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Upcoming Events Hosted by Yoga Outreach

Upcoming Events Hosted by Yoga Outreach

Last week, I was invited to attend a workshop with Yoga Outreach, a Vancouver-based registered charity whose mission is to “identify, develop, and deliver healing and life-affirming yoga programs to people who can not directly access these resources.”

The Trauma Sensitive Yoga workshop that I attended was informative in all the right ways. The session leaders, Yoga Outreach Coordinator Sarah Holmes de Castro and Curriculum Developer, Nicole Marcia, were knowledgeable, insightful and supportive teachers. They truly espouse the values Yoga Outreach is offering to its teachers and students.

Yoga Outreach is putting on a few events in the coming months. If these events are anything like the one I just attended, you will find them inspiring, insightful and well worth signing up for!

All proceeds support Yoga Outreach and its programs, so come for the yoga, learn more about yourself and others while supporting this amazing organisation!

Visit Yoga Outreach’s events page to read event descriptions and to register your spot.

Mark your calendars:

Revitalize & Restore: A Chakra Yoga Workshop with Shivani Wells

March 4th ~ 4 – 6pm

Part lecture, part practice, you will come away from this workshop with a greater understanding of the psychology of the chakras, insight into your own excessive or deficient energetic patterns, and practices to awaken and balance the seven chakras that you can use for a lifetime. Cost: $35 ~ Pre-registration is required. All proceeds support the work of Yoga Outreach in Correctional settings. Fee includes 1 Detoxifying Juice from The Juice Truck.

Making Yoga Relevant for Youth with Ella Cooper

March 15th ~ 5 -9pm

A 4 hour workshop for yoga teachers interested in learning tools for making yoga relevant and empowering for youth. Cost: $75 ~ Pre-registration is required.

 

Clear Boundaries, No Limits: Energy in action and the phenomenon of form. A Yoga Workshop with Christine Price Clark

March 25th ~ 10:30 – 12:30pm

Join us for this very special opportunity to practice yoga amongst inspiring artworks! This workshop is offered in partnership with the Contemporary Art Gallery. During this playful practice, we will unearth the generative capacity of your human form- literally your energy body’s potential to manifest unlimited, creative expression. Cost: $35 ~ Pre-registration is required.

Also…  the bi-annual Yoga Outreach Core Training (April 13-15) is upcoming. See website for full details! Tuition: $288. Limited work-study scholarships are available. To register: Visit www.yogaoutreach.com/training. For more information: please contact Sarah at  [email protected]

 

 

Time Rich Cash Optional: “An UNCONVENTIONAL Guide to Happiness”

Time Rich Cash Optional: “An UNCONVENTIONAL Guide to Happiness”

PART 2: A Review of Time Rich Cash Optional, a book by Cliff Harvey

Hap.pi.ness ~ state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Un·con·ven·tion·al ~ not bound by or conforming to convention, rule, or precedent; free from conventionality.

Cliff is the Author of Time Rich Cash Optional (an unconventional guide to happiness) and Choosing You! ~ How you can choose to live the life of your dreams.

I have spent the last week nose down, knee deep in Cliff’s book “Time Rich, Cash Optional. An Unconventional Guide to Happiness,” and seriously I cannot put it down.

Apart from the raw and down to earth feel, ability to paint a clear and “unconventional” picture of how to tangibly achieve our purpose, and even getting to the root  of how we place meaning on words like: “TIME,” “RICH,” “CURRENCY,” “HAPPINESS”… etc. – this book offers well-crafted exercises helping you along your own journey to the age old mantra…. “Don’t worry, be happy.”

I would like to share with you a couple of my favorite chapters.

 

Chapter 3: Becoming Unconventional “Why being normal doesn’t work”

“If you are not living the way you would like to, you have to ask yourself: why not? What ever you are doing is leading to a set of results. If those results are not the ones you want, then you obviously have to change your actions. Taking this step is not easy. We have been told over countless years that normal is good and abnormal is bad. We have been conditioned, and we have told ourselves that “fitting in” is the best way to progress in life. The problem is that this isn’t even remotely true.”

Fitting in is safe. Fitting in provides the anonymity to “fly below the radar” and not open yourself up to criticism; however, no one who ever changed the world did so by being normal”

“There will never be the “perfect” time to do something.”

I love this chapter! Why? Quite simple really, I have never tried to be normal, quite the opposite actually. Many of my students enjoy the “unorthodox or unconventional” nature of my classes and workshops and my whole life has been centered on being authentic and unique to the best of my (at sometimes eccentric and nutty) ability. However, with that being said, I have also found myself straying from my real purpose to fit others definition of “normal” and so this chapter truly re-affirms self coaching strategies to hone in on staying true to your path and your own truth in life.

 

Chapter 4: Work, Live, Play “Becoming a ‘Life Artist’

“Our relationship with “Work” defines how we feel about it. The idea of work provides a lot of mental stress to us – it is our relationship with our work situation that makes it stressful. The approach that we take to our work day defines how we actually perceive it. We can love what we do because we enjoy the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment it gives us. When we are very good at something, and we are able to translate it into a career, it can be as if that’s what we were put on this earth to do.”

What if we don’t have this? What if we do not know exactly what we want to be doing?”

We have all pondered these questions, and luckily practices like yoga and martial arts, even long distance running (since I do this, I can preach its value), enables us to tap into the center of the brain that starts to process… the larger, more profound questions of life. Ultimately, Cliff, and other wise peeps before our time, distinctly state that we, and we alone have the power to change and manifest our purpose – our happiness in life.

As Cliff so valiantly puts it; “your job is a conduit for your life’s purpose. Creating YOUR art, expressing YOUR truth,’ it’s pretty simple when you take away all the smoke and mirrors and fluffy stuff we humans like to put forth to make it all so dramatic. Reality is this – if you loved your job, loved how it made you feel, well, would this not make you in essence “happy.”

Happiness is an experience, a connection, not a store bought item. It’s a fragment in time, and if we choose to live and love to the fullest in every moment, then we can string all of those moments along to make a lifetime of – happiness.  Dalai tells it best…

Consider this passage from one the Dalai Lama quotes on happiness:

 “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.

Happiness is determined more by the state of one’s mind than by one’s external conditions, circumstances or events- at least once one’s basic survival needs are met.” – Dalai Lama

 

Last week we introduced Cliff and his message of lasting “awesomeness.” I gave snippets into his life, and why he chooses to pass on his experience to help others live happier, healthier lives through his lectures and workshops. Read the following Q&A segment to learn more about Cliff’s up coming workshops and book tour.

Part 2: Interview with Cliff Harvey

Q. In writing your book Time Rich Cash Optional, what was your ah-ha moment? What brought you to write this book about time, currency, and unconventional means of achieving happiness?

A. I think the ah-ha moment actually came well before actually writing Time Rich. The most profound awakening (in this respect at least) came when I was traveling inSouth America. I spent many months wandering, and in some respects I think I was trying to reconnect to my purpose.

I absolutely love what I do, and at the time I also loved what I did. But I felt like I could do so much more and was struggling to get a handle on ‘how’ I could work and be in order to be of the most service.

I came to realize however, that the most important thing that I can do in my practice, life, writings and teaching is to encourage happiness. I can do this moment-to-moment, day-to-day…in any job! And so finding my ‘perfect’ job or work-life path completely imploded in upon itself as a concept, and all that was left was each breaking moment.

And so in many respects even as I was writing Choosing You!, Time Rich Cash Optional was beginning to formulate in my mind and many of the themes began appearing on cliffdog.com (my blog).

Its eventual form was heavily influenced by what I could see occurring in the world economy at the time and the situation that we are still playing out (with the GFC and its aftermath.) Many, many people have begun to re-evaluate what actually drives their happiness, passion and purpose…

Q. “Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust…stop being who you were and become who you are.” – Paulo Coelho (The Zahir). This quote resides on your facebook page and considering this article is about being “Unconventional” I am told you religiously wear no shoes, you prefer bare-feet. How does a strength coach winning world records in weightlifting, stay so zen and balanced? How do you regulate this duality?

A. Ha ha ha. They key is that there is no duality, and no dichotomy. The moment is the moment, whether sitting in meditation or lifting 380lb with one hand from the floor! We can so easily fall into the trap of seeing thing as being of the mind, or of the body, or of the soul or spirit. But in reality these are all aspects of the human condition and cannot be separated. Although we may have a focus there is no such thing really as a solely physical, mental or spiritual exercise. The bare foot thing is interesting. It was only when I lived in Vancouver that I realized this was something out of the norm. Growing up in Aotearoa (New Zealand) it is pretty common for people to not wear shoes for a good portion of the year (although this is declining.) There are so many health benefits in my opinion for this, but also other subtle nuances. Being barefoot is a great metaphor for a simpler, less material existence. Walking barefoot is also a beautiful, mindful exercise – one that connects us with Mother Earth. Finally it’s a great way to encourage people to walk more softly (another great analogy for taking care of this planet we share…)

Next week we explore, “Conscious Communications with the self and other” and relate this to how we explore our meaning of communication and connection on and off the mat.

 

Sources:

Time Rich Cash Optional: an unconventional guide to happiness:  http://www.timerichcashoptional.com/

Website: www.cliffharvey.com

Blog: www.cliffdog.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/choosingyou

Choosing You: An Interview With Cliff Harvey – “Live the S*** out of life!”

Choosing You: An Interview With Cliff Harvey – “Live the S*** out of life!”

“Life has to become, more and more, closer to laughter than seriousness” ~ Osh

Choosing You! by Cliff Harvey

For centuries we have looked upon motivators, great leaders, gurus, elders, chiefs and other influential people in our lives to inspire us in progressing through our own personal journey of greatness.

Our traditions, experiences, trials and tribulations, passed down from one person to the next are a form of story telling that can give us a glimpse of the common thread that lies within each of us – the power to live a life of abundance, and a healthy happy long life in connection with those closest to us.

I have been given the opportunity to probe the mind of someone I consider to be “a guru”, “a great leader”, a “change maker”; someone who has lead me on a personal reflection of my own, to discover my own truth, my pursuit for compassion and love; and I wish to share that with you over the next several weeks.

In May and August 2012, Cliff Harvey; author, motivational speaker, world recognized mind-body-coach and naturopath will be holding workshops and seminars inVancouver(focusing on several areas of Life and Purpose, Spirituality, Holistic Health and Wellness), whilst on a North American speaking and book tour.

Cliff began his journey in the health and wellness industries as a strength coach and nutritional consultant and has had the privilege of working with Olympic medalists and world champions,RugbyCanada, BCRugby, Emirates Team NewZealandand Field HockeyCanada,  as well as populations with chronic illness and special populations. Cliff also holds specializations in the areas of Psych-K; as an Advanced Facilitator; Reiki Level lll (Master); and is a Homeobotanical Therapist. Aside from his workshops and seminars, Cliff is also an accomplished author; his books including the 2007 release: “Choosing You” and his latest offering: “Time Rich Cash Optional: an unconventional guide to happiness” released in 2011.

Over the course of the next 4 weeks my Saturday morning blog will take you on a journey of personal reflection, as I introduce Cliff’s methodology and holistic teachings, in hopes of giving you a glimpse of his upcoming workshops and seminar scheduled this summer.

An Interview with Cliff Harvey

Q. Let’s start with your upcoming workshops; currently inNew Zealandand what your thoughts are forVancouver?

A. The real focus, both here and on my North American tour is to roll out a weekend workshop based on the exercise from both Choosing You! and Time Rich Cash Optional. There’s also be a lot of additional material drawn from 14 years in practice helping people to be happier and healthier. I’m really excited to be able to connect with people in that type of setting and present some extremely practical tools and exercises to help them deeply connect with their life of passion and purpose and to set and achieve the right goals…the goals that will make it a reality.

Outside of that I will be presenting several workshops on the Mind-Body connection – both from a health/life perspective and also for athletes to achieve sporting and performance success. The final workshops are focused on Holistic Performance Nutrition and Conscious Communication skills…so really there is something for everyone!

Q. You have two main portals; your publishing and work as an author and speaker and your holistic clinical work as a natuopath and mind-body coach (among a plethora of other modalities). You are incredible accomplished for an early 30 year old, and seem to have achieved what most work up to later on in life, what has been your driving force to excel? How have you balanced all the work, play and education? How do you manage it all?

A. That is a great question Sarah…

So often people start with ‘How do you fit it all in?’ Not what the driving force is!

I guess the driving force for me has been quite simply that I had a realization that whatever we do, if we are living a life that is congruent with our ethos and values and congruent with our highest purpose, is a conduit by which we can make people happier. All of the things I do in practice and in my speaking and writing have that as the end goal or highest purpose. I also have very eclectic tastes and marry that with a tendency to become super-engaged (some may say obsessed!) in things that interest me. So I have done, and continue to do several different things as part of my work-life. I see the whole complex (work-life-play) as being one in the same, especially when you love what you do, and do what you love.

Take today for example: I got up around 6am, had a leisurely breakfast, then did some writing, planning for clients, communications (email etc) and then headed to the gym at 10am for my usual training day which consists of 90min of weightlifting and a further hour of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After that it’s home for a short siesta in the sun and then back to the office to either see clients or do more writing or project work. It’s currently 6pm NZ time and in effect I have trained for 2.5 hours, chilled for some time and worked or 7 hours thus far, I may or may not go for a surf, a walk on the beach or to a friends for dinner. It’s not a conventional schedule and some may see it as hectic, but really it’s not…it’s just a flow of life.

So often people think they ‘don’t have enough time’. But that just means that they are spending time on the inconsequential. I sometimes wonder how to fit all the things I really want to do and love doing in, but that has quite a different context to feeling like time is the enemy. The key is to simply look at life as an adventure. Do things, try things, love things. And part of that is loving to lie down, chill, relax and have quite time too. My latest book looks at the idea that time is the very currency of life, and therefore happiness…

Q. Why “Choosing you”? This is a title that I am sure jumps out of the stands for most people, and as we know the title of the book is usually the hardest to “choose” when writing a book (or at least that’s what I have heard from authors). What is your personal connection with the title?

A. Choosing You! is a book about the power that we have in choice. The title actually came to me early on in the process (as did Time Rich Cash Optional) and I think that it sums up very effectively the onus of the book, which is that you can choose who you want to be and how you want to live, and you can do it right now. 

Q. In 2001 you were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and you mention in your bio that this lead you to re evaluate your health and the meaning you placed on what constitutes “health.” Can you elaborate of some of the fundamental changes or epiphanies you have had re structuring your life and living with Corhns?

A. The diagnosis affected me on many levels. At the time I became very sick, lost around 36lbs and was constantly in severe pain, unable to eat many foods as everything seemed to affect me negatively and was heavily anemic due to blood loss. It was at that time that I had a great realization – that LIFE is a choice. I could allow myself (a choice) to slip into a semi-permanent hospital bed (or a grave!) or decide to fight for life. I chose the latter and the rest is history. Things didn’t correct themselves over night but it was certainly the turning point on my road to recovery. In the subsequent years I had many realizations of the interconnectedness of the mind, body and spirit in health, and this lead me to become much more holistic in my clinical practice, and incorporate spiritual concepts that I had learned over my youth and adolescent years, and in doing so integrated a lot of what previously was my home life and work life, until even they gained greater synergy.

The most important thing that hardship does though is makes you more human. The various things I’ve been through, from illness to grief, trauma and loss, have all made me more empathic, more compassionate and ergo a better person and better practitioner. 

Cliff Harvey, ND, Dip.Fit, HbT, Adv. Psych-K, Reiki lll

Learn how you can transform your deepest driving desires and intentions, as well as how to access your hidden potential and recognize the possibilities that are always unfolding around you. Feel free to follow along and purchase Cliff Harvey’s books, “Choosing You” and “Time Rich Cash Optional” and unlock the tools and inspiration to move to the next phase of success and fulfillment, with effortless ease.

Join us over the next 4 weeks as we look at Cliff Harvey’s integrated approach and vision for his upcoming seminars.

Week One: a Hip Guide to “Unconventional” Happiness

Week Two: Conscious Communications with the self and other

Week Three: Mind-Body Strategies for Optimal Performance on and off the mat

Week Four: Choosing You! Connecting with your life purpose

 

Sources:

Katoa Health Publishing: www.katoahealth.com

Website: www.cliffharvey.com

Blog: www.cliffdog.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/choosingyou

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cliffharveyauthor

Author’s Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/-/e/B004JBBX66

UVic To Honour Lululemon Founder

UVic To Honour Lululemon Founder

Chip Wilson, founder of yoga-wear giant Lululemon Athletica and one of Canada’s most valuable public companies, has been named the 2012 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year by the University if Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business.

“Chip Wilson exemplifies the values of a visionary entrepreneur,” Peter Gustavson, chairman of the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award committee, said in a statement Monday. “He turned a passion for health and fitness into a worldwide movement and has inspired countless others through his unique outlook and commitment to quality. His values permeate everything he does.”

Read the full article here.

 

The (Me)ntal (Heal)th of Yoga

The (Me)ntal (Heal)th of Yoga

Most of us recognize that when we breath and move, we feel better.  Slowing down and taking time to de stress, relaxes our body and mind, isn’t just a “buzz phrase.” There are physiological, as well as psychological proven benefits that extend well beyond the mat when you practice yoga and deeply affects your mental health.

Thursday night I held a salon conversation connecting youth with the positive platform of mental health and at risk youth. Yoga came up frequently,  from all the speakers, as one of the best forms of exercise that can be implemented into schools to help promote self confidence, discipline, and balance.

Lets dig deeper and answer these questions…

Can yoga help them do more than just feel a little bit better?

Can it heal their mental illness?

Yoga has long been seen as a tool for improving mental health, although concepts of what that entails have shifted over time and are distinct in different cultures. Not to mention mental health statistics vary globally.

Mental illness affects 1 in every 3 Canadians, and what most of us do not realize is that suicide is the second largest killer of young adults between the ages of 15-24. The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, states about 20 percent of adults suffer some sort of mental illness each year, and about 5 percent experience a serious disorder that disrupts work, family or social life. In Canada, one 1 out of every 6 children or youth has access to mental health resources. These are staggering numbers.

There are several schools of yoga that focus specifically on the intersections between asana practice and emotional health, and a growing body of studies indicates that yoga is often an excellent tool to treat the troubled mind.

My personal opinion on style is through experience with populations who have or are at risk for mental illness, and what I have found works for clients with mood disorders and especially my work with vets in the Canadian Armed Forces, injured in combat, a Yin style or light Vinyasa seem to have the largest affect. Both involve breath work and slow, controlled movement.

To date, the most persuasive evidence of the benefits of hatha yoga, and in particular pranayama, stems from research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience  in India. New studies have shown a high success rate—up to 73 percent—for treating depression with breathing. .” It involves breathing naturally through the nose, mouth closed, in three distinct rhythms.

Yoga has been integrated into many high stress service careers; such as police departments and the Canadian Armed Forces. People who suffer from operational stress injuries or jobs that are high stress physically, as well as mentally are at greater risk, and Yoga can help combat high stress levels. Stress is one of the key factors in the onset of depression and anxiety.

Other benefits of yoga on our mental can include; improved ability to sleep, better moods, increased feelings of self-control, and better concentration and focus.

 

 

Sources:

Check out the full report in The Washington Post : http://wapo.st/wzYeST

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA): http://vancouver-burnaby.cmha.bc.ca/

 

Bhakti Dub and Jungle Love – Yoga, Bliss and Reggae with Sean O’Leary

Bhakti Dub and Jungle Love – Yoga, Bliss and Reggae with Sean O’Leary

Source: http://www.kushalayoga.com/about/our-instructors/sean-oleary/

This Friday and next Saturday, make plans to spend a heart-felt, spiritually-uniting, jamming practice with Sean O’Leary!

Sean will be sharing two joyous yoga sessions in the upcoming weeks: Jungle Love at Hari Om Yoga in Langley on Friday (Jan 20) and Bhakti Dub next Saturday (Jan 28) ay Kushala Yoga in Suter Brook, Port Moody.

 If you haven’t taken a class with Sean before, you’ll love him. His warmth and enthusiasm will brighten even the snowiest day, and the practice he leads always leaves you feeling buoyant and sweet. And yes, he is always that happy. Don’t miss out on these unique classes!

From Kushala Yoga:

My brother from another mother, my sister from a different mister, let us unite! Come for an afternoon of bliss (ananda), with me (Sean), and embrace the art of Bhakti. This all levels asana class will focus on building community, friendship, and unconditional love for your neighbor. The twist will be the funky rhythms of reggae and dub filling the room with good vibrations.

Visionaries like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh had a heartfelt belief that all hate, inequality, and racism in the world could be cured through music. This one love mentality will be magnified through a series of group asana (poses) and partner assists. Everyone has an inborn natural desire to love, embrace and radiate happiness. So come groove, laugh, connect, share, and amplify your love for all people in the universe.

Join Sean for the sweetness of a loving practice to warm the soul:

Jungle Love at Hari Om Yoga in Langley

Friday, Jan 20, 8pm-9:30pm, $10+hst drop-in

Bhakti Dub at Kushala Yoga at Suter Brook, Port Moody

Saturday, Jan 28, 3pm – 4:30pm
By donation to Hungry For Life International

Shouldering Responsibility: The Nervous Systems Highway (week three)

Shouldering Responsibility: The Nervous Systems Highway (week three)

Fascia is our third top communicator in our body, thus it’s no wonder that it is often described as our body’s natural transportation system (next to the nervous system). As we know it is a web of tiny fluid filled microtubules that exist in a multidimensional structure surrounding every cell in our body, head to toe, in and around every organ, muscle and joint. Microscopically, fascia is arranged in tiny micro-tubules, composed of collagen and elastin. Form follows function and these tubules act as a mini transportation system.  Blood vessels and nerves travel within our fascial highway. In turn, fascia itself receives a profound number of nerve endings and innervates 10 times more than muscle. It is a fundamental structure in which the circulatory system and nervous system rely on sensory feedback and input/output.

Majority of chronic pain in the body is caused by dysfunction in the muscles, instability or lack of mobility.  In other words, chronically tight or strained muscles that are stuck in patterns of compensation are frequently at the root of significant pain, as well as the pain referral will usually show significant breakdowns in other areas along the restricted line or muscular sling. It’s common for muscular imbalances to build up in the body without any symptoms at first. The body is extremely dynamic and will often adjust itself to numerous imbalances for long periods of time without there being any pain at all.

Many rotator cuff injuries are secondary to fascial problems. Shoulder problems may be due to the blade not gliding or a restriction in the ribs that prevent the arm from going up and extending the way it should. Failure to resolve patterns of muscular compensation through appropriate treatment can predispose the shoulder to further injury.

Sometimes a simple movement such as reaching behind you or above you can push the problem over the brink.  For instance, lets use “frozen shoulder” as an example; which is a pain in the deltoid muscle, caused by strain and fatigue when the shoulder blade no longer moves freely. After a while, the deltoid becomes ischemic, meaning it’s blood flow is significantly reduced. And then you have a muscle that’s working overtime, without an adequate supply of blood to nourish it.

A protective neuromuscular response in the body, is to limit movement to avoid further pain or damage and thus allowing the fascia to shorten up and inhibiting muscular movement. This can lead to stress and inactivity, which can result in unconscious bracing of the shoulder muscles and gradual tightening of the surrounding tissue.

Neuromuscular re patterning and structural integration are ways that can assist the body in reaching it’s ultimate alignment.  They involve an analysis of the existing alignment and patterning within the body, manipulation of the soft tissues including muscles, ligaments and fascia, and a plan that will encourage the body to stay aligned between sessions.

Modification of upper arm coordination and shoulder girdle placement is greatest addressed in conjunction with alterations in the cervical vertebrae and tonic neck reflexes

For lasting shoulder pain relief, it’s essential to follow the stages of rehabilitation in the proper order:

1. Eliminate spasms, fascial binding and hypercontraction in the tissues (Manual therapy such a neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, structural integration bodywork)

2. Restore proper biomechanics (Soft-tissue re-patterning, corrective movement, structural bodywork)

3. Restore flexibility to the tissues (Stretching, somatic movement, structural yoga, fascial stretch therapy)

4. Rebuild the strength of the injured tissues (Physical therapy exercises, corrective movement, strength conditioning)

5. Build endurance (Aerobic exercise)

World’s First “Chopra Yoga Center” Opens In Vancouver

World’s First “Chopra Yoga Center” Opens In Vancouver

World’s First “Chopra Yoga Center” opens in Vancouver, BC, Canada – International chain of studios to offer yoga teachings inspired by Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Vancouver, BC (January 10, 2012) – Deepak Chopra, M.D. today announced the launch of the world’s first Chopra Yoga Center in Vancouver, Canada. The custom-designed 8,000-square-foot wellness studio is the first in a planned series of yoga centers that will be rooted in foundational teachings developed by mind-body healing pioneers Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D.“We’re excited to bring Chopra Yoga to Vancouver, a city that is emerging as a world class center for yoga,” said Dr. Chopra. “In our beautiful new studios, both beginners and advanced yogis will have an opportunity to explore the deepest principles of yoga and conscious living.”

The Chopra Yoga Center offers a wide variety of classes that range from meditation, hot hatha, and power vinyasa to Cho fit, Yoga Barre, and Pilates. There are also classes that focus specifically on the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga – a practice developed by Dr. Chopra and Dr. Simon. The studio’s philosophy is inspired by the principles in Dr. Chopra’s best-selling book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and emphasizes the benefits of yoga for physical health, spiritual awakening, and inner calm and balance.

“In our modern electronic culture, so many people feel fragmented and overwhelmed with stress,” said Dr. Simon. “Our intention with Chopra Yoga is to help as many people as possible experience the balance, calm, and vitality that yoga naturally cultivates.”

The Chopra Yoga Center, located at 451 Granville Street, in Vancouver B.C., is now accepting new members. The programs are designed for both new and experienced yoga practitioners. Recognizing the importance of community, five per cent of all profits are donated to local charities. For more information, please visit www.choprayoga.com

About the Chopra Yoga Center

The Chopra Yoga Center is a full-service yoga, health, and wellness studio. Our approach integrates the timeless principles of Deepak Chopra’s “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success to any yoga style. Choose from a wide variety of yoga, Pilates, dance, and meditation classes in our custom-designed 8,000-square-foot studio in downtown Vancouver, BC. Learn more at www.choprayoga.com.

About the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

The Chopra Center for Wellbeing was founded by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D. in 1996. Located in Carlsbad, California, the Center offers a wide variety of programs, retreats, and teacher training programs that integrate the healing arts of the East with the best in modern Western medicine. The Chopra Center has helped millions of people around the world find peace of mind, physical balance, and emotional healing. The website www.chopra.com is your starting point on the path to wellness.

Yoga Can Wreck Your Body?

Yoga Can Wreck Your Body?

According to a recent New York Times article, yoga can wreck your body:

…for many people, a number of commonly taught yoga poses are inherently risky. The first reports of yoga injuries appeared decades ago, published in some of the world’s most respected journals — among them, Neurology, The British Medical Journal and The Journal of the American Medical Association. The problems ranged from relatively mild injuries to permanent disabilities […]

Read the complete article here, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

A Guide to Shouldering Responsibility: Be Shoulder Savvy (Week One)

A Guide to Shouldering Responsibility: Be Shoulder Savvy (Week One)

Being shoulder savvy in your yoga practice is a great asset to both being a teacher and a student. Your shoulder joint and the proper functioning of the muscles associated with the movement of your shoulder joint and shoulder girdle are paramount in yoga and many yoga postures.

When we think of the shoulder, we tend to think of only the joint itself. The shoulder girdle, the shoulder girdle consists of several bony joints, or “articulations”, which connect the upper limbs to the rest of the skeleton, along with attachment sites of the connective tissue  and provide a large range of movement (hence it’s known as a ball and socket joint). The shoulder girdle may also see this referred to as the “pectoral girdle.”  The main bones which form the shoulder girdle are the clavicle, the scapula and the humerus.

Shoulder Anatomy 101:

There are three main joints in the shoulder girdle, these are the glenohumeral joint (GHJ),  acromioclavicular joint (ACJ), and the sternoclavicular joint (SCJ), all of which come into play in many yoga postures such as downward facing dog, upward facing dog, shoulder poses and inversions.

When asked to locate the shoulder, most often people will point to the glenohumeral joint, which provides a large proportion of the movement at the shoulder girdle; however the ACJ and the SCJ joints are just as integral in load distribution and muscular recruitment in all yoga postures. The ACJ is formed at the lateral end of the clavicle and is important in transmitting load and force through the upper limb and shoulder to the axial skeleton. The ACJ has minimal mobility due to its supporting ligaments; whereas the SCJ occurs at the sternal end of the clavicle, the cartilage of the first rib and lateral, upper portion of the sternum, which functions in all movements of the upper limbs and plays a larger role in throwing or thrusting movement patterns.

Another important (and often neglected) joint that permits movement and postural awareness is the scapulothoracic joint ; which supports movement and stabilization of the shoulder. It overlies the 2nd – 7th ribs, is tilted slightly forwards by an angle of 30°, and is encased by 17 muscles which provide control and stabilization against the thoracic wall (the ribcage). Even though it is not technically a “joint” it is referred to as one because of its functionality.  This joint relies entirely on the surrounding musculature for its control and aids in movement of the skeleton and spine. During elevation the glenohumeral joint rotates 2° for every 1° of scapulothoracic rotation.

How can we protect our shoulder joint in Yoga, as well as off the mat?

Learning to engage and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and the muscles associated with our posture is crucial to preventing common shoulder injuries. For students who lack mobility, learning how to properly improve mobility to the muscles surrounding these joints will reduce tension and force to the joint structure, as well as improve proper recruitment and motor control through movement and postures.

 

The rotator cuff consists of the subscapularis, infraspinatus, teres minor, and supraspinatus. This group is one of the most important but widely misunderstood structures in the body. The names of three of the muscles give you a clue to their location: subscapularis sits under the scapula, between the ribs and the front surface of the scapula. Supraspinatus sits above and infraspinatus sits below the spine of the scapula. Teres minor sits on the outer edge of the scapula, near the posterior fold of the armpit.

Its job is to support and position the ball that forms the head of the humerus and fits in the socket of the shoulder joint. The shoulder is inherently an unstable joint, so building the strength of these supporting muscles is crucial to proper functioning.

These important external rotators, infraspinatus and teres minor, are the part of the rotator cuff that is strengthened in Downward Dog. A weakened rotator cuff might lead to abnormal shoulder-movement patterns, which can contribute to inflammation and pain. Not only that, but weak muscles are likely to tear when you put a load on them that they aren’t strong enough to handle. Thus practice makes perfect, and to do so stay focused on the transitional movements and modify if necessary.

When I teach downward dog to students, I have them start in poses such as an elbow plank to dolphin pose, then from a straight arm plank moving to downward facing dog, cueing on the important of external rotation and recruitment of the shoulder girdle.

Once you’ve mastered keeping the external rotators engaged in these poses, you can apply the action to more challenging poses such as upward-Facing dog and chaturanga dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), and even into inversions and hand stands.

Adding in a little thoracic spine mobility would also support proper elongation of the spine and assist in deep breathing while moving through pose to pose. Next week we will dive deeper into the functionality of the rotator cuff muscles and it’s association with the fascial system for improved stability and mobility.

 

The 12 Days of “Sustainable” Christmas

The 12 Days of “Sustainable” Christmas

The spirit of Christmas Giving, comes from opening your heart and lending a hand. The holiday season is a simple holiday for most, but for some it can feel foreboding. It is a time of giving, but for many families this simplicity is overshadowed by the consuming side of Christmas.

The Grinch said it best…

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. “
– Dr. Seuss

Therefore, this holiday season “Spread a Little Cheer, for All to Hear” and give back to your community and to others, share your love of the holidays.  Free hug, a warm smile, a simple hand shake and hello, can go further then you think.

Taking that extra step and donating your monetary gift of hard work or spare a little time to work with those who may not be as fortunate and offer them the gift of empowerment. It gives families and communities the power to improve their own lives.

Sticking with the spirit of the holidays I have chosen to illuminate some of my own personal experiences around the holidays, as well as Vancouver’s amazing gift giving options with a favorite song, “The 12 Days of Christmas;” which was first published inEngland in 1780.

12 Days of Christmas Gift Giving …

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Upstanding values from the family tree

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

2 open arms ~ (for free hugs)

And upstanding values from the family tree

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

3 “Adopt a Project” – (Vancouver Police Foundation PALs, Hope in Shadows, Portland House Society )

2 open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

4 Sponsored Families ~ (Presents of Peace – YWCA)

3 “Adopt a Project”

2 Open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

5 Golden Reasons (Compassion, respect, community, integrity, accountability)

4 Sponsored Families

3 “Adopt a Project”

2 Open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree

~~~~ (keeping with the theme of the song, but shortening the scrolling feed, here are the full list of the 12 days of Christmas)

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

12 months of Photos ~ (buy your 2012 Hope in Shadows Calendar today)

11 Pals-a-Paling ~ ($400 raised for the Vancouver Police Foundation and VPD PALs Program)

10 Co-ops –a Coping ~ (Vision Vancouver’s low cost housing strategy for 2015 supported)

9 (99%) Occupy local markets  ~  (buy local, support fair trade consumerism)

8 Happy Jigs a Jiggin rather then rioting ~ (perform 30secs of your happy dance….mine is the Snoopy dance) 

7 dwarfs –a- ELfing ~ (Operation Elf Team 2011)

6 Cows-a -Mooing ~ (sponsored herds for small enterprise and empowerment through international development agencies like CARE Canada and Free the Children)

5 Golden Reasons ~ (Compassion, respect, community, integrity, accountability)

4 Sponsored Families ~ (Presents of Peace – YWCA)

3 “Adopt a Project” ~ (Vancouver Police Foundation PALs, Hope in Shadows, Portland House Society )

2 Open arms

And upstanding values from the family tree.”

~~~~~

I hope you all enjoyed this witty banter and I wish you all a very merry and happy Christmas holiday season.

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