From the Editor’s Desk

This month has been exciting working at the Collective.  Our interns are powering through their programs and some of them are now graduating.  With graduation comes their transition to the junior associate status at the Collective.

Remember that Yoga is free right now at the Collective.  Stop by our front desk to pick up your five-session punch card and organize when you would like to come to a session.  

Vancouver rain is transitioning into summer sunshine and the best thing your can do for yourself is improve you physical and mental health by working with our team.  

Michael Zibauer

A word from the Clinical Director

We are always searching for ways to bring health and wellness to our clients and to those who work at the Collective. The free yoga initiative is something we are proud of because it brings to life our holistic approach and the foundation of our collective: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. We hope you will take advantage of this to breathe life and care into your bodies and minds!

There is always a lot changing at Crossroads as we continue to strive for excellence. We have learned this is not a destination, but rather a journey and an ongoing commitment that we need to work on daily. We continue to build rituals of connection on all levels so we can serve our wellness community in the best way possible. If you have any suggestions for us, please let us know!

Marianne Cottingham   

Recognizing the Special Individuals on the Crossroads Collective Team

We value the important people that make up our team here at Crossroads Collective. This month, we would like to shine a spotlight on these two amazing individuals for the hard work that they continually do to support our clinic.

Cindy Padgett is Crossroads Collective’s Care Manager. She at many times the first point of contact for our clients at intake and caringly pairs individuals with the treatments and providers that they need. Cindy coordinates with each member of the team and facilitates administrative tasks. Originally from South Africa where she enjoyed a career in forensic auditing, Cindy spent many years traveling, living, and working in the Middle East before settling in the beautiful White Rock. With a passion for places, people, and their stories she has a strong client service focus as well as being experienced in office and clinic management. In her spare time Cindy enjoys spending time with her family, at the dog park with her rescue pup or at the beach soaking up any available sunshine.

Chelsi Callard is an associate counsellor based out of our Langley office. Chelsi’s caring, non-judgmental approach to supporting her clients focuses on the innate capacity in each person to heal and grow, provided that they have the right support and opportunity. Her approach is holistic, person-centered, trauma-informed, and strength-based. She uses mindfulness and experiential techniques as well as evidence-based strategies from cognitive behavioural therapy. On a personal note, Chelsi loves yoga, beaches, chocolate, and summertime. She is an avid dog lover and believes in the therapeutic capacity of our furry friends

Amanda Morazain

High Conflict Team at Crossroads Collective

One on One with Talia Spear

Talia Spear is a Certified Comprehensive Family Mediator, pre-mediation coach, New Ways for Families Coach, and co-parenting coach here at Crossroads Collective. She is a member of Family Mediation Canada, Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada, the Hear the Child Society, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario, and the American Bar Association (as an associate/non-lawyer) among others.

Amanda: What does the high conflict team do?

Talia: We’re a collaborative team of professionals that specialize in working with separated/divorced/blended families who are navigating conflict, and we support them finding calm and consistency for themselves as well as their kiddos. Many of the families we work with have been, are, and/or will be court-involved for a variety of reasons but, court-involvement is not a necessary prerequisite to work with us. 

A: What is your background?

T: I began my career at assault services, and throughout the past two decades, I was fortunate to have led a wide variety of local, regional, domestic, and international teams towards the elevation of support and equity for vulnerable people in challenging circumstances inclusive but not limited to: family violence, intimate partner violence, mental illness, substance misuse, homelessness, poverty, crisis and trauma.

 A: What is your specific role on the team:

 T: I wear a couple hats! I’m a family mediator (an unbiased, neutral facilitator of the family mediation process), and I support folks who are having difficulty finding pathways forward and/or aligning on next steps. I hold space and set the stage for possible solutions that everyone can agree on. Post mediation, I provide a Mediation Summary Report that details agreements made and can be used to solidify a parenting plan, separation agreement or any other agreement you’ve reached. I’m a pre-mediation coach who supports folks who are or will be participating in mediation. I’m a co-parenting coach who supports co-parents either individually or collaboratively to find their own sense of calm, strategy and self in challenging circumstances. And I’m also a Certified New Ways for Families Coach. NWFF coaching digs deep into co-parent conflict reduction and resolution methodology/strategies directly from Bill Eddy, Esq. and his High Conflict Institute. My practice is trauma-informed, culturally-humble, and diversity-allied. Families work with me across a wide spectrum of unique circumstances. And clients connect with me in-person in our Langley and Kelowna offices here in BC as well as online across the globe via Zoom! 

A: What inspired you to pursue this specialty?

 T: Personally and professionally, I’ve seen the best and the worst of family dynamic/family law professionals and systems. I know that high conflict circumstances require an immense amount of investment and are emotionally exhausting. Without support, it’s easy to be swallowed up by chaotic moments. I wanted to be a support to folks, and empower them to find real solutions that really work for their families and their kiddos.

A: Thank you Talia for taking the time to share with us. We appreciate what you do for our clients!

The Crossroads Collective High Conflict Team specializes in working with separated/divorced families. The stress and emotional drain of going through separation/divorce is substantial and when a family is also court involved, the additional stress and pressure can feel enormous and unmanageable. As professionals, working with this population requires additional training and specialized knowledge. Our team is dedicated to supporting families through this difficult time. To learn more about Talia and the rest of our High Conflict Team, please check out our website:

Amanda Morazain

Why Yoga Works!

After my conversation with Ritika, this idea of Yoga being both a mental and physical practice left me wondering what is going on physiologically in our bodies. So, I dived into what the literature might have to say about yoga and its ability to support participants.  

A meta-analysis of 12 studies reported that although yoga has a small effect size on depression, this practice was still comparable to pharmacological treatment and group therapy (Cramer et al., 2013). Yoga is particularly interesting (Sarris et al., 2014) as it combines exercise and mindfulness components, as these two components are understood to have a positive effect on the symptoms of depression.

Similarly, a review indicated that yoga is a  safe and effective intervention for those experiencing anxiety (Cramer et al., 2018). They explain how exercise and meditation can create hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal adaptations to reduce the severity of anxiety (Cramer et al., 2018).  They also go on to explain the impact of breath work, or Pranayama, as it has been reported to recalibrate the sympathetic (fight & flight) nervous system and shift it towards a more parasympathetic (rest & digest) dominance (Cramer et al., 2018)

Lastly, a study that looked to understand tandem breathing, and lower abdominal breathing much like it is encouraged in yoga directly impacted brain physiology. They reported that following this kind of breathwork, there was greater blood flow to the anterior prefrontal cortex (Yu et al., 2011). This area of the brain is involved with attention control and working memory (Gilbert et al., 2006).  As such, they discuss how this increased blood flow can contribute to the reduction of negative feelings as well as increased attention control and emotional regulation.  – Andres Beltran


Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Anheyer, D., Pilkington, K., de Manincor, M., Dobos, G., & Ward, L. (2018). Yoga for anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety35(9), 830–843.

Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. (2013). Yoga for depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Depression and Anxiety30(11), 1068–1083.

Gilbert, S. J., Spengler, S., Simons, J. S., Douglas Steele, J., Lawrie, S. M., Frith, C. D., & Burgess, P. W. (2006). Functional Specialization within Rostral Prefrontal Cortex (Area 10): A Meta-analysis. Cognitive Neuroscience18(6), 932–948.

Sarris, J., O’Neil, A., Coulson, C. E., Schweitzer, I., & Berk, M. (2014). Lifestyle medicine for depression. BMC Psychiatry14(1).

Yu, X., Fumoto, M., Nakatani, Y., Sekiyama, T., Kikuchi, H., Seki, Y., Sato-Suzuki, I., & Arita, H. (2011). Activation of the anterior prefrontal cortex and serotonergic system is associated with improvements in mood and EEG changes induced by Zen meditation practice in novices. International Journal of Psychophysiology80(2), 103–111.

Perspectives on Yoga!

Andres (AB): I just wanted to know who you are? Can you tell me a little bit about your origin story?

Ritika Karla (RK): Okay, well I am a health enthusiast, it’s in my DNA. Anything that has health as part of it interests me. But, I had my Yoga awakening when I was 14 and living in India. I left the big city of Delhi and moved to the jungles of southern India when I was 18. I devoted myself to studying naturopathy and the biology of yoga in depth, finishing this bachelor degree when I was 22. I kept developing my skills taking on different certifications and programs across India; from the most traditional schools of Bihar in east India to more modern schools in south Osho. I also completed my Master of Nutrition and had been practicing as both a toga teacher and nutritionist before moving to Canada in august 2020.

AB: what does yoga mean to you?

RK: Well, for me Yoga is more than just physical practice. I believe yoga has the power to slow down our mind, to shift out nervous system energy and allow us work with this in a slower way. Practice is something that can be  part of everybody’s life rather than just a fitness regime. It can be a ritual, a practice, a lifestyle. It can have an impact on your  mental, emotional, social, wellbeing because it’s a community event. I would say I use the physical body as a perfect tool to study the mind.

AB: How long have you been Yoga teacher for?

KR:So overall, my yoga training comes with 3000 plus hours, and about 4000 plus hours of teaching. I’ve been teaching yoga since 2010. So more than two decades.

AB: Who might benefit from yoga?

RK: Anybody who breathes! Hahaha so Yoga works with the alignment of breath and the mind. This is why anyone who breathes would be an ideal client for yoga. Unfortunately, we are never taught to breathe in school, and how to use breath as a tool to modify our mind and handle our own emotions. Our lifestyles have made our breath fast-paced and shallow, we have forgotten how to use this tool.  So I would say that I look to have an inclusive practice, there are no beginners or advanced,  it is open to anyone willing to receive the gifts from Yoga.  

AB: Where might some challenges come up for people looking to try Yoga?

RK: The challenges I see in yoga is with people who focus on the numbers of the scale and ideas revolve around weight. They think that the benefits of Yoga cannot be quantifiable in terms of weight loss. What Yoga CAN DO, is help you love your body and take you on a journey of the many wonderful things it can do.

When or how often do you think people should practice yoga ?

RK:  So, I would say that the practice of Yoga should be as simple as we can. There are no do’s or don’ts. Practice can look many different ways and you don’t necessarily have to meditate every day for 45 minutes. You can if that’s something you want, but it can also be giving yourself five minutes in the morning watching your breath.  Or something even more simple like the act of not doing anything and being still as you prepare for the day. Perhaps with these smaller practices, the motivation and will power can grow and you can start to think of the physical body. This can also help us or give us a moment to slow down and listen to the body. We are humans and we have a need to move, and this can do done in many different ways. You don’t need to start on the movement right away, maybe we can start by listening first. With just five minutes of listening that is a big step towards practice.

AB: That’s lovely. Okay, is there anything you would like to add as we wrap up ?

RK: Two things quickly, I think nutrition is another important pillar which I can help people with. And lastly, I am a BC RPA certified fitness instructor, with experience working with children and young as 3, and seniors in their 100’s. Practice can be accessible to anyone, I look forward to practicing with you.

– Andres Beltran

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