Liberty Movement Studio/Shanti Mama Doulas
Liberty Movement & Wellness, 983 Dovercourt Road. Unit #2 (Dovercourt Rd and Dupont St)
Phone: 416 879 0711
I fell in love with the art of movement while studying acting, modern dance and physical theatre at George Brown Theatre School. This subsequently led to my personal Pilates training with Rikki Richter, director of Mind the Body studio, who taught me that how we move plays an integral part in our lives.
For over a decade I’ve been actively practicing Pilates and Yoga. My Pilates training and Certification was through the Physical Mind Institute, under the tutelage of Suan Grescovish at Body Harmonics. I deepened my Yoga practice by interning with Diane Bruni and Ron Reid at Downward Dog Studio, then became a certified Yoga Instructor with Susie Dias at East to West Yoga Studio. During my first pregnancy in 2005 I studied with Skylar Hill -Jackson, founder of Baby & Me Fitness who encouraged me to do my Pre and Post natal Fitness certifications.
Interested in coaching and preparing women for birth in 2008 I certified to become a Doula or labour coach. This Year I gave birth to my second child in May and have the joy of being a Mom for a second time! My first son Hayden is now five years old and my newborn is 4.5 months old.
My Yoga & Pilates studies and certifications led me to teach group classes for various corporate clients such as the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Kraft Canada, Baby & Me Fitness, St Joseph’s Hospital, The Toronto District School Board and Sony Records, as well as a roster of personal clientele, including Governor General Award-winner Ronnie Burkett.
I continue to deepen my practice and my knowledge of Yoga and Pilates studying new forms of bodywork and movement, while teaching and sharing my love of the practice with others. People who take a proactive role in their well being go through a profound transformation. My wish is to provide students with more than a stretch class, but an opportunity to play, explore, discover and connect with themselves at the deepest level.
As the the director of Liberty Movement Studio Yoga and Pilates, I have had the opportunity to serve the Liberty Village community for the past 5 years. We are a grass roots studio that teaches and offers a variety of different Yoga and Pilates classes in small group sizes. We also specialize in IVF, Pre and Post natal classes. We are very excited to be moving Liberty Movement Studio to Balance Integrated Healthcare and joining a wonderful group of holistic practioners.
I came across HypnoBirthing when first working as a Doula. I poo-pooed it initially because I thought it was new agey b.s., but after attending the births of moms who were using HypnoBirthing®, I was amazed at how calm these moms were throughout their entire births, regardless of the situations that arose – no hysterics, no screaming, just completely relaxed and happy.
That was very different than my own experience had been. I had had a horrible birth with my first son Hayden: 72 hours in all – induction with Pitocin and no epidural for 12 hours, finally dilated completely after another 24 hours, pushing for 3 hours and the wow finish – ending with an emergency C-section. I was then separated from my poor newborn son who had to stay in NICU three days and have several rounds of antibiotics for 10 days “just in case there was a risk of infection” (which there was not). It was incredibly difficult.
My experience with my first birth totally changed the way I viewed birth. I felt terribly guilty, emotionally and physically scarred by the way Hayden had come into this world. I kept thinking “there must be a better way to birth?!”
I became an absolute birth nerd and started to avidly seek out any and all literature on birthing and natural family living. When Hayden was 6 months old, I studied to become a birth educator and doula and volunteered to be at many births. I also opened a Yoga and Pilates studio that practiced natural Family living, taught birth education, pre & post natal Yoga and Pilates as well as regular adult classes.
When I found I was pregnant with my second child 4 years later, I decided to have an all-natural birth – no Pitocin drip, no epidural, no Hospital. I enlisted a Doula mentor of mine, went with the most pro natural birth midwives in the city’s east end and went to HypnoBirthing® classes with my partner. This time it was going to be different.
The HypnoBirthing® course , which ran over 5 weeks, was taught by a Doula and HypnoBirthing® practitioner and was a turning point for my husband and I. We felt completely enlightened and empowered by what we learned, the videos we watched, and it helped us to bond enormously. We could do this, and enjoy it as a team.
When my second son, Lleolyn, came into this world I can honestly say that the journey of his birth was one of the most beautiful, joyful and life changing experiences I’ve had. At no point was I scared or in unbearable pain.
Birthing Lleolyn was one of the best days of my life ever and I’d do it again, today, right now. I gave birth to him on the floor of my old Yoga studio with no ripping or tearing – total labour was 6 hours, with 45 minutes of pushing. And did I mention, he was 10 pounds? It was AWESOME!!!!
Having had this experience, I had a need to share this with other women and help them birth joyously. I became a hypnobirthing teacher, and had qualified by the time of my son’s first birthday. I’ve been hosting HypnoBirthing® classes inToronto ‘s west end at my studio; Liberty Movement & Wellness, working with Moms and their birth companions for the past 5 years. I cannot think of a job I’d rather be doing. I love my work and passionate about what I do and am proud to be making a difference to the way we approach birth in our fair Toronto!