Date:: May, 2012
Colleen Fraser is one of the developers of Whistler Healing Arts and a co founder and Education trainer of Vida Spas. For over twenty years she has been an innovator and leader in developing this embodied and integrated approach to health.
The Spice Mistress is honoured to welcome Colleen Fraser as the focus of this month’s Pancha Q.
After studying Kinesiology and nutritional sciences at Simon Fraser University Colleen continued her education at the West Coast College of Massage Therapy. Upon becoming a registered massage therapist, Colleen furthered her knowledge in Eastern ayurvedic medicine and western herbology to become an ayurvedic health practitioner.
Colleen is also a certified yoga therapist, and possesses the skills and knowledge to blend both Western and Eastern self-care practices. She has a special appreciation and skill set for practicing Ayurvedic Marma Point Massage, Abhyanga and Shirodhara Head and Scalp treatments. Colleen has studied with renowned Ayurvedic Physician Dr Vasant Lad and has deepened her study of Ayurveda and plant medicine under the tutelage of Jaisri M. Lambert and David Crow.
Colleen takes an integrative and dynamic approach to healing, tailoring treatments to the individual and the ever-changing needs of her clients.
1. How do you begin your day?
Colleen: In my mind, this is Key — how I begin my day sets me up not only for the rest of the day but the momentum I create will compound over time. For the past year or two I have been waking up around 6am like clockwork. I wish I could say every morning begins with a smile, but that doesn’t always surface right away! I am usually optimistic and grateful for my health, my friends and my beautiful children but material worries can override this more often than not.
After I wash my face, I like to begin my day with a warm glass of water or herbal tea like nettle with a teaspoon of ghee and a squirt of lime. The combination of these 3 things — the warm liquid, the good fat and the tangy lime whets my appetite. It provides a nourishing wake up call to my digestion. Then I pull out the tongue scraper and continue my morning routine in the bathroom! …Not so glamorous but that morning routine in Ayurveda has become a constant. It does a few things for me — the tools are great for hygiene and they seem to help to keep my immune system strong. This routine has been a great self-referencing tool which shows me the surface changes in my body when you normally would not be conscious of them at all.
I enjoy a short session of pranayama and meditation to settle my mind before I embark, but I will admit that those practices do not happen every day. For exercise I have been loving the pilates in the morning and sometimes Yoga stretches. I then sit down to a bowl of date & nut oatmeal topped with agave and a dollop of ghee. This routine definitely primes my body for a morning of strength and clarity.
2. What’s one piece of life changing health advice you can share with others?
Colleen: Less is Best. Through trial and error, I have learnt about this one the hard way! My teacher Dr. Lad says this often and he also shares the importance of doing things at half your capacity.
3. What’s one thing that gives you hope for the future?
Colleen: It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.
4. Any lifestyle ‘Crimes against Wisdom’ (Prajnaparadha) that challenge you?
Colleen: Worry! I am a worry wart. I try to have a sense of humour about it because my intelligent mind knows that I can shift my rationale at any given time. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” Nevertheless I get stuck in the carousal thoughts of wasted energy. If I don’t receive some validation from a sign, a message, a person, a smile or a compliment then the worry is triggered.
Fortunately I have discovered some great tools of strength and continue to be inspired by new ones. My favourites are a walk in the forest, a pranayama practice and laughing with my kids, interestingly they all involve movement of breath. When worry consumes I take action and reach for these reliable therapies.
5. A moment of beauty that inspired you today?
Colleen: To me, there is nothing more beautiful than to see a mature couple showing love and respect for one another. Today at work, while I was waiting for my client to complete their medical intake form, I glanced over and saw a couple in their 60’s sitting close talking, touching and smiling as if they were two young lovers. It struck a deep chord in my heart. I thought not only does their affection for one another resonate far and spill over onto others, but how rare it is to see this. The tender display of respect inspires me with beauty and happiness and encourages me to create this more in my life.
Thank you for the interview, Colleen. Om Shanti!
Find out more: Whistler Healing Arts