Heather’s E-Portfolio

Heather’s Story

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Heather Gunn McQuillan is the co-owner of Nature Space Resort in beautiful Morell, PEI. She is a certified RYT 200hr Yoga Alliance Teacher (500h currently in process with certifications in Yin, Yoga Nidra, and Chair Yoga). Heather has actively practiced yoga since 2009, is trained in Mindfulness Meditation (MBSR graduate), and has practiced meditation since 2013. She is also certified as a meditation and mindfulness instructor and is about to graduate from Canada’s only graduate-level University program in Mindfulness (Mindfulness Based Teaching and Learning offered from The University of the Fraser Valley). Heather is also a certified MBSR facilitator from the Centre for Mindfulness Studies.

Heather is a veterinarian and has been teaching vet students at the Atlantic Veterinary College since 2010. Heather was drawn to becoming a yoga teacher to further her own practice and to share the gifts of yoga and mindfulness. Spurred toVTH action by the crisis in veterinary wellness (veterinarians have suicide rates double that of the general population)* she wanted to improve and promote wellness both within and outside of the veterinary college. She is deeply committed to life-long learning, and has advanced training and certifications in leadership, communication, and wellness. Heather also holds certifications in Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) and Sea Kayaking through Paddle Canada.


Heather’s Degrees & Certifications

  • BSc & DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) (University of Guelph)
  • MBTL (Mindfulness Based Teaching and Learning) (University of the Fraser Valley)
    • MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Facilitator (Centre for Mindfulness Studies)
  • Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) (Yoga Alliance & Breathing Space Yoga)
    • Chair Yoga Certification (Breathing Space Yoga 14h)
    • Mindfulness in Schools Certification (Breathing Space Yoga 100h)
    • Yin Yoga (Breathing Space Yoga 14h)
    • Yoga Nidra (Maritime Yoga College 30h)
  • Certified Meditation Instructor (Lifestyle Meditation 25h)
  • Indian Head Massage Certification (Stride)
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Graduate
  • Mental Health First Aid Certification
  • ASIST Suicide Intervention Certification
  • Numerous Leadership, Communication & Conflict Resolution Certifications
    • AAVMC Leadership Academy Graduate
    • CVMA Emerging Leaders Program
    • Leading with Integrity Certification
    • Mindful Leadership Program
    • Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) Facilitator
    • Interest-Based Mediation Training
    • Institute of Healthcare Communications Graduate
    • UPEI HR Management Training (Diversity & Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Performance Management, Providing Feedback, Having Tough Conversations)
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Flat Water Stand Up Paddleboard Certification
  • Paddle Canada Basic Kayak Skills Certification

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To download a complete copy of Heather’s CV, click on the item below:

HeatherGM_Resume_2021


Heather’s Goals:

Heather is passionate about living with intention, and she is dedicated to inspiring others to walk their path of purpose.

  • Professionally- Heather is committed to delivering high quality programming in professional skills, well-being and mindfulness programs for veterinarians and members of the general public through curriculum development, workshops and retreats, and formal MBSR/mindfulness programs.
  • Academically- Heather is focussed on continuous improvement and life-long learning. She plans to continue her studies in yoga and mindfulness, and is working on a Masters in Education.
  • Personally- Heather is dedicated to embodying her core values of love, joy, wonder, adventure and creativity, which she explores with her family, while in nature, and throughout her daily life.

Heather lives in Morell, PEI with her husband, Jarrod, and their two children, Finlay and Emma.

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Heather’s Philosophy:

Part of the philosophy behind the creation of Nature Space is to provide connection to the natural environment. Heather believes that as a society, we are experiencing symptoms of “Nature-Deficit Disorder,” which include stress, depression, and insomnia. Spending time in nature helps bring the body and mind back in balance. Recent research has shown that Shinrin-yoku (Japanese Forest Bathing) reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves immune functions, and reduces sympathetic nerve activity (the fight/flight/freeze response to stress). Nature therapy has long-term effects (immune system benefits maintained for 1 month even after returning to urban life), is effective in battling techno-stress, and may play an increasingly important role in preventive medicine.*

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ~ John Muir

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Nature reminds us that we are more than this body or this mind – that we are connected to all living things and that we are whole. Many of Nature Space’s classes, workshops and experiences are conducted outside. A breeze can focus your breath, the heat of the sun warms your muscles, and the sound of birds and the sight of a ladybug crossing your mat or your path reminds you of being in the present moment. Even annoyances like the buzz of mosquitoes or a passing rain cloud remind us to confront ourselves completely and freely, and to embrace impermanence. This allows us to accept change and turn to our senses, trusting that we will be given the information we need.  Through coming together in nature we have a more wholesome way of finding connections to each other and to ourselves.

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“Yoga means ‘union,’ and when it’s practiced outdoors it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt.” ~Hilary Kimblin

*References:

  1. Suicide in veterinary medicine: Let’s talk about it.
  2. Suicide among veterinarians in the United States from 1979 through 2015.
  3. The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan.
  4. Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing) and Nature Therapy: A State-of-the-Art Review.
  5. Physiological Effects of Nature Therapy: A Review of the Research in Japan.
  6. Forest medicine research in Japan.
  7. Preventive medical effects of nature therapy.
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