In court and on the mat: 2 Future 40 nominees shaping Manitoba through yoga, legal support

In their own ways, these CBC Future 40 nominees are helping Manitobans gain better access to legal support and keep people fit and flexible through yoga — including those living with Parkinson's disease.

Yoga instructor helps Parkinson's disease patients stay fit; lawyer works to improve access to legal services

Gerrit Theule (left) and Samantha Squire are nominees in CBC Manitoba's Future 40 competition for 2017. (Supplied)

In their own ways, two CBC Future 40 nominees are helping Manitobans gain better access to legal support and keep people fit and flexible through yoga — including those living with Parkinson's disease.

Samantha Squire and Gerrit Theule were nominated for the Future 40 competition, which runs from Oct. 10 to Oct. 23 at 11:59 p.m. CT.

Samantha Squire

Squire, 23, owns and runs Squire Yoga and local yoga bootcamp Om at Me Bro.

The avid athlete grew up playing ringette, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and kick-boxing, but yoga seemed to take over in her mid-teens.

She started with Bikram yoga and moved through a variety of other forms over the years before finding yoga nidra, a type of meditation.

CBC Manitoba Future 40 nominee Samantha Squire

6 years ago
Duration 8:03
Samantha Squire owns and runs Squire Yoga, local yoga bootcamp Om at Me Bro and teaches a weekly yoga class for people living with Parkinson's disease.

"Meditation forced me to be a little more still, learn to be more accepting and kind of helped to quiet the mind, and also opened these creative doorways for me as well."

Squire ventured into the world of business kind of by accident but has taken off in pleasant, if not unexpected, ways.

"I honestly had no idea what I was getting into, so there was zero doubt, zero fear," Squire said.

"I wanted to teach and I just did it with the intention of building community and doing what I love. It wasn't the intention of making any money or starting a business, and I think that's why it ended up being as successful as it is today."

For other young people considering striking out on their own and starting a business, Squire has a word of advice: "Whether there's fear or not you just have to really do what you love, that's how this whole thing started for me," she said.

This past July Squire also began teaching a weekly yoga class for people living with Parkinson's disease through local advocacy group U-Turn Parkinson's.

"For many of them this was their first experience with yoga. It's still so impressive to me how quickly they're picking everything up," she said. "One of the goals is to just improve their everyday life."

Gerrit Theule

Theule is a lawyer fighting to bring better access to the justice system for Manitoba's most vulnerable communities.

The renowned 37-year-old opera singer-turned-social justice super hero founded Wolseley Law LLP.

The idea of helping others always stood out for him as something he wanted to do with his life.

"My dad would take me out to strikes, to picket lines as a little kid," he said. "And at opera school I was part of a negotiating team for a CUPE union."

The transition away from opera came after he had kids (three school-age children to date), and Theule says the urge to help people in the community took over and pushed him toward law school in 2011.

CBC Manitoba Future 40 nominee Gerrit Theule

6 years ago
Duration 8:18
CBC Weekend Morning Show host Nadia Kidwai speaks with opera singer-turned-social justice hero Gerrit Theule, a nominee in CBC Manitoba's Future 40 competition.

He started Wolseley Law LLP right out of school, around the time Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin devised a panel to take a close look at ways legal representatives could improve access to justice supports in Canada.

"When I came out [of school], I wanted to take a look at how I could build something from the ground up that would try and implement some of those suggestions," he said.

Through the firm, Theule helps people with problems accessing traditional legal help get access to discounted legal help, including flat-fee and unbundled services.

"Folks know what their matters are going to cost up front ... between the coaching and unbundling and things like that," he said. "Access to justice is a real problem right now."

Theule maintains legal aid programs in Canada aren't sufficiently comprehensive, leaving a large segment of the population unable to shoulder the mounting financial burdens of legal costs or access supports.

"It ties into a great many of the social issues that we see today. Not that solving access to justice solves all those problems, but certainly those problems are exacerbated by the absence of people's ability to deal with those problems in an affordable way."

He hopes to keep chipping away at inequities in the justice system for years to come.

"What I'd really like is for us to show the profession at large that, yes, this is a viable way of not just helping out but also doing business," he said.

"If we're still standing in five years … if people are seeing the results they want to see, then maybe it's a model for all lawyers to adopt."​

We want to celebrate the province's new generation of leaders, builders and change-makers under the age of 40. 

Do you know someone under 40 who is shaping Manitoba's future? Nominations are only open from Oct. 10 to Oct. 23 at ​11:59 p.m. CT.

With files from Robin Summerfield, Information Radio and the Weekend Morning Show