# 4 - Because dignity is beautiful
In this week's episode:
A talk with Caroline MacGillivray
Caroline creates wellness workshops and classes for individuals, corporations, and not for profits. Using modalities such as qi gong, yoga, personal training and group fitness, she believes breath work, movement and mindset can be healing and healthy for ones’ health journey. Using play and fun in workouts has her encouraging clients to explore their surroundings and what feels good. This includes barre, pole dance, aerial yoga and ballet body and play ground workouts. Caroline has been part of community initiatives including serving on the steering committee Carnegie Alley Health Fair in Vancouver’s DTES, teaching bunny yoga classes for Small Animal Rescue, co-founding Qi Day - free Qi Gong treatments and classes for seniors, and Beauty Night Society.
Episode 4 audio Sun, 6/13 2:04PM 22:08 SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, aerial yoga, carolyn, run, called, wellness, activities, ended, class, love, women, fitness, beauty, pieces, downtown eastside, playground, knee, knight, years, upside 00:09 Hey everyone, and welcome to the age sister podcast. Today I am joined by Carolyn MacGillvray. Carolyn is just one of the most amazing people that I know she's one of those people who just makes your life that much better. Carolyn does so many things. She creates wellness workshops and classes for individuals and for nonprofits and corporations. He's a CI Gong instructor, which is amazing. She does Personal Training, she does personal fitness. She's a big believer in breath, work and movement and mindset and around the healing properties around those things. She uses a lot of play and fun in her workouts and has really encouraged her clients to explore their surroundings and explore what feels good. So this includes things like bar and pole dancing and aerial yoga, ballet. So just all sorts of things, even playground workouts. So beyond this, Carolyn also has been a huge part of the community, including serving on a steering committee for the Carnegie alley health bear in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. And for those listeners who are listening from different locations, Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is one of the the highest levels of poverty in neighborhoods in North America. So there's a huge amount of need. Carolyn also does an amazing job and has started an amazing organization with an organization called beauty Knight. So in beauty Knight, Carolyn, well, I'm gonna let her tell you more about it as we go along. Because it's just it's such an amazing story. And it's such an amazing organization. And I am so happy and proud to call Carolyn, my friend. So welcome, Carolyn. 02:25 Thank you and right back at UK, you're pretty amazing yourself. So 02:31 thank you. Well, you know, maybe we can start off you can just tell me about how you came to be Episode 4 audio Page 1 of 7 Transcribed by https://otter.aidoing all of these amazing, amazing things that you're doing. You know, wherever you want to start in that journey. Just take us through. 02:48 Well, for me, health and wellness became really important. I started off my essay my career. My first one was acting, singing, dancing, acting, writing and producing. And from there, ended up volunteering at a shelter in the downtown Eastside. And one of the women came in who had dealt with a lot of trauma, that's probably the most delicate way to put it. She didn't want to eat sleep. And when asked what she wanted, she told me she just want to feel clean. So I ended up getting her a towel. After she had her shower, we tried to find some fresh clothing that didn't have any body fluids on it. And there was a curling iron in the donation pile. So we ended up plugging it in. And when it got warm enough to do her hair, we realize that she wasn't able to get her arm up because it had just in terms of the mobility had been affected by the trauma she'd experienced. And so I did what anybody would do, I offered to do her hair. So from there, we laughed a lot because I was really bad at doing hair. And from there, I ended up giving her while she gave me a hug at the end of the night thanking me for making her feel human. So right from there, when I went home that night, it was like, wow, I don't really know what to do with this. This was a pretty amazing experience. And every time I came out to volunteer at the soup kitchen, more and more women started asking to do their hair and makeup and I'm not a makeup artist. Even after all these years, I'm not that was 20 years ago. From there, I got more curious about just health and wellness in general and how it affect people. So as I eventually created an organization called beauty Knight, for the last 20 years, we've done been doing a lot of work to help foster healthy self esteem by providing wellness, lifestyle development and make overs for women who reside in shelters, recovery centers, and sometimes in very scary situations. So we've been doing all that work, but I found for myself because I was still Writing while I was starting beauty night, I ended up doing a story about pole dancing for fitness. And from there, they ended up asked me if I want to become an instructor. So while I was doing all the frontline work in the downtown Eastside, I eventually became instructor trainer is all that musical theater stuff. And for a company called the radio fitness, which had 21 franchises across the country, and just over the years, as I've grown, I've added different modalities with it, and one of those people who absolutely hates going to the gym, but I really, really, really love group fitness. I love the connection of people in classes, there's been times over the years, even when I used to dance, where I'd show up at Harper dance center to take a class because I promised somebody else who was another student class that I'd be there for the next class, and I didn't have their phone number. So even if I didn't feel like going, I would still show up, though. There's something magical about that. But for me, I really love movement, I love breathing. And with that, the more opportunities I have to play, and I'm always super curious, because I find things that I love. And what works for me keeps evolving. So I keep adding to that. And with the work I do with the women in the side as well, being able to nourish them too, because I've realized for me that I have to make sure I keep myself very healthy, in terms of my Episode 4 audio Page 2 of 7 Transcribed by https://otter.aiself care practices, so I can hold space for people who may need a little bit more love from time to time. 06:42 True. And you know, Carolyn, if I had one word for you, it would be healer. Right, that I really think of you as a healer. And I think, how have you seen a difference in self care? Or maybe some of the things to think about in self care during this pandemic? You know, it's it's probably the first time that many people are turning their attention to self care. What are your What are your thoughts on that? 07:10 I think self care has a bad reputation. Sometimes people think of it as bubble bath. And yet soaking in warm water, I was just reading a study earlier today, which I'll have to see if I can find it on Facebook again. But it was interesting where it was cited about why it was really beneficial for people to be by water. And one of the things I've noticed is sometimes with the self care piece, because we're isolated, so people who say perhaps went to a gym or yoga studio, all of a sudden, because of all the lock downs, they've lost their own rituals in terms of what we consider self care. And it's been hard for some people working out online, it just doesn't work for them taking a zoom class, etc. So one of the pieces I found really a value has been, I believe it's called the life balance wheel, where you gauge yourself in regards to how you're feeling on a scale of one to 1010 being amazing one being okay, we need to get some work done. So everything from your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, family, home, career, your education. And I think in each of those areas, there's different parts. And then from there, thinking about what activities are beneficial for self care. And it starts with doing that balance will first because if we can see where we're at, it may be something like, say, we're really stressed out, but that stress is becoming because, you know, we haven't invoiced or we haven't paid visa bill or something like that. So sometimes that self care may be something like that. Whereas other times, it may be where we've been online so much that we need to unplug, we need to go for a walk in nature. So by taking that time to kind of evaluate where am i right now? What are the areas that I really need to nourish, but also giving yourself credit where it's like, okay, I've been doing pretty good with this. I've been having a bath every night. Maybe I've been doing some meditation or going for a run every morning, whatever those things are, those are the good things, where do I need to shift and always knowing that when we put a little bit of energy towards something, something is going to give somewhere else. So being kind to yourself. 09:36 That's so true. And you and I were talking just before we started recording, we were talking a little Episode 4 audio Page 3 of 7 Transcribed by https://otter.aibit about some shifts in our health as we you know, come into midlife. How do you think that is different for women as they get older, just some of the things around self care and, and taking care of yourself in terms of you know, some of the great programs that you offer 10:02 him. I think some of the big pieces is our bodies do shift. So from of course, if we go back to teenage years we go through puberty, we go through our 20s or 30s. Sometimes in that time in even in our 40s, having children, then hitting perimenopause, menopause, then after menopause, and with that, with the hormonal changes in our bodies, and as our bodies age, being kind to ourselves, because what worked for you when you were 15 years old, isn't necessarily going to work now. Where I do find as I've I've aged things that I loved when I was younger things like I spent a lot of time in ballet class singing and doing musical theater, going rollerblading, where now I'll be honest, once I started teaching pool back in 2004, I got a little freaked out because I fell and injured an elbow or a knee or a wrist, that was going to affect my livelihood. So I had to start reconsidering, and that was as early as my 30s at that stage where I stopped going rollerblading as much as much as I loved it. And so just being kind to ourselves where and recognizing you may not be 15 anymore. But that doesn't mean you're absolutely fantastic and terrific, exactly as you are now. And not competing with your previous self by giving yourself permission to play where it's like, okay, that worked for me then. And sometimes it may be where something you really loved as a kid revisiting it, to perhaps maybe, I'm not sure with COVID. But I was gonna say like joining a soccer team, or, you know, perhaps playing tennis or something, because that was something you loved when you're a kid. So we're exploring some things. But bearing in mind, not everything's going to be the same. I know myself, I spent a couple years rehabbing my right knee after trying to do a couple things on Instagram, including forgetting that I am not 14 anymore and doing trying to do toe touch jumps on the trampoline, while I was singing Papa don't preach, yeah, dropped to Madonna. and ended up landing on the spring on my ankle, which was a lovely domino effect the knee. 12:25 But I'm just as guilty of it. And it's easy to forget, especially when we have what my boyfriend would call member berries, where things come up that remind us of things that made us feel really good. And so being kind to yourself, recognizing that we have evolved, and with that, knowing that there's nothing wrong with trying certain things. But also, when I think back to when I was doing toe touch jumps, I was dancing, three to four hours a day, five or six days a week. And so I it wasn't like me not doing it for 10 years and attempting to do those kinds of jobs. I had actually put in all that practice, that persistence, and that dedication to my practice to be able to get to that level. It's kind of like sometimes I see with some of the classes I teach in personal training, where sometimes people come in, and they remember where they're at. We just did the run for resilience Episode 4 audio Page 4 of 7 Transcribed by https://otter.aifor beauty net society where it was a five or 10k walk run. And I'm really glad you suggested in regards to encouraging people to walk as well, because with the pandemic, I've noticed, because of the stay home piece, a lot of people did stay home where I know for myself, I stopped doing the 10,000 steps a day, where that was just normal, where I didn't even think about that was minimal for a long time. And then because we're staying at home, for me teaching on zoom, that changed too. And I know for some of my students same thing. And we compete with ourselves even as up to last year we're like, Okay, last year, I was able to run 10k or whatever we were at. and comparing ourselves to our past selves, we're like that took time to build your muscles, tendons, and ligaments take time to adapt to different activities. And it's remembering patients, which is not one of my virtues personally. And that's why sometimes it is good to have a coach or being in class and having people who can hold you accountable. And that accountability is not not just the okay get out there and do it. But it's also Okay, maybe, and I'm going to use running as an analogy because it's something that I love a lot these days. They may be doing a shuffle where you're you're dragging your feet a little bit more, where there's less impact, but you're still able to keep that longevity Have the amount of distance you want to go. But doing it in a very safe kind way, perhaps running on ashphalt or running on a trail as opposed to on the concrete, so less impact. So making those modifications as we come back to things. For somebody who might be doing yoga, maybe starting off with a half a class or giving yourself permission, and it's hard when the endorphins kick in, especially super hardcore vinyasa practice, and you haven't done a headstand in a year, well, that's going to be it took your time to get there in the first place. So remembering that, and honoring your past self by thinking about all that dedication and time you took into that, and trusting that, it may look a little bit different now. But there's no reason when you put your mindset and your persistence to those pieces, that you will get different things out of your practice. And who knows, you may get headstands really quickly if that was in your practice before, but trying to practice persistence and kindness to your body. We only got one. 16:10 So true. Such a good reminder, you know, and I was thinking about that, that idea that you know, a lot of women have been really sedentary during this time. And they want to get back to activities. One thing that I love that you do is you do some activities that are kind of outside the box. And I love that idea for women as their, you know, in midlife and getting older that they would think about some of these activities as well. Like you pull dance and you do aerial yoga, and you do bunny yoga. What do you think about that for women, you know, as they go back to activity, I love how you describe that just, you know, being kind to yourself, dialing it back. But what about thinking about some different activities just to mix things up. 16:59 I fully encourage it things like bungee fitness, I love, love, love. It's one of those things where I have Episode 4 audio Page 5 of 7 Transcribed by https://otter.aijumped a little bit too much in case anybody's wondering you actually the bungee cord wrapped around where you're in a harness. So sometimes she'll be say, doing like grapevine, and then doing a normal jump. But if you jump a little too far, I've actually had the whole thing dragged me back on the floor before a movie where you get dragged under the bed or something, you're kind of scared about it. And it makes me laugh. But because it's less impact, because you've got things like that aerial yoga, it's a dare I say because you've got a hammock, it can be like a deep tissue massage, which can be very good for intestines really great for spine. as well. There's something nice about being upside down and for pull. I love it on multiple levels of all the aerial pieces, as well as I just like being upside down. And it's definitely can play with at the playground too. It doesn't have to necessarily be in a class, if anybody is in an area where you may not have access to a studio. And I know sometimes Expo which is a great branch there sometimes on backorder these days, people have been wanting to do things from home. But it can be really fun. I think the magic in it, why I fell in love with teaching it is because it's kind of like being a little kid. Because you know, when you watch children at the playground, they're fearless. They hang upside down by hand with one arm, they run, they do all sorts of crazy, wonderful stuff. And what I love about being able to take your feet off the ground and watching people's face the first time they take their feet off the ground spin is their eyes light up the way kids do. And I think there's a magic in that. And when we connect that with our movement, our wellness, and our breath work. It can be really empowering and other levels of our life where it kind of gives people a little bit of an extra bounce in their step where it's like, okay, hang upside down. Today, I spent around a pole. I did as straddle upside down and aerial yoga, whatever it was, but it starts making you think about other areas of our lives to say we want to start a business, say we want to do something else. There have been some studies and I may bow to Kate on this one. But we're when people start to feel strong enough to fight back. And because I've done so much work with many women who've experienced domestic violence. It's been an interesting thing where when people start to feel strong, they start believing that other types change are possible and sometimes they're able to start looking at the other areas that they want to change and if I go back to that lifebalance will, we're able to take a big breath and go on strong. I call it putting my Doc Martens on where it's just like my feet feel really grounded and heavy rooted into the ground. I can take a big breath, and I can look at these other areas. So whether it's something hard, like maybe your power of attorney for an aging parent or caregiver, maybe there's been challenging situations with your child, because maybe you're having to home school now, for a kid or your kid isn't been able to go to university and same way because of things going on. It helps us just breathe and go, Okay, I'm actually strong, and I'm tough. And that's one thing I love about the physical piece. When we, we, when we actually strengthen our bodies, it helps to strengthen our spirit as well and our mindset and realize that so much cool stuff as possible. Starts with giving ourselves permission to play. Love that. 21:01 Episode 4 audio Page 6 of 7 Transcribed by https://otter.aiSo Carolyn, where can our listeners find out more about all the amazing things that you do? Where can they connect with you? 21:10 They can definitely connect with connect with me on my website at Carolyn macgillivray.com or beauty Knight society.com. That said, I will be very honest, I am much better at updating our Instagram accounts both for my personal for Caroline MacGillivray, and which Caroline underscore Michaela Ray and beauty Knight society that I am with the website. And on that note, Kate, I'm just going to bow to you in advance. I know you're going to be giving me a hand with that for beauty Knights. So there you go. Then I'll be able to actually so broken right now. 21:46 So Oh, my pleasure is such a great organization. So thank you so much for joining us. I just again, you're just doing such good work in the community and and with people individually and in groups. It's just fantastic. So yeah, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for having me.
About the show
The Age Sister Podcast is where Kate talks with an eclectic mix of guests about issues related to being a woman in midlife.
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