Natural Medicine

Medical Herbalism Nutrition Yoga & Wilderness Retreats

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Yoga session starts next Thursday

This Thursday October 27th is the end of the current Flow Yoga session at Burnside Gorge Community Centre. The new session starts right away on November 3rd and will end on December 15th.

The class has grown this fall and I have been offering pose options for new and experienced students. It is up to each person to set their pace, and mixed level classes can be a great way to learn about your ego, accept your current state of being and look forward to progressing!

Classes are open to drop in, registration or punch card holders. 
For more info visit: 
Hope to see you on the mat next session!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Giving Thanks

In BC the seasonal change and annual harvest is here. This is a great time to feast and feel grateful for so many things that enrich our lives.

For me the attention on gratitude extends to other days through the year. Each day after meditation or asana I take a moment of appreciation for something in my life. Some days I sit and wait before I shift my perspective and find appreciation, while other days I am flooded with boundless joy and gratitude for everything around me.

While I have enjoyed this daily, others make a birthday list with as many inspirations for gratitude as their age. Some keep journals to look back upon when they feel blue.

   I have enjoyed a few years of this daily practice and wanted to share some of the things that bring me joy..........
warm meadows
the earth and its nourishment
my family (all of them for their open hearts and each of them for the individual teachings they offer)
good, clean food
water (clear, oceans, tears, rivers)
the chance to walk in the forest (the smell of trees & dirt)
the sounds of wind in the trees
teachers I have known, past and present
dear friends
the sun
the chance to see my nephew as a young boy
music (the rhythm, the harmony)
the chance to love and be loved
Cam, my partner
the plants
the fungi
the animals
Loved ones who have passed on
walking the path with plants
the students who share their journeys
time spent in the wilderness
lessons from bear, cougar, moose and deer
songs from loons

What are you grateful for?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sol Mountain Yoga & Hiking Retreat

August 2011

Sol Mountain Lodge is located in a beautiful backcountry niche of the Monashee Mountains in British Columbia. The year was our first Yoga retreat at the lodge and we are scheduled to offer more next summer! Here are some photos to share the experience and entice you to join us next year!

Yogis heading back to the lodge after morning Yoga bliss in the meadow:

Downward dog with a view! Just a short walk from the lodge:

Some participants hiked up into amazing terrain:

Sol Lake:

Yoga on the ridgeline with phenomenal views bringing us in touch with the heavens:

A chance for a quiet moment to take in the surroundings:

  The meadows are amazing! Arnica:

So many flowers you just might want to stay there!

We hope you will join us next year! Your Yoga retreat hosts: Lindsay (above) and Sabine (below, right); also look for an article coming in a regional magazine next year by Suzanne (below, left) an accomplished writer who came along with us this year! 

To learn more about Sol Mountain:

or like it on Facebook:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Flow Yoga starts Thursday September 8th 

7-815pm @ the Burnside Gorge Community Centre

This is a fun class that offers basic poses and breathing techniques joined with fluid movements. Options to progress to intermediate poses are offered. Sequences include sun saluations, standing and seated poses, hip openers, inversions (optional), and relaxation.

The facility is non-profit and housed in a eco-friendly building! Class prices are very affordable @ $72 for 8 sessions! Students will progress more with regular attendance, but drop-in sessions are also welcome.

To register or find more info:

Photos from summer in the interior of British Columbia

After a couple months in the mountain wilderness I am back in the city! I enjoyed time swimming in the cleansing waters of glacial lakes, gazing upon sub alpine meadows, stepping delicately around alpine flowers, contemplating stars and meeting nature seekers from all around the world! It seems that folks in all walks of life crave the stillness and simplicity of "unplugged" life! Some asked about plants that can be used for medicine and food and others asked to share Yoga with me on the beaches of lakes, on alpine ridges and under towering forests.

Here are some photos from this summer.........

Canoeist on Clearwater Lake, Wells Gray Provincial Park

Arnica Cordifolia (Heart leaves arnica) near Monashee Provinical Park.

Wildflowers near Monashee Provincial Park. 
Photo includes Pulsatilla spp. (Pasque flower, seeding), 
Indian Paintbrush, Arnica spp., and Woolly Pussytoes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer break

This summer I am off to the forest and lakes to work and play and reconnect with nature in its pure form. I will in the North Thompson / Caribou region -canoeing, hiking, gardening, and sitting with mother earth. I will be inviting travelers on canoe trips to practice with me under the trees and will be wild crafting herbs from the amazing forests in the area.

I am so grateful to all the community in Victoria who have shared in Yoga classes and in herbal clinics and I look forward to returning in September. I hope you will find time to practice Yoga with another teacher or on your own - maybe some lovely outdoor sessions!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

FREE YOGA!! Sunday 9am

Feel Good Yoga in Langford offers some free classes and this time it's my Power Flow class! This Sunday 9-1015am. Come out for fun, sweaty bliss! Class includes sun salutes, a flow through standing poses with options for working towards more challenge, hip openers, powerful breath and deep relaxation.

For more info

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wildharvesting: Nettles (Urtica dioica)

It's time to harvest Nettles (Urtica dioica) on the west coast. 
Harvest Nettles before they flower, before the leaves are very large. Wear gloves, cut stems near the ground and prepare to dry or use fresh. Cooked Nettles make a great soup, otherwise they can be made into a tea or dried for later use. Spread out to dry as they will bruise easily. Do not wash prior to drying. Do not harvest leaves after the plant goes to seed as the mineral content changes and becomes irritating to the kidneys. Caution: do not touch the plant as it can cause dermatitis (Plantain leaf is a great antidote for this). Nettles sometime grow in contaminated soil so take care to select clean habitats for harvesting.

For more info on spring harvesting check out:

Class schedule changes

Friday 530pm Vibrant Flow is cancelled for the summer season.

NEW Sunday 9am Power Flow @ Feel Good Yoga

Hope to see you on the mat soon!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter weekend! No classes!

Enjoy feast and festivities this weekend!
No Yoga classes with Lin until next week.
Do a little practice on your own - just stick to poses you feel comfortable with and set simple expectations - even 15 minutes helps to clear your energy and keep your body and mind happy!

See you next week!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Photos from a recent forest walk.........

Erythronium spp. (Fawn Lily)

Acer spp. (Maple) flowering

Daphne laureola -invasive!!

Lysichiton americanus (Skunk cabbage) 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Plant sale April 5th in Saanich

WHEN: Tuesday 05 April 2011 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
WHERE: GARTH HOMER CENTRE 813 Darwin Ave. (South of Saanich Municipal Hall)
Choose from an intriguing variety of hardy shrubs & perennials, exotic alpine plants, rare native ferns, fresh vegetable & herb plants, seeds, used garden tools & pots...and so much more! All from local specialty nurseries & home growers.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cultivation Medicinal Plants Workshop! Featured plant: Yarrow

My communal project (Herbal Medicine Education Association) is partnering with Lifecycles ( ) to offer a Workshop on Cultivating Medicinal Plants! Please attend on Mon Apr 4th 7-9pm at Pacific Rim College for info on more plants and how to plan your medicine garden!
Yarrow                        Achillea millefolium
A perennial herb that can be easily grown in our climate. Sow seeds shallowly indoors in late winter or outside in late spring. Divide established plants in spring or autumn. Will grow in almost any soil, but prefers slightly acidic (6-6.7pH), moderately rich, well-drained soil (to avoid mildew) and full sun. Collect aerial parts after the flowers bloom from June to September; a second harvest may be possible! After harvesting hang in bunches to dry. Grows to 2-3 feet tall and offers tiny, white flowers and lots of green leaflets. A great addition to the garden as it can be used as a compost starter and attracts beneficial insects.

It is easily harvested and used as an infusion or wash. Its medicinal actions include bitter, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant, astringent, and anti-septic. This wide range of actions makes it useful for many conditions including menstrual cramps, colds, fevers, flu, menopause, nose bleeds, swelling and wound care. Avoid in pregnancy or if you have an allergy to the Asteraceae (Composite/Sunflower) family.

To attend the workshop: Please RSVP to: and (250) 383-5800.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Raspberry medicine!

Raspberry or Rubus species are native to North America,  Europe  and Asia. Rubus idaeus is one of the most common indigenous plants in North America. Raspberry leaf is used in modern herbal medicine and by the indigenous people of Canada. 

The leaf is used to treat painful or delayed menstruation. Raspberry leaf tones the smooth muscle of the uterus and can also be used to prepare for childbirth. This astringent characteristic also acts on the digestive system, making Raspberry leaf a good medicine for mouth sores, nausea or diarrhea. 

For diarrhea or menstrual cramps make a cup of tea with 1 tsp of dried Raspberry leaf. During the last trimester of pregnancy drinking 1 cup of tea per day can help the muscles supporting the uterus to deliver the baby!

Other herbs that are used to prepare for childbirth include Partridge berry (Mitchella repens), also native to Canada, and Highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulus and local species), which helps dilate the cervix during labour. 

If you are unsure what to take you can contact a Medical Herbalist, or a Midwife or Naturopathic Doctor with a herbal specialty. For more info on herbal medicines, herbal history or how to visit a herbalist 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Support access to natural health products in Canada!

"The Charter of Health Freedom is proposed legislation that gives Natural Health Products and Traditional Medicines their own Act..
The Charter protects our access to Natural Health Products and Traditional Medicines by creating separate legal category for them.  Rather than being deemed as dangerous drugs under the Food and Drugs Act, under the Charter Natural Health Products and Traditional Medicines are deemed to be safe."

There is a petition to sign if you support this movement!

Natural Pain Relief from Willow

Exerts from my essay comparing holistic and chemical modalities of medicine. Please contact me to read the whole essay or to get more info on references.

The bark and leaves of willow species contain salicin, the natural precursor to salicylic acid found in Aspirin type Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (Foster and Hobbs 2002). In addition to Salicaceae, salicin is found in the Rosaceae genera in Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet), and the  Caprifoliaceae genera in Viburnum prunifolium (Black Haw) (Hoffmann 2003).   

Salicin precursors are transformed in the stomach and small intestine to create salicin. Salicin can be absorbed in the small intestine, however, it is more commonly absorbed in the distal end of the ileum or in the large intestine. In the large intestine, bacterial flora convert salicin, a glycoside, to salicylic alcohol, an aglycone (the non-sugar component of a glycoside). The salicylic alcohol is then absorbed and converted to salicylic acid, the active form, by oxidization in the blood, liver, and other tissues. (Bone and Mills 2000).

 In the 19th century, scientists studied the anti-pyretic and anti-inflammatory actions of Salix alba (White Willow) bark. They experimented in attempts to extract salicin from the bark. The extraction techniques were relatively crude, and they were only able to isolate salicylic acid rather than salicin. Salicylic acid also displays analgesic and anti-platelet actions. Recall that salicylic acid is naturally formed in the large intestine; in the stomach, however, it acts as an irritant (Bone and Mills 2000). 

Salicylic acid is commonly ingested in the form, Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), or Aspirin type NSAIDs. This synthetic form displays a stronger antiplatelet action because of the addition of the acetyl group (Bone and Mills 2000). The anti-platelet action inhibits clot formation in the blood, making it useful in cases of high blood pressure because reduced viscosity of the blood reduces the total peripheral resistance in the blood vessels. However, anti-platelet medicines can also lead to serious side effects such as ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract (Medicine net 2010).

Willow bark is still commonly used in modern herbal medicine, termed phytotherapy. In contrast to ASA, willow bark is not known to have any dangerous side effects or interactions with other medications. The anti-platelet activity displayed by ASA is not seen in the use of plant tissue containing salicin as they are chemically different (Hoffmann 2003). The absence of the acetyl group and the avoidance of salicylic acid contacting the stomach, make Willow bark a safer medication than ASA. In addition to salicin, willow species contain tannins, and therefore offer an astringent property making them useful for diarrhea and throat inflammations (Foster and Hobbs 2002). The comparison of willow and ASA displays the importance of pharmacokinetics when considering the difference between administering chemical derivatives versus whole plant tissues.

As humans and plants interact, each species reacts to others within the ecosystem, resulting in a pattern or energetic change. Plants that have co-evolved with humans are similar energetically as they have been exposed to the same elements or ecological patterns, such as seasonal variations. The co-evolution of human and plant species enables synergistic reactions at both microscopic and macroscopic levels. Holistic care promotes integrated healing by employing whole plant tissues with respect for the adaptive evolutionary form of plant medicines.

Interestingly, the ecosystem provides multiple plant tissues that are useful in combination. The Thompson band of BC used willow branches to splint broken bones; meanwhile they boiled bark to make a poultice and rubbed branches on compound fractures (Turner 1990), presumably to make use of the plants anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The long term observation of willow within its natural environment enables  humans to benefit from a variety of properties, its salicin, tannins, fibres, and other microscopic and macroscopic materials which have co-evolved with us.

Remember, if you are taking ASA to thin your blood for cardiovascular concerns, Willow is not a suitable alternative. If, however, you are taking ASA for pain, Willow and other salicin containing plants offer a holistic option!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wildcrafting article in Newspaper!

Recently, I met with Keira Zikmanis, writer for the Nexus - Camosun College's student newspaper. We spoke about wildcrafting medicinal plants and she has included some info in her latest article. The article is brief but offer a couple good resources if you are interested to learn more. Check it out at:

Some of the first plant to wildcraft in Spring include: Thuja plicata (Red Cedar) and Galium aparine (Cleavers). Spring plants you may find in your garden include Plantago spp. (Plantain) and Stellaria media (Chickweed). Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) & Urtica dioica (Nettles) must be collected in Spring, as older Summer plants contain Silica which irritates the kidneys. Remember to follow good practices to ensure that population of plants is maintained for the next generation!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Centring and grounding are important tools to ensure that you remain present in your body in any situation. There are many methods for grounding, some of which are listed below.

The first two methods assist in bringing energy inwards and downwards.
  • Breathing (particularly slow, deep, steady pranayamic breathing)
  • Eating (enhances connection with physical, earth based element

Some yoga poses are grounding, including:
  • Padmasana (or sitting cross legged on the ground).
  • Balasana, Child’s pose, Turtle Pose (sitting on bent legs, bent forward with forehead on floor)
  • Spinal Roll up (hang loose in forward bend and breath deep, then bend knees and slowly roll up vertebrae by vertebrae, so your head comes up last. Roll shoulders back at top and stand tall with feet firm on floor.)
  • Lying flat on your back feeling the solid ground beneath you, supporting you.

  • Stones useful for grounding may be held or laid on the body or meditated upon. These include black, brown, and red stones, in particular Smokey Quartz, Obsidian, and Black Opal. In addition, Blue/Green Obsidian is said to assist in energy transfer during Reiki treatments.

  • Standing with feet even and solid on ground, especially outside with bare feet.

  • Putting bare hands or feet in the earth.

  • Concentration on root chakra, or meditative visualization of anchoring the root to the Earth centre.

  • Meditative Visualization of tree-like root connecting the body/root chakra to the soil beneath.

    Practice these when you feel calm and clear and you will be able to recreate that feeling even when times are tough and you feel scattered!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Herbs for Sleep........zzzzzz.........

Withania Somnifera Ashwagandha is a tonic for sleep disturbance due to excess Vata (Air and Ether in Ayurvedic theory).  Fearful dreams that include flying, jumping or running indicate high Vata. Ashwagandha eases nervous exhaustion and fatigue. and promotes deep, restful sleep that is dreamless.

Scutellaria lateriflora Skullcap is a relaxant that not only soothes nervous tension, but also offers a tonic support for the nervous system. It is useful in states of exhaustion and depression, as well as insomnia, hysteria, nervous twitching and nervous headaches. Skullcap may potentiate other sedative medications.

Lavendula angustifolia Lavender is antispasmodic, antidepressant and acts to relax the nervous system and lower blood pressure. It eases tension, headaches, anxiety and depression. Lavender also restores natural sleep cycles, relieving insomnia that relates to an overactive mind. It is helpful as a tea, in a warm bath, or as an essential oil.

Passiflora incarnata Passionflower is a hypnotic nervine that is also antispasmodic. In addition it is lowers blood pressure and relieves pain. It is used to ease insomnia, tachycardia (fast heart rate), hysteria and seizures. Passionflower should not be taken with MAOI medications.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Yoga poses to open the Heart Cakra

The Heart Cakra is the home of our compassion, where we give and receive love within the world.

Anahatasana- the Melting Heart opens the back heart cakra that controls the lungs

Supta Baddhakonasana - lying back on a bolster opens the front of the heart, clears and opens the lungs, and with the hips open the energy is free to flow between the heart and the lower cakras - connecting our basic, instinctual energies with a conscious heart

Side stretches - whether seated or standing, side stretches open Vyana vayu- the energy pathway from the heart to the extremities

If you are having trouble expressing the feelings of your heart try chanting or singing - sound pulls the heart energy up and opens expression through the Throat Cakra

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Herbal love for Valentines

Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume. 
 ~Jean de Boufflers

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Herbal Medicine Clinical Hours

I am currently in my third year of study in a full time Phytotherapy (medical herbalism) program at Pacific Rim College in Victoria. Clinical herbal consultations are currently offered for FREE!! You simply pay for your herbs. 

I am currently offering clinic consultations open to the public: 
Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 330 & 5pm. 

Herbal consultations are offered to provide holistic health care and treat a wide range of ailments. During the consultation you will have time (about an hour) to discuss your health history and your current state of physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. Following the consultation I offer nutritional and lifestyle guidance and a customized herbal formula. Herbs may be in the form of a tea, tincture, capsule, or topical cream depending on your needs. 

To book an appointment: please call Pacific Rim College (phone: 250.483.2119). The college is located in Market Square @ 229-560 Johnson Street, Victoria BC. If you are not available at these times it may be possible to schedule another time. The college also offers a community acupuncture clinic! 

Current Yoga Schedule

Thursdays 7pm-815pm
Flow Yoga @ Burnside Gorge Community Centre
Relax and unwind with this gentle yet challenging class. Glide through classical yoga poses, gain body breath and self awareness. Classes include breathing techniques, classic yoga postures, and a relaxation component. Drop-in prices, 10-class punchcards and monthly wellness passes are all available to give you flexibility and choice.

Fridays 530-645pm
Ashtanga Yoga @ Feel Good Yoga
Traditional Ashtanga vinyasa sequencing involving sun salutation, strengthening, challenging poses and invigorating breath. Variations of poses and adjustments will be included to support the individual progression of each student.

Fridays 7pm-800pm
Candlelight Gentle Flow @ Feel Good Yoga
A class to relax, unwind for the weekend and relieve tension in the body, heart, and mind. The class will combine mellow Hatha flows with longer seated Yin holds as well as breathing and relaxation exercises.

NEW Gentle Flow class to begin Wednesdays in March @ Burnside Gorge Community Centre.