Thoughts

BARE ALL, FEET FIRST

BARE ALL, FEET FIRST

“Walk where there is no path, and leave footprints.” ~ Unknown

For ultra runners, our feet can literally be coined the “tools of our trade.”  Clocking on any given week, my mileage “runs” an average of 140km via commuting, walking and being active for my profession as a corrective movement coach, and then of course training –  frolicking in nature (urban and rural). My feet have surprisingly held up very well over the last 2 decades of “pounding the pavement.” I like to think that Yoga and my Karmatic piggybank are to thank for my good fortune. Some have called me “Gandhi with Sneakers” others have called “a pure nutter.’ I would say both equally apply.

Running has always been my greatest teacher, my salvation, and my savior. Every step can be a tool to build upon the framework of thought, reflection and exploration. A moment in tme to process some of our most internal challenges and our greatest fears. And since I also believe that “fear” is merely “love” masked by shadow – we can all overcome any adversity, with the right strategy.  I have running to thank for creating the space, from which my mind, body and spirit can co-habitate to work through some of those moments where we strive to find balance, truth and our purpose in life. I believe sports and movement are fundamental to this process, and our feet – our greatest asset.

From the Ground Up:

Getting to know the mechanics of your feet and the pivotal role they play in athletics, yoga, movement and grounding is the first step to establishing a solid foundation in your any daily practice. In the yoga tradition, the lowly foot paradoxically has an almost transcendent status. Students will touch or kiss the feet of teachers, mentors and gurus alike – as a means of reverence, appreciation and respect.

Just as the foundation of a home or any structure for that fact, it must be level to support all the structures above it.  This is a perfect metaphor for our feet, as it makes sense to strive for foundational balance and sturdiness to support the legs, spine, upper extremities and the weight of the head, as well as the gravitational compression of our environment.

If our foundation or base is tilted, unsteady or collapsed, it will be reflected up through the body as distortion or misalignment and can cause compensational breakdowns throughout the interconnected systems. Therefore, does it not make sense to consider your feet first, and start cultivating balance from the ground up?

The Foundation of Design:

The foot is the foundation of athletic movements, our root to the earth and often, it is the most neglected. The foot is an intricate structure of 26 bones (I count the  tiny sesamoid bone in the great toe, but this is usually not counted –  let’s honor him here) that form two crossing arches of the foot. The longitudinal arch runs the length of the foot, and the transverse arch runs the width. The muscles of the foot, along with a tough, sinewy tissue known as the plantar fascia, provide secondary support to the foot. The foot has internal muscles that originate and insert in the foot and external muscles that begin in the lower leg and attach in various places on the bones of the foot.

Unlike solid structures, our bodies are mobile temples, and thus our feet are required to be adaptable, flexible and adjust to varied terrain and environmental factors.

When there is pain, the body reacts by changing the way it moves or functions in an effort to reduce the pain. Biomechanical changes or (dis)ease may prevent the normal range of movement and cause further injury. For instance, if there is excessive wear on one side, the foot can shift off its central axis, which can put strain on the knee, hip or sacral areas.  Weakened or unbalanced mechanics found in the feet, often refer pain and discomfort elsewhere in the body and literally can change the way we move through the world.

Our feet also ground us to the earth. Yoga is an exceptional fragment in time to clearly focus on this connection, as well as the obvious summer time walk along the beach, barefoot walk in the park – or barefoot anywhere, as is all the craze with barefoot running (I will save this for another article) as this topic is growing on me.

Reach for the Peak in Mountain:

Take mountain pose for instance; a perfect time to enhance your connection with nature and the earth, and to create malleability in the foot. We do this by taking the time to feel every inch of our feet, where our weight distributes and be stretching it lengthwise and extending it out laterally. By making the foot more elastic, we build an effective trampoline that springs the weight of the body upward. In all standing postures in yoga, these complementary forces of descending weight and rebound are at work.

Also consider postures that allow your connect both your hands and feet to the earth; a few personal favorite of mine are (of course) the sun salutation series (modified to focus on more joint fluidity), forward fold variations (there is something about swaying in the wind and having my feet rooted, but hands grace the floor that is comforting to me), triangle pose (reaching one hand to the sky and the other firmly planted along with me feet to earth is empowering), and lastly a vinyasa of crow pose to teddy bear stand to modified head stand (for some silly reason I find this one inspiring and playful at the same – it reminds me of fooling around in grade 3 gym class). Find posture that resonate with you and re connect this Spring!

As Spring has finally sprung, take some time to walk barefoot and connect to your roots, and during your next yoga practice take time to re connect and give your feet a little more (much needed) TLC.

 

 

 

Experience the Abundance of Nicaragua and “Retreat” with I.BE

Experience the Abundance of Nicaragua and “Retreat” with I.BE

Lifestyle & Yoga Retreat in Jiquilillo, Nicaragua, June 2-9, 2012 with Christie Baumgartner & Erin Tetarenko

“Our passion is to move you towards yours.” – Erin Tetarenko & Christie Baumgartner

What does it mean to “retreat?”  The definition itself, means to move away from something. But, what about, not necessarily moving ‘way’ from something, but what if we shifted our perception of the word to mean – moving ‘back’ towards something.

I see the word “retreat” as the action of moving back  towards my balance, my most pure self. Where I may “retreat” – explore, discover and connect ‘back’ to my inner greatness and at the same time “retreat” from actions and distractions that do not serve this inner greatness.  The great thing I love about retreats is that you get to hang out with people who are doing exactly what you are doing – sourcing out your best possible self, and we all now, connection, discover and play are fundamentally important pillars in this foundation of “bliss seeking.”

Yoga retreats are not only an opportunity to “retreat” from the every day experience of our urban lifestyle, but it’s an opportunity to “do and be” what we love with another community who embraces the same values and appreciation for what life has to offer This community is one rooted in the essence of yoga.

This summer, two well known Yoga Teachers in Vancouver and co-founders of “I.BE” have teamed up to offer  lifestyle experience unlike any other. Erin Tetarenko, who teaches at The Yoga Practice, as well as privately, and Christie Baumgartner who teaches at Semperviva, Chopra Yoga and YYoga, offer you the chance to retreat to the beauty and vibrancy of community, with a Lifestyle & Yoga Retreat in Juquilillo,Nicaragua. Needless to say these two teachers bring a combined wealth of knowledge and experience in the learning and teaching of living the bliss of life’s abundance.

Inspire. Believe. Embrace. Lifestyle Retreats

I.BE supports you in a transformative journey by bringing you insight into yourself – the workings of the mind and body. Therefore, it’s no wonder Yoga Retreats are on the menu in this integrated approach. I.BE Lifestyle Retreats are an opportunity to connect with inspiring people, discover more about yourself, play through movement, and Grow a community.

Supporting the community is a large portion of the retreat experience. Monty’s Beach & Surf Lodge is an earthy piece of hippie heaven ( I can say that, because I am on one). This Lifestyle & Yoga Retreat has more to offer than just practicing yoga, sandy beaches and exceptional company, both Erin and Christie bring 3 main values that embody the essence of the trip and the Juquilillo community.

 

Monty’s Beach & Surf Lodge

Monty’s is a rustic beachfront hide-away on Nicaragua’s gorgeous north Pacific coast. Working with local leaders, owner’s Monty and Gerry thrive in creating projects that serve the community. They believe we are all connected and if we can serve others, we feel joy and fulfillment. All meals are included in the retreat  and you guarantee local, seasonal foods fresh every day!

CONNECTION: Connect with our Global Community is priority. On this trip you will have the opportunity to volunteer with local leaders for a unique opportunity to serve the community in health, sports, education and ongoing sustainability by visiting the local schools and working with the children in the community.

DISCOVER: Apart from the obvious yoga classes you can experience (Yin, Hatha and Vinyasa Flows), you will also have the opportunity to engage in Lifestyle Coaching Workshops designed to support you in creating a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

PLAY: There are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Surfing Lessons and board rentals included. Choose between surfboard, paddle boards, & surf kayaks. There is also natural exploration through hiking, trekking to the volcanoes and natural flora and fauna of Nicaraguan beauty.

 

Q&A with Erin Tetarenko

Q. Yoga for many is a path sought out for personal reflection, self belief, the search for compassionate communion with the self and beyond. You mention that this retreat embodies 3 key themes; connection, discovery and play. How did u and Christie come to choose these values?

 

A.” These themes were inspired by Monty’s Beach Lodge, the community in Jiquilillo and our personal yoga journeys.

In our recent visit to Nicaragua, Christie and I fell in love with the community in Jiquilillo. Our visit captured our hearts and energized our souls. We were inspired by the inviting community connection, natural serenity that encouraged inner exploration, and the freedom of play embodied by all the children. It reminded us what’s important to us: Connection, Discovery, and Playful fun!

Similarly, my personal journey with Yoga has also been one of self-discovery, connecting to a higher power -love, nature, our global community- and has supported me to play freely with movement – an incredible form of self expression.

Our vision for our retreat is to connect to a new way of life through community connections and volunteer, create opportunities to discover more about self, and to embrace playing freely with movement such as yoga, ocean play, and adventure!”

So save the date and start packing!

 

For more information on prices and RSVP deadlines please connect with Erin Tetarenko.

Email: [email protected]

Cell: 778.989.8362

I.BE Website: http://inspirebelieveembrace.com/

Leslie Kaminoff’s YogaAnatomy.net Newsletter

Leslie Kaminoff’s YogaAnatomy.net Newsletter

I’m not sure why it took me so long, but I finally signed up for a weekly online newsletter at http://yogaanatomy.net/ delivered by Leslie Kaminoff, a leading anatomy teacher and author of the  #1 best-selling yoga book “Yoga Anatomy.”

Once a week, I receive an email that features tips and information about yoga and anatomy. Every email features a different pose and its anatomical intrigues: for instance, Halasana (Plow Pose) a couple of weeks ago included information about the muscle groups, skeletal movements and rotations, as well as implications for the breath and a couple of excellent animations to illustrate the pose.

Kaminoff also includes a quote of the week. An ardent fan of a well-intentioned quote, I especially appreciate this inclusion. They are often perfectly straight-to-the-point. Just what a yoga student needs to hear:

There is nothing wrong with you that you have one tight hip and one loose hip, or one leg that wants to turn out a little more than the other. This is what it is to be human. So give yourself a break.

The newsletters include a short video on various topics related to teaching. They also provide information about signing up for his acclaimed Yoga Anatomy Course, previously only available at his studio (now available online!). “The Breathing Project in NYC, has helped teachers and practitioners from yoga, dance, pilates, and somatic therapy backgrounds improve their teaching, enhance their personal practice, and provide better experiences for their students and clients.” (http://yogaanatomy.net/)

If you aren’t already receiving the weekly newsletter from YogaAnatomy.net, sign up now! Visit www.YogaAnatomy.net and provide your email address in the top right corner. Enjoy the wonderful information from Leslie Kaminoff!

Celebrating Women’s Week With The UN Theme for 2012: Connecting Girls: Empowering & Inspiring Futures.

Celebrating Women’s Week With The UN Theme for 2012: Connecting Girls: Empowering & Inspiring Futures.

Today, I was honored to speak at the International Women’s Day annual breakfast hosted and moderated by the Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, P.C, M.P which focused on the UN theme for 2012: Connecting Girls: Empowering and Inspiring Futures.  To set the stage, the speaker panel consisted of 3 high empowered advocates eagerly anticipating questions posed from a room full of eager women of all ages and backgrounds.

 

Speaker Panel:

Dr. Hedy Fry, P.C, M.P (moderator and host)

Jen Sung, Youth Outreach Coordinator for “Out in Schools”

Sarah Jamieson, RUN4ACAUSE on behalf of supporting Free the Children/ We

Samantha Thompson, Girl Guides of Canada/Global

Women’s equality worldwide begins with the girl. Around the world many women and girls are still denied their basic human rights; the right to an education, the right to choose when or how to have children, the right to have a voice in their community.

Thursday, March 8th 2012 was international women’s day! A day where we take time to celebrate the women and men who strive for equal measure. On this day we not only celebrate how far we have come, but how far we still have to go.

International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900′s, as a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike, yet it was a long struggle to do so. It seems that we have only started to scrap the surfance of changing global ideals and dis-empowering ideologies towards women.

For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes.

In 1993, the UN Women Canada (formerly known as UNIFEM Canada) was founded with the sole vision to focus on the equality of women and to support the advancement of gender equality in line with national priorities.

This IWD, in New York City nearly 400 chief executives worldwide  publicly declared their commitment to implementing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) over the last two years, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet highlighted at the 4th Annual Equality Means Business Event. But will it be enough?

 “Across the region, men and women have pressed bravely and unequivocally for social justice, dignity, and a say in the decisions that shape their lives. Their progress toward these goals will move only as fast as their progress in empowering women.” – Amat Al Alim Alsoswa – UNDP Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States”

Last year our IWD Un theme was connected to “equal access to education, training,  science and technology.” This year, our 2012 theme focuses on “empowering rural women” and the UN Women’s theme focuses on “connecting girls: empowering and inspiring futures.” It is critical that we continue to raise awareness and support for women globally.

It is the sole reason why I have dedicated my time, energy and resources to raising funds and the understanding behind rural women and the challenges they face. Thursday marked 365 days of my 365 challenge; which I then extended to 439 days!

Phil Borges Photography Tangail Bangladesh

In the” UN Women’s Report: Facts & Figures: Rural Women & the MGDs”:

”Faced with a lack of services and infrastructure, rural women carry a great part of the burden of providing water and fuel for their households. In rural areas of Guinea, for example, women spend more than twice as much time fetching wood and water per week than men, while in Malawi they spend over eight times more than men on the same tasks. Girls in rural Malawi also spend over three times more time than boys fetching wood and water. Collectively, women from Sub-Saharan Africa spend about 40 billion hours a year collecting water.”

UN Women is one of a number of United Nations agencies charged with supporting countries in moving forward on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight goals, adopted by the international community in 2000, set targets for 2015 on eradicating poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV and AIDS and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and providing financing for development.

Fast Facts: Rural Women & The MGD’s:

  • Rwandahas 56% women parliamentarians  – a world record!
  • Almost 70 percent of employed women inSouth Asia and more than 60 percent of employed women in Sub-Saharan Africa work in agriculture
  • On average, women make up about 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries.
  • Evidence indicates that if these women had the same access  to productive resources as  men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 percent, raising total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent, in turn reducing the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent.
  • InPakistan, a half-kilometre increase in the distance to school decreases girls’ enrolment by 20 percent
  • An extra year of primary school increases girls’ eventual wages by 10-20 percent, encourages girls to marry later and have      fewer children, and makes them less likely to experience violence.
  • 875 million people are illiterate in the bottom billion. Two-thrids are women, because of inadequate access to education      in rural areas.
  • Between 1990 and 2009, all the regions of the world saw a significant decrease in under-five mortality rates, with some developing regions reaching or approaching 2015 targets.

These are just a few of the facts when it comes to establishing equal rights for women and girls. Rural women face more challenges than urban women, simply because of being too far from water, school, health care and basic life essentials. This is where the most works needs to be done, as well as, where the greatest opportunity and potential stem from. Women are our untapped resource!

 

What I am Doing To Support the WEP and MGDs for Women Globally:

RUN4CAUSE supports and champions the visions of great organizations worldwide. This May is of no exception. On May 20th Vancouver will host the third annual CARE Canada and the Walk In Her Shoes Campaign.  This year I am asking Vancouverites to not only walk or run 6km with me on May 20th (our Vancouver WIHS event), but to spend the next roughly 3 months connecting with us online (facebook and this blog) to learn and understand the complexities women and girls still face day to day.

Whether you support CARE Canada or another local or global organization or cause, this walk is for anyone who advocates for women and children. This walk is about immersion. I encourage you to bring your organizations banners, your advocacy groups, freinds and familes and stand (well….walk or run) in solidarity with me and celebrate the women empowerment goals!

Women Empowered & Walk in Her Shoes: SAVE THE DATE

Friday May 18 @7pm- 10pm @ Denman Cinemas. Join us for a movie night and panel discussion. This event will be the pre event warm up and pep ralley for ourMay 20th 101km. See all 4 short documentaries, engage with our speaker panel, and network in the “market” (aka lobby) and don’t forget the silent auction and draw prizes.

101km Walk in Her Shoes Event for CARE Canada: May 20th  from 6am – 9pm, Join me on our 101km route, divided into 8 legs (8 districts) with 6km, 12km, 24km and 42km markers! Choose your mileage, choose your district and start fundraising! www.care.ca or email Sarah Jamieson at [email protected]

I hope all of you had a wonderful International Women’s Day and I hope to see you our on May 20th!

 

“A Liberal Sprinkling of Energetic Healing”: Concluding Interview with Cliff Harvey

“A Liberal Sprinkling of Energetic Healing”: Concluding Interview with Cliff Harvey

What is my purpose?

Where am I going?

What is the thing called life all about?

This is the modern day conundrum. The majority of our lives are spent of wanting to “attain” happiness, wanting to achieve our dreams and be successful. Yet, most often we start this journey without truly understanding what that even means to “be happy, “be successful” or what my “dream” is. Last night I spoke at an event for a very good friend, acclaimed musician, athlete and fellow philanthroprenuer; which was a fundraiser/ CD release party/ networking gig to connect the dots and meet other inspired people to ask each other “What is life all about?” Then as the evening came to a close he asked us “put up your hand if you – right now- are living your dream, if you can honestly say in four words or less – what life is all about.? Out of the 200 people I would say 50 of us put our hands up.

He continued to say… for those of you would didn’t put your hands up – your task is simple, you need to make a change and you need to do what you love.

The last several weeks articles have build upon this foundation of personal moral responsibility to create the life YOU want to lead. To establish a life full of abundance, does not mean suffering through dead end jobs, making ends meet or always hanging with the cool kids. This decision starts with “Choosing You.”

When my hand shot up into the sky, like a bat out of proverbial (compassionate) hell – my four words were this “Choosing You & Compassion.”

What we “value” in life and what we choose to do each day has to align with our greater purpose, if it doesn’t, or if we are unsure of what we actually value, then we cannot except to find what we are looking for. Values are fundamental. Health is one of those fundamental values. We need to be healthy, in order for our mind, body and spirit to be in a place of acceptance, to be balanced and be ready to take on life in every capacity.

This is the very reason why I have shamelessly plugged Cliff Harvey’s #PMA of awesomeness and made it my self appointed duty to bring his teachings toVancouver, for all of you out there who are walking your own journey towards your greatest selves.

Therefore, with out further adieu, I give you our final full length Interview from Cliff Harvey; man of many talents, do’er of world changing epiphanies, debunker of myths, record holder of everything heavy and performance based, and lastly, a champion of  life….

Part 4: Interview with Cliff Harvey

Apart from Cliff’s mind-body and life coaching, his experience in Performance Nutrition looks to bridge the gap between Naturopathic/Holistic Nutrition and Sports Nutrition.  Whether you are an athlete at the highest level, or someone simply wanting to function better in their daily life, the broad concepts of good nutrition remain the same.

Q: Choosing You and Time Rich Cash Optional is really about a journey of choosing to put yourself first and truly a cross pollination of a serious nutrition overall because of your battle with Crohns Disease, an exploration of mind and body optimal well being and all kinds of serious life advice, Can you offer some sound advice on where someone may start to re evaluate their current lifestyle or nutrition plan?

As an athlete, nutritionist and naturopath you are uniquely skilled in encouraging the greatest health, wellness AND performance through nutrition. Perhaps your lent challenge can pave the way?

You’re right, Choosing You! and TRCO are about putting yourself first to a large degree, but not is a selfish way. When we truly begin to realise what makes us most happy, we realise that it isn’t simply seeking transient states of ecstasy (although these may be fun from time to time!), and it certainly isn’t achieved via the material. Because we begin to see what is truly important (connection, charity, conservation etc – all of which are extensions and actions of a life lived for LOVE) we begin to treat those around us, and the world in general better!

It’s funny because Choosing You! began as a nutrition book…but as you know there is NO nutrition in it! I wrote a ‘chapter’ on belief and choice as it related to making changes in one’s life as an intro to the nutrition book, and that grew into Choosing You!. With any aspect of health, wellness (and happiness) there are 2 crucial steps in what I call ‘the discovery process’. These are 1) What is the dissatisfaction in life; and 2) What does your best case life look like.

When we have a context of what we don’t want in life we can begin to see how we would like it to be instead, and begin to chart a course towards making that a reality. When we also evaluate and imagine what would be our ‘best case’ life we can begin to also set goals and intentions within that context. On a neurophysiological level we begin to also make that existence safe and appropriate and can start the process of releasing resistance and the belief patterns that drive self sabotage.

The crucial FIRST step though is having that epiphanical moment when you truly, deeply understand that you CAN change your life, and you can start to do it right now…

The Lent Challenge is a bit of fun…

I often throw out a whole lot of ideas and sometimes they get a little traction. My simple reason for partaking in Lent yearly is that it is a great device for realising our attachment to vices, addictions and patterns of behaviour, some of which may not be serving our highest self. Challenges like this can be a great way for people to connect to what is really most important in their lives. (The Lent Challenge articles can be found here: http://cliffdog.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/Lent%20Challenge  )

Q. What has been your greatest hurdle on your own journey? And do you see a common thread in obstacles in your clients?

A. The greatest hurdle on my journey was learning to actually be fully and totally engaged in my process. To fully live the s**t out of what I am doing at any given moment and to not be ‘rushing like a bull at a gate’ to the end goal. 

Many people who know my story might be surprised at this answer. Having lost my Mum tragically, and many other people who were very close to me, being diagnosed with, and subsequently recovering from the worst effects of Crohn’s disease, depression and other calamities, the greatest challenge in retrospect has not been these in isolation as much as transcending some of the limiting aspects of ‘self’ on a deeper level. Of course these tendencies pplayed into other mainfestations (especially Crohn’s) and so there is always a tie in.

What I can say is that working with these proclivities of my personality, and confronting the challenges of loss, grief, trauma and illness has made me a better person, a better practitioner and has allowed me to learn the tools that I now apply with my patients and clients to help them to live happier, healthier lives. So each one of those challenges is a blessing I am grateful to have received…not withstanding that I would give anything to have one more hug from my Mum!

The commonality I see in my clients is that they too are almost always struggling to be here now. I think we are all seeking happiness, and the various things we do are threads that we are weaving into our best case life. One of the greatest gifts I can receive is when someone walks out of my office feeling more ‘now’.

Q. Lets talk performance! Optimal performance seems to have a lot of buzz these days, and for good reason. What are some of the “myths” you are faced with when coaching clients or your athletes?

Wow – there are a lot!

I have just been presenting a number of lectures on nutrition myths and key amongst these are:

1. You need to eat less to lose bodyfat

2. You need to eat less fat to lose bodyfat

3. Saturated fat is bad for you

4. Your diet should be carbohydrate based

5. You need to eat 6+ meals per day

This may be something I will do some workshops on when I am in North Americain May and August. Holistic .

In the mind-body realm I think the biggest mistake that athletes make is to believe that they will succeed and achieve their goals purely by doing the ‘work’ required to get there. The reality is that ‘the work’ is one crucial part of the picture, but if we don’t ‘believe’ that we are able we will subtly self-sabotage our efforts to achieve what we consciously desire. There are solid neurophysiological and bio-evolutionary reasons for this and these too are topics I will be evaluating in lectures in ‘Mind-Body Strategies for Optimal Performance’ inVancouver in May.

Q. What scientific studies are you engaged in at the moment that you are finding sets the bar for what we call the desired outcome of “optimal performance’ and “optimal wellbeing”?

A. I’m not actively involved in any research myself right now, but as a co-owner of several businesses involved in sports supplementation I’m working with some PhD researchers on the applications of several novel, natural products for increasing anaerobic performance. I can’t say too much at this stage though!

Q. Workshops, let’s talk workshops. What canVancouver expect in May and June? What does Cliff Harvey have in store for us Vancouverites?

A. There will be a few workshops offered inVancouver in late May.

I’m really excited to offer the first full weekend workshop of my ‘Choosing You!’ series. This is: ‘Connecting With Your Life of Passion and Purpose and Reaching the Goals that Really Matter!’

It’s a full weekend of value-setting exercises, goal setting, mindfulness and positivity! In many ways this workshop is a culmination of the exercises and tools from both of my books and my years in life and purposed coaching practice.

Mini-workshops will also be offered on:

– The Mind-Body Link in Creating Optimal Health

– Mind-Body Strategies for Optimal Performance

– Effective Conscious Communication

And also No BS Nutrition and Fight Nutrition (specific nutrition for fighters and combat sport athletes).

Stay tuned over April, as we will be rolling out Cliff’s May and June workshop schedule!

“”If you believe you can or if you believe you can’t – you’’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

 

Sources:

Cliff’s Website: http://www.cliffharvey.com/

Cliff’s Books “Get em Here”: http://www.cliffharvey.com/#!__books

Mike Averill (Music, Philanthroprenuer, Traveller, Life of Abundance Seeker) : http://www.myspace.com/michaelaverill

Conscious Communication: An Interview with Cliff Harvey

Conscious Communication: An Interview with Cliff Harvey

 “Com.mu.ni.ca.tion ~ A process by which information is transfered. The act of exchange; of  thoughts, actions, messages.. Connection.

Con.scious ~ Aware of and responding to one’s surroundings, environment, and of ones own existence; awake.”

As a coach in corrective mechanics and integrated yoga, I am well placed to educate my clients how at the cellular level the mechanical, physical, bioelectrical and biomechanical functions of all our systems – “our physical body” – provide  “communication and feedback” to one’s mind, and ultimately, how one’s mind (through our thoughts, needs, attachments etc) can ultimately affect one’s physical body as well.

As the great Buddha once said, “What we think, we become.” But what about communicating outside the “bubble” of our own internal world? We know that humans require connection; without connecting with others and our environment, we would not survive. We would wither away in solitude and cease to exist. From the dawn of time humans evolve by connecting to one another and to our surroundings. This gives rise to a new level of communication – Conscious Communication.

Our overall well-being is fundamentally linked to the ability to effectively and clearly communicate our needs in the universe, and our purpose in life.

Photo of Effective Conscious Communication Workshop

The New Thought Movement in 1904-1910 was pioneered by Thomas Troward who strongly influced the idea of ‘conscious communicaton” and claimed that thought precedes physical form and that “the action of the mind plants the seed, the nucleus which, if allowed to grow undisturbed, will eventually attract to itself all the conditions necessary for its manifestation in outward visible form.”

The law of attraction; abundantly shows us that “like attract like”; that positive thoughts attract positive outcomes and negative thoughts attract negative outcomes.  Much like the phrases, for example: “I need more money” or “I’ll never find love”,   (which we have all uttered from time to time)… allows the subject (you and me) to continue to “need money” or “never find love”. Why? Simple. You are not communicating a solution, an action. You are not communicating the goal, you are in essence only communicating the problem and until we make a conscious decision to communicate and focus our thoughts on the result. For instance; “I have more money now” or “I am currently walking the path of love.”

Let’s take that one step further. COMMUNICATION WITH ANOTHER!

What is the difference between being a good communicator and being a master of conscious communication skills? Communication as a general term can be very wide spread and interpretations and intentions can vary from person to person, culture to culture etc.  Conscious Communication implies first and foremost that a level of ‘consciousness’ is present. As the communicator, we need to be aware of at least four key elements.

1. Be aware of the self. This applies to the intention behind the conversation, personal agenda, emotions, fears, and opinions that may progress or hinder the flow of communication. Taking responsibility for your feelings and making it as easy as possible for the other person to understand your point of view.

2. Be aware of the other person. The ability to keep an open mind and be open and respectful to their emotions, fears, opinions and worldview is crucial in communicating.

3. Be aware of the environment. The ambiance dedicated to the conversation will shift the flow substantially. Is the environment ideal, does it add or take away from the experience of the conversation?

4. Be aware of the support structures that may help or hinder effective communication; for example a coach, a mediator a professional to offer feedback and keep the flow on track.

ET the Movie

Keeping on track with my 4 week introduction to Cliff Harvey, author of “Choosing You” and “Time Rich Cash Optional”, whose speaking engagements and workshops draw people from all over the world.

One of Cliff’s workshops is based on “Conscious Communication,” where he draws from more than 14 years  clinical experience as an ND and as a mind-body coach to show how we can create more harmonious relationships at home, at work, and in any other area of life with a few simple intentions, tools and exercises.

 

An Interview with Cliff Harvey on Conscious Communication:

Q. Cliff, in one of your workshops called ‘Effective Conscious Communication’. Your 3 main themes are (1) The value of Brave Conversations, (2) The importance of speaking your truth and (3) How to use positive framing to literally transform your relationships. That’s pretty powerful stuff. Without giving away any secrets… what do you hope your participants will walk away with after one of your workshops?

 A. Particularly over the last few years of Life and Purpose coaching I have noticed real challenges for people arising from poor communication, resulting in stress, anxiety and poor health. We all know how to communicate…but seldom do we know how to communicate compassionately, effectively and in a way that allows us to be more harmoniously aligned with others AND our highest goals, values and purpose.

My hope is that participants in this particular workshop will walk away with a few simple, effective tools that they can apply straight away in order to create happier, more fulfilling relationships with those around them. 

Q. You mention that you draw on your clinical experience working with patients and clients to formulate this and other workshops. Are there any particular experiences that have influenced the communication tools you outline?

A. There really are too many to name! But in essence the tools that I apply in practice and that I teach, have come from a lifetime of experience and spiritual practice. One of the great things about moving more and more over the years into Life & Purpose Coaching and Mind-Body-Spirit medicine has been the integration of all aspects of my ‘life’ into my ‘work’.

For example I grew up doing yoga with my Dad which gave me an early insight into midnfulness, the mind-body connection as well as tenets of Eastern Philosophy.

I went on to research and become involved in Buddhist practice for many years from my early teens, as well as investigating mystic Christianity, Sufism and many, many other contemplative traditions. When I integrated this learning (and the many realisations along the way) with the scientific and medical knowledge I had garnered studying nutrition, strength and conditioning and Natuopathic medicine, it was quite a powerful combination!

The intention and compassion based aspects of the communication strategies I teach definitely rest on this basis. The ‘action’ based tools have arisen from study of various things like NLP, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Psych-K and other modalities.

But I think most importantly taking the intention of love and compassion, and cultivating awareness –  allows you to learn and grow from difficult situations, with difficult people and this learning process is something I also teach in tthe workshops.

A few very special people in a very special time and place in my life had a huge role to play in one of the ‘lynchpin’ exercise I teach for encouraging ‘conscious communication’ –  and so a big thank you for that goes out to Kriya, Dale, Lise, Jennifer, Alex, Christine and Derek at our wonderful Zorba-Buddha house in Kitsilano may it long reside in our hearts and memories!

Stay tuned next week, as we wrap up our 4 week introduction to Cliff’s mind-body coaching and sneak peek at his upcoming workshops in Vancouver.

 

Sources:

Cliff’s Website: http://www.cliffharvey.com/

Time Rich Cash Optional: http://www.timerichcashoptional.com/

Katoa Health: http://www.katoahealth.com/workshops–courses.html

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

Get Cosy and Hip with Partner Yoga and Tragically Hips!

Get Cosy and Hip with Partner Yoga and Tragically Hips!

While I don’t normally tout the praises of my own classes, this week I’m going to without compunction! I’m so excited about two of my upcoming special events and cannot help but share in hopes of meeting and teaching Vancouver Yoga Review’s loyal readers.

This Friday, I’m teaming up with a fantastic fellow teacher, Sean O’Leary (of Jungle Love and Bhakti Dub fame) for a Friday night, pre-Cupid, Partner Yoga session. Partner Yoga is a very sweet and connected practice – if you haven’t tried to before, it’s a real treat.

On Friday, Feb 10, from 8-9:30pm, join Sean and myself for Partner Yoga at Hari Om Yoga in Langley.  There will be therapeutic techniques, sweet adjustments, lots of fun, and even time for a little massage at the end! Don’t worry if your partner is absolutely new to yoga – this class is for all levels.

Bring a friend, spouse, co-worker, sibling, parent or child and prepare to feel good and have lots of fun! For only $25+hst per couple, it’s cheaper and sweeter than going to the movies!

I’ll be following this special class with a repeat, back-by-popular-demand, event – again at Hari Om Yoga – called Tragically Hips next Friday, Feb 17, from 8-9:30pm ($10+hst). Love (or hate) hip-openers? Get hip with this entertaining Friday night class to the tunes of the classic Canadian band. Bring your friends and expect to laugh and move your way to a fun Friday night!

For either or both of these Friday night events, call now (604-539-0566) or visit Hari Om Yoga in person (20230 64th ave, Langley) to register your spot.

Share my excitement for these entertaining special event yoga classes! I look forward to seeing you there!

Join me for Partner Yoga and Tragically Hips! See you there!!!

TEDxKids@BC 2012 Event: Connect. Inspire. Act.

[email protected] 2012 Event: Connect. Inspire. Act.

Connect. Inspire. Act.

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.”” — Dr. Seuss

On September 17 2011, we held our inaugural [email protected] event. It was an overwhelming experience and words still cannot describe how we all felt at the end of the day! It was amazing to see at the end of day how much we had accomplished with a little thing called – passion.

As a team, we all came together, and after the last  few months leading to the event have been particularly tough as we all volunteered our time on top of our jobs, school, families and other duties so many of us ended up running on 3-4 hours of sleep for weeks, needless to say we were all a but loopy – which I believe helped with the flow of creativity and overall awe of the event.

Over the course of the last 5 month post-event, we never really slowed down much. All of us had ideas whirling in our noggins for 2012 –  we set the bar high and turned [email protected] into a fully youth-empowered platform with the adults providing mostly mentorship and support. We believe that putting youth in the driving seat is the best way to empower our growing community of kids that came away inspired from our event this year and can’t wait to come back together again with TWO amazing events coming up in April and October.

 

Let’s refresh your memory….

 

What is [email protected]?

[email protected] is a platform for facilitating opportunities to empower kids and support authentic learning. Some of British Columbia’s most awe-inspiring kids and youth (and some adults who are kid empowered ambassadors) will share their experiences and inspire others to follow their dreams.

Why YOU should join us?

Remarkable people with young hearts will share their captivating stories borne from genuine curiosity and bold ideas. We believe sharing great ideas is important in building a community that supports kids as they’re learning to be! We want our event to be more than just a conference — we would like it to be a day of wholesome experience for our audience. Not only do we plan sharing stories from the stage during the Story time parts of the event, we’re also hoping to bring our themes to life and offer everyone a chance to have fun during the Action time! Interaction and participation are key components.

Who Can Attend?

Kids, parents, educators, students, passion maker and change makers alike –  and everyone else with passion for helping kids reach their potential are invited to join our community. We invite you to join our young speakers as their share their inspiring stories of empowered learning.

When is our  2012 events?

Like last year, our amazing staff is looking to provide kids and youth with a platform to share, their amazing stories, inspiring stories with a larger audience. Due to high demand, we will be hosting TWO events this year:

April 5th – [email protected] Change: April 5th 2012

October – [email protected] 2012: October 12 2012

Why become a partner?

That’s easy! A great opportunity for your organization to support the global cause towards empowering and connecting our kids! This is an incredible opportunity for you to get involved with our team as an official sponsor of one, or both, on our 2012 events. [email protected] is looking for conference sponsors to come on board and represent our two upcoming events, [email protected] Change and [email protected] 2012. This will not only provide you with the opportunity to be a part of a global movement, but it will also give you a chance to empower our kids and community.

For more information on becoming a partner and sponsorship oppportunities check this out – http://www.tedxkidsbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/[email protected]_Sponsorship_Package_2012.pdf

Calling all Speakers:

Want to be a speaker – we are currently accepting applications for both April and the October events. To get a inspired taste of last year’s speakers (which I was one of them), take a sneak peek here – http://www.tedxkidsbc.com/speakers2011/

 

My favorite Post from our 2011 rolling blog…

“Try to imagine a future without kids. It hurts to even think about this, right? It’s a nightmare we better never see! How about kids without a future? Unfortunately, the world in which many kids have no future already exists — we live in it every day.

In our world, adults decide for the kids: From serving chocolate milk during school lunch to opting out from vaccines… From cutting school budgets and enforcing standardized testing to choosing energy sources and CO2 limits… From what to learn and whom to learn with to when and how to play!

What right do we have to make these decisions for them? More experience and knowledge? Maybe, but our experience and knowledge is limited to the world of NOW! We and our kids learn the world of tomorrow together — they have to catch up on history but they’re quick learners.

In our world, we like to categorize and label — Black, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, gay, breeder, queer… We do this with kids too — infant, toddler, preschooler, grade-/middle-/high- school student, teenager… adult!

What purpose do these labels serve? To justify the right to make decisions if your sticker says “adult”? They only help segregating into groups, leading to groups distancing from each other and starting their own cultures!

I am sorry, but the right to make decisions is earned — and we have done little to earn it so far! It is time we take the stickers off and help the younger among us engage with the older ones in making decisions.

We should get the help of the curios minds of the younger population if we’re to change our perspective on the problems of the future. We should use the creative power that the school system so diligently tries to kill and use it to seek for novel solutions to problems. We should bring walls down and build bridges instead to allow the local group cultures to enmesh into a global vision for the future.

This is what [email protected] is about. This is why I think others should start similar opportunities for the kids in their communities. Let’s build a platform where all generations partner in change!

[email protected] is not organized by a small committee working behind closed doors. Everyone on our growing team is volunteering their time and using their skills to help in any way they can. But we need the help of our community too if we’re to make this a successful event and bring it close to people across BC and wider!

If this inspires you please contact us or check us out at the below links or find us on facebook and twitter. Be part of a Re”LOVE”olution

Website: [email protected]http://www.tedxkidsbc.com/

Contact: [email protected]

Yoga’s Missed Connections

Yoga’s Missed Connections

The “I Saw You” section of The Georgia Straight and “Missed Connections” from Craigslist are among my favourite readings. I love the romance of an anonymous stranger reaching out to someone they met for an instant, or didn’t meet at all and wished they had.

I am enthralled that in the ever-more-chaotic miasma of our cosmopolitan lives, where we see and interact with dozens, if not hundreds, of people in a day, a profound connection might occur and prompt its participants to reach out to the vast and endless annals of the interweb, in the remote hope that the message of “I would love to talk more” or “can I take you for tea?” might be read and reciprocated.

Joyously, I soak up the messages that were never intended to be received. Connections so sweet and lovely they prompted just an expression of “you are beautiful” or “I loved your shoes”. These are random, anonymous and perfectly simple expressions of the lasting effect of a chance glance or meeting.

Most of all, I relish the details – how the love-struck describe their Romeos and Juliettes, the setting of scenes, the short conversations, and other observances that contributed somehow to the ignited spark. I love how people write about these moments. Their few words speak whole volumes about how simple and joyful relationships can occur in an instant if we are open to receiving them.

Obviously, I have a specific enjoyment in missed connections that occur around the practice of yoga. These contain sightings of people with yoga mats, as well as encounters on and off the mat. Yoga’s missed connections are often playful, honest and fun accounts.

I offer for you, dear readers, one of my favourite missed connections recently. It made me smile:

Was performing new bus-yoga, when you told me about your bus reading, that you usually did. Was interested in what you were reading about. I had on some skull fingerless gloves from Urban Empire, with the felt insides; they are very cool (at least I think so) and very comfortable. I was meeting a friend for dinner, but you got off on the stop just before Gilmore. Would you want to go for a peppermint latte?

It has it all –the intrigue of “new bus-yoga,” incredible detail of clothing and its importance to the author, as well as the request for a future encounter. Love it. Did you two ever meet for a peppermint latte?

Send me your favourite yoga “Missed Connections”! And please, please, please keep writing having experiences that warrant an expression of love and appreciation. Long live these sweet connections.

image via jezebel.com

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/

 

Shouldering Responsibility: When Mobility Goes Over(your)head? (Week Two)

Shouldering Responsibility: When Mobility Goes Over(your)head? (Week Two)

Raise your arms overhead. If you can’t extend your arms up without your arms bending or feel tension in your neck or how about scrunch your face up like you just ate something sour – then you are in for some challenges in your yoga practice! Guaranteed downward facing dog is probably not your favorite pose, but do not fear because improving your shoulder mobility and fascial elasticity in your arm lines can be done, with a few simple corrective movements.

As we know, corrective movement is all about unblocking tension and reducing compensations through better movement mechanics. This is why it is said that Yoga is 90% waste removal. Our fascia plays a significant role in integrating the systems that aid in removing waste and unwanted tension that is limiting our movement and experience on and off the mat.  Many systems integrate together to achieve this, and the facial system is a large contributor.

Most injuries are connective-tissue (fascial) based, not muscular injuries (this happens after the body’s blocked energy has to go somewhere, and results in an ”ouchie”—so how do we best train to prevent and repair damage and build elasticity and resilience into the system? By listening to our body, and be reducing tension on the joints.

When we talk about shoudlering responsibility, the deep arm lines – take the front lines!

The fascia of the upper torso and arms are comprised of multiple designations (4) intertwined in the webbed matrix known as the “Deep Arm Fascial Lines.” The 4 Arm Lines run from the front and back of the axial torso to the tips of the fingers. These lines connect seamlessly into the other fascia lines particularly the Lateral, Functional, Spiral, and Superficial Front Lines.

These lines (for which we have 2 on either side of the body) are the following:

The Brachial Fascia, derived from the Pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi medially and from the deltoids laterally. It differs in thickness, being thin over the biceps brachii,  but thicker where it covers the tricpes brachii and is continuous by covering the deltoids, and the pectoals group attaching above (and to) the clavicle,  acromion as well as the spine of the scapula.  This fascial line forms a thin, loose, membranous sheath for the muscles of the arm and is composed of fibers disposed in a circular or spiral direction, and connected together by vertical and oblique fibers.

The  antebrachial fascia (or antibrachial fascia, deep fascia of forearm) is continuous with the above , as with the brachii fascia and follows from the elbow to the wrist and finger tips via the the palmar fascia; which consists of resistant fibrous tissue arranged in longitudinal, transverse, oblique, and vertical fibers and is a dense, membranous investment, which forms a general sheath for the muscles in this region.

The Arm Lines affect posture indirectly, since they are not part of the structural column; however they are integral for sensory input in response to our environment; such as examining, pushing, pulling, manipulating and interacting with our external world.

When we talk about the arm lines, you will also notice we have included the pectorals group and the latissimus dorsi as significant muscles contributing to the efficiency of shoulder mobility. These two muscular groups contribute substantially to tight “shoulders” when they too are tight, because they significantly limit shoulder flexion in overhead extension, as well as pull the shoulder into internal rotation, which can lead to kyphotic posture and forward head carriage.

Another honorable mention in shoulder limitation is the rhomboids group (sitting in between your  spine and your shoulder blades).  These muscles pull your shoulder blades towards the spine and promote a proud chest. If tight these muscles will prevent the scapula from movement at all.

Fortunately, there are many Yoga poses you can perform to improve your shoulder mobility and alignment in downward facing dog, shoulder stands and inversion.  Try adding these shoulder openers to your home practice and move more freely:

  • Myofasical release with the foam roller –  ( focus on mid back and under the arm for the lats)
  • Thoracic Extension with a towel or roller for chest expansion –  (place along the length of the spine)
  • Eagle Pose (arms) – (stretches the rhomboids)
  • Cow Face Pose – (arms) – stretches the triceps, lats and shoulders)
  • Bridge Pose – (passive bridge, place a block under the hips along the pelvic ridge and sacrum)
  • All fours posture with reversed palms – (stretches the anterior forearms and biceps group)
  • Cobra Pose – (focuses on stabilization of the spine and spinal flexion)
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