Studios

A REVIEW: HELPING YOU REACH YOUR PEAK WITH THREE PEAKS KINESIOLOGY

Fascial stretching in Yoga vs Facilitated Fasical Stretch Therapy…. Whats the diff? Well they both rock, but sometimes our body needs a little more hands on TLC!

Fascial stretching and building a strong, flexible and dynamic myofascial web is an integral part of optimal health and wellness. The physical and functional demands of everyday life, work or sports can take a toll on the body, leaving you feeling less energized and more prone to injury.

Over the course of the last month we have started to unlock the benefits and understanding of fascial stretching in a Yoga class format, as an integrated approach, combining spinal mobility and fascial meridian lines with traditional Yin Yoga practices.

We know that Myofascial restrictions arise due to high amounts of pressure exerted on the bones, nerves, blood vessels and muscles which result in headaches, limited mobility, pain and disease., but what about those times when a class just isn’t enough? Perhaps you have a nagging injury or need a quick tune up? If so then you may wish to implement a one on one facilitated fascial stretch therapy session into your routine!

Last Friday I had the opportunity to have my very first Fascial Stretch Therapy session with Paul Turner, a renowned Kinesiologist and founder/owner of  Three Peaks Kinesiology (3pk), the premier facility for myo-fascial stretch therapy in Canada, located in Langley, as well as Vancouver.

Having suffered a dislocated rib a few days before the session and gearing up for the Scotiabank Half Marathon on Sunday, I needed a miracle.  My body was in need of rapid improvement and I had a 2 day window. Being a teacher of YogaFORM and fascial release techniques, I knew just fascial stretch yoga postures were not going to be enough.

One of the most significant distinguishing differences between fascial stretch in Yoga and facilitated one on one fascial stretch therapy was the methods a therapist can use in a one on one setting. Myofascial release is an effective hands-on technique that works in the form of sustained pressure into fascial restrictions to remove pain and result in unrestricted motion.

Hands-on therapy, traction techniques and massage enables the therapist to set the myofascial system back to it’s equilibrium, so you feel freedom from pain and are able to enjoy unrestricted motion of our body.

My experience was beyond amazing! When I walked into Paul Turner’s office, he assessed I had a dislocated rib, a compressed left femur and compressed left ankle; as well as a collapsed left arch (due to a weak lateral line and anterior meridian line). After an hour of blissful facilitated stretching.  I walked out with a new musculoskeletal body – no compression, fully mobile ankle joints and a reset rib cage! On Sunday at the Scotiabank Half marathon I started the race strong and pain free. It was indeed a miracle!

My review – you gotta try it! Private one on one fascial stretch therapy can give you rapid results from pain and restriction, and supports longevity and anti-aging ability and can effectively reduce painful muscle spasms that can restrict your movement; especially if you are an athlete.

Thank you Paul!

For more information on Paul Turner,  Three Peaks Kinesiology and on going courses, visit: http://www.3pk.ca/index.html

Silence is Golden

No matter where you are.

Vancouver is a wonderful city– beautiful and exciting. It feels small enough to be comfortable but big enough to always be interesting on a Friday night. And the yoga! What an amazing group of studios and teachers. There is really something for everyone here.

Unless what you need in your yoga practice is silence.

I have always been loud. I love raucous music in my classes– two of my favourite teachers at Semperviva Carolyn Anne and Reno rock fabulous tunes in their classes. I love to flow to music, linking posture, breathe, and tunes. I am an avid talker and singer and relish being in the midst of it. But recently I have been craving silence. I want to be able to feel the silence, wrap it around myself and sit with it. Give myself the space to get still and be, contact the silence that is inside me. I have never felt like I could actually be quiet within myself until now.

The search for silence in the city is an undertaking. I have always appreciated yoga studios where people are encouraged to socialize with other students, but sometimes I want a quiet room, a peaceful space. But you can’t have it both ways.

I guess this is where retreats come in for the urban yogi. We can leave the city for a little rural silence, maybe even some darkness or the odd star. Because the truth is, I’m really craving it (silence–what else?). It’s starting to make me irritable– which is silly, because the whole point of wanting to be somewhere quiet is to find my own inner stillness.

So the quest for silence continues… another leg of my yoga journey.

Source: maheenzakaria.blogspot.com

Amber Field Concerts & Workshops At Semperviva

Amber Field believes we can all be the change we want to see in the world, and that love and music are the supreme healing energies. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Amber studied all over the world, including in India where she focused on Hindi and Indian history. Along the way she discovered meditation and yoga, two important practices in her healing journey. She also became an accomplished musician, playing didgeridoo, Arabic tambourine, djembe, and tabla. Amber is known internationally as one of the preeminent music sound healers. She’s been featured at the Wanderlust Music Festival, Esalen Yoga Festival, at Machu Picchu retreats, and now Semperviva:

Amber Plays at Christie’s Vinyasa Yoga Class

Get ready to move, sweat and soar. Think of it as a “sonic bliss bath” as you connect more deeply with your body and discover the liberating and healing effects of sound with every yoga pose. While Christie leads you in a dynamic flow to strengthen and energize, Amber’s music will clear your meridians and invigorate the flow of life energy throughout your whole body. The didgeridoo rhythms are haunting and unforget- table. This one night class will be open to all levels.

When: Thursday, June 16th from 7:30pm-9:00pm
Where: Kits Beach Studio
Cost: FREE with Membership or $18.00 + HST Drop-in

Music & Kirtan Concert

Join us for an evening of music and chanting and get lost in the blissful world of Amber’s kirtan concert. Kirtan is the passionate singing of mantras and chants, one of the most powerful musical experiences. It stills the mind, opens the heart and is truly a celebratory event. Amber’s wonderful voice and music will transport all of us to a deeply moving and comforting place. Just listen, or lie down, or sing along if you wish. Bring your friends and a blanket or pillow since we’ll be sitting on the studio floor.

When: Friday, June 17th from 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Where: Kits Beach Studio
Cost: $20.00 + HST

Healing Musical Adventure Through the Chakras Workshop

This event will captivate you. . . and inspire. Embark on a musical journey through the chakras (7 energy centers) that includes the sacred sounds of this talented sound healer.This is Amber’s signature workshop and it’s creative and fun. She’ll show you how to activate and heal each chakra using expressive arts and sound (such as chanting through the chakras), vocal play, gentle movement, writing what you want to let go of and bring in, and didgeri- doo healings. Beautiful, empowering and uplifting!

When: Saturday June 18th from 7:30pm-9:30pm
Where: City Studio
Cost: $35.00 + HST

Stretching Into New Possibilities

When it comes right down to it Yoga is basically a form of stretching.

From stretching your ability to breathe; lengthening your inhales and exhales to stretching your mind’s capacity to quiet down, to become silent for longer and longer periods of time. To go further into the practice where it becomes not so much about the asana (postures) as it is about the ability to let go of desire, to allow for the spirit to move into the space you have created.

But really in the beginning, for me, it was all about the stretch, the movement into silence came later.

So sometimes I am surprised when people say: “Yoga?!! Oh, I could never do that”.

I try to ease them into it by saying: “Well, have you ever done any stretching after going for a walk, a run or any type of physical activity”. Actually most people have done some type of stretching in their lives. I ask them to start there; allow yourself the space to just stretch into yoga.

The asana are really a specific type of stretch; especially Yin Yoga where you stay closer to the ground and hold the stretches for a longer period of time.

As I am in my third week of recovery from an operation, I decided to try a Yin Yoga class at Yyoga Flow Wellness on Burrard Street.

The instructor, Megan Johnson, put everyone at ease by stating that as with all yoga, the length of the stretch is all up to the individual. I talked to Megan before class about my concerns and she was very reassuring by stating that although Yin can be very intense, I should allow my body to decide and just be very gentle.

I was game for that.

We started in Sukasana (easy cross legged), opening with Pranayama to settle into the space and relax into our bodies.

She then guided us slowly into little stretches of the neck where we allowed our head to drop to each of the shoulders, increasing the stretch by allowing one arm to lengthen to the floor.

Megan told us to deepen into the stretch, come to your edge and then breathe and settle in. But only go so far as to touch your edge; always bring it back if you feel any pain. Yin is about becoming comfortable in the stretch and then holding it for a specific length of time.

For the next 8 poses we stayed close to the ground, deepening our breath and allowing the body to relax.

What is interesting about Yin is that it is not about moving fast from one pose to the other, it is all about lengthening, stretching, breathing and relaxing into the pose, letting go and finally settle for awhile.

Yin does specific things that complements other types of yoga. It allows for a deepening of the stretch which in turns strengthens your muscles by creating little tears that the body repairs. Stretching into the deep connective tissues: the fascia. This is how the body keeps supple. That old saying: “use it or lose it” really does hold true for the body. To keep your body young and flexible, you need to actually use/move it. Yin is a gentle way of moving it.

Megan took us gently into this type of stretching, which is exactly what I needed after a few weeks off from yoga. Her voice is very calm and reassuring. She asks nothing of you except your willingness to try.

If you would like to give Yin Yoga a try, I can easily say it is something anyone can step into if you have done some stretching in your life. Remember that the length and depth of the stretch is always up to you, only go as far as your body allows and try to be kind to yourself. Yin only gets intense if you push yourself further than your body is willing to go. Remember to keep that ego in check.

You might notice that as you stretch further into your body, you might find yourself stretching into a yoga practice that is perfect for you.

(source: theyogafitnessguide.com)

Skyclad Yoga – Naked Yoga In Vancouver And Victoria

Nude (yes naked!) yoga is becoming more popular these days. If you are they type of person who is comfortable in your birthday suit, then naked yoga might be just what you’re looking for:

Skyclad Yoga offers nude Vinyasa Flow yoga classes in Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Founded by Ron Stewart, this Certified Hatha Yoga Instructor with a 25 year dance career, has been practicing various styles of yoga since 1998. Couples classes, co-ed classes, and male-only classes are available through Skyclad Yoga – check their website for schedules. Practitioners should bring a yoga mat, water and a towel or light blanket.

Why naked?

Naked is natural. Face it, clothes get in the way! For those curious there is a unique freedom comparable to skinny-dipping. Skyclad Yoga allows the practitioner to better feel the subtler external and internal sensations and energies: air on skin, feet on floor, heart beating, engaged core, dropped shoulders,  muscles stretch,  releasing and breathing, the body expands into its kinesphere.

Studio Locations:

Vancouver
The Scotiabank Dance Centre
677 Davie St. (at Granville)
Vancouver B.C.

Victoria
The Yoga Shala
1322 Broad St. (at Johnson) Buzz #27
Victoria BC

Deer Leap Yoga
709 Pears Rd (in Metchosin)
Victoria BC

Visit their website SkycladYoga.com for more information.

Is this a type of yoga that you would personally try? Or do you feel nude yoga too risque? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Outdoor Yoga For The (Downward) Dog Days Of Summer

We’re looking forward to the warm summer months ahead to bend, fold, and stretch with these alfresco yoga options around the city:

Let us know in the comments below if there are other outdoor yoga classes around the lower mainland!

One Yoga for the People

One Yoga for the People

Source www.yogaforthepeople.ca

Last night was the grand re-opening of Yoga for the People. It is now One Yoga for the People. You should go. Really, you should go now. What was a beautiful community is now even more awesome. Last night’s kickoff featured the funnest class I have ever that the pleasure of taking, plus great people, and fabulous food (Gorilla Food– check it out).

Food for all of me.

I’d like to dedicate this to all the creator’s righteous children.
I’ve got some food in my bag for you.
Not that edible food the kind you eat, no I’ve got some food for thought.
-Erykah Badu

Sometimes I get so hungry. Hungry for something that I’m not getting in my life– it has nothing to do with food. I feel hungry when I’m not whole. So guess what I do?

I dig deeper into my yoga practice to find what it is that I need to feel whole, to feed myself. Last night was a feast.

It’s this paradox. In yoga we feed ourselves and fill ourselves up to get empty. The intermediate practice is to be full (of love, compassion). The advanced practice is to be empty. But I’m not there– obviously. Because I’m still hungry. I have moments of fullness, and I have flashes where I can see that emptiness is possible. One Yoga for the People is a community of people who support each other on that journey.

When I’m not paying attention I get hungry. And I try to feed myself with things that I’m not really hungry for. So I’m working on identifying that hunger and what it means so I can get still, take a breath, go to my mat and fill myself up.

Thanks to Ryan and the gang I am full. Next time you’re hungry check it out.

Is Yoga Better On The West Coast?

Is Yoga Better On The West Coast?

It is no secret that Vancouver, especially Kitsilano is yoga heaven. The birthplace of  Lululemon has studios on every block, filled with highly experienced teachers and master teachers from around the world. My Vancouver friends are often surprised to learn that the other coast, particularly Halifax,  also has a booming yoga scene. With a large population of  buddhists and a long history of a deep connection to the land and it’s resources, the yogi lifestyle is a natural fit for many Hailgonians.

For a relatively small city, over 400,000 compared to Vancouver’s 2.2 million, there are a plethora of studios with well trained teachers in a variety of different styles.  It is clear that yoga is on the rise here as there are more studios popping up annually. Yoga is getting so big here, that the Halifax Regional School Board has made it an elective in high school, Yoga 11. As a result, many school teachers are becoming certified yoga teachers to help facilitate this program.

While Halifax does not have the line up of  yoga “rock stars” that Vancouver does, they do have their share of workshops with master teachers such as Michael Stone, Coeli Marsh, Ryan Leier, Hart Lazer, Nischala Joy Devi and David Swenson coming later this year!

If you do ever find yourself in Nova Scotia, check out some of my favorite studios:

All Yoga– Located in Dartmouth is a very inviting studio that has something for everyone!

Halifax Yoga– Offers many styles including Baptiste Flow!

The Yoga Shala– Traditional Ashtanga from highly trained teachers!

108 Yoga– All levels

If you are ever here I would love to see you at one of my classes, www.jessicahamiltonyoga.ca!

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?

Semperviva Celebrates Mother’s Day With A Special Family Class

Semperviva is offering a very special family yoga class this Mother’s Day! The class is for moms with kids ages 5 – 11 years — but dads are also welcome. This will be a by donation class in support the exceptional efforts of Shanti Uganda — its goal is to lower maternal and infant mortality rates, reduce HIV/AIDS transmission rates from mother to child, improve access to education and supplies and honour every birthing woman.

When? Sunday, May 8th, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Where? Semperviva’s Kits Beach Studio

[source: yogamanila]

Oh Lordy, Yoga For Forty Part 2

I felt muscles in my legs I didn’t even know existed. I felt more ribs move with every twist. More pressure in my fingers with every downward dog. More strain in my Achilles tendons as I tried to perfect my Warrior one. I had to stop going to my weekly Kundalini practice to ensure I could maintain my strength for upcoming classes. My basement suite became dustier, laundry grew higher, bus rides seemed longer, and sleep time felt shorter.

As tough as it is to dedicate your body to practicing every day, it is even tougher to dedicate your time.

Was it awful to give up other routines and dedicate my spare time to yoga? Not at all. It was a challenge, but I grew to like it. My daily practice became what I looked forward to during each work day. Knowing I had a welcoming, comfortable, and relaxing place to be in a few hours made the dull days shorter.

That tired, restless feeling most of us get after a poor night’s sleep and an even poorer day on the job was eliminated during my daily practice. It energized me rather than drained. I spent less time wasted on watching mindless TV or checking email and more time being productive. My time was better spent because it became more crucial. Don’t get me wrong, I began to miss staring at the Food Network, but I put more effort into taking care of myself instead.

I enrolled in the course I never got around to registering for, I completed four cover letters for job applications I was procrastinating on, and I got myself into bed earlier and in turn, was able to wake up feeling more rested, despite that I could always keep sleeping.

Time became more precious, which I soon learned may be the point of this whole challenge. A focus on time, the now, and gratitude for the precious time we have.

But how about those precious physical changes? You know, the ones to our muscular frame. As much as I didn’t think it was going to happen, it did.

To be continued…

Alex Atherton, Rockstar

Alex Atherton, the intrepid director of YYoga Richmond, is the rare male teacher that I’m comfortable with. It’s curious, perhaps, but I like female teachers better. Anyhow, his best classes (I find) are for power and anusara. At this time these two classes are the challenging ones for me, but Alex makes them very mellow. I like the styles a lot, it’s just that some days I’d like to do them without warping my bone structure.

I credit Alex with facilitating my progress. After doing the 30 Day Challenge in August of 2010, everybody that took part would be entered to win a slew of prizes for their participation. I happened to win a 3 Month Pass (whether by luck of the draw of some meddling) and my practice went off the deep end from there. Encouragement, which is relatively abundant in the yoga community, is a huge factor too. That pass was like someone tossed me out of an airplane again with all the exhilaration and fear that goes along with it.

He gets you to push a little further class by class and even though he can make some poses look very easy he doesn’t hide his threshold. Him admitting his difficulty with some of the nuttier poses is refreshing. Some teachers I’ve had in the past made it look as if they were invincible (which I may not doubt), but pointing one’s own wobbliness can do a lot to bolster the confidence and adventurism of others. There’s always a different way to inspire people. Some do superhuman things one after another to get the blood flowing. Others point out the human limits to encourage and lead through prudence.

That's his look of truth. (photo from YYoga's teacher page: http://yyoga.ca/welcome/our-team/)

From what I know, Alex had a major injury years ago. I believe it was to his neck/spine and his healing process eventually moved toward yoga. It’s pretty amazing at how many teachers and students I know who’ve recovered from what would have been debilitating injuries. The snippets of his past life that I’ve gathered are markedly different from what he is (or at least how I see him) now. He sort of saunters around, perhaps wisping even, and can give off a discombobulated feel. Don’t be fooled by his swaying and slow drawl as he’s 100% present. He’s got a quick wit and he’ll bloody well use it.

He renamed one of his classes as “broga” one day. His rationale was that it was quite a sight to see as many as 10 guys in his class (but this is still against 30 women). His said he wasn’t sure how he’d ever react if he walked into a class of just guys, though he’d up to the challenge regardless. His humour is, for lack of a better word, grounded. Nothing really goes over your head since he pokes at things that are happening right in the room. Again, he’s only one of two male teachers that I’m okay with. Nothing against anyone else, but I’ve felt uncomfortable in quite a few other male-lead classes. A big factor is the attitude and personality.

Alex makes sure the atmosphere is super-chill and he won’t go gallivanting  into La-La Land with dense scripts or sutras; he keeps his words and sentence structures very clear and concise, so he ain’t a blatherer. His classes are the same way in that you can anticipate and mentally prepare for the next posture and/or relax because there are no surprises. Well, that’s not true. He helped me into a handstand from Hanumanasana on a whim. It caught me by surprise but he wasn’t intrusive nor was he pushy. He knows his yogis and their capabilities and I sometimes think he changes his class on the fly depending on who he sees in class.

He also has a tendency to rearrange mats, placing the advanced kids in the first two rows when they turn their backs. It’s not malicious or anything since he does it to help the class by placing leaders at the front. This way others can get a grip on some advanced postures while those up front are being encouraged to step outside the comfort zone of tucking into the middle/back of the class. He’s one to help others get out there and shine, but without the over-exuberance that can lead to miss-timed jumps or rocky foundations. Alex will remind you to keep a level head and stay in the now so you don’t crash and burn.

Join The Kula At Kushala Yoga In Coquitlam!

Join The Kula At Kushala Yoga In Coquitlam!

I move around a lot as my partner is in the military, but I have found a family in every city I have lived in. I find my family in yoga studios as they are filled with like minded individuals who are ready to welcome in any new student that enters their door.

I recently spent the last 4 months in Coquitlam, my hometown, to complete yoga teacher training. The first thing I did when I arrived was find a nearby studio to practice in. Thankfully Kushala Yoga studio is very close to my parents house, where I stayed,  and I was able to convince all my family members to join with me!

From the first class I went to at Kushala I felt like I belonged there, as opposed to just being a temporary guest. The yoga teachers are so friendly and approachable that I couldn’t help but want to engage in an after class chat with them. Even the students are beginning to catch on that Kushala Yoga is much more than just a place to practice yoga. During a Power Flow class I was greeted by another student who was introducing himself to the people on the mats around him and arranging an after class coffee. The yoga teacher/ owner half jokingly said that this student was the social coordinator for Kushala. The studio also hosts such activities as movie nights and Hike n’ Yoga to further foster their growing community of yogis.

Kushala Yoga has 2 locations, one in Coquitlam and one in Port Moody, with 2 more on the way. They offer classes for all levels from more relaxed classes such as Slow Flow and Restorative Yoga to more vigorous and advanced classes such as Power Flow, Hatha Core and my favourite Wild Thing Wednesdays with Andrew Colyn.

Weather you visit the warm, soothing studio in Port Moody or the bright and open studio in Coquitlam you are sure to find a class that suits your needs and make several new friends!

Tour of Kushala

Images from http://www.kushalayoga.ca/

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