Good Morning, an interview with Gillian
Gillian Brown and I met for the first time in 2006, on campus at university. I remember she was wearing a jean mini skirt, it was first year and we were at a party in residence. I was immediately drawn to her.
We were both studying nutrition so we had many of the same classes during our first two years. As time went on, we got to know each other and became close friends – we would study together, have sleep overs and often get ourselves into some interesting situations (stories for another time). We’d also indulge in unhealthy habits together, like taking caffeine pills and laxatives, among other things – it was a lifetime ago, to say the least. We were nutrition students yes, but we were caught up being 20-somethings grasping for all the wrong things.
Times have changed. Today, Gillian and I share a home in Toronto. She’s a best friend and a sister. We were cut from the same cloth. It’s funny to reflect on how our friendship has evolved, or rather, how we have evolved as women. Nowadays, our kitchen is a laboratory of sprouting seeds, fermenting mustard and soaking nuts. Oh yes, times have changed.
Gillian is an inspiration and she lives and breathes her life’s work. She’s a healer and a teacher and a guide to those around her. Gillian is a yoga instructor and holistic health coach. I interviewed her for Good Mornings, read about her insightful morning rituals below.
Describe who you are (right now) and what you do.
I am a lover of life. I inspire others by sharing my insights and experiences and I teach people how to take care of themselves using tools like yoga, pranayama, meditation and mindful eating. I work in variety of ways; one-on-one coaching, retreats, and writing.
Do you believe your mind and thoughts are clearer in the morning?
Yes, most definitely. Our minds are so impressionable first thing in the morning, so that’s why an expansive morning practice it is so important.
What sparked your interest in nutrition, yoga and holistic health?
I came into this way of life after many years of pain spent living in small spaces within myself. I grew tired of editing who I was, feeling like crap and living a life of mediocrity… that is when things really shifted.
I always had an interest in nutrition, but for all the wrong reasons (calorie counting and losing weight). Then I got into yoga because I was looking for a good workout, wanting to tone up (again weight related). I combined my training in both nutrition and yoga, to first change everything about my life and now I help others to do the same.
What does a typical breakfast look like for you?
Soup, eggs and kale or squash pancakes! YUM.
What goes on in your head? How have you combatted the inner critic and what advice can you give on getting out of your head and into your body?
My Inner Critic ran the show for much of my life. I have since befriended her and hear her objections, thank her for her input and carry on with my life. The key is to take action and do the things that really scare you, stepping outside of your comfort zone is where the real magic happens. It takes a lot of practice to separate yourself from your thoughts but it’s a muscle that you flex and develop over time. The more you do it the easier it gets.
What does holistic living mean to you?
Everything is connected. Illness isn’t localized to one tiny spot in the body, it goes way deeper than that. Most illnesses are psychosomatic and have roots in our past traumas. Holistic health is all encompassing, it means healing yourself on every level of the your being; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, social and even environmental.
What’s one food you’re really into right now?
Shilajit— essentially its ancient fossilized bat poop.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Beautiful question, I believe the best advice I ever received was to go deeper and work on my roots. A plant is only as healthy as its roots. At the time I was so focused on the ‘flower’ or the social mask that I was showing the world, I had completely neglected the most important part of my ‘plant’- the part that nourishes me, without the roots we don’t get very far. That advice has helped me to realize that for sustainable growth, I had to go ‘deep’ before I go ‘up’.
What positive change do you wish to impart on the world?
Oh baby, I’ve known that I am here to do big things since I can remember. The ‘how’ is getting clearer and clearer everyday. I know that I am here to share my experience and hold space for others to transform their lives through digging deep, uncovering and nurturing their True Selves. Overall, I wish to teach the world about the healing powers of love!
Describe mornings with one word.