Space. Holder, Wise. Woman, Soul. Guide.
he roots of Simone’s practice and teachings are eclectic in nature, drawing upon a wealth of study, various cultural lenses and wisdom traditions. Through her connection to nature, it’s cycles and its spirit, and her knowledge of holistic healing, Simone serves as a conduit for the ‘Wise Woman’. She advocates the necessity of holding reverence for Mother Earth and her gifts and therefore all of Life and its inherent interconnection.
Simone utilizes ancient tools of Yoga and Yoga Nidra, North American inspired medicine wheel teachings in synergy with the Plant Teachers and shamanism of South America. In doing so she offers a multifaceted perspective that gently encourages you on your way back home to your own heart space and soul’s purpose.
Simone grew up in the mountains of Switzerland with her mother Irene, who still plays a large part in instilling her wonder and admiration for nature. Simone’s mother and grandmother provided a deeply nurturing influence throughout her childhood, while her artist father Allan provided inspiration through his humor and playfulness.
With a European education and Canadian – Celtic ancestry, the open path of the nomad was already encoded within Simone’s DNA and spirit.
Crossing the Atlantic to her native Canada, Simone gained a degree in Social Work and served as a crisis counselor specializing in Women’s issues. It was here that she began cultivating her skill for holding space, in which she embraces the deepest wells of emotion with full presence to allow for transformation and healing.
Becoming increasingly interested in holistic health, Simone found herself on the yogic path as well as developing her affinity with nature by becoming a qualified Aromatherapist. Simone then journeyed from North America to South East Asia undertaking her first Yoga Teacher Training in Bali, which changed her life’s trajectory.
Study & School of Sacred Arts (SOSA)
Simone is a Yoga Alliance accredited E-RYT (500) having studied and taught yoga throughout the greater Asian realm across two decades. Her depth of study embraces Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Massage, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, holistic health modalities and Nature-based and Shamanic practices.
With her partner Troy McFadden, Simone established the School of Sacred Arts (SOSA). SOSA provides a holistic approach to their Yoga Teacher Trainings and events. Celebrating yoga and its Eastern philosophy and cosmology, whilst honoring and imparting their experienced knowledge of the sacred arts of many divergent wisdom traditions. SOSA’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training is the original and longest running YTT at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, and has been training and certifying yoga teachers from across the globe for the past decade.
Increasingly drawn to nature-based spirituality, Simone found herself called by master Plant Teachers that have become part of her own personal practice now for almost a decade. Through annual retreats, she spends intensive periods working in ceremony with various plant medicines.
At key junctures of her life, several Vision Quests inspired by North American traditions and Western psychology have also served to deepen Simone’s connection with nature. She gained fundamental and humbling insights into her own nature and our place in the other-than-human world while water fasting, during prolonged periods of time alone in communion with the wilderness of the Canadian Pacific Northwest and in the American desert of the US Four Corners.
Providing depth to her understanding of the yogic philosophies, Simone is inspired by various systems of Yoga Nidra. Also greatly informing her work are the maps of various medicine wheels (many cultures oriented their own systems according to a “sacred compass”), especially as shared with permission and blessing from elders of the SikSika/Sauk (Blackfeet) tradition.
These medicine wheels, point to a holistic, cyclical path that not only supports our growth and evolution into becoming more fully human, but guides our spirit and soul inclusively into a process of “up and out” (transcendence) but also “down and in” (“inscendance” as coined by Thomas Berry).
Trusting our Heart’s Guidance
Simone’s exploration of yoga, yoga nidra and plant medicine work has lead to a realization that shows how these (seemingly) different methods really do very similar things. Yoga nidra and plant medicine in particular affect subtle realms and serve as ways of exploring our inner landscapes as well as cleansing/purifying the system (they even have similar “symptoms” of purging ie. trembling shaking, hot/cold, pains or intense sensations in areas of the body, rapid thoughts passing before the mind’s eye, etc.) and yoga as a practice helps us to integrate and embody the shifts we experience.
The teachings and practices, whether from the Yogis/Yoginis, Sufis, Shamans, Healers, indigenous tribes or Nature herself all contain an ancient yet innate perception that can serve us greatly in our modern times to remind us of the truth of our being and purpose. These seemingly diverse paths that in fact deeply sustain wisdom for living, have shown Simone a sense of our profound ancestral weaving and have served to help peel back the layers of conditioning to move towards our original roots. This has allowed Simone to catch glimpses beyond the veils of ‘reality’ and find true and flowing connection with all of Life.
It is through this embodied realization that Simone guides those who cross her path to learn to trust their own heart’s guidance. For this is to trust in one’s own SOVEREIGN BEINGness – which is truly the only one who knows the way. During this process, Simone holds safe space with a humble grace that comes from compassion and a wealth of experience. Her deep, centered state of presence which respectfully draws upon these shamanic and nature based tools allowing you to feel seen, heard and felt as you voyage into the profound mysteries that unravel and speaks to the *indigenous soul within us all.
I bow to Spirit and Life itself, (myself one and the same) as my constant teacher, profound influencer and inspiration.
To Mother Nature, Pachamama, Gaia, Danu, Earth and all her profound gifts such as Grandmother Ayahuasca and Huachuma and other Plant Teachers who have been so vastly significant on my path and to their human facilitators rooted in the traditions of the Americas as well as drawing on philosophies of the East.
As a citizen of the Earth, I have sat with both indigenous and westerners alike who weave these traditions together in heart-centered, gracious and generous ways.
My family, especially my Mom, Irene, who has continuously been a loving guide and a spiritual mentor. My dad, Allan, who always inspired many laughs and who simply is a humanitarian through his way of being. My Grandma who contributed to me having a very happy childhood.
My beloved, Troy, a wise heart warrior, hilarious companion and gifted teacher.
My dearest friends, many of whom are amazing yoga teachers/practitioners themselves and who have taught me so much. Tina Nance, Cat Kabira, Randall O’Leary, Bex Tyrer, Eka Sabeh, Lindsey Wise, Val Nunes, Naomi Gaskin to name a few.
Emma Lowe, a kindred spirit who only recently came into my life and has been instrumental in bringing this undertaking to life.
A big thank you and credit to videographer and photographers, Jason Moon, Ulrike Reinhold, Andrei Jewel, and Irene MacKay for their talent and contributions to this site.
A heartfelt thank you to fellow fairy sister Lindsey Wise for sharing her beautiful music tracks, ‘Ah Ni Kuni’ and ‘Woman So Wise’ and Leticia Tika Qantu Sideris for ‘Asatoma Sadgamaya’.
In recent years, I’ve had teachers/mentors, some even from the unseen and non-human realms, who have guided me to very deep places within myself and also offered me a deeper grasp of the context and cycles in which our life occurs. These include an elder of the Siksika/Sauk (Blackfeet) People and their Medicine Wheel teachings and an African American Tantrika/Shamanka who through drawing on her own Kemetic roots, helped me tap into so much more than words can express.
Stephen Harrod Buhner and his inspirational work on plant intelligence.
My yoga nidra teachers who I’m honored to have studied directly with – Kamini Desai, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and Richard Miller.
I bow to them in deep gratitude for the gifts they have shared with me.
*Every life born on the Earth is native and indigenous to it. “Originating / occurring naturally in a particular place” that of the Earth. Re-membering this collective connection to The Mother / Nature, her cycles and all living things we are able to embrace the inherent pulse that runs through us and all of Life.
I am in gratitude to all indigenous cultures from all traditions that have honoured Earth as sacred and alive, as well as the Earth herself, who share their wisdom despite historical/current attacks, outlawing, destruction and appropriation of your customs and ways. For this I feel deep sorrow in my heart.
May we commit to and continue to rebuild the bridges and honor these practices that help us remember our common humanity and Source.
How did you come to practice nature based spirituality
A Few Good Words
I traveled down to Peru for an all-inclusive yoga retreat involving, a sweat lodge, yoga, hiking, meditation, a day of silence, and 2 ceremonies with the plant medicine, Ayahuasca. (And some other things) I made friendships with some truly happy people. This is the story of my Ayahuasca experience. It was led by well-traveled guides with tons of experience and international contacts. They are yoga teacher trainers who have experienced just about everything in their realm. Fueled with courage and passion they cut out the unnecessary and created a refined retreat. I felt like I received 10 years of therapy in a matter of 10 days. If you are interested, I suggest contacting our guides, Simone and Troy. Their yoga teacher training is what began a major shift in my life. This retreat was only the second chapter for me.
I just completed a 100-hour retreat - Yin yoga\ plant medicine module in Peru. It was one of the best learning experiences of my life. Truly magical. Simone is a wonderful teacher and facilitated the retreat with exceptional detail and grace. I would highly recommend to anyone curious about exploring this kind of path. With great love.
Simone MacKay, is one of the wisest and humblest beings I have been gifted with coming across on this path. Truly embodying all that she shares, she serves as an inspiration as much in the way that she IS in the world and the things that she doesn’t say as much as in the things that she does. During my 200 hour YTT with SOSA, Simone held a powerful yet gentle space for me to shift and sift through a lifetimes worth of conditioning and limiting beliefs and reminding me of my own intrinsic connection to nature and all of ‘Life’. Truly inspired, I felt called to work with the sacred Plant Teachers of South America and ventured to Peru for the Yoga and Plant Medicine immersion and 100-hour advanced YTT. Simone’s guidance and support in both Yoga and Yoga Nidra combined with the deeply powerful lessons I experienced from the Plant Teachers allowed me to reach and transform the make-up of my inner world and forever have changed how I see and interact with the outer world. I am beyond grateful for Simone’s teachings, compassion, love and nurturing presence, the roots of which run deeper in my heart than I can express and from which I have gained unparalleled insight, strength and growth. A true soul guide, gently guiding me home. Even through the darkest times, Simone helps me to remember Life's beauty and gifts, including my own.
I journeyed to Peru for Simone's Plant Medicine Immersion at the tail end of a four month sabbatical I was on. At the onset of the sabbatical, I could have never imagined that I would end up in Peru, nor that I would ever be willing to explore plant medicine. In truth the plants terrified me. But after doing my 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training with Simone in Bali, I knew that she was a very special teacher and would create an incredibly safe and transformative space during the ceremonies. She did not disappoint and I could not be more grateful that I went. The experience was one that has changed my life for the better forever and while it was incredibly hard at times because you never know what the plants have in store for you, it was just the journey I needed. Simone is a wonderfully nurturing guide and puts so much heart and care into creating experiences that allow you to go inward and be your own medicine for healing. She's very special and I would recommend this immersion to anyone.
I can't tell you how happy I am to have the Peru experience Simone and Troy facilitated. I am constantly being brought back to the Maloka as a kind of mental safe place. I can still see, smell, and feel it so vividly. Now that I am firmly back in my "regular" life, I have found such great tools from my integration. My meditation has never been stronger, and my overall compassion and love for others has been broadened. Again, many many thanks for what you do!
The journey to Peru and the Sacred Valley can best be described as a rebirth. Everything you believe will be questioned and slowly through the process you will dissolve and surrender leaving only your true nature exposed and vulnerable yet free to flourish and grasp into the very core of your existence. This immersion is powerful beyond measure and offers a unique experience of entering highly altered states through yoga nidra and plant medicine, which with the right guidance and support can have a profound impact on every aspect of your life. There is so much wisdom to be found throughout this retreat and the effects will last far into the future if carefully nurtured and respected. Simone McKay pours every bit of her heart into this amazing immersion and you feel the commitment and love from the first minute you arrive. Simone is greatly immersed in the work along with you and you feel that you participate in the journey with the sosa team which creates a base of trust you couldn't even imagine. Simone and the SOSA team (including Sach’a Munay Retreat Center) create an atmosphere that allows you to fully commit and flow into the vibe of these ancient practices. When you first enter the sacred ground of Sach’a Munay you feel the force of life dwelling in the mountains and nature surrounding the space and when you walk through the gardens you feel drawn to its nature and it's wonders. If there is one word to describe this immersion it would be ‘authentic’. The level of commitment from the SOSA team to this journey is incredible and every single person is totally devoted to guiding you and creating the space needed for you to have the most profound and authentic experience. We thank the SOSA team for this amazing experience. We recommend for anyone interested in deep self-exploration and connection to our mysterious earth, to put the excuses aside and just do it! We promise you will never regret taking the time and courage to do this work for yourself.