Our Founder’s Personal Healing Journey

Hi there, it’s Sabrina, the woman behind Heelr. Since as early as I can recall, I’ve been fascinated with plants, and understanding myself and nature.

I was ever-curious about plants, rocks and life of all kinds—and still am!—but my path to wellness and this business was not a linear one. In fact, I took the longer, meandering road, and today I want to share a bit of my story with you…


I was born and raised in a small town outside of Toronto, Ontario where my creativity and imagination ran wild. If I wasn’t up a tree reading about dreams, I was drawing people and eyes, or barefoot in the dirt, belting out a song. I simply loved playing in nature, singing and dancing, writing and drawing.

I doodled eyes and portraits my whole life, but my preoccupation with the body and healing didn’t truly begin until I found Yoga in my mid-teens when I was struggling with acne and recovering from anorexia. Slowly, it became a regular healthy practice in my life, sparking an interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reflexology and Ayurveda, topics I dove into with the goal to better understand myself.

I filled sketchbooks with notes and drawings, and after high school, I pursued Art and Illustration, partly inspired by the scientific illustrations I’d come across in my textbooks. From 2008 – 2012, I attended Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, and while my Yoga practice came and went through the years, the art and design world offered me another perspective on the mind and body: I got to learn anatomy, and practice figure drawing from live models. I was also reunited with music and colour, and was opened up to a new world of individuality and self-expression!


The Summer That Everything Changed & Saturn Returned

I graduated with my BAA in Illustration in 2012, and for years, I worked a multitude of creative roles in advertising, tech, teaching, and writing. At 23 I bought and renovated my first home, and started writing for Design*Sponge, travelling to speak about creativity and entrepreneurship, and blogging about my home and life.

At 25, I introduced a Blue Heeler to my life, Piper, and a few month later, I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to co-host of my own HGTV show!

At the time, this was truly a dream, and I dove in headfirst. By 26, life was all work, and, on paper, I “had it all”: I owned my own home; I was HGTV’s newest Designer and host; I had commercial deals and sponsorships; and all the trappings of modern success for a woman my age. But despite all of this, I was unhappy, burnt out, and newly diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an auto-immune condition which impacts your throat, the centre of your voice.

After filming the very first season of my HGTV show, I found myself with time off for the first time since I began my career. Suddenly I wasn’t “on” for 12+ hours a day, commuting in traffic for hours more, eating when I was too hungry, and constantly working. It was the first time in my adult life I really had (and took) time and space to reflect, and all of these feelings were confronting me, enough that I was suffering from a physical disease that I now know was linked to my dis-ease with my life.  

I was 27 (on the cusp of my Saturn Return, which for anyone into Astrology knows is a period of rebirth for many), and since I began school, I hadn’t really stopped striving. So with my remaining time off, I pulled the plug on my life and signed up for a two-week wellness retreat in Bali, Indonesia.


Escaping Within

At Escape Haven in Canggu, with an intimate group of 11 other women, I was exposed to fresh air, ocean water and ample sun, and I was reunited with my Yoga practice. It was the quietest and simplest 2 weeks of my life.

We ate lots of fresh fruit and plant-based meals, and meditated each morning, followed by yoga or surf. But, there, I experienced something new I hadn’t before: Along with embracing some Ayurvedic self-care practices, like Abhyangam, I had my first encounter with energy healing and bodywork.

While I didn’t adopt these practices gracefully, I was drawn in because of how they made me feel and became fixated on understanding exactly what made me feel so radically different than the burnt-out girl I was weeks before.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that trip was not only the catalyst for my healing, but for inspiring what eventually became Heelr…


Thailand Teacher Training

When I returned home, I jumped back into work, but my heart stayed in Southeast Asia. So I signed myself up for a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training course in Thailand for the following spring.

I spent time in Taipei and Chiang Mai, before I arrived for my six-week in Koh Samui in Thailand where I was studied Sanskrit, ancient yogic texts, and the healing modalities of Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation and Anatomy.

By March 2018, I had become a certified Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation and Anatomy instructor, and that same month, I fell in love with a man back home, whom was dog-sitting my Blue Heeler, Piper.

Returning to the Super Natural.

This time, returning home was bittersweet. I was happy to be with people I loved, but I missed the wild, and I missed feeling so connected to my body. I hadn’t even realized it, but bit by bit over the year past, I had rediscovered some peace and balance in my life, and as a result, my body changed, and so did my mind. I was no longer stressed or struggling with expressing myself.

By the following autumn, I’d come to visit and fall in love with super-natural British Columbia and decide to move across the country with my dog and my new love. And there, I’d explore the mountains, beaches, and connect again with Earth and nature again.

Within a few months of moving, I’d decide to quit my career in television and start teaching Yoga. I’d sell my home in Ontario, we’d buy a cottage in the woods, and I’d eventually ditch all my prescription medications. In 2020, I’d enrol and graduate from Outlier’s Intro To Astronomy in addition to studying Botany on my own, all of which helped me put together the pieces of my lifelong puzzle, circling self-healing.

And after applying what I’ve learned to restore my own health, naturally, I’m now on a mission to help you rediscover yours! 

In 2021, Heelr was born!

While my path hasn’t been straightforward, I truly believe I needed these experiences to see for myself how one can transform their life when they commit to themselves.

When I look and think back to the girl I was at 15, and the woman I am at 30 today, I see the choice to take care of my mind and body as the only difference between them. All the positive change in my life only came as a result of looking after myself, and honouring my basic needs and wants. It sounds simple enough to do, but in today’s society, it’s not. We are raised to win, compete and achieve. And with social media and entertainment now, we are constantly distracted from our feelings and our connection to nature. It’s all too easy to seek validation from every other person who’s life you see online, and fall off your personal happy path.

My goal is to make being healthier easy and enjoyable. Whether that’s giving yourself an hour a week to practice yoga and meditate, or it’s listening to a healing frequency while you clean the house, or it’s as simple as swapping your face serum with our 100% natural one.

From our little self-care practices, to what we use on our bodies, we can become our own healers, and Heelr is here to be your guide along the way!

 

Comments

  • Tom McClellan

    So happy for your personal transformation!

  • This is the perfect blog for anyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that has been discussed for many years. Excellent stuff, just great!

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