How Yoga Helped Me Become a Better Tree Planter


Tree planting, rated one of the hardest jobs on the planet.


Oh tree planting…


If you don’t know anything about tree planting let me catch you up to speed.

In a nutshell, tree planting is a job mostly done by 20-27 year olds who’s job is to plant seedlings for a reforestation company, (generally contracted by a logging company), so that they can one day grow tall and be cut down again for toilet paper.  Every planter is paid per tree, and your work is done out of remote camps, sometimes only accessible by helicopter, others in remote towns.  Depending on the planter and your land, you generally plant upwards of 1500-2500 trees per day.  Home is where you set up your tent, and running water is generally only available for drinking and hand washing.   No beds, no showers, no toilets.

Your work day consists of waking up super early, getting a lift to your land on some type of ATV, (that would surely break down), and leave you to hike to your job site.  You are generally left alone on your piece of land, for near 10 hours a day getting eating alive by black flies, scorched by the sun, all while busting your ass off, rain or shine, to gain a decent paycheck. 


I’ve been stung by wasps, stalked by grizzlies, eating alive by mosquitos, and don’t get me started on the black flies.  I’ve fainted from dehydration, I’ve had tendinitis from repetitive shovel slamming, and had hands so raw, that the only thing left to do was to cover them entirely with duck tape.

Looking back, tree planting was really an inevitable part of my journey.   Living in my tent all summer, helicopter fly-ins, no showers for weeks, living in the bush, planting TREES!…. This was right up my ally.

Anyway, how does this relate to yoga?

Well, in tree planting, if you don’t have the right frame of mind, you likely won’t make it.  The bush and the solitude is no easy place, if you are ill prepared either physically or mentally.  It takes great physical stamina but more importantly requires a good head on your shoulders.  


When I was faced with hiking back to camp after a 10 hour day of rain, I could remember to come back to my breath.  "This too shall pass".  When my body ached after a day on the block, I could remembered to come back to yoga to work it out.   "This too shall pass". Time planting trees was a lot like a day in meditation and after weeks and months of repetitive mindless work alone, the mind has ample opportunity to take you where it wants, bringing up raw emotions, thoughts and worries.  Working through our days on the block was a lot like working out things on the mat, except with much more discomfort, a lot of pain, and a lot more curse words.  Tree planting can be downright brutal, on the body and the mind and emotions that are often buried deep down, eventually come to surface.   If you really want to see how humans in their primitive and instinctual forms behave, throw them into isolated camps into the bush for while.

Although sometimes brutal, I’ll never underestimate how much healing came from my years of tree planting.  Sometimes pushing ourselves to the edge of our physical and mental capabilities is exactly what we need, to see exactly what we are made of.   To test ourselves, and to experience the real and the raw versions of ourselves.  To come out of our comfort zones, to struggle and then to see ourselves come out of it.  To be put under anything but ideal circumstances, and be forced to meet it with equanimity. There’s something amazing that comes from looking back on something incredible you’ve accomplish and know that you persevered.



And this is what kept me coming back


And this is how it reminds me of my yoga practise….


Through yoga, I've learned to accept what is and to make the best of a situation.  It taught me to learn to stop to heal, and when frustrated to stop first to breathe.  Yoga taught how to take myself to arduous places and to lean into discomfort.


Yoga helped me through my tree planting years, and when I returned to my mat after each season I was always blown away at how much tree planting had taught me.  My mind and body was always stronger, and I developed a better habit of being less reactionary on and off the mat.


“If I can do that, I can damn well try a hand stand”

Winter Gear Guide. What to Buy and Where to Save Your Pennies

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  There is no such thing as “bad” weather…. only “bad” clothing.

Guys!  It’s time to get outfitted for what we love so much about Georgian Bay and get the most out of our time outside!  If you are going to be active in the winter, or come to one of our 'Snowshoe Yoga Hikes' it’s extra important to be suited up properly, and what you might think you need, might not be the right answer at all.  


So… now that you have you’re awesome Sojourn discount, here’s your guide to know where to put your money.   Outdoor gear can really add up, but good quality gear is totally 100% worth it when you’re putting your money towards the right things.

How do I know all of this? Well, I’ve worked in the outdoor industry for over a decade,  and the total amount I’ve spent on gear… well…. lets just say I could start my own store in Port Severn with my personal collection. 



1.     Base-layers

“Cotton Kills”!  Heard this before?   It’s a bit over the top, but the lesson is this… stay away from cotton and especially in winter!  Here is why.  Cotton not only absorbs moisture pulling it from the air, your sweat, and the environment, but it also retains it for a super long time.  Cotton takes FOREVER to dry out.  That means when you sweat, that cottony layer will likely stay wet the entire time you wear it, eventually getting cold and resulting in the chills.

What does this mean?

STAY  AWAY from those old school long johns stuffed in your top drawer.   Anything next-to-skin should NEVER have any cotton content.   (Sweetlegs are fine ladies!  I already checked)  The best thing you could do is to invest your money into decent base layers.  Icebreaker has amazing merino wool layers that are breathable and insulating, but a nice poly-blend will do.

2.     Soft – Shell Pants

This might be tough to do all at once, but it is a worthy investment if you are active outside.  I will not wear insulated snowpants or jackets when I snowshoe regardless of how cold is, even in -30C.    How?  Layers people.  If you have ever snowshoed, you know how warm you can get!  You don’t want to be sweating your butt of in those insulated pants, because that runs the risk of cooling down too fast when you stop for a break... and that means chills... and that means shivers…. No fun.  

What does this mean?



You need outerwear that breathes.  If can’t do both a jacket and pants, start with your pants.   Buy yourself a decent pair of “soft-shell” pants.  These are stretchy, breath-able, and just warm enough.  On super duper cold days I layer up just right.   I have a pair of Patagonia soft shell pants that have lasted me about five years and still going strong!

3.     Merino Wool Socks

Guys… I almost want to make this #1.  Merino wool socks changed my life.   I mean it!   GAME. CHANGERS.  These bad boys are quite the investment.  A single pair of socks can run you anywhere between $13-$25.  But please, don’t be put off… Life changers shouldn’t come cheap.

The good news is these socks last an extremely long time.   I’m proud to say I’ve converted many people to the merino wool sock side, and once a merino wool sock wearer, always a merino wool sock wearer.



1.     Layers

You can load up on your layers anywhere.  So long as you stay away from cotton, you are good to go.  You can spend your hard earned cash on an expensive fleece, or a beautiful merino wool sweater, but you can find awesome fleece layers under $30 that will do that job almost anywhere theses days.  The fleecier the better!

2.     Hats, Mitts, Neck Warmers

It is always nice to have quality accessories, but from my experience so long as these items fit nicely, almost anything will do the trick.    Here’s a great place to save some dollars. 

3.     Gadgets

If you walk into an outdoor store you will be amazed at how many gadgets and interested new gear they will have hanging around the walls.  Don’t get me wrong, this stuff can be coooool as shit, but not necessary for having an enjoyable and safe experience outdoors.  If you are looking to spend your money wisely, and unless you are scaling Everest or doing an overnight, it’s not always necessary to have a fancy new GPS, a  GoPro, or the latest greatest self filtering water bottle.  These things are great, but if you are trying to put your money to work, best to save your pennies for the things that will actually improve your life outdoors.... see above.

Have fun in the snow!  Stay warm and I'll see you out there in Honey Harbour, Port Severn, Coldwater, or Midland.


Laura Jane



A Little December Gift For You!


oh hello, 

Good Tidings to YOU!

Happy December, and good tidings to you and the beginning of the wackiness we call the holiday season!!

So New Years is coming and that means resolutions right!?  A new year symbolizing new beginnings, a fresh start!

If you haven't jumped on the yoga train yet, there really is no better time (I'll get to that in a hot sec) < and if you're already a yoga lover, this applies to you too!

If you've never taken a class, there's a chance you may be feeling a bit intimated or concerned you're not cut out for it?

Trust, you are not alone...    

I hear it all the time.... ALL THE TIME! 

"I'm not very flexible", "I'm not sure I have the body for it",  "I don't know anything about yoga", "I'll be so lost I don't know any of the poses!", "I'm too old!", "I can't even touch my toes!"

First of all, let it be known that the asanas or postures in yoga are just a small part of the experience, and secondly, yoga is for everyBODY!! .... so take that girl from the cover of 'Yoga Journal' magazine out of your head and chuck it into your mental garbage can!  And finally, there is a magical solution to your yoga insecurities.  Here it is:


Private sessions are by far my favourite part of teaching yoga.   You are one-on-one with an instructor and led through a sequence, just for you! It is tailored to suit your needs and level of experience but also covers a wide variety of the most common poses in yoga to learn proper alignment.    As your instructor, privates allow me to tailor modifications and variations specific to you, so that when you join our group you will be confident and also safe as you practise.    Hello, front row of the class!!!

Here is the best part ALL as a gift to you private bookings in December are offered at a discounted price and remember each private includes one free class pass!  Bonus!! 

Ready to book your first one-on-one for the new year or want to find out more?  Shoot me off an email by clicking here

Try to kick back this holiday season,
and remember that when you can't find your zen amongst the chaos, there is still always wine.
as always, Much Love,

 - Laura Jane

ps.  If your in the Honey Harbour, Port Severn area I hope to see you during this years festivities! 

Meditation Station! What's all the Hype about?!


I took this photo of my two year old meditating and the face he made was just priceless.  All I could think was 'I feel your pain little buddy... sitting with oneself ain't easy.'  And it's true, it can sometimes be straight up painful and ugly.  I've been fortunate to partake in two separate Vipassana courses over the years.   These are ten day silent meditation retreats offered worldwide, where a regimented schedule requires over ten hours of meditation each day, taught by my most influential teacher, S.N. Goenka.  I can't lie and say it was easy, but radical life changing experiences rarely come without putting in the work first.

So, maybe a ten day meditation course in silence isn't for you.... not to worry,  I've got you covered.

As many of you know, each of my yoga classes start and finish with seated meditation.  And here is why...

In a world as manic and busy as ours, it is so important to take the time to work with our minds.... 'Exercise' it, if you will.  We all know spending time and energy to maintaining healthy and fit bodies is so important, but what we need more than ever in our lives are healthy, fit, and ultimately happy minds;  it's our most powerful tool at our disposal as human beings.  The Eastern world has acknowledged this fact for centuries, and just recently has the Western world started to catch wind.

Don't overthink it, meditation is simply working with the science of the mind.   And just like exercise is a workout on the body, meditation is a workout of our minds.  (especially at first)  As we sit with ourselves in meditation, we are creating the space to simply face whatever comes up in our minds and our bodies with consciousness, and awareness.  As pleasant or unpleasant sensations or thoughts arise in the mind and body, we simple acknowledge the thoughts and sensations for what they are, sit with them, and gently resist the urge to react to that which arises.  We practise becoming simply observers.   Sounds easy right... wrong!!  Years and years of neglecting our minds has left them wildly out of control,  irrational, and quite frankly insane.  Don't be suprised if a storm of emotion takes you over when you start to sit silently with yourself.  But don't feel discouraged, you have meditation, and it is your tool to tame that beast!

As we practise our ability to sit with those things that are uncomfortable in meditation.... (an emotion, a feeling, a bodily sensation), the pull of the mind begins to have less and less of an effect on us.  We begin to develop the tools to interpret these things more objectively, with less of a reactive emotional or physical response.

Yes, yoga is so so so sweet for the body, but as you deepen your practise, you'll realise how beneficial it is for your mind, making you cooler, calmer, and happier in your life. 

Create the space for yourself.

For more information on Vipassana, please get it touch as I could ramble on for days.   Here's the link to the Vipassana Centre in Ontario


Namaste Friends,

Laura Jane