Keynote Speakers

Tahia Ahmed

October 17th @ 1:30pm

Yoga &
Our Social Movements

Malcolm X said, “justice by any means necessary”. Can yoga be a means to justice? How would our yoga practice and collective appropriation of yoga need to fundamentally change? Can we disentangle yoga from its own oppressive past and present in order to find the thread of liberation that our communities so desperately need to hold on to? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this keynote about justice, yoga, and today’s social movements.

October 24th @ 10am

Conscious Grief: How to Heal and Love Through Grief

Grief is a universal experience. Sometimes we feel it on a personal level, sometimes we feel it on a community level, or even on a global family level. We may be grieving the loss of a life, the loss of a relationship, the loss of connection to self, others or the planet… Whatever the circumstances or details, grief is inevitable, natural and unavoidable. So how do we process our grief? How can we heal within and from our grief? How can we love more as a result of our grief? How can we awaken through our grief?

October 31st @ 12pm

Sa̱ltała – Trauma-informed Yoga and Ceremony

Jessica will weave stories, Kwakwaka’wakw values, and research to describe Indigenous contemplative and meditative practices. She will offer reflections of healing intergenerational and historical trauma and strengthening community wellness through Yoga and Ceremony. She will speak to her experiences of co-creating trauma-informed curricula with First Nations womxn and the early impressions of her doctoral project “(Re)Connecting through women’s teachings, language and movement: Culturally-adapted yoga for First Nations Womxn and Girls”.

November 7th @ 2pm

Centring Self & Collective Care in Social Change Work

In this keynote presentation, Michelle C. Johnson, author, activist, yoga teacher and practitioner and social change maker, will focus on the importance of centring self and collective care as we work to dismantle systems of oppression. Michelle will share strategies for how to prioritize care for ourselves and others as part of our social change work. If we do not centre a culture of care as we make social change, we will inevitably replicate the systems we are trying to disrupt and dismantle.

prac·​tice | to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient   –   prax·​is | the practical application of any branch of learning

October 17 | 1pm – 5pm PST | Live via zoom
October 24 | 9:30am – 1:30pm PST | Live via zoom
October 31 | 12pm – 4pm PST | Live via zoom
November 7 | 11:30am – 3:30pm PST | Live via zoom
Sliding scale – $285 – $95 
Single day tickets $75/day
50% off for YO volunteers, 25% off for alum, 10% off for Challenge participants
Scholarships are available for those with financial barriers.

Yoga Outreach offers a sliding scale for fees for all workshops to support broader access.

There are a limited amount of slots for classes offered at the middle and lower end of the scale. Please be mindful that if you purchase a price at the lowest end of the scale when you can truthfully afford the higher ticket prices, you are limiting access to those who truly need the gift of financial flexibility. Being honest with yourself and your financial situation when engaging with sliding scale practices grows strong and sustainable communities. *Adapted from

To enhance this dialogue we have curated an amazing group of thoughtful and thought provoking panelists to further explore the topics of anti-oppression work through yoga, mental wellness & community, yoga & Indigenous communities, and activism & self-care. 

Attendees will experience thoughtful challenges to predetermined ideas about what it means to practice yoga and apply it to our daily lives.

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2020 Conference Content

October 17, 2020

Keynote speaker

Tahia Ahmed (she/her) is a facilitator and community organizer. Her dive into yoga philosophy and practice is driven by her ancestral connection to the spiritual traditions of South Asia. She is passionate about uplifting and cultivating spiritually grounded and culturally relevant approaches to building resilience. Tahia is also a birth doula and co-founder of the Nesting Doula Collective supporting Indigenous and POC communities on the Island. She trusts in the words of Arundhati Roy, “another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”. You can find Tahia at


Anti-oppression & Yoga

In this 2-hour training, participants will learn the foundations required to foster an anti oppressive yoga practice rooted in social justice and social change. We will consider how larger  systems of oppression – such as racism, classism, sexism, transphobia, and ableism – all interact  to inform each individual’s lived experience both inside and outside yoga spaces. Together, we  explore how these intersecting oppressions become an invisible norm in yoga community.  Participants will begin to build practical tools to challenge these power dynamics. Issues of  privilege, allyship, and how to effectively respond when harm is caused will be emphasized.

Dr. Tobias Wiggins is an assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Athabasca  University. He holds his PhD in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies, with a research focus  on transgender mental health and psychoanalytic theory. He is also a community organizer,  social justice consultant, and registered yoga teacher. 

In Toronto Ontario, Wiggins spearheaded trauma-informed Queer and Trans Yoga classes at  Union Yoga, as well as offering yoga-specific social justice education at Yoga Equity  Consulting. This work aspires to tackle systemic issues like transphobia, sexism, racism, and  accessibility imbedded within the larger yoga communities. In 2017, he was the distinguished  recipient of Yoga Alliance Foundation‘s Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarship, which is awarded  to yoga practitioners with a high level of leadership and community service expertise. He also  produced and directed the popular open access video You Are Here: Exploring Yoga and the 

Impacts of Cultural Appropriation. Wiggins’ current writing on trauma and transphobia in yoga  communities can be found in Embodied Resilience: 30 Mindful Essays about Finding  Empowerment after Addiction, Trauma, Grief, and Loss (2020); and his writing on creating a  safer yoga space for transgender people can be found at Yoga International.

Yoga Sutras: Living Treatise on Non-Violence and Truth
The Yoga Sutras is one of the most sacred texts of yoga and is widely studied by yoga teachers and students worldwide. One of the gems of the Sutras are the yamas and niyamas; the foundational ethics of yoga.  Of these ethics, ahimsa, non-violence is the first.
Be inspired by the precious teaching of ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truth) and how these ethics are relevant to every aspect of modern-day life and relationships.
Farah Nazarali is a pioneer in integrating conflict resolution and Non-Violent Communication with yogic practices and Eastern wisdom.  During her studies at the Justice Institute, she developed a signature workshop series- the Heart of Conflict which combines conflict resolution with yogic practices. She teaches for Langara, Yoga Outreach, Hollyhock, and True Nature Travels, and is a loved and respected teacher based on Vancouver Island. Farah specializes in creating transformational Retreat experiences in stunning natural settings.

October 24, 2020

Keynote speaker
Taraneh Erfan King, MA, RCC (she/her) is a writer, educator and registered counsellor whose purpose is to hold space for conscious awakening. Her work is informed by her deep passion to create opportunities for inward development, and purpose-led transformation. In her private practice and workshops, Taraneh focuses on supporting individuals and teams in cultivating deep awareness, and creating conscious connections which lead to powerful ripples of healing and joy in all areas of their lives. Taraneh is a mom to two magic humans, and is in the process of publishing her first book. You can find Taraneh at / @mindonspirit

Mental wellness & Community panel

Candice Baldwin

Candice’s natural curiosity about her own healing from injuries and trauma lead her to a 20+ year yoga practice. This enthusiasm to learn and serve others on their healing journey lead her to pursue her life as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, while her autism and African ancestry has made her passionate about serving neurodivergent people and BIPOC communities. She is a certified Yoga Therapist, 500 RYT, 200hr Himalayan Kriya Yoga teacher and Swing Yoga teacher.

Jessie Nelson They/Them

Jessie is founder of KITH+common|community consulting. KITH+common is a pillar for all things community specializing in training, business development strategies and community engagement approaches, all from an overarching lens of diversity and inclusion planning and integration. KITH+common was born from and inspired by Jessie’s purpose; to live vulnerably in order to create space for others to come as they are, without shame. Jessie’s lived experience as a person who identifies as gender fluid has provided them a platform to bring important conversations to their community that impact insight, growth, inclusivity, empathy, and ultimately space for all people.

They believe that all people deserve to be seen, valued and heard in their fullest expression. In order to create space Jessie knows that we need to be curious, explore the human experience in all of its forms and create safe and open spaces through conversation and connection.

Scott Arner

Scott has 18 years of experience as a concurrent disorders therapist in Vancouver, working with children, youth, families, and adults struggling with mental health issues, substance use, trauma, anger, grief, as well as isolation and disconnection. Connectedness plays an important role in both his personal and professional life. At times, finding similar thoughts and opinions has helped me feel human. Other times, seeking different ideas and people has helped open my mind to new possibilities and opportunities. Either way, it is connection that made everything possible for me. 

Scott has volunteered to work with young offenders in the prison system, and with Vancouver Crisis Centre. He has also provided mentorship and clinical supervision to counselling interns from institutions such as Adler and City Universities and UBC.He holds a counselling degree from SFU, undergraduate and teaching degrees from UBC and has done additional post-graduate training in cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), cultural competency, sexual identity, and LGTBQ support. In addition to being a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) Scott is also a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC).

Wendy Goldsmith She/Her

The right words can welcome people into a special world where you feel included and understood. Since first learning to read, Wendy was convinced that words could unlock literal magic; to that end, Wendy logged 10,000 hours journaling and writing poetry, at first from a farm in Alberta, and then recording the cultural differences she discovered while building a communications skill set in jobs around the world. She learned clarity teaching English in Taiwan, commitment to brand at a Scottish pensions company, user experience from an international web design studio, factual accuracy from editing magazines, and interview skills from writing articles about credit union visionaries. Her constant is a commitment to vulnerable, beautiful authenticity. You’ll find her at events connecting with interesting people, and worrying about whether attendees feel welcome and comfortable, particularly when she’s supposed to be organizing the technology. During office hours, she’s a passionate writer and communication strategist. Away from the desk, it’s her pleasure to spend time helping newcomers navigate Canadian culture, teaching yoga for mental health at a Neighbourhood House and at the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation, and joining climate-centred political movements. She’s delighted to bring her passion for truth-telling to a non-profit that believes in the empowering magic of language.

October 31, 2020

Keynote speaker
Jessica Barudin (she/her) is Kwakwaka’wakw from the ‘Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, BC. She is a proud mother of two daughters, wife, Sundancer, Indigenous health advocate, doctoral student, and yoga teacher. Jessica has a Master’s in Applied Science in Physical Therapy from McGill University and an Bachelor’s Degree in Human Kinetics from UBC. Her doctoral research project aims to co-create a culturally-responsive, trauma-informed yoga program led by Kwakwaka’wakw womxn and girls. The focus is empowerment through movement, ceremony, women’s teachings, and language revitalization. She is passionate about teaching yoga to Indigenous womxn and youth and supporting them to feel connected and empowered in their bodies. Additionally, Jessica is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Doula Collective and working with the First Nations Health Authority as the Traditional Wellness Specialist for the Vancouver Island region. Jessica lives with her family on Namgis territory in Alert Bay, BC. Find her at

Yoga & Indigenous Resilience Panel

Jade Harper is an a Cree and Anishinaabe woman originally from Peguis First Nations. A passionate yogi, Jade has dedicated both her professional and community life to supporting the health and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples and as such has worked at the local, provincial, and national levels on issues such as education, youth capacity development, health, violence and sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and girls, and children and family services. She is passionate about her work whether it is on the frontlines counseling and mentoring youth or working to make broader systemic change through the provision of strategic policy advice.

In addition to her community work Jade is also the sole proprietor of Spirit Fusion, a mobile yoga studio that marries Cree and Ojibwe teachings with the practice of yoga. Most recently Jade successfully completed the award-winning Coady International Institute’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program at St. Xavier University. Her participation in the program provided her with the opportunity to develop the Village Walk project which provides group walking tours through Winnipeg’s North End in an effort to encourage families to get to know their community while engaging in physical activity and discussions about healthy lifestyle choices.

Jennifer-Lee Koble MSW, RSW is Métis/Cree from Northern Saskatchewan. She has over twenty years of experience in facilitation and teaching. Jennifer-Lee is currently an Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Social Work teaching Indigenous Peoples and Critical Social Work Analysis and works in private clinical practice working with Indigenous individuals and families. She has a passion for supporting the healing and understanding of the historic and ongoing impacts of colonization throughout all of her work.

Vina Brown is a Haíɫzaqv and Nuu-chah-nulth scholar. Her Haíɫzaqvḷa name is ƛ̓áqvas gḷ́w̓axs which means Copper Canoe. Vina is the Executive Director of the Kunsoot Wellness Centre located in Haíɫzaqv territory. She is the Department Chair of the Native Studies Leadership Program at Northwest Indian College (NWIC). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Studies and Leadership from NWIC and a Masters of Jurisprudence in Indigenous Law from the University of Tulsa and is presently working on a PhD from the University of Alaska in Indigenous Studies with concentrations in knowledge systems, research, education, and pedagogy. She is a wellness advocate, a certified yoga instructor, and a self-proclaimed food sovereigntist. She has participated in Tribal Canoe Journeys her whole life and was raised within Haíɫzaqv territory, where she witnessed the resurgence and renaissance of her own Haíɫzaqv culture.

Chastity Davis, MA, BA, DiplT (she/her) is a mixed-heritage woman of First Nations and European descent, a proud member of the Tla’amin Nation as well as English and Ukrainian. Chastity has been sole proprietor of her consulting practice, Chastity Davis Consulting for close to a decade. She embodies the spirit of reconciliation in her personal and professional life as she is both First Peoples and settler of what we now call Canada. Chastity has practiced yoga for 18 years and been teaching for close to 3 years. She is a certified Yin and Kundalini Yoga Teacher and weaves in her reconciliation work to her yoga practice.

November 7, 2020

Keynote speaker
Michelle Cassandra Johnson (she/her) has a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit and heart. Her awareness of the world through her experience as a black woman allows her to know, first hand how privilege and power operate. Michelle is a social justice warrior, dismantling racism trainer, empath, yoga teacher and practitioner and an intuitive healer. Whether in an anti-oppression training, yoga space, individual or group intuitive healing session, healing and wholeness are at the center of how she approaches all of her work in the world. With a background as a licensed clinical social worker and teaching yoga for ten years she began her own teacher training in 2014 and in 2018 wrote a book about yoga and justice, Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World. Michelle inspires change that allows people to stand in their humanity and wholeness in a world that fragments most of us. You can find her at

Activism & Self-care Panel

Jivana Heyman, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, is the founder and director of Accessible Yoga, an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to the yoga teachings. He’s the author of Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body (Shambhala Publications, November 2019), co-owner of the Santa Barbara Yoga Center, and an Integral Yoga Minister. He lives with his husband and two children in Santa Barbara, California.

Jivana has specialized in teaching yoga to people with disabilities with an emphasis on community building and social engagement. Out of this work, the Accessible Yoga organization was created to support education, training and advocacy with the mission of shifting the public perception of yoga. In addition to offering Conferences and Trainings, Accessible Yoga offers a popular ambassador program with over 1000 Accessible Yoga Ambassadors around the world.

Jivana coined the phrase, “Accessible Yoga,” over ten years ago, and it has now become the standard appellation for a large cross section of the immense yoga world. He brought the Accessible Yoga community together for the first time in 2015 for the Accessible Yoga Conference, which has gone on to become a focal point for this movement. There are now two Conferences and over thirty-five Accessible Yoga Trainings per year, as well as a strong underground yoga community supporting them.

Over the past 25 years, Jivana has led countless yoga teacher training programs around the world, and dedicates his time to supporting yoga teachers who are working to serve communities that are under-represented in traditional yoga spaces.

Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel – Kul Wičasa Lakota, a citizen of Kul Wicasa Oyate (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe) as well as a passionate and devoted advocate for Indian Country and all people. Nationally known for her advocacy and grassroots organization for anti-pipelines/climate justice efforts, change the name/not your mascot, the epidemic and crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW), and native youth initiatives. Her experience in grants and project management, policy, blogging, and organizing has been leveraged by both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to quality healthcare, MMIW, the Violence Against Women Act, and a variety of other worthy causes.

Jordan is the founder and organizer of Rising Hearts, an Indigenous led grassroots group designed to elevate awareness of Indigenous issues, and the intersectionality of all movements impacting brown, black and Indigenous communities, helping to uplift and center Indigenous voices and efforts, while building collaborative partnerships to accomplish equitable and just treatment of all people and the Earth through targeted organizing and advocacy. Jordan sits on the Board of Directors with the PowerShift Network and Lab29 to work with passionate individuals to influence change and to help increase Indigenous visibility. She was also awarded the NCAIED Native American 40 Under 40 in the fall of 2018. In 2019, she served on the Womxn’s March – Ending Violence Against Womxn and Femmes Policy Committee with other Native womxn representing on multiple committees. She is also a 2020 Indigenous Womxn fellow with Return to the Heart Foundation. As well as sitting on the Intersectional Environmentalists Council, the Lululemon Ambassador Advisory Board, and Runner’s World Alliance Ambassador program.

Currently, she is using her running platform, to help raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives by dedicating the miles she runs to a missing or murdered Indigenous person, #RunningForJustice and is now intersecting this effort and prayers for Black Lives Matter and calling an end to police brutality. Recently, she climbed the highest peak in the lower 48, carrying 22 names in prayer for MMIW for 22 miles. She is among many Indigenous people working to elevate this crisis and to bring justice to the families and victims. Now, she is continuing this running journey and advocacy, as a Global Run Ambassador with Lululemon – speaking at workshops, working with the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion teams, pushing for stronger messaging  and action to support Black, Indigenous, and Brown lives within the family, company and community, and working on developing cultural sensitivity training. As well as an Ambassador with Ultimate Direction for her running and platform. Jordan has launched, Mitakuye Oyasin (We Are All Related), a COVID19 relief program for Indigenous communities, to send masks to Indigenous relatives and communities to help protect and keep the communities safe.

Jordan is consulting on documentaries as Indigenous advocate, producer on films focused on Indigenous Earth Protectors, BIPOC runners, and supporting families impacted by MMIW Executive Producer  and co-director of Running with Purpose. She is consulting with outdoor organizations to develop content on social media to protect sacred lands and promote health and wellness for Indian Country. Jordan is an Outreach and Project Manager with the UCLA, supporting researchers with their project proposals and with the new pivot to COVID-related studies and clinical trials, and continuing to organize in the community she lives on, homelands to the Tovangaar people, also known as Los Angeles, CA. @nativein_la

Farah Nazarali is a pioneer in integrating conflict resolution and Non-Violent Communication with yogic practices and Eastern wisdom.  During her studies at the Justice Institute, she developed a signature workshop series- the Heart of Conflict which combines conflict resolution with yogic practices. She teaches for Langara, Yoga Outreach, Hollyhock, and True Nature Travels, and is a loved and respected teacher based on Vancouver Island. Farah specializes in creating transformational Retreat experiences in stunning natural settings.

Sliding Scale

Tier 1 – The highest dollar cost reflects the true cost of the class. It is the cost that we would charge all students in the absence of a sliding scale. If you have access to financial security, own property or have personal savings, you would not traditionally qualify for sliding scale services. If you are able to pay for “wants” and spend little time worried about securing necessities in your life, you have economic privilege and power in our community. This price is for you.

Tier 2 – The middle cost reflects the practitioner’s acknowledgement that paying the full cost would prevent some folks from being able to attend, but who do not honestly find themselves reflected in either descriptions for the highest cost or the lowest. If you are struggling to conquer debt or build savings or move away from paycheck to paycheck living but have access to steady income and are not spending most of your time thinking about meeting basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, child care, etc., you belong here. If you, however, can ask others for financial support, such as family members, partners, or friends, please consider using those personal resources before you use the resources of the sliding scale and limit opportunities for others.

Tier 3 – The lowest cost represents an honest acknowledgment by the teacher and practitioner that there are folks whose economic circumstances would prevent them from being a part of classes if there was not be a deliberate opportunity made for them to access services at a cost that is reflective of their economic realities. If you struggle to maintain access to needs such as health care, housing, food, child care, and are living paycheck to paycheck or are in significant debt, you probably belong here and you deserve a community that honours your price as equal an economic offering as the person who can pay the highest tier. Even when the lower tier is still prohibitive, we will work with folks to offer extended payment plans and other solutions.

Workstudy scholarships are for those who are able to pay a portion of the fee (usually $50%) and do some volunteer hours in exchange. Typically this involves research, taking photos, attending an event to help out – it really depends on your skills, availability and what we need at the time.

100% scholarships are for those who do not have the financial resources to attend.

Adapted from AWARE-LA

Steering Committee

Drew Climie (he/him)

I work for a startup called Yervana, a booking platform that connects outdoor local experts offering Adventures with guests. I enjoy paddling, hiking, and pretty much anything that gets me outside enjoying nature. I’d say my yoga journey started in Ontario and was very ‘Western’ centric. Since moving to BC and learning more about white privilege, colonization, cultural appropriation, and inclusivity my thoughts around yoga have changed drastically. I feel that as society changes and new generations open to new ways of thinking it’s important to integrate these topics into mainstream conversations. I believe that awareness and education will lead, acceptance and eventually change will happen. Something fun, if I think of ‘in my perfect world’, it would be supporting a blending of the benefits of yoga and of being active in nature into an everyday practice that is affordable, accessible, and fun.

Farah NazaraliFarah Nazarali (she/her)

Farah Nazarali is a pioneer in integrating conflict resolution and Non-Violent Communication with yogic practices and Eastern wisdom.  During her studies at the Justice Institute, she developed a signature workshop series- the Heart of Conflict which combines conflict resolution with yogic practices. She teaches for Langara, Yoga Outreach, Hollyhock, and True Nature Travels, and is a loved and respected teacher based on Vancouver Island. Farah specializes in creating transformational Retreat experiences in stunning natural settings.

Insiya Rasiwall-Finn, B.A., E-RYT, Ayurvedic Health Counsellor (she/her)

A yogini and writer from Bombay, India. Since 2006, Insiya has been on a radical journey of self-healing, simplicity and exploration; sharing her insights as a yogi, a woman and a mother through writing and teaching. Insiya is known for her lyrical, heart filled yet challenging vinyasa practice; a first-person, East-West perspective in her teachings; and the ability to make the ancient wisdom of Vedic India relevant, contemporary and alive. A believer in the power of yoga to heal communities, Insiya initiated a program for new yoga teachers to share classes in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside women’s medical clinic in 2009. Insiya has been featured in Yoga Journal magazine and presents internationally at festivals such as Wanderlust and Bali Spirit.

Jessica Barudin (she/her)

Founder of Cedar and Gold is Kwakwaka’wakw from the Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, BC. She is a proud mother of two daughters, wife, Sundancer, Indigenous health advocate, doctoral student and yoga teacher. Jessica received a Master’s in Applied Science in Physical Therapy from McGill University and an Undergraduate Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia. In September 2019, Jessica started doctoral studies through the INDI Program at Concordia University. Her research will create and evaluate a culturally-responsive, trauma-informed yoga program led by Kwakwaka’wakw women and girls. The focus is empowerment through movement, ceremony, women’s teachings and language revitalization. She is passionate about teaching yoga to Indigenous women and girls by offering sacred spaces to feel connected and empowered in their bodies. Jessica currently works with the First Nations Health Authority as the Traditional Wellness Specialist for the Kwakwaka’wakw family.

Monique Harris (she/her)

My passion for building community and accessibility within the yoga world lead me to open Modo Yoga East Vancouver in 2012. I see the studio not just as a space for practicing asana but also a space for supporting our wider Vancouver community through our Karma fundraising, a space for people to build connections and empathy for each other, and a space where we are continually questioning how and why we do things and seeking knowledge to continue evolving. I’m very excited to be working with Yoga Outreach and I love the insights it has created for myself and the studio already. Outside of yoga you can also find me returning to my roots with a ballet class or huffing and puffing my way through a functional fitness class. I’m also madly in love with my 10 year old cat Mable who knows how to rock a 5 hour nap and never says no to a treat. Such an inspiration!