A wee bit about you:
Born and raised in the city of Toronto, I balance the yang to my life, producing lifestyle television, with my passion and yin of my life, teaching yoga. I've been teaching for about 6 years now and am proud to have created a community of students who meet to practice in rented spaces around the city, parks, travel to retreat in Costa Rica, and most recently, for virtual classes as we adapt to pandemic life. I'm incredibly proud to be growing my business and moving towards my dream of one day opening a retreat centre of my own and continuing to expand this community of outrageously incredible yogis.
Please list some of the projects / jobs / achievements that you are most proud to have experienced or been a part of:
TV: there are many, but most recently...
Food Network's Big Food Bucket List
HGTV's Island of Bryan
Leading a retreat in the jungles of Costa Rica (this time last year, sigh)
Leading weekly virtual classes and retreats/wellness workshops in the past year of the pandemic
Creating wellness yoga videos for NOSM (Northern Ontario School of Medicine)
Check out Madison's YouTube channel for some incredible yoga flows.
What does it mean to you to Live Your Fierce?
The definition I love most of Fierce is; 'showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity'. That is exactly what I try to bring to everything I do. Whether it's being a team player on a production, or running my own business, I truly immerse myself in whatever I'm doing, wholeheartedly, with as much heartfelt intensity as this little 5"2 lady has!
What were some of the obstacles / barriers to reaching your goals and living your fierce?
Life is a series of obstacles. In TV world, every day seems to be a problem solving puzzle, which I'm proud to say I've gotten quite good at. These skills have translated to my own yoga business, where I found it was less external factors holding me back and more internal voices trying to trick me into thinking I CAN'T or I WON'T succeed. The fear of failure is a big one to get over - and I think I continue to push past it but have definitely not quieted that voice altogether.
Describe 1-3 things which were instrumental to your overcoming these obstacles / barriers.
The community I've built contains amazing people giving constant positive reinforcement, so I've started believing what they say and believing I am worth of their love and time and that I've built something that is real - simply because people keep demanding more and showing up. It's pretty powerful.
Supportive friends and family that aren't students of course help remind you of your worth and act as sounding boards and guinea pigs as you navigate new territory. I am grateful for Noam (my partner) always letting me try new yoga sequences out on him. Like always.
What are some of the attributes you look for when choosing your support system?
Support systems for the most part were already in place for me, so I don't feel like I sought them out per say. But if I were to look for new ones, I would choose people or things that are better than I already am so I can learn and grow from their example as they support and nurture where I'm at.
Please share your words of fierce…
Just do it. Don't wait for the perfect situation, time, or circumstance. Dive in head first. Don't be afraid of failing because I really would rather fail 100 times than have never tried.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
– Albert Einstein
Find Your Fierce
Your heartbeat begins to race, palms begin to sweat and your body tells you to make a quick decision. There are so many different times my body kicks into fight or flight: when I would step onto the wrestling mat, when there's a deadline fast approaching, before signing a contract and sometimes when I'm walking to my car alone at night. There's always this unidentified feeling telling you to either stand your ground or high-tail it out of there.
There's a time and place for each. The main circumstance I want to focus on is around the times our bodies are telling us to fight and we lack the confidence to trust it... so we flight.
Know Your Fierce
Honing in on our intuition takes time (to save time), and building the confidence to stand up and fight for what we need may take longer. Below are a few resources to get the ball rolling.
The website pickthebrain.com suggests the top 5 podcasts related to trusting your gut. Another funny listen, for those who want a much deeper dive into the energy of intuition, from Om Times: Is it intuition or is it gas?
Live Your Fierce
I can personally vouch for the merits of fighting over flighting (when appropriate and actual survival is not on the line). You may be saying, "well that's an easy thing for an ex-wrestler, highly feisty ball of energy such as myself to do". I can humbly share that I wasted many years second guessing my own intuition, avoiding the fight required to stand up for myself and for what I needed. Happy to report that, while intuition is an innate ability, tapping into that intuition can be a learned skill. And learn-ed I did. And so can you.
Work on turning your fear to fierce. Badass survival 101.
This month's theme is trusting those gut instincts of ours. It sometimes just feel like gas... and maybe it is... but chances are it's much more than that. The Macmillan dictionary defines a gut instinct as "a feeling that you are certain is right, although you can give no good reason why". Learning to trust this basic instinct is crucial to living your fierce. It is essentially trusting your years of experience, your analytical abilities and the data cache of expert advice you've collected and stored.
There is great power in making one's own decisions. I also understand there tends to be a lot of fear in making decisions. I have witnessed countless people avoid making decisions like their lives are a game of dodgeball. They will duck, dodge, and dive from that ball at any cost. I love winning a game as much as the next (probably more than the next actually), but one is putting their destiny in the hands of someone else when you live your life in the proverbial dodgeball court.
I have come to believe a few things to be true for myself:
A decision I make is one I can always be either proud of or learn from
No decision is truly permanent (knowing this gave me great power to trust myself)
Being the master of my own destiny feels pretty damn good
A lot of time gets wasted on doubting my gut instincts or fearing that I am "wrong". Time that could be spent learning from my decision, fixing it or making a new one.
However, trusting your gut is only one tool in your decision making tool belt. Seeking expert advice when we are unsure, accepting feedback from trusted sources and learning from ours (and others') past decisions all play into making successful decisions that help us live our fierce and follow our passions.
So trust those little hairs that stand up on your arms, trust that frog in your throat and trust the little acrobats flipping around in your stomach. They're trying to tell you something.
Andrea (LYF Co-founder)