News

Vancouver Yoga Riot 2011!

In the aftermath of the unimaginable events last week, and the showcase of love for our city and our community the following day, make sure you check out the latest event; Vancouver Yoga Riot 2011!

“Join together as a community to heal and rekindle the beautiful energy of our city using the powerful practice of yoga.”
With a variety of teachers expected, make sure you check out the Vancouver Yoga Riot 2011 details are as follows;

Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.
~
Dorothy Thompson

‘GET YOUR YIN ON’ THE SPIRAL LINE MERIDIAN

Last week we introduced fascial training and fascial elasticity combined with the therapeutic practice of Yin Yoga. Today, we build on that understanding with an introduction to one of (the many) fascial meridians. Meet the Spiral Line Meridian (SL)!

Did you know that most injuries are not muscular? Dysfunctions in the connective tissue account for well over half of the injuries in today’s active population, even when muscles are involved.

 Q. Why? A. One function of fasica is to transfer force from one end of the body to the other and everywhere in between. This is why it is such an important structure to look  in the prevention of injuries. If one area of the body has pain (as in muscle pain) we could possibly find the cause elsewhere if we follow these structural lines of the force and tissue as most “pain” is associated with a biomechanical dysfunction.

The SL meridian, which, for all you yogi-athletes will find functionally significant; has many connections that form distinct spirals of deep myofascial connections looping around the legs and torso and plays a role in proper posture and gait.

If we take a walk on the meridian, we find its connections to the arch and the ITB, the spiral line continues on to connect with the pelvis, it transverses the front of the abdomen, as well as, the thoracolumbar fasica, connecting to the lateral rib cage, cervical/thoracic spine and then scapula by way of the postural muscles of the back and attaching at the occipital ridge.

This meridian loop gives structural evidence of the connection between the pelvis and the arch of the foot. If you suffer from low back pain, SI, ITB or knee pain, collapsed arches or plantar fascitis, your spiral line meridian may be comprimised.

In Yin Yoga, the Spiral Line can be nurtured when we perform twists that stem from the torso and postures that lift out of the arch of the foot. Triangle pose; for example (utthita trikonasana), the torso is twisted and the arch lifts to support pelvic position. The pelvis is a major player in this line, as it related to gait and load distribution.

Other Spiral Line centered postures focused on improving fascial elasticity are:

  • Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
  • Marichi’s Pose (Marichyasana III)
  • Revolved Half Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)
  • One Legged Revolved Belly Pose (Eka Pada Jathara Parivarttanasana)
  • MET (muscle energy work) used more in therapeutic private sessions

Moral of the story ‘Get Your Yin On” and Let’s Twist!

 Sources: Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists, by Thomas Myers

Wear Your Love For Yoga, Surf & The Canucks!

Do you love yoga, surfing and the Canucks? Vancouver’s own Blissology is offering these amazing tshirts for sale in support of the Canucks’ fight for the Stanley Cup!

These tees are fitted and soft, 70% bamboo & 30% cotton, and are the perfect layering piece.   White, by Bamboo Naturals with the surfing canuck logo on the front, and our classic blissology logo on the right sleeve.  We know you will love it.  Support our Canucks and BC Surf Yoga Culture! Aloha.

Click here to purchase a men’s or women’s shirt from blissology.com. Go Canucks Go!

THE YOGI ATHLETE: FASCIAL ELASTICITY & YIN YOGA

Fasical elasticity and sequencing in Yin Yoga, to prevent athletic injuries? You said what now?!

The practice of Yin can be an instrumental benefit to our fascial trains and fascial net. Yin Yoga is designed to deeply relax and renew the connective tissue of the human body.

But what is connective tissue… and what is fascial elasticity or the fascial net?

Fascia (as a whole) forms the biological container and is the fundamental connector for every organ; including muscles and connective tissues (plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, iliotibial band, thoracolumbar, etc). The fascial trains and net in particular, acts as a single connected unity in which the muscles and bones float, along with smaller connectors where the organs literally hang and co-mingle.

If we take it one step further, and include the neuro myofascial net, which also includes; the blood and blood cells, and other elements not part of the structural cellular “net.” Perhaps the closest term we could introduce all of these elements would be the extra-cellular matrix (ECM), which includes everything in your body that isn’t just cellular; including fibers (collegen weaves), collodial gels or the “glue” that holds and supoprts movement within the connective tissue and lastly water; which surrounds and permiates the cells.

And down the rabbit hole we go… lets bring it back to the benefits of Yin and prevention of injury.

Benefits of a Yin Yoga practice can be immense, especially for students who are also runners or athletes. For example, runners who train fascial fitness and employ fascical elasticity more often (quick whole body movments) will be using less muscle power during their runs, as they ultimatley store more energy in the stretch and then attain it back during the release. Thus, they will be able to run longer with less fatigue.

Therefore including sequenced postures that promote fascial elasticity and resetting the integrity of the trains, post run or training; most teachers and students alike will find these key areas significantly improved on and off the mat:

  • restoring natural bio mechanics settings for posture and function
  • prevention of asymmetries in the body, but addressing small indicators
  • easing the long-term consequences from injury and preventing new ones
  • extending functional movement for longevity

Herein lies, the “Yin” to that Yang, a great Yin practice can balance out the stress of training to prevent injuries and breakdowns. When we reset and maintain elasticity in our body, we move more freely.

Canucks Asana?

So unless you live under a rock, you are aware that the Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals after 15 years and the city is alive with “Canuck/Cup Fever.”

{Source: http://canucks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=453790}

As we all know Vancouver is a yogi’s little slice of heaven with so many different studios and class styles to choose from that it only makes sense that the Canucks added yoga to their physical regime. How else could Luongo pull off some of those crazy saves?

It was reported back in 2007  that Yoga was added to the Canucks program and has become a part of many players workout regime. The major reason behind the decision to add it was to reduce injuries and the recovery time associated with them, while it can’t possibly prevent all injuries (ie. puck to the face) it can help to prevent muscle strain or groin pulls.

While there have been no clear reports as to whether yoga is still a part of the Canucks workout plan, it has been reported that our competition, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, has been claimed as somewhat as a “yoga master.” It is reported that he began a yoga conditioning program to increase his flexibility & strength in order to increase his abilities as a goal tender. (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/715484-2011-nhl-stanley-cup-finals-comparing-the-goalies)

Check out the Canucks in an old yoga video for Canucks TV:

Canucks TV: Yoga

And an old interview from 2009 with NHL Players including Luongo on their views of yoga, hopefully Luongo has changed his mind since this video;

NHL Players and Yoga

Check out our competition goalie’s yoga practice;

Tim Thomas Yoga

What are your thoughts? Does yoga improve their playing abilities? Tune in Wednesday for Game 1 and find out!

GO CANUCKS GO!

YOGA. BELOVED PETS. SONG BIRDS UNITE! A 2012 CALENDAR PHOTO CONTEST

HOT OFF THE PRESS: An opportunity for yoga teachers and students to get involved in something revolutionary AND play with their pets?! You bet!

Three songbirds of renowned talent and compassion; Melissa McClelland, Janine Stoll and  Lisa Winn founded Ladybird Animal Sanctuary, a multi-tiered safe haven for abandoned animals, a means of advocating for our furry friends, and a call to action in our communities Canada wide to help reduce the extraordinary number of cats and dogs euthanized each year.

Social Change meets Yoga once again; and Ladybird Sanctuary is pioneering a great marriage of sorts, by combining our devotion to Yoga and the devotion to our beloved pets to help animals everywhere! 

Leveraging their talent as musicians, songwriters and singers; they have co-created the Yoga Calendar 2012 project; which is generating a huge blissful buzz amongst Canada’s Yoga community!

Ladybird is currently calling for submissions across Canada; photos that capture and convey the playful, poignant, relationships we have with our pets and our yoga practice. Take a photo of your best downward or upward facing dog, cats flow, pigeon pose or any other pose displaying you and your lovely pet and you could win a spot in their 2012 calendar and be featured on their website!

Proceeds from the 2012 Yoga Calendar will go towards a safe haven/ rescue adoption space for animals to help take the load off local shelters bursting at the seams, as well as therapeutic programs for animals, community outreach programs and workshops on important topics; such as spaying and neutering your pet.

 If you don’t have a pet, but advocate for the protection of our furry friends you can still take part! Full spectrum of contest guidelines can be found by visiting their website or Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ladybirdanimalsanctuary  or by simply emailing [email protected] on how to get involved!

 What a great way to combine Yoga, your beloved furball and social change for the betterment of all creatures big and small!

Sources:

Ladybirds Animal Sanctuary: http://ladybirdanimalsanctuary.com/

Melissa McClelland:http://www.melissamcclelland.com/

Robbie Williams Takes Up Bikram Yoga To Battle Take That

No no, Robbie’s not fighting with Take That members again – they have actually let him back in the band and Take That is touring again. Robbie has always been plagued by stage fright, so to combat his nerves, he has enlisted the assistance of a new friend named Bikram. Yes, for the past three months, Robbie Williams has been sweating it out, through 26 poses. Robbie believes his twice a week sessions of 90-minute yoga has helped him become fitter and overcome his nerves.

“Rob suffers from crippling anxiety and has been worried about the lads’ forthcoming concerts. A pal suggested Bikram yoga to refocus his pent-up energy and handle stress more effectively. After a couple of sessions he was hooked – and sweating like a wildebeest. While the others have stuck to the gym or pool, Robbie’s been using meditation and yoga to help his stagefright and to keep him sane on tour.”

This just goes to show what I believe – that yoga can help almost anyone, from almost anywhere, through almost anything. I have a few friends here in Vancouver who don’t think yoga is for them (mostly male friends). However, the majority of them haven’t actually tried yoga! Encourage your friends to try a yoga class, before they jump to conclusions. Hey, they might surprise themselves and actually enjoy the experience 😉

A MOVEMENT MEDITATION

“With a body made joyous through movement, the mind is able to relax. With mind/body balance, we can take the power of feeling good and generate compassion.” —The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche (Zen Buddhist)

Movement frees the body and mind. It is one of the most natural and functional movements the body can harness, as it propels us forward in life, literally, as well as metaphorically. Running is often the form of exercise chosen to reduce stress, which brings us greater perspective in connecting us directly with the wisdom and appreciation of our body mechanics.

Most runners will naturally agree, that running is a form of mental therapy, their time to just be… free and joyous.

This begs the question; does the practice running and the practice of mediation have similar affects on the body and mind?  The answer would be yes, and when nurtured can not only improve your state of running, but your state of mind.

The art and practice of meditation and yoga can offer similar benefits; which aid us cultivating stillness and nonjudgmental awareness of the mind’s activities. Even though one is sedentary and the other is not, they both require consistency and discipline. They both are a form of training and both are benefited when the student uses the skill of visualization and control within the moment.

As a  an ultrarunner and founder of RUN for A CAUSE, meditation and yoga are a significant part of my training all year round, as well as for those I coach.

When the mind is trained, the body follows and as many runners will convey, there is a moment in every athlete’s state of performance and consciousness when there is this sense of union within the body. All your senses are heightened and you feel free, even in the presence of fatigue.

Running can be seen as the extension of a basic meditative practice. The next time you head out for a run focus and meditate on your intention and don’t forget to hit the Yoga mat post run for a good stretch.

Next week lets look at the art of meditation in exercise as a preventative tool in prevention of injury and rehabilitation.

Yoga Teacher Telesummit

Have you heard about the 2011 Yoga Teacher Telesummit?

If you haven’t, you don’t want to miss out. It’s completely free and a great way to connect to a variety of yoga teachers from Mark Whitwell, Sadie Nardini, Rolf Gates and many many more.

”Telesummit is designed to motivate, inspire, and educate yoga teachers and dedicated students from all over the planet; to connect and share and inquire; to provide tools for teachers, studio owners, and other yoga-related entrepreneurs to become more authentic and more sustainable, to broaden their reach and focus their attention on what really matters; to create a dialogue between many different styles, traditions, and schools of Yoga to find our common ground, the shared pscyho-spiritual ‘trunk’ that roots the yogic tree into the cosmic ground of our being.”

You can register for FREE on their website at; http://www.yogateachertelesummit.com and view the daily call schedule. They will send you email reminders about the upcoming call with login information, but don’t worry if you can’t make the time, all the call are recorded and available for download.

What an amazing opportunity to hear some fantastic teachers share their insights, without having the cost of attending a weekend workshop. Don’t miss out calls with Mark Whitwell and Susanana Harwood Rubin have already happened.

PLAY. BUILD. REACH. LEARN! How do you practice sustainability in the real world?

Ideas Worth Spreading.  Riveting Talks By Remarkable People, Free The World!

Does this sound familiar? If you guessed Ted.com, then Namaste to you!

Over the course of the last decade through the art and science of Yoga I have sought out Dharana (inner conceptualization and compassionate awareness). Through the service to others and much like Yoga intends – found a place of union with something larger then myself; which we know to be the basic fundamentals of the yamas and niyamas of Yoga teachings. Yet, it is no easy task as the landscape of the global revolution changes daily.

At a cross roads I continually find myself asking, how do we practice sustainability in real life?  Today I ask all those who embody the Yoga way to take their practice off the mat and consider this opportunity…

Imagine for one moment, if we could harness that potential as kids? Imagine for one moment the potential if we START with our kids? And lastly, imagine for one moment we could return and re connect with that child-like potential as adults?

It takes a community to raise a village, therefore empowering kids’ means they don’t even have to be your own! We live in a generation where; yoga, get your green on and sustainability are part of our evolutionary process, WE are passing these teachings onto the next generation! Humanity’s framework is always under construction.

This is what [email protected] is preparing to achieve on Sept 17 2011.  Vancouver will host the conference’s first home. [email protected] is a platform for facilitating opportunities to empower kids and support authentic learning. A gathering of remarkable people with young hearts will aim to share their captivating stories borne from genuine curiosity and bold ideas. Much like Ted.com conference, except with the color and vibrancy of play, build, reach and learn and as adults, I say we embrace our inner kids!

In a recent Ted.com video with Jacqueline Norvogratz, called “Living a Life of Immersion,” she coined this closing statement, and I ask each of you to meditate on it for a moment during your next Dharana practice…

Robert Kennedy once said, “few of us have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and it is in the total of all those acts that the history of this generation will be written.”

If you know a speaker, nominate them! If you have a story to tell please apply @[email protected] Story telling, this is one way we create sustainability in the real world!

Sources:

Ted.com: www.ted.com

[email protected]: www.tedxkidsbc.com/

Buddha Body Yoga In New York City

New York City and Vancouver have a lot in common – both are world renowned cities, both are culturally diverse, and both offer a plethora of yoga studios. However, there appears to be one type of studio in New York City that we have yet to see in Vancouver: Buddha Body Yoga — a yoga studio strictly for the plus-sized practitioner. That’s right, no skinny people allowed!

“When I tell 120-pound (55 kg) people they can’t come, they get very offended, which I find fascinating,” said Michael Hayes, owner and operator of Buddha Body.

Click here to read more of the interview with Michael Hayes, and click here to visit the Buddha Body Yoga website. Would you like to see this type of studio here in Vancouver? What do you think about Buddha Body Yoga?

My Doctor Told Me To!

Things are rapidly changing not only with yoga but in life itself, and views of yoga and meditation practices are slowly becoming a recommended form of “self maintenance” and an over the counter prescription. 

{Source: http://health.howstuffworks.com/}

Yoga and meditation is not only being brought in to businesses at Lunch or after work, it is used to help cancer patients, children with autism, prenatal yoga and baby yoga, depression or anxiety and much more, the list goes on and on. After reading an article on www.myhealthnewsdaily.com, it appears that doctors are beginning to recommend yoga and/or meditation, as they continue to become more accepting or perceptive to the ideas of alternative medicine or organic alternatives, yoga naturally makes it’s way into the mix.

According to the article,

“the 2007 National Health Interview Survey found more than 6.3 million Americans used mind-and-body therapies due to provider referral. That compares with 34.8 million who were self-referred.”

One comment in the articles states that while most patients are referred as a last resort when other options have failed;

“It makes us wonder whether referring patients for these therapies earlier in the treatment process could lead to less use of the health care system, and possibly, better outcomes for these patients.”

Similarly, the Harvard Medical School released a publication titled “Yoga can blunt harmful effects of stress, from the Harvard mental Health Letter” in April 2009. According to the report;

“Yoga appears to blunt the harmful effects of heightened stress by influencing the body’s response to stress. This is reflected in slower heart and breathing rates and lower blood pressure, all of which are good for the body. There is also evidence that yoga helps increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s flexibility in responding to stress.”

While not all doctors may be on the Yoga/Meditation band wagon yet, it appears that they are beginning to take a closer look at the benefits and how yoga is not only a means of helping somebody with health problems but also in preventative maintenance.

Interestingly enough, when researching the Internet I did not come across any representations of yoga being harmful or damaging except for the occasional post of an individuals experience.

If you practice yoga, you most certainly have noticed these benefits in yourself from feeling less stress, less anxiety to eating healthier, all which of improve our overall health. So, if yoga has been around so long what has taken them so long to figure it out? Perhaps yoga and or meditation should be covered under our Medical Services Plan (MSP) or Extended Health Benefits just like Massage Therapy, perhaps that’s not too far down the road, here’s to hoping!

To read the full Harvard Medical School Report, visit; http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/Yoga-can-blunt-harmful-effects-of-stress

To read the full My Healthy News Daily report, visit: http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/complementary-alternative-medicine-yoga-mediation-doctor-referral-1488/

What do you think, should more doctors’ recommend yoga and meditation for their patients? Has your doctor or another medical professional recommended yoga to you?

KARMA YOGA: DO YOGA, DO GOOD

Yoga for Social Change! 

Karma (meaning to do or action) Yoga (meaning union):  in its simplest meaning literally translates to selfless service, the discipline of action or the union through action; which ultimately brings us closer to dharma.

A growing trend in the West, Karma Classes have been gaining momentum at a steady Vinyasa. More importantly, karma classes are finding their own place amongst social change makers and the Sports Philanthropy Movement; harnessing the Ying to the Yang in the therapeutic sense. This movement is designed to engage industry leaders and professional teachers in a dialogue about the value of sports/therapeutic philanthropy and aims to connect them with social change tools and causes that best fit their passions, recognizing their efforts to inspire others.

About a month ago I posted an article on Yoga & Activism, and karma class, my Yogic friends is the vehicle from which the compassionate-asana is driven! Karma classes also allows for a unique space, where the energy from inside a class is solely dedicated to a greater purpose!

From a business perspective the Yoga Industry can leverage their business in a socially responsible manner and showcase great grassroots initiatives/causes that can have a deep impact towards sustainable, positive change; both locally and internationally. More over; foster social change from a place of hope, opportunity and positive prana on a larger scale.

You can find a karma class at almost any Yoga studio these days, but if you are looking for a larger unified front, this has recently come across my radar and I felt compelled to share…

“Why stretch when you can reach?”  – The Engage Network

…is their tagline. Founded by Sean Crone, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling” Off the Mat, Into the World ® (OTM),” is a non-profit program of The Engage Network, and is dedicated to bridging yoga and activism and is geared towards communities around the world who collaborate for social change. Understanding the idea that we are stronger and more powerful together then we are apart, making a difference starts from the foundation, our roots.

As Yoga teachers and advocates for compassion, a karma class is an incredible tool in our toolkit to bring awanress to social change and connection to our global community!

Sources:

 The Engage Network: http://www.offthematintotheworld.org/community.html

 Charter for Compassion: http://charterforcompassion.org/site/

 SAVE THE DATE: Camp Moomba Yogathon & Blissfest, July 24th Vancouver BC.

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