Flicking the switch on health and well-being

Egbert Gaye

“As a community we’re in a bad state, physically and spiritually,” says Bruce Small, a lifelong activist who is garnering a multitude of followers through his work as a fitness instructor, life coach and holistic healer.
Small, known around Montreal and beyond as Amasi, is a certified Naturopath, which allows him to treat and write prescriptions on certain ailments. He also has provincial certification in Thai Massotherapy and as a personal fitness trainer.
Today, his lifelong search for knowledge and a voracious appetite for reading have heightened his spiritual awareness and boosted his commitment to uplift those around him.
He says our community needs to right itself, urgently, because to continue along the path that we’re on will lead to further moral, political and physical bankruptcy.
“We’re in a bad state,” he told the CONTACT in a recent sit-down at our offices. “Look at what’s going on with our youth when it comes to education, employment, and their continued over-representation in the justice system.”
“Look at what’s going on when it comes to the physical condition of the men and women in our community with so many stricken by preventable diseases like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.”
“Look at what’s going on with our spirituality, because we have the most churches and people attending them, yet as a group we’re the furthest remove from the ultimate good, which means to love and trust each other…we have no unity, because we still don’t really know our creator.”
Amasi says the time is now for a paradigm shift in our community that would usher in a new way of thinking and a plan for the future.
“As a group, we seem incapable of understanding that the only thing that is real is change…we’re not changing and we’re not growing.”
He says now is when those among us who have the capacity to lead have “to step up and help show the way forward.”
At 57-years-old, and having witnessed the ups and downs of our community for most of his life, he says he feels compelled to answer the call and try to bring some clarity of purpose to the community.
“I consider myself to be an elder in the community, I have invested time and effort to gain a wealth of knowledge about who we are as a people and our potential, but I don’t like what I’m seeing today.”
He says the two biggest obstacles we face today as a community are rooted in our health and well-being and in our spirituality.
In his work as a naturopath, a therapist and fitness trainer he is helping to put hundreds of Montrealers on a path to optimal well-being, but he says the majority is from outside of our community.
“While I’m helping others, I see so many of my friends and people I know being taken down by preventable disease and conditions, and it bothers me because I know that a lot of it can be prevented.”
Amasi says much of the problems that afflict us can be prevented if we were to increase our awareness of the food we consume.
“Ninety-nine percent of the problems we face today in our health is rooted in the food we eat, he says with authority. “You might have heard this before, but we’re still eating the food that our forefathers were forced to eat as slaves.”
He says if we keep in mind the simple phrase that “health is wealth and food can be our medicine,” we’ll all be better off, and adds that ignorance is not an option because much of the information needed is on the Internet.
He is also big on physical activities and teaches up to 30 keep-fit classes every week.
And he challenges the community to seek true spiritual clarity, which he says will ultimately heighten our awareness that we have to work together in order to grow and be empowered as a community.
“Every weekend we go out to worship, but we have no trust nor love for each other,” he says. “We forget that the force and energy we bring as a group is more powerful than the strongest individual.”
Amasi says he is deeply affected by the plight of our community where so many are under-achieving in so many ways. His hope is to find a way to bring his knowledge to bear on those who are open to it and try to usher in a new perspective on the well-being of our community.
It’s important to him because his roots run deep here.
Born at the Catherine Booth Hospital in NDG in the west end of Montreal, his dad, from Haiti, was a pharmacist, and his mom, who came here on the Canadian Domestic Scheme from Guyana, elevated to become a registered nurse. They met at McGill University.
From two-years-old he spent some of his early years with his mother’s family in Guyana where he grew up “on the land” rearing animals and planting crops. There he was introduced to the wonders of herbs and natural medicine by his grandfather.
At 14-years-old, he came back to Montreal and built on the foundation of hard work and self-awareness instilled in him in his early years.
He was also introduced early to the fundamentals of various trades in home construction, welding, mechanics and electrical wiring, all of which led to an extended career as a marine engineer that took him to ports all around the world.
Over the past couple decades his search for knowledge made him a regular on university campuses and part of student and community organizations. He was a founding member of A.K.A.X, a youth-powered group that grew out of various student organizations in the late 1980s, early 1990s to confront issues of racism and police abuse.
In seeking a healing path to assist others, he attended several institutions, including NEC, Montreal Institute of Classical Homeopathy, completed several distance learning courses, and travelled the world studying with renowned herbalists.
Most recently Amasi became a student of Dr. Sebi, an internationally-acclaimed pathologist, herbalist, biochemist and naturalist based in Honduras, who over the past four decades have stirred up controversies and discomfort in the medical and pharmaceutical arena as he continues to present evidence of the advances he has made in curing many diseases.
Amasi refers regularly to Dr. Sebi’s wisdom, daring and unwavering commitment to his work as guidelines our community should adopt in charting a way forward.
“We are allowing others to define who we are and what’s best for us,” he says. “That’s unhealthy. We have to know ourselves and what we are capable of achieving as a group.”
On Sunday, September  20th,  Bruce Amasi Small will lead an Anxiety and Depression Workshop at Cielo Yoga and Fitness Studios, 2101 Trans Canada, Dorval. It will cover the psychological, mental and emotional behavior that causes anxiety and depression and how to remedy it. Info. 514-685-YOGA (9642).