My Journey Towards Becoming A Certified Yoga Teacher (PART l)

Ashtanga Opening Mantra
Ashtanga Opening Mantra

August 2015 was an incredibly challenging month for me. I chose to trek 6000km to Laguna de Apoyo in Nicaragua to complete my Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Kriya yoga teacher certification. 13 hours of intense mental and physical yoga every day for 30 days left me exhausted, and I will admit there were a few times where I wanted to throw in the towel and book a plane ticket back home, but I’m proud of myself for sticking it out. I learned so much about myself, and the experience alone was one that I’ll never forget.


I had first discovered my version of “yoga” when I was a teenager. My mother must have read about the “exercises” as she called them (which I would later learn to realise were called asanas), and she began to start her mornings off with a modified version of Surya Namaskara A. Intrigued, I would watch her do her stretches, then go to the privacy of my own room to practice them myself.

However, I never really practised consistently. Always curious about new exercise fads though, I remember picking up magazines and reading about different (albeit easy) asanas to try. It wasn’t until years later once I was diagnosed with stress-induced seizures that my doctor recommended I consider trying out a real yoga class.

Soon after that, I ended up picking up a job at a health club working as both the manager and a nutritionist. I quickly befriended the office administrator who coincidentally had the same passion for health as I do, and before I knew it, we were looking for other fitness classes to explore that our club wasn’t offering. She stumbled upon an introductory month-long pass to Moksha yoga and that night we excitedly drove to the studio with our yoga mats to enrol in hot yoga. I fell in love with the structured class and the way the asanas flowed together beautifully. I finally felt as if this was the yoga I’d been told of all this time: a mental practise over a physical practise — which was exactly what I needed.


After a few years of being a regular “Mokshi,” and becoming more and more submerged in a holistic lifestyle, I decided I needed a long vacation to find myself and get out of the house for the summer. I figured that a yoga retreat would be the perfect getaway but I couldn’t find anything that lasted long enough, or for a decent price. Using my favourite Moksha instructor as my muse, I thought maybe I could just go for my teacher certification? She makes teaching look so easy! Plus getting my certification could also help my career as a nutritionist by opening some doors!

And so began my hunt for a yoga school recognized by the Canadian Yoga Alliance.

The organisation listed 15 schools in Canada which were weekend courses only and would have taken 5 months to complete. To my surprise, they listed one school outside of Canada in Nicaragua which offered free accommodations and a fast-track 6 week program which would allow me to obtain my teaching certificate at the end of the summer.

But was this a safe decision? And where exactly in the world was Nicaragua?

This post is part one of a three part series.

Click here for part 2 — Preparing for Yoga Training in Nicaragua



Fresh Start

Welcome, and thanks for finding your way to Fresh To Death Nutrition!

I’m starting this site to help share my thoughts, knowledge and wisdom for a healthy lifestyle. It’s always been important to me to instill good health upon others, and every day I strive to practice what I preach.

My interest in nutrition seems to have always had a strong presence. From a young age, I can remember having a huge appreciation for fresh fruits & veggies.

My mother used to raid the fridge every night for what ever produce she could find, chop everything all up, throw it on a platter and set it on the dinner table while she prepared our meal. My little sister and I would ravenously devour everything, while my mother scolded us from the kitchen “Stop eating all the veggies! You’ll ruin your appetite!” Special dessert requests at my grandmother’s home would always be frozen sour cherries or strawberries, or what ever freshly picked fruit she’d just plucked from the garden.

My grandparents had massive gardens which contained pretty much everything you could imagine: grapes, sweet corn, potatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, an apple orchard, pear trees, broccoli, asparagus…the list goes on and on. I have fond memories of running through the rows, plucking carrots out of the ground for a quick snack, then hopping on my Big Wheel with my sister in tow. Dinners were bountiful, with most of the food either coming from her garden or a friend or family member’s. They love to recount the tale of me as a toddler in the spring time excitedly discovering her gardens for the time and exclaiming to my mother “Mamma! Gramma’s got a grocery store in her back yard!!”

Always playing outdoors. Myself at 3 years old, fascinated by the flowers in Grandma's gardens
Always playing outdoors. Myself at 3 years old, fascinated by the flowers in Grandma’s gardens

Growing up, I thought this was typical for everyone my age to have access to such healthy food. It wasn’t until later on that I questioned why some kids would tease me for not bringing soda or junk food in my lunchbox. I would get excited to find an Ida Red apple in my pack (my favourite apple!) or carrot sticks, and they would question why I didn’t have a “Lunchable” like everyone else. The kids who routinely found candy bars in their lunchboxes were popular because they’d share with everyone, but I always remember thinking that my parents would never do anything like that unless it were Halloween — and even then, I’d still get sick of the candy and long for my apple. Looking back, I’m glad I wasn’t eating that junk day in day out, as all of these kids ended up having health problems later on, and ballooned in size.

Which brings me primarily to why I chose a career in nutrition: parents nowadays don’t seem to be educated enough when it comes to preparing healthy meals for their children. The childhood obesity epidemic is frightening, with kids becoming larger and sicker at an alarming rate. What’s worse, is that bigger kids are slowly becoming the norm, with society beginning to accept overly-pudgy children and not insisting they get more exercise or even put down the fork. For the first time ever in humanity’s history, studies are showing that parents may start to outlive their children.

It’s up to us NOW to shape our future, and ensure that our offspring will live long, prosperous, healthy lives. Kids learn from watching their elders, so we need to set them right and lead by example. If we teach them right from wrong at a young age, they’re more likely to be accustomed to healthy habits that they can practice for the rest of their lives.