We sat down with Yoga Mamas' newest counsellor Lisha Cash, MSW, RSW to discuss mental health, her life as a new mama and what she loves about her work. Lisha brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and skill, to our wellness team and we are happy to be able to continue offering counselling services with her.
Lisha is in the studios weekly on Tuesdays from 4:30pm - 8:30pm and Wednesdays from 10:00am - 2:00pm. As well as one weekend a month.
Book an appointment or free consultation with Lisha here.
Why did you become a social worker?
I had initially completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at York University, with the hopes of eventually becoming a Psychologist. However, it was during that time that I met a professor who inspired me with her work and who I shared many of my career ideas and aspirations with. She informed me that many of my ideologies and the lens in which I viewed social issues were in line with social work. I had never really considered it before, but once she provided more insight into how closely linked it was to psychology and the social issues I wanted to work with, I realized this would be the ideal path for me to take. I had always wanted to work with children, mothers and families in some capacity, but it was that conversation that truly led me down the path of social work. Once I began researching and investing myself into the work, I truly fell in love with all of the components to this career. There are so many different paths you can take, so it is a great field for anyone who is interested in helping others, on so many different levels.
What do you love the most about your work?
I love that I am able to work with real people. In a world where we never really know what is real and where we consistently compare ourselves to so many others, I am able to sit in a safe space, with amazing women and discuss their life. It is vulnerable, raw, and real. There are both challenges and strengths in this work, but it is truly the most rewarding job. I love witnessing the self discovery that takes place in the room and seeing the change that occurs over time. At times, this can be extremely challenging for my clients and I see the true impact of the work, but overall, it is such a privilege to be working with this population. Each and every one of my clients teach me something new and inspire me to be continue to learn and grow in my practice.
If you weren't a social worker, what would you be?
I have always had a love for desserts. With that, came a love for baking those desserts. If I could be anything else, I would own and operate a small dessert shop that would feature delicious brownies, cupcakes and cakes (I would include some healthy desserts, as well, for good measure). It would be vital for a coffee and speciality tea bar to also be included in this dream.
What message do you hope clients will take away from their time spent with you?
I hope clients feel that they are not alone in their experiences. It can feel very isolating at times, and it is important that my clients know they are not alone, it is normal to feel this way, and things will get better over time. Although each of my clients has their own personal history, different perinatal experiences and circumstances that make their journey different from others, there are elements of pre and post natal life that we all share. It is important to know this, to feel comfort in it and recognize that you are not alone. In addition, I hope my clients feel empowered through our sessions. I hope that through these changes, they feel confident in themselves, their support system and how they are managing and coping in their perinatal experience.
What's the biggest misconception about counselling?
I believe many people are worried about how it might be perceived if they attend counselling, and this includes their own perception around what exactly counselling is. Thoughts that may pop up include, will this make me look weak? Will other people think I am unhappy about being a parent? Will others think there is something wrong with me? Why do I feel there is something wrong with me? What will the counsellor think if I share how I really feel? There are still so many concerns around judgement from others and/or a counsellor when people consider attending counselling. It is unfortunate that there is still stigma around receiving support, because it is helpful and should only be considered a positive self-care option.
There is not much that can be done around outside stigma on a large scale, other than continuing to spread psycho-education about the positive aspects of counselling. Finding a support system that encourages you to attend counselling to meet your needs will be the first step towards combating some of these concerns. In regards to counselling sessions, clients are discussing the most sensitive, vulnerable areas of their lives and it is important they find a counsellor who demonstrates empathy and unwavering support throughout their sessions. As a counsellor, it is my job to ensure that my clients feel safe and supported in this space, without judgement. I do so by always encouraging the client to let me know what they would want out of their counselling journey. Sometimes that is not as concrete and clear as we think, so it is my job to help clients navigate through this journey to figure out what areas of their life they would like to work on. It is my goal throughout this process to provide guidance within our sessions, to listen to my clients, while collaboratively create goals for our work together. It is my hope that this will generate a natural, open, dynamic therapeutic alliance, in which my clients feel safe in sharing their experiences with me and receive the support they need.
What's your number one mental health tip for mamas and mamas-to-be?
Nourish your mind, body and soul. It can be easy for us mamas to put ourselves on the back burner and make everyone else in our lives the absolute number one priority. In the grand scheme of things, that is an innate motherly quality, to care for others first. However, when we also care for ourselves, we can ultimately provide better care to others. I always like to remind mothers of that. If we are always depleted and deprived, how can we possibly give anymore of ourselves to our family. If we go into it with that mindset, knowing that if we nourish ourselves we inherently are able to nourish others, we make ourselves more of a priority. In addition, we also have to be more accepting of nourishment from others. Sometimes we do not want to ask for help or accept help because we don’t want to seem like they cannot handle it or feel incapable of managing it all. The saying, it takes a village, is hardly recognized anymore but it is the truth. Support systems and communities of people who love and care for you, want to help nourish you. Allow them to. It can seem foreign to us to ask for help, but it can be vital at times.
New to motherhood or not, being a parent can throw you off your game--on a daily basis! The ups and downs are frequent and struggling to find balance simply becomes par for the course. As mothers, we might never attain perfect balance between self-care and servitude, but we can deepen our connection to “self” with a little help from Mother Earth. Certain naturally occurring rocks—known as healing crystals—are believed to offer support on many fronts including love, self-esteem, and mental clarity. The list of applications is long and people all over the world have used healing crystals of all kinds for thousands of years.
Today we’re sharing our top 7 healing crystals for Mama to help you integrate a little healing and self-love into motherhood.
Rose Quartz – Promotes Love
Known as the stone of unconditional love, rose quartz is a fitting treasure for Mamas. Not only does this pretty pink rock promote love of all kinds—including self-love—it also supports emotional healing. Weather you have experienced a loss of pregnancy in the past, or are feeling disconnected with your former self now that you are a mother, rose quartz is a beautiful reminder that love is all around, AND most importantly, within you. Keep this stone visible as a reminder to take care of yourself, even in little ways, everyday. Whether you take a minute (guilt-free!) to put your feet up, or simply allow yourself a few cleansing breaths throughout your day, know that to love others you must first love yourself.
To Use: Rose Quartz corresponds to the heart chakra. Wear a mala close to your heart to amplify expressions of love in your life—especially those that nourish and heal you.
Aquamarine – Brings Courage
Possessing the calming powers of the sea, aquamarine is said to reduce stress and quiet the mind. Mamas feeling overwhelmed by responsibility can keep this stone near to support their inner strength and to find courage in this new season of their lives. Meditating with aquamarine can also help Mamas increase tolerance and overcome judgment of self and others—a reminder that every Mama is simply doing her best! And, as if aquamarine wasn’t sounding great enough, it’s also known in ancient folklore as the treasure of mermaids!
To Use: Keep aquamarine in your bath or shower to honour water as the origin of life on this planet (and feel like a gorgeous mythical creature while doing so!)
Himalayan Salt Rock – Elevates Mood
If you’ve ever thought of your body as a vessel, then you know it’s essential to “refill” once in a while! Pink Himalayan salt rock (used in lamps to simulate the electromagnetic charge that comes after a rainstorm) is said to elevate moods, and dispel negative energy. This rosy salt contains trace minerals and helps your skin retain moisture when combined with H2O, making it the perfect addition to your bath time routine. Keep an apothecary jar in your bathroom filled with pretty pink salt to encourage a spa-inspired self care ritual a few times a week.
To Use: Grab a good book and get ready to relax! Sprinkle ½ cup Himalayan salt into a warm bath. Combine with magnesium flakes to increase mineral absorption.
Clear Quartz – Amplifies Intentions
A crystal like no other, clear quartz is believed to hold onto the energy of your intensions, while dispelling negativity. For Mamas that hold secret wishes and blessings in their hearts for their children (and really, isn’t that every Mama?) clear quartz is listening. Not only does this crystal embody your intensions, but it also amplifies them into the universe—like turning up the volume of your inner voice. Clear quartz is also known as the ultimate manifesting stone, because it amplifies the healing qualities of the stones that surround it! So, Mamas looking to build a crystal collection will want to make sure they include this one.
To Use: Place clear quartz in areas of your home where you spend time formulating intensions such as next to family photos, upon alter, or in a bowl with other healing crystals.
White Jade – Realizes Potential
Entering into motherhood is the unfolding of a new self. Every Mama-to-be has the desire and potential to be a loving, nurturing parent, and white jade can be a supportive stone while stepping into this new role. Associated with the crown chakra, white jade channels intuition and supports focus towards the things that matter most in your life by warding off unwanted distractions Use this stone to realize your potential in all areas of life, whether your aim is to be a more mindful parent, better support your family by getting a raise at work, or connect with your creative side.
To Use: Keep white jade close to your workplace (office or home) to help you reach your goals, while maintaining perspective on the things that matter most.
Sodalite – Calms the Mind
From the unfamiliar world of giving birth, to welcoming your Little One home, being a new Mama can be overwhelming, and self-doubt is totally normal. Even the most serene mother will experience anxiety from time to time when it comes to her caregiving abilities! Enter soladite; the stone of rational thought, truth, and intuition. Royal blue and often speckled with sandy yellow, soladite quiets the mind and fortifies self-trust. The calming power of soladite is a wonderfully supportive energy as you navigating motherhood--you got this!
To Use: Because this is one of the best crystals for soothing stress and anxiety it’s helpful to have close by. Wear soladite as a bracelet, or keep some in your purse for calming support.
Moonstone – Grounds Emotions
Shimmering with ethereal hues of blue and cream, moonstone is believed to be a powerful healing crystal for women. Not only is this crystal beautiful to look at, but it also helps to stabilize and ground emotions while supporting hormonal balance. Just as the moon moves through it’s cosmic cycle, moonstone reminds Mamas that their bodies are rhythmic in nature, and that life is cyclical like the seasons. This is the perfect crystal for inspiring mindful moments as Mama goes-with-the-flow of motherhood.
To Use: Keep moonstone near your bedside to inspire sweet dreams and to help you align with the unique rhythms of your female body.
For thousands of years, people have looked to crystals formed by the earth for healing, guidance, and support. Whether you choose to wear a crystal mala to promote self-love, or keep a selection of rocks arranged on your bedside table for serenity, there’s bound to be a healing crystal that speaks to you as a Mama.
On July 17th, 2019 we held our 5th annual Summer Shopping Social! Our theme this year was Cotton Candy Dreamland, and although the rainy weather soaked our patio, it did not dampen our spirits! 15 of our favourite vendors popped up with their pretty wares and over 460 mamas and mamas-to-be registered! We treated attendees to cotton candy, snack bars, champagne, fresh lemonade and crazy shopping discounts.
Making this year even more special were our 12 sponsors! Thank you for helping us put this event together and for being a part of our community!
We are so thankful to be apart of such an incredible community of beautiful Mamas and Mama-friends. Thank you to everyone who came out to support and shop. We hope you all enjoyed yourself!
Everyone knows pregnancy and birth changes your body in extraordinary ways. From a ballooning belly and loosening joints, to bigger breasts and a widened pelvis, a Mama’s body is transformed to carry, deliver, and sustain life. Incredible?—Absolutely! Eventually however, most Mamas are eager to reclaim a sense of ownership over their own bodies. And, no matter how active you were throughout your pregnancy, staying ‘fit’ in early motherhood can feel like a challenge. Fitness is often placed on the back-burner and before you know it your Little One is about to celebrate his/her first birthday!
The good news is it’s never too late to brush the dust off your runners and recommit to your own health & wellbeing through exercise. So, if you’re feeling ready to reconnect with your strength and want to find ways to prioritize fitness training while being a Mom, we’ve got eight helpful tips to get you on track. Keep glowing Mama—We believe in you!
Tip #1: Dress for Success
Prepare for your workout simply by suiting up. Do this first thing in the morning by laying out your favourite yoga attire the night before. In the same way a little black dress can makes you feel like royalty, donning athletic wear will get you into fitness mode. And don’t forget to lace up your indoor sneakers too—you may just find yourself sprinting up the stairs like a champ!
Tip #2: Find Your “Soulmate Workout”
It’s time to give up on exercise routines you simply don’t want to do, and find what health expert Chalene Johnson calls your “soulmate workout”. If you can’t stand running, weight lifting, or squatting, DON’T do it! Life is too short (and time is too precious) to spend hours on regimes you dread. Use first-time drop-in classes—many of which are free—to try something new. Experiment with rock climbing, cycling, or tap dancing, and don’t be afraid to fall in love!
Tip #3: Set Tiny Milestones
Setting lofty goals you might not reach is only going to get you down. Instead, tell yourself you only need to do one sun salutation, or walk one block. Even a quick stretch or a brief stroll will give your body a boost of energy. Setting tiny goals takes the pressure off, and oftentimes gives you the motivation to keep going. Before you know it you’ll be 20 minutes into a self-guided yoga practice and feeling great.
Tip #4: Pack Your Bag
Carving out time for fitness is all about removing barriers. Keep a ready-packed gym/yoga bag in your foyer so you have one less to-do standing between you and your workout. It’s handy to have your fitness gear ready to go when you are—especially when you realize you can make it to the next Yoga Babies class if you can get out the door in the next 5 minutes!
Tip #5: Cross the Finish Line
From loosing weight to building strength, hitting a ‘target’ is one way we measure our fitness success. But instead of stepping on the scale, change things up by working towards a different kind of goal. Find a charitable race or walkathon happening in your area and sign up! Train gradually with the aim of crossing a real finish line; you’ll feel so proud, while contributing to a worthy cause.
Tip #6: Do the One-Kilometer Challenge
If you live in the city, you are fortunate to have most of life’s necessities mere meters from your doorstep. Challenge yourself to walk to any destination within one kilometer. Do groceries, pick up dry cleaning, and hit the nearest park by foot. Living in a suburban area? No worries! Simply drive downtown or to the nearest ‘big box’ strip mall, park your car, and walk between the many shops!
Tip #7: Partner Up
We all know that staying accountable is a great way to stick to our commitments. Tell someone about your fitness plans—simply putting your intensions ‘out there’ will strengthen your resolve. Better yet, conscript others to join you! Arrange a bi-weekly yoga + coffee date with a girlfriend, or ask your partner to join you for evening strolls. Working out is often better with a buddy.
Tip #8: Start Kidding Around
No one will keep you on your toes like your kids! In addition to the usual running around required when you have diapers to fetch and toddlers to chase, take some time to play like a kid. Notice how they gallop, tumble, dance, and flop outside and around the home. Try climbing the stairs like a cat on all fours, or even jumping through the sprinkler with them! You may not be HIIT training, but you’ll be keeping active and having a blast!
At the end of the day, motherhood is a journey with a new set of rules, so don't expect to adhere to your pre-Mama self-care routines, or past expectations of what your works-outs should look like. Treat yourself with tons of kindness and understanding because Motherhood is demanding. Sometimes sit-ups & planks take the back seat to a sick child or catching up on much needed sleep, and that’s ok. Fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans may happen, and it may not, it really doesn't matter, so long as you do your best to stay active for the sake of your health & strength—goodness knows it will help you keep up with your Little Ones!