New Website

Thank you for this site. However, it was retired in 2011. Check out for my latest articles.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yoga: Spiritual Practice or Intense Workout?

Photo Courtesy of the Prince Arthur Herald

This article was first published in the Prince Arthur Herald on June 21, 2011. 

In the past decade, yoga has become so commercialized in North America that it is almost unrecognizable from its original form.

North Americans are continually trying new exercise regimes and diets to lose weight. While it’s admirable to be concerned about health, this becomes problematic when an ancient religious tradition has become the new ticket to ultimate weight loss. Yoga, a millennia old Hindu and Buddhist spiritual practice, is at risk of becoming another of these fads. Currently, many North Americans are flooding into yoga classes with expensive mats and unnecessary attire trying to lose those last few inches.

While it is unknown when exactly yoga as a form of meditation began, there is evidence of its existence as much as 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley in Punjab region of India. Classical yoga began about 2500 years ago by early Hindus and Buddhists. It was a system of contemplation and meditation meant to unite the human spirit with the Supreme Being, known as Ishvara. There are many different veins of yoga, but the one most popular in North America is hatha yoga and itsasanas -postures- have become the foundation of the yoga exercise movement.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vogue Italia Curves Ahead?

Images Courtesy of Vogue Italia

This article first appeared in Schema Magazine on June 22, 2011.

Next month’s issue of Vogue Italia features three curvaceous models on the cover instead of the standard size zero fashion model usually found on fashion magazine covers. Vogue Italia‘s editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, said that the message behind this issue is that curvy is sexy. While the images featured in this issue are refreshing, is this a true fashion revolution or a token gesture by an industry that equates beauty with thinness?

The fashion industry has come under intense scrutiny in the last few years following the deaths of three South American models in 2006/2007 from heart failure due to anorexia nervosa. Two of these models, Luisel and Eliana Ramos, were sisters. After their deaths, countries such as Spain and Italy, placed weight and age restrictions for models used in fashion shows. However, the weight restrictions introduced were still far below a healthy body weight and designers continue to use underweight models in their fashion advertisements.

Is Vogue Italia really trying to change the standard of beauty in the fashion world? It’s not enough to simply have one issue featuring voluptuous models and to declare that ‘curvy is sexy’. Certainly, the advertisements in the issue still feature thin models in fashion ads and spreads. This Vogue Italia seems to be out of place — in almost all the shots, at least one of the models is partially nude. This could indicate that Vogue Italia is happy to feature pictures of nude voluptuous models but they don’t look as good in clothes as the standard size zero fashion model.

It’s also unfortunate that it seems that a body type can be ‘in’ and ‘out’ of style. There have always been women with curves who are sexy and fashionable, who certainly don’t need Vogue Italia to give them permission to feel that way. If Vogue Italia is serious about starting a true fashion revolution, they need to incorporate different size models into all of their issues. Otherwise, this cover is nothing more than a token gesture to curvy women.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Re-Branding Historical Icons | It’s All in the Name

Image Courtesy of ColourLines

This article first appeared in Schema Magazine on June 16, 2011.

Recently a United States cargo ship has been named after César Chávez, a farm worker’s rights activist and unionizer. It’s ironic though since he told PBS that the worst two years of his life were spent in the Navy. However, this political tactic isn’t surprising — from Che Guevara to Malcolm X, Chávez is one of many racial minorities whose image or name has been used by the institutions they spent their lifetime fighting against.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shame and Honour Shown to Increase Cooperation in New UBC Study

Image Courtesy of Bluerobot/Flickr.

This article first appeared in the Ubyssey on June 15, 2011. 

According to a new joint study by UBC and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, both shame and honour increase social cooperation.

Researchers discovered that, unlike their original hypothesis, the promise of shame and honour were equally effective in raising individual cooperation within a group setting, by as much as 50 per cent.

Using a ‘public goods games’ model with 180 undergraduate students at UBC, groups of 6 students were each given $12. There were 12 rounds of the game, and at each level, students were asked if they wanted to contribute $1 to a pool. At the end of the game, the pool would be doubled and split equally between all the participants. After each round, students were told who were the least and most generous.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

La Dolce Vita

Image Courtesy of the Prince Arthur Herald

This article first appeared in the Prince Arthur Herald on June 10, 2011.

Every year, bustling crowds invade Vancouver’s Italian borough to celebrate Italian Day in June, and to get a taste of “La Dolce Vita” – the sweet life.

On the first weekend in June, the annual Italian Day festival begins month-long celebrations of Italian culture. Commercial Drive, the historic heart of the Italian community in Vancouver, serves as host to the thousands of people who attend this event. There are performances, cultural associations, and, of course, food that highlight the Italian influence in the area. Italian Day is important because of the legacy of mistreatment faced by Italian immigrants in North America and because it promotes a positive view of Italian culture. Though generations of Italian-Canadians wander the Drive showing their patriotism, the crowd and the booths reflect Vancouver’s diversity, highlighting the merging of cultures on Commercial Drive itself.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Dark Side of Food

Image Courtesy of The Prince Arthur Herald

This article first appeared in the Prince Arthur Herald on June 4, 2011.

Although food is often understood simply as a necessity for survival, an individual’s relationship with it can be more complex than meets the eye. For many Canadians, the idea of a home-cooked meal is comforting. The different flavours and aromas conjure up positive memories, usually of childhood holidays spent with family and friends. However, for those who struggle with eating disorders, this image instead creates anxiety and fear. This fear usually hinges on how consuming food will alter how their body looks, or on the social pressure that surrounds public eating- fears that a person without disordered eating often simply cannot comprehend.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment