Gillian Brown describes herself as a holistic health coach. The Canadian yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner, and wellness blogger has a degree in Applied Human Nutrition and a passion for passing her healthy lifestyle on to others. Brown has combined her skills to offer her clients an all-encompassing approach to health transformation through one-on-one coaching, online courses, workshops, and travel retreats.
What does holistic health mean to you and how do you incorporate it into your practice?[Holistic health] is a wholeness. It’s looking at the health of our body, mind and spirit, rather than just compartmentalizing it into, say, a physical symptom. I have a background in nutrition and yoga, and I worked with people one-on-one and in group classes for years, but I realized that’s just one of the tools in my toolbox. I see [holistic health] as a gateway to the world within, to raise our awareness about the foods that we eat and how we’re moving our bodies, and just getting connected with our bodies in a way that so many North Americans are not.
How did you arrive at the lifestyle you now follow and have chosen to share with others?
It’s been a very gradual evolution. It’s kind of hard to put words to, but each step was very guided by the universe. I was in some really toxic situations and environments, and I was just kind of guided out of them and shown that there is a different way, a better way to live. I slowly transcended one bad habit at a time and it’s been a slow, steady growth. Transformation like that is not something that happens overnight and if it does, it’s not sustainable.
What role does yoga play in your life and what impact can it have on others?
The physical package of yoga is what gets most people and that’s what got me. I was looking for a different type of workout because I was wanting to be skinnier or more fit. It wasn’t because I wanted to become who I am today. Yoga, as mainstream as it is, is such an amazing thing, even though it has been diluted and maybe it’s not the same yoga that was practiced a thousand years ago, it still offers people that opportunity to look within themselves and see where they’re out of alignment.
One of the things you teach is self-love. How do you love yourself? What do you do to treat yourself?
I don’t see it as a treat, I see it as a necessity. I think that taking care of myself is the best thing I can do for other people. As a teacher, I lead by example. I teach what I experience, I teach what I know, I teach what I see in my clients. An indulgence for me is a night where I just totally get off the computer and maybe unwind with a bath, with some essential oils. I can do self-massage, dry brush, and then read before bed, and it’s just so nourishing.
What is your favourite spa treatment of all time?
One of my favourite treatments ever was at Pure and Simple in Toronto. They have a facial – I can’t remember the exact facial – but I added the breast massage and it was just the most luxurious hour-and-a-half of my life. I left there feeling like a million dollars. All the products [Pure and Simple] uses are natural, very much in alignment with everything that I stand for, and the practitioner was very informative. It was just right.