Rooted Heart was started by Kristina Domsic, a certified yoga instructor, forest therapy guide, and ecologist.
I was raised in Hamilton, Ontario, near the brow of the Niagara Escarpment, and have been enjoying spending time in nature since I was a young girl going on family walks, bike rides, and camping trips. In 2004, I set out to learn more about how to care for the natural environment through the Environmental Studies program at the University of Waterloo. Since then, I have been working as an ecologist, focused on becoming a skilled botanist (though frogs, toads, and salamanders are also very dear to my heart).
After several years of working in the environmental field, the reality of widespread environmental degradation and the disconnectedness of our society began to weigh down on me. I sought out support and eventually discovered a deeply rooted community at Queen Street Yoga in Kitchener. I eventually found a real sense of home through practicing yoga and connecting with other yoga practitioners. While my environmental work had me feeling jaded about the negative role humans often play in the state of the planet, yoga somehow brought me back to seeing the good side of humanity. I yearned to connect with people and to help them see that same goodness within themselves. In 2014, I completed a teacher training program in alignment-based hatha yoga at Queen Street Yoga, after which I began teaching part-time at the studio. Since then, I have dabbled in studying various degrees of hatha, vinyasa, and restorative yoga practices, as well as meditation, ayurveda and the Tensegrity Repair Series. Some of my most influential teachers include Leena Miller Cressman, Emma Dines, Matthew Remski, Robin Golt, and Trudy Austin.
In 2016 I discovered forest therapy and by June 2017, I was traveling to the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia for an 8-day, immersive, off-the-grid training experience with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT), under the teachings of M. Amos Clifford and Sky-Maria Buitenhuis. The training was an incredible experience that introduced me to a new depth of nature connection. In 2018, I received my official Forest Therapy Guide Certification from the ANFT. I now also volunteer with the non-profit Global Institute of Forest Therapy (GIFT).
I am continually working on cultivating my relationship to nature and feel so blessed to be able to guide others in that experience. The landscape of forests and waterways throughout southern Ontario is so rich with opportunities to explore, grow, and slow down.
Forest Therapy borrows nature connection and council practices from many cultures around the world and at home here on Turtle Island. I would like to acknowledge that today in the Guelph area, we stand on the land governed by the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3 (1792) and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant. Guelph is located on the ancestral lands of the Attawandaron people and the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. At Rooted Heart, my intention is to build deeper connections between humans and nature, including connection to ourselves and the other humans around us. I am still figuring out exactly what it means for me to have a role in the reconciliation between aboriginal and settler populations. But I do understand how I can play a role in helping people reconcile their relationship with this borrowed, colonized land. Namwayut - we are all one.
All photos on this site by Kristina Domsic and Matthew Wartman; protected by copyright.