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Adrianne Vangool is a former athlete, physiotherapist, yoga therapist, business owner and author with her new book, The Journey of Self-Care to We-Care: The Art and Science of the Human Experience.
While working on a take-home manual for her clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vangool realized she had more to say about healing, empathy, and self-care, based on her experiences and professional education.
“I would wake up early in the morning and I just had to write these ideas down,” she said. For her, the timing is perfect for a book that promotes more compassion toward one’s self and others.
“I feel like I’ve been witnessing this now for a while, that people are tired of the conflict, but we are not really sure how to come together. We are all changed from what happened the last few years; now how do we get to know ourselves again … and how do we start to come together as a group when we’ve experienced this intense conflict in some cases.”
Through Vangool Wellness, Vangool and her team work with clients of all ages and spectrums of life, including postpartum moms, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Physiotherapy and yoga have always been linked for Vangool as she worked through her own personal challenges and practice.
She grew up in Saskatoon, went to the University of Saskatchewan first to get her kinesiology degree and then went to the school of physical therapy. She competed in one year of Huskies basketball and five years of track and field.
During her athletic career, she experienced challenges that led to a disconnect between what her body was saying and what she kept doing to reach a goal.
She had to learn how to listen and trust her body again, and now she shares that wisdom with clients.
This year, Vangool is celebrating a decade of this work after launching her business out of her basement in 2013. She grew staff and moved through various locations around Saskatoon. But when COVID-19 forced her to close for several months in 2020, Vangool had to face the fear that she could lose everything.
“Sport, and all the training I did … how to outline, and make a plan, and achieve a goal, that prepared me on how to run a business, and prepared me for how to navigate COVID,” she said.
Vangool said she had the confidence not to quit when things got hard and reopened Vangool Wellness with an expanded team and services at its current location at Taylor Street East and Arlington Avenue.
Her message to clients is the same for those who pick up her book.
“Any little bit that we start to show up for ourselves, or that we start to say yes, and listen to what our body is telling us … or simply pause more in our day and be curious about what we think and feel, any little bit we do is enough, and then it is just a slow process of moving more towards healing and regulation,” she said.
Shelly Prosko, a physio and yoga therapist, continuing education provider, and author, wrote the forward in The Journey of Self-Care to We-Care: The Art and Science of the Human Experience. She has known Vangool for more than a decade as they worked to integrate yoga into their physio practices.
“We both have a keen interest in human psychology and behaviours and the complexity in human relationships.”
Prosko calls Vangool’s book brilliant in how she combines science with poetry, stories, and personal experience.
“I think this book is transformational,” she said.
Vangool says when she talks about healing, it’s not just for people who have experienced significant trauma, but anyone. For example, parents wanting to connect with children differently or those wanting to embody how they feel during the weekend every day.
“The book is for anyone who just wants the greater capacity for being themselves more of the time in their life,” she said.
“These tools help us to be more of ourselves more of the time.”
This sentiment stands out to Jen Rondeau, owner of the Ivy Yoga House, where Vangool has been a yoga instructor.
“There are so many realms that you can come from where you are so busy and stressed and helping others that you don’t realize what you are lacking and what you need,” Rondeau said.
“When it comes to the content of the book, it’s about learning to turn in and nervous system regulation, mindfulness … and it’s everything we embody at Ivy Yoga House,” she said.
“I’m really proud to support her in this and really happy to see her have success in what she is doing.”
Integrating yoga into her practice and writing a book doesn’t mark the end of Vangool’s desire to push the physiotherapy profession. She believes in leading by example when it comes to reconciliation and wants to see more clinics and physiotherapists active in reconciliation.
“A core value is reconciliation and creating a space that is inclusive and not just a sticker on the window, but the real work of reconciliation which includes first acknowledging the truth of our past and present.
“In the book, I speak to this in ways that I hope can be received. It’s not about blaming, but just about seeing what’s there and being honest with ourselves,” she said.
While her family is Indigenous — her husband is from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation — it’s not why Vangool has the Calls to Action on her website, encourages continuing education or creates a safe space.
“I’m doing this because it’s really important,” she said.
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