Monika supports heart centered women shine their light and share their gifts with the world without burning out. She is especially passionate about supporting moms and runs yearly Fairy Nature Camps for her clients’ children (and herself!). (403) 609-8385 to call to book or to book online.

Forest Etiquette and Foraging Safety Tips for Nature Loving Families

·    My children and I like to leave a gift in exchange for a plant’s medicine – gifts aren’t solely physical in our way of thinking so a song or even a simple heartfelt thank you or compliment counts. We tell the plant what we’ll be using what we’ve gathered for. To children this makes perfect sense.


·    Look for places where what you are harvesting is abundant. Leave two-thirds of the plant material there so it can continue to flourish and there is plenty for the animals.


·    Harvest the different parts of the plant at the best time – i.e. leaves in the Spring, flowers and berries in the Summer, roots in the Fall/Winter.


·    Be aware that pulling a plant’s roots kills it – not a concern with harvesting Dandelion but keep it in mind for other plants.


·    Forage in areas that have had no pesticide use and are a bit in from a main trail. Plants alongside a major roadway has car pollution to deal with and isn’t a healthy choice. We are fortunate in Canmore to have many great places to forage.


·    Safety Tip: Be sure to let your child know that not all wild plants and berries are good for people to eat and to only eat the ones an adult or teacher has said are o.k. If they are unsure they can just ask.


·    Safety Tip: The first time you try a new edible wild plant it is wise to not go overboard – try just a bit. Even though the plants and preparations shared in this book have an excellent safety record, very low allergy potential and have been in use for generations, starting small is a good habit to get into in general in the rare case you or your child have an allergic reaction. Please don’t let the thought of a possible allergy stop you from foraging - mainly I just need to mention it in the writing of a book like this so you are aware of the possibility. You’re building relationships to these plants so enjoy the steps of the process and start slow and mindful.



Creative Discipline: Tips for Parents of Children 2 - 7 years old

Here's an article that some moms were curious about that I wrote when my kids were younger that I thought I'd repost.

Sometimes it is hard to maintain a sense of connection and warmth with our children when they are not doing what we want them to be doing. It is plain frustrating for us. Young children are by nature imaginative, messy, immature, unreasonable, in the moment, energetic and emotionally unregulated - their brain doesn’t have the capacities of an adult brain and won’t for some time …

Understanding where children are at developmentally and how they learn can help the loving AND guiding (disciplining) of your child to come from the SAME gentle place in your heart.

Here are some principles that take into account how they best learn to support you in this:

And remember it's about connection not perfection!

# 1. Use movement and redirection at the same time.  Since children are in an imitative stage of learning adding movement to a request helps them do what needs to be done. For example, instead of standing still and saying “let’s go”, walking a little as you reach your hand out and say “we’re heading out now” can work better. Kids like things that look fun so make it look inviting and engaging. I found sometimes that singing what we needed to do worked well to make it seem inviting and have them want to join along without so much resistance. (Using the tune "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush" to whatever we were doing seemed to work like magic in the younger years!)

# 2. Talk less. Try to get in the habit of stopping yourself with your speech when you are getting into a lot of explaining. Slow down and ask yourself, "Is it necessary?" and when you do speak to say what your child needs to do keep it simple with only one request at a time. In general, remember that your child lives in their imagination and so speak in this picture language really meets your child. They live in the dreamy theta brainwave state and think in pictures and story consciousness. “Let’s put the toys to bed now” and go around together cleaning up/”putting toys to bed’. Again, remember that they learn by imitation (copying) so work with this by simply modelling what you want them to do rather than a lot of explaining.

# 3. Stay close - "2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet". This was a mantra from one of my teachers reminding us of the importance of staying close when making requests. Their attention span isn’t like ours - again, they are in the theta brain wave state - so be ‘2 feet in front of them’, ‘2 feet high’ (basically a reminder to crouch down to their level) and lastly, with you ‘feeling your 2 feet on the ground’ to ground you and bring you fully here. (They feel this.) Get down to eye level and give simple guidance/directions from your heart from that place. Simple. Clear. Move. Follow through.

Staying close and sticking with requests is so key in the younger ages. I have found myself feeling quite ridiculous picking up half of a boot or toothbrush with my 4 year old at the other end in an effort to help her join in and learn how to put things away but sometimes this is what it takes to get the job done. When you emit the energy, “This is what is happening.” lovingly but with certainty (and make it kinda fun) our kids pick up on this. Use imagination to connect, stay close and help them follow through. 

# 4. Consider Nixing time-outs - Young children don't have the capacity yet to "reflect on their poor choices". The more I learn about child development - that they live in the theta brain wave state and their prefrontal cortex is not online yet - the less time-outs make any real sense. They do come in handy sometimes for me to give to myself though when I feel stretched to my max and need a moment or ten to breathe and regroup! (-:

# 5. Rhythm. This is a topic unto its own. It is an absolute game changer. When I work with moms with low energy/overwhelm to create rhythm in their days and weeks good things happen. Everyone can breathe easier and balls don’t get dropped as easily when what has to get done is on a schedule. Less stress for adults translates to less stress for kids, better health overall and more connection and joy.

When things are done in a certain way with regularity and children (whose relationship to time is very different than ours) know what is coming next they are also less resistant to doing what needs to be done as the rhythm (and repetition that is wired in the brain) eventually just carries them ... “it’s just the way things are done.” It builds a sense of trust in them as well.

Rhythms in Waldorf Schools are based on a concept called ‘breathing in and breathing out’ and in the lower grades especially this concept is woven into the day where activities are put in an order that alternates a ‘breathing in’ activity with a ‘breathing out’ activity. One example of this is: Circle time followed by Free play. In the homes of families I have worked with even being aware of this ‘in breath’- ‘out breath’ and the different nature of activities has helped. They would play with creating a flow that felt balanced - such as getting kids outside after sitting for a craft and then coming back in for lunch and out for a walk after.You get a feel for this wants you are tuned into it. This helps us adults too for example when we balance focus time with movement, inside with out, doing with free time, quiet time with social … it teaches balance and is a pretty cool non-burnout way to flow through our days.

#6. Have realistic expectations. They are learning so much during this time! From social engagement to talking to moving their body with coordination to being safe, etc . The way they learn and create new neural pathways for the things we’d like them to do is in part through good ol’ repetition. We have to repeatedly model what we’re trying to teach them.

Our children in these ages are ‘in learning’. The centers of the brain responsible for impulse control, empathy and decision making are not even close to maturity (25 years of age and upwards is the latest neuroscience update on this!). This ‘upstairs brain’ as Dr. Daniel Siegel calls it is just being constructed so it will be messy being in relationship with children as they find their way to these upper brain functions. And for now they are learning their upper brain functions/capabilities through watching you and through stories!

It takes time for them to learn all these things we want them to learn. This is where the next point comes in. It helps keep our patience more or less replenished …

#7. Self-care. Prioritizing it. Children pick up all the non-verbals. As we know they are watching us more than listening as as I’ve been sharing that is the way they are set up to learn in the younger years. Imitation.

Who we are being and how we are being as we are doing things is what our children are taking in the most. Self-care is not selfish. It is essential. When we are resourced we are more patient, creative, clear, calm, playful, kind and have energy.

We may not have grown up seeing self-care modelled so it may not come natural but we can model it for our children and give them the gift of its importance so they have it and can then model it to their children … (-:

Lastly, here’s a little mantra that came to me this year that might help you. “You’re not in trouble, you’re in learning.” I use it with my kids and other kids and actually I’ve used it with myself too! Many of us grew up in the paradigm of punishing and shaming and control over and this mantra helps rewire our brains to the new understanding that we are all actually ‘in learning’ and growing and doing the best we can.

The growth and learning we desire for our children or ourselves can come with kindness.

Hope you found something in there to help you enjoy parenting more and to help you be a loving nourished leader for your bambinos!

Warmly, Dr. Monika xo (-:

If you are interested in some self-care and supportive learning, Dr. Monika has Yoga & Learn weekly classes, series and retreats around Conscious Parenting, Simplicity Parenting and Mothering from Your Centre. Email to get the next class times and/or join Mindful Mama Connection FB to see updates there.

PS - Kim John Payne - author of Simplicity Parenting and The Soul of Discipline has some great insight on this topic of Creative Discipline..

Mom, Dad, how do you really want things to roll? 3 areas where small changes NOW (beg. of November) can impact your day-to-day BIG

The beginning of November is a great time to get more conscious about how you want things to roll - the school year is underway and with the extra hour of the time change it is a golden time to take a little inventory and implement some of those good intentions you have for your health and your life. 

Three powerful areas to make even little changes in:

1. Physical space - sit back with a cup of tea, take some breaths, put on some fav tunes and take a conscious look around you at your space. Walk around your space and get conscious to the items in your space that you haven't used or you don't love. We've all heard this many times and we know how good it feels to let go - get creative and do it in a way that nourishes you - it will give you more energy.

We've all been to parents/friends homes that look exactly the same for decades - switch it up and add something inspiring and uplifting to balance the increasing darkness. When I look at the yellow basket in my bathroom I feel myself breathe a bit deeper - colours impact our moods - where could you add a bit of a colour that you love?

Let your space reflect your life NOW - what nourishes you now, what you enjoy now and what inspires you in the dreams you have. Want to get better at guitar? Put it somewhere you can easily see it - print off some songs you want to learn and have it all together - find a time - even short that works to include it. Interested in starting a regular meditation practice? Create an inviting space with a candle/timer/whatever you need. 

2. Sleep  - often children (and adults) are not getting enough sleep. It is easier to get to sleep as the daylight shortens but still I feel like when all is said and done we are getting to sleep later than we'd like. Since waking a sleeping child is one of my least favourite things to do I sometimes let them sleep in a bit longer but rushing in the a.m. isn't worth it either.

Solution: When they were younger I started to follow the advice of a mentor to use the time change in November to start an earlier bedtime. What I noticed was that even though they went to bed technically an hour early they didn't get up earlier and they were generally more rested and cheerful in the morning. As they get older children need less sleep so we'll see what happens tonite...

3. Exercise  - We are meant to move our bodies daily and the shoulder seasons can be tricky for our well-being without some regular, joyous movement alternatives. If you, like myself, love to predominantly exercise outside create some easy backup plans for when it's too icy/cold - it happens (-:  and physical exercise is key for mind, body and spirit wellness.  Swimming, dance, rebounding, spin, yoga  - we are lucky where I live to have lots of options - with young kids I find that the rebounder/ yoga are great easy at home fall backs when its too icy to jog. As a mamapreneur I  do some of my tedious - on hold for ages business calls - while rebounding. "Sitting is the new smoking" apparently so I try to mix up my work day as best I can. What little new habit can you include and where?



Food sensitivity testing Spotlight and why I recommend it to pregnant and breastfeeding mamas...

OK, we all know that a healthy diet is a key component to overall health and well-being.  Working with you to make sure that your diet supports your health is foundational for Naturopathic Doctors. Many of you have been hearing about Food Sensitivity Testing and I often get a lot of questions that I thought I'd answer here.

There are a lot of ways to find out what foods your body is not agreeing with. Reacting to a food can be a digestive issue (not enough enzymes to digest - 3 common contributors to this are age, fast eating and eating under stress) or an immune reaction (body is reacting to food as if it were something foreign to get rid of rather than use it to make/keep you fit as a fiddle). This test tells you which foods are eliciting an IgG reaction - a delayed food sensitivity reaction. Here's a scenario: Jill eats an egg on Saturday and her headache flares on Monday - we do the testing and it reveals that one of her IgG sensitivities are eggs. Her headache was in part a response to her sensitivity to the egg. frustrating and hard to pinpoint the food connection in cases like this and this test is brilliant in uncovering this.  IgG reactions are delayed - sometimes 24, 48 -72(!) hours after eating it. Your typical IgE allergic reaction would be more what we think of when we hear food allergy - it is immediate - like a peanut allergy or something that you react to right away with a rash, swelling or increase in other symptoms.

We offer the delayed food sensitivity panel (IgG) by Rocky Mountain Analytical lab. It tests 97 foods for their IgG reaction - takes about 10 minutes and the blood sample is sent away to the lab and results received in about 3 weeks. The ALCAT is an excellent test too - I have found great results with the IgG test (i.e. patient's symptoms decrease/clear when off the specific foods) so I primarily use this unless I have a request for the ALCAT.

What it tells you: assesses what foods might be stressing the body creating symptoms of overload such as inflammation, seasonal allergies, frequent colds, fatigue, mood swings, colic in young ones, skin conditions and of course digestive issues. It is important to be eating the foods you want tested the 3 weeks before the test in order to be able to assess their effect. Important note:  if you know a food doesn't agree with you that's your proof so no need to eat a food that you clearly know isn't contributing to you feeling fabulous - your experience outweighs any test.

Common foods that come up high in the testing are gluten, dairy and eggs but we've seen garlic and sesame seeds and some fruits and vegetables come up also. This is our clients favorite test and so helpful in customizing your diet for your well-being.

 Everyone can benefit from knowing what foods are best for their body - and most people when they get their results aren't too surprised and had a gut feeling. "Garlic is supposed to be so good for you so I've been eating it but I had a hunch that it wasn't agreeing with me - this test confirms my hunch!"

 Why mamas?

Since setting a good foundation for wellness early is preventative medicine at its best, I encourage mothers to take this test. Especially recommended for breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be as improper foods and immune-mediated responses can be passed on to the baby in utero and through breast milk. Knowing what foods your body loves best and decreasing the foods that are creating inflammation/disonance is so helpful in creating a good start for babe.  It takes energy to prepare good food for you and your family - this is one way to take some of the guess work out of your family's healthy food choices and find out which foods are contributing to your well-being.

This is one page of an example of the report you will receive. 97 foods are testing. As you can see pineapples, cranberries and bananas are creating an IgG immune mediated inflammatory response for this individual at this time.

This is one page of an example of the report you will receive. 97 foods are testing. As you can see pineapples, cranberries and bananas are creating an IgG immune mediated inflammatory response for this individual at this time.

**For some of you your insurance company may even cover some of the cost through extended insurance plans and health spending accounts such as through Teacher Associations and many company health plans. Regardless, that's just a bonus - this test is a great investment in your family's health -  worth every penny.

Singing in Love - The Power of Lullaby - Lavender Blue

“Lavender Blue” my daughter murmurs, eyes closed, her breath lengthening towards sleep. I start singing and without opening her eyes I hear her softly add, “It never gets old.” I’m not sure if she’s sharing this reflection with me or just to herself but no matter, I know what she means and I smile and continue singing. How many times have I sang Lavender Blue? Many. Oh yes, so many times. I know she will not always feel like this about me singing this song to her and I cherish this moment – my son who is 10 groans before I get through the first line – he used to love it too. When I sing this song I feel myself enter more deeply into my body, the vibration of my voice dropping me gently into the moment. This lullaby has soothed me when my nervous system has felt frayed/spent – the melody knits me deeply back together --- it mothers me …. has been a resource for me to draw on.

What song warms you so you feel yourself fully here – embodied, calm, bathed in a quiet joy?  Singing is such a great habit to bring into our lives as mothers – its rhythmic quality nourishes and supports the growing child and ourselves. Many moms who can’t find the time or desire to do a sitting practice of daily connection like meditation benefit greatly from bringing singing into their homes. 

Singing has some similarities to meditation that are worth noting: the breath – a longer exhale moves us out of the fight – flight wing of the nervous system into rest and digest and calm. Singing often has our exhale be longer. Also, we are focusing on our breath and the moment. Ahhhh. (-: Bingo, another lucky winner. Lastly, if you’re singing songs you enjoy (which I would highly recommend you stick to) you’re tapping into appreciation, delight and joy.

“But I can’t si…” stop …don’t say it. It’s just not true. We can all sing and our kids are the best audience to encourage us to open up that throat chakra and express ourselves …the more you do it the better it feels and the more range of notes you can play with. To the magic of you! xo Dr. Monika

Singing is nourishing for both mama and babe - studies are now showing many benefits especially in the area of brain development, bonding and nervous system health for all participants. Mmmm.

Singing is nourishing for both mama and babe - studies are now showing many benefits especially in the area of brain development, bonding and nervous system health for all participants. Mmmm.

Would you love support with this? I would love to help you! This is a part of the lifestyle piece of mothering resourced - i.e. finding things to do together that nourish you and your child at the same time.

Twice a year I host a Nourished Mama Project class on lullabies and some mantras that have been game changing for moms and children in the peace, joy and connection department. Join the Facebook group ‘Mindful Mama Connection’ to be kept in the loop of those or email me if you have a group of moms who are keen. Also, if you feel quite blocked/tight in the throat area or have any physical throat issues like chronic sore throats or thyroid issues and would like to experience more freedom and health and less stuckness there book into the office for a yoga therapy session where we can create the conditions for healing to happen. (403) 609-8385. I address symptoms physically as well as at the root level so you can have more freedom, connection and joy in your life and express yourself with ease!

“Thank you Dr. Monika for helping me find my voice. “ M.G. Canmore , AB

Essential Oils Helping us to Create a Healthy, Sane Family Life!

Our olfactory system is so tied to our nervous system and memories.  We all know that scents can have a profound effect on our mood - freshly baked bread, vanilla, ocean, puppies, coconut oil suntan lotion …. we all have our favourites that truly can align our nervous system to peace and bring us to our happy place very quickly. They are powerful. Using essential oils is one of my families favourite, most welcome ways to heal - from burns to warts to imaginary fears that are preventing sleep - there's an oil for everything! One added benefit is to the breath - stress and anxiety can often accompany childhood challenges - for the child and his/her discomfort and for the parent  …well you know … we love 'em, we can worry and a lot of the work of parenting can be learn as you go. Staying centered and calm is key and I like how the essential oils help me get there - they calm me and allow me to be there more fully with my breath and act more intentionally and intuitively. The beautiful smells have my kids automatically breathing deeper and a fuller, deeper breath is one gateway to creating a relaxed state in the body that is very conducive to healing.

Aside from inhaling the oils directly or applying them for specific ailments I put them in my diffuser. It's a great home health enhancer - cleaning and oxygenating the air to prevent a cold from spreading to the whole family and great at uplifting moods - making grump bumps less sticky! I have 2 diffusers and lots of essential oils - the best quality, best deal I've found that I recommend if you're wanting to get started but not sure where to start is the intro kit by Young Living Essential Oils (Option 3 on their website).  You get  9-10 of their most popular oils plus a great quality diffuser for only $173 CAD - good diffusers can cost around this so this is a steal of a deal - and of course the diffuser can be used for any essential oils you have.  I have enjoyed Blaine Andrusek's oils for years.

Good news  

Another mom and good friend in town set me up so I can get wholesale prices on my next essential oil orders and act as a rep so you can too.  To maintain the ability to get the wholesale prices each individual needs to buy $50 of the oils per year. There are other plans in the company that if your passion takes you further with this you can look into but this one is the option I started with. You can contact local mom Shonna at essentialoilscanmore@ if you're keen to get the diffuser and kit/have any questions. To go right to ordering/seeing more of their products - my link is Essential Oils Family Home Kit  . This summer Alpenglow and Bring Love In are the beneficiaries when you sign up under me.

My favourite Young Living products

The blends: Joy (a little on the heart nice to lift the mood), Peace and Calming - so delicious, Valor - wow - great for emotional healing and courage!, Lavender (good for so much from burns, to restlessness, to cold sores, to infections - as I mentioned in previous newsletters, Lavender is one of those oils where you only need a little bit - less is more!) , Thieves - an excellent blend for viruses and bacteria - put it in the diffuser when cold season is around to keep you healthy with its immune enhancing properties.

There is a booklet that teaches you over 100 uses of the 9 oils in the Basic Home Kit and allows you to feel confident right away in supporting yourself and your family in staying healthy and healing quickly.  It's such a welcome medicine for kids and to see and feel one's confidence of being able to offer some comfort and relief when they are not well, going through transition or injured goes beyond anything else. Go mama go! 

If there's  particular oil you would like to try, let me know because I order monthly and often can add your request to my order. Email for this.

Building Trust in our Children: Rhythms and Rainbows

As we know young children have no real sense of time ... yet.

However they do have a sense and a need for rhythm. Rhythm and healthy routines build a sense of trust for children as by knowing what comes next and that happening they are learning to trust the world.

Teaching kids these kinds of things is not a direct conversation at this age - it's something we as parents and teachers create around them. How do we connect them to the natural cycles and rhythms that already exist to support them in their bodies and in the natural world? There is a lot we can do for our children in this way - and it's all worth the effort.

For the last years I've been working mainly with supporting the rhythm of their day (eating, sleeping, etc same time) and at keeping us connected to the rhythms of nature and the seasons. One thing related to rhythms that I've been playing around with since the Spring is the colors (and rhythm) of the days of our week. You might not even have known that every day has a certain color but they do - the color corresponds to the planet that day is associated with. Yes, every day is associated with a planet too (mardi - mars day, sunday...)

So, how does this play into my day to day life and help my children develop trust!!?!

Well, here's what it looks like - every morning I take a silk that matches the color of the day and wrap it around the candle holder in the center of our table. That's it. Just doing that is surprisingly grounding for me and helps days not run into each other as much. Who knew...

My 4 year old  loves this - she knows that on yellow day certain things happen predictably and she loves and relaxes into this knowing.

She also has fun with it - without me saying anything she comes down wearing something with the day's color on it.  It also helps us eat more variety because we try to eat something at least of that color for breakfast  and maybe later if I need some focused inspiration for cooking. 
Call me crazy, but at the end of the week we have eaten a rainbow or two, and it feels like overall my children and I are better off for it. So for now (month 4) I'm keeping on with it ...(-:

How do you build rhythm into your days/ weeks? Only do what feeds you.

Post from Soulful Mothering Newsletter 2011