Styles

Broga For Downward Facing Dudes

What is Broga (bro+yoga)? Broga is a yoga class geared for men. Strong, energetic,and challenging, it uses traditional yoga postures and fitness movements for an amazing workout. Broga’s mission is to offer men real tools for coping with daily stresses and demands through an accessible yoga-based fitness program taught from a man’s point of view. Broga is for every “body,” from the beginner yogi to the professional athlete.

Cofounders Adam O’Neill and Robert Sidoti created the Broga yoga program devised to attract hesitant men to the world of yoga by “getting into the bro-zone’’. “This is not a dumbed down version of yoga. There’s a lot of movement linking the postures, but adding push-ups and variations of squats. People see the name ‘Broga’ and they think it’s just a bunch of idiots. But there’s integrity,’’ says “Brogi” Sidoti. Sidoti even sends out dude-friendly tweets like: “Get with the Bro-gram’’ and “Stop bro-crastinating.’’ Visit www.brogayoga.com for more information, and watch the following video:

Yoga Vs. Regular Exercise

What’s better for your body, yoga or regular exercise? Often a highly debated subject, but Naturopath SR Jindal believes yogic exercise is the better option. He feels that the benefits of yogasanas far outweigh regular forms of exercise and that they score over strenuous physical exertion.

Asanas are “sthiram sukam asanam”, meaning a body position that is “steady, calm and comfortable”. Physical exercise, on the other hand is an activity that works muscles and requires energy. It is different from yoga asana. Here’s an except discussing the top 10 differences:

  1. Physical exercise consumes more oxygen than yogasanas
  2. The heart has to work harder during physical exercise, but BP and heart rate decrease when you practise asanas
  3. Physical exercise can overwork joints and even cause rheumatism and stiffness later in life. But asanas encourage flexibility and build stamina
  4. Physical exercise builds up toxins in the body while asanas eliminate them []

To read the rest of this list, visit timeswellness.com.

The Psoas Muscles: A “Hip” Guide to Happier Movement

Lately, the psoas has been getting a lot of attention, and for good reason. Many hip imbalances and structural breakdowns  in the body stem from unbalanced hips. Let’s take a deeper look at the psoas, other wise known as our hip flexors. One of our body’s most dominant muscles…

Whether you suffer from a sore back or anxiety, from knee strain or exhaustion, there’s a good chance that a constricted psoas  muscle might be contributing to your discomfort or impeded performance.

Starting with a small anatomy lesson, the psoas is roughly triangular in shape,  the top of the psoas attaches along the five vertebral bodies starting at the last thoracic vertebrae (T12) and continues to attach L1, L2, L3 and terminating at the next to last Lumbar vertebrae L4, completing one side of the triangle.

From the ends of this side, we create two more sides that slowly come together and attach at that spot on the femur. Because of its triangular shape, it allows for a lot of movement or lack of movement, as well as load distribution. Therefore, its no wonder the unique shape can a different and profound effects on the spine, and therefore the body.

So where does the psaos make an appearance in our yoga practice?  In yoga, the psoas plays an important role in every asana and is crucial for balanced alignment, proper joint rotation, and full muscular range of motion, as well as posture and human locomotion.

In backbends, a released psoas allows for extension and lengthened muscles at the hip and supporting proper extension of the front thigh (quadriceps group), which allows the leg to move independently from the pelvis. All yoga poses are enhanced by a released, rather than shortened psoas from back bends. The psoas muscles are commonly used in forward bends as well, which recruits to pull you down and forward. All too often people rely on their arms to pull them forward.

This group of psoas muscles are also used in every standing posture to stabilize the upper and lower half of the body, because of its role to help regulate balance. Our center of gravity is housed at the top of our sacrum and navel area and, what would you know the psoas, just so happens to pass on both sides of this hip bone so it helps regulate balance around our center of gravity which is where movement comes from.

The thighs can’t fully rotate outward unless the psoas releases and thus any posture that requires any rotation needs, psoas extension (warrior series, triangle series and half moon to name a few).

Getting in touch with this deeply buried muscle can be not only a humbling experience, but one of much growth. The psoas, the fascial system and deep diaphragmatic breathing are linked, and along with improving your structural stability, developing awareness of your psoas can bring to light fears and visceral blockages of long locked energy blocks in the body, which results in unconscious physical tension. We know that the psoas runs through the diaphragm, and with improper breathing this can tighten and restrict the psoas muscle, as well as, when deep breathing exercises commence it can release tension and improve blood flow as well as much needed stress release where blocked energy can start to move around and be released, both physically as well as emotionally.

Therefore, the next time you roll out the mat for you practice, give your psoas a little extra TLC and asana time and see how much better your body flows from one posture to the next and much better your hips feel!!

10 Reasons To Start Pregnancy Yoga

Have you recently become pregnant and are now thinking about getting into yoga in Vancouver? MindfulMum — an online magazine for health conscious moms — created a list of the top ten reasons you should start prenatal yoga. Not only can yoga during pregnancy help you maintain your flexibility and health, it can also help you to become positive about birth and parenting. View the list here of the ten reasons to begin pregnancy yoga.

Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga was created by Dr. Madan Kataria in 1995 in Mumbai, India.  The idea came to him at a time he was writing an article ‘Laughter- The Best Medicine’.  It originated as a ‘Laughter Club’.  After two weeks of telling the same jokes, the participants became bored.  Dr. Kataria’s wife is a yoga instructor.  He consulted with her in further developing the ‘Laughter Club’.  They discovered that there were a lot of similarities between laughing and pranayama exercises.  Laughter yoga was born, resulting in a blend of Yogic Deep Breathing, Stretching, and Laughter Exercises that cultivate child-like playfulness.  Dr. Kataria came to the realization that the body cannot tell the difference between real and pretend laughter.

I took my very first Laughter Yoga class at Open Door Yoga on Commercial Drive.  I have to say, there were a lot of times when I thought to myself, what the heck am I doing.  However, the laughter was contagious.  I left the class feeling happier and lighter.

Give Laughter Yoga a try.  Go with an open mind and an open heart.

Namaste.

 

 

Meditation & Fibromyalgia: Access Your Inner Qi

Conventional yoga wisdom holds that nothing prepares your body for meditation as well as a regular asana practice. Why? Beccause it allows you to connect mind with body, it is even more significant when our body is in a state of discomfort. When we are atune with our how our body moves, responds and feels, we are much more atune preventing stress and relieving physical stress caused by everyday activities.

Last week we introduced the linkage between fibromyalgia pain and fascial therapy and this week we continue to look at holistic approaches to reducing the pain associated with fascial discomfort and “dis-ease” that the medical community is still identifying.

One of the best forms of therapeutic movement is the slow and steady stillness found in a Yin Yoga practice and meditation. Meditation is key because its rooted are found in becoming more aware of balance and symmetry in our body and in our surroundings.

Let’s recap the physcial practice of asana; Yin and yang are relative terms, not absolutes. It’s certainly true that whenever we move and bend our joints in yoga postures, both muscle and connective tissues are challenged, and thus we begin to work in a more unified fashion.

Yang tissues (like musculoskeletal) are more fluid-filled, soft, and elastic; whereas, yin tissues (connective tissue, as in ligaments, tendons, and fascia) and bones are dryer, harder, and stiffer.  Extension style movements that focus on muscle tissue is yang and movements that focuses on connective tissue is yin. As is with all unique mechanics, connective tissue is different from muscle and needs to be conditioned differently.

When you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time, the body will respond by making them a little longer, offering the benefit of additional fascial tensegrity.  This has been found to be a great form of holistic treatment in people with fibromyalgia and other fascia diagnosed syndromes.

Because yin is an asana practice rooted in “stillness” when we incorporate deep meditation, the ancient affects of relaxation, restoration and rejuvenation can be felt throughout the body and this aids in the release of necessary hormones stimulated through deep diagphragmatic breath. Deepak chopra once said, “ In moments of chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

As we know Yin is the Tao style of Asian Yoga decent,  closely realted to Tai Chi and  accessing the “qi” (pronounced chee) a connection to our “prana” or life force.

Chinese medical practitioners and yogis have insisted that blocks to the flow of vital energy throughout our body eventually manifest in physical stresses; that is linked to “syndromes” like fibromyalgia. Therefore, the combination of slow, steady stillness in meditation really does help us reach down into the body and gently stimulate the flow of qi and prana through the connectiv tissue. Both Yin Yoga and meditation serve as a unique tool for helping you get the greatest possible benefit from a yoga practice.

Vancouver’s Smiling Yogi Laughter Club

Have you heard about laughter yoga and laughter clubs? Laughter Yoga is a series of playful, interactive exercises designed to stimulate laughter. It provides an opportunity for adults to be playful and to explore and express joy. And a Laughter Club is a non-profit group that practices Laughter Yoga on a weekly basis. Laughter Clubs are run on a drop-in, by donation basis and are intended to fulfill the mission of the Laughter Yoga Movement: “Joy, Health, and World Peace through Laughter.”

Vancouver’s most popular Laughter Club is the Smiling Yogi Laughter Club!

WHEN: Sundays 3-4pm

WHERE: OPEN DOOR YOGA — 1111 Commercial Drive (near Veneables) *enter from back alley

COST: $5 suggested donation

FYI: No need for any special clothing, or yoga mat. Just bring an open mind, a positive attitude, and your biggest smile!

MORE INFO: For a full listing of Laughter Clubs in Metro Vancouver, visit: laughteryoga.ca. For additional information about the Smiling Yogi Laughter Club, contact Farah.

What Is Kriya Yoga?

Kriya Yoga refers to actions designed to remove obstructions involving body and mind. Kriya Yoga covers a wide range of techniques, including mantras and meditative techniques for control of the life-force (prana), bringing calmness and control of both body and mind.

Paramahansa Yogananda founded the Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 to make available these universal teachings of this sacred spiritual science originating millenniums ago in India. Kriya Yoga teaches the laws of general conduct (yama and niyama), including harmlessness, truthfulness, non-stealing, etc. Kriya Yoga promotes the study of metaphysical principles, physical and mental health, cleanliness and purity. The ultimate goal of Kriya Yoga is to unite with pure Awareness (God/ Universe/ Higher Power).

AntiGravity Yoga with Ingrid

There are so many variations of yoga popping up all the time.  When I heard about AntiGravity yoga I was intrigued.  Currently it is only offered at Steve Nash Sports Club.

You perform the poses in a hammock which is made of a structural fabric that is connected from two overhead points. It acts like a swing or soft trapeze.  You are very safe.  The benefits are said to be a relief of compressed joints and alignment of the body.

Ingrid was my instructor.  She was well trained, friendly and allowed that fun, playful side to come out.  I felt like a kid again when we started swinging.   I especially liked all the inversions that would not be possible otherwise.

If you are looking to mix up your regular yoga routine, I highly recommend you try this class.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Yoga + Ballet = Yollet

Countless hybrid yoga classes are popping up everywhere we turn! Styles like Spynga, AntiGravity Yoga, AcroYoga, SUP Yoga, Blindfolded Yoga, and Naked Yoga – just to name a few.

One of the newest fusion classes is Yollet (pronounce yo-lay). That’s right, Yoga + Ballet = Yollet.

Interested? Here’s a description of a typical Yollet class:

Yollet is a fusion of Classical Ballet and Yoga and it was an awesome workout. The first thirty minutes of class were filled with ballet moves that challenged both my balance and flexibility and really worked my legs at the bar. Then we chasse’ed across the dance floor and performed a mini-ballet routine. After ballet we grabbed the mats for a relaxing half hour of yoga poses and stretching which felt great.”

Sounds like a fun experience! Does anyone know of Yollet classes offered in Vancouver?

Yoga for Women Affected by Breast Cancer at Live Yoga

Source: http://www.missomnimedia.com/2008/10/miss-bcam-pink-yoga-mats/

Live Yoga (www.liveyoga.ca) is a sweet space on 1227 Johnson Rd in White Rock. They have a permanent drop-in schedule with a variety of classes (Yin, Flow, Hatha, Anusara, Core, Gentle). Boasting a community atmosphere, the teachers serve tea at the end of class and really care about their students lives and practices.

This fall, Live Yoga is providing several special interest pre-registered yoga courses for its students and the general public. It is so wonderful to see a studio engaging fully with the needs of its students – and offering classes that are pertinent to different stages of life and health.

A truly significant offering at the Live Yoga studio is Yoga for Women Affected by Breast Cancer. This course starts on Sept 21 and runs every Wednesday for 8 weeks. The total cost of the course is $119 (including HST).

The primary teacher is Carol, who specializes in Yoga therapy, Anusara Yoga and Restorative Yoga, with assistance from Marnie, the studio owner, who trained with the Simonton Centre in Los Angeles in their cancer therapist program. Having worked with both of these teachers before, and knowing well their warmth, passion and care, they are the perfect people to be leading this course.

The aim of this class will be to increase range of motion, flexibility, strength, and a sense of well-being enhanced by yoga postures, breath work and meditation. Particular emphasis will be on poses to stretch and strengthen the shoulder girdle and open the chest.

Live Yoga also has a Beginners Yoga course, as well as a Foot Reflexology workshop, both upcoming. A number of their  fall 8-week pre-registered offerings started this week: Core Yoga (All Levels and Level 2), Prenatal (ongoing classes), Kids Yoga, Moms & Tots Yoga, Teen Yoga, Yoga for Healthy Aging, and Yoga for Overweight Bodies.

For more information or to register for this or other classes, visit Live Yoga online (www.liveyoga.ca), by phone (604-961-9545) or email [email protected]

Blindfolded Yoga Classes

For some people, and especially for those just starting the ancient practice, it can be challenging to focus during yoga class. One minute you’re in-tune with your body and breath, and the next your gaze drifts to someone’s perfect tree-pose or to a snazzy new mat you’ve been eyeing across the room.

A few acclaimed yoga instructors at New York City studios are trying to shift the focus inward by wearing blindfolds during classes! For Matt Lombardo, a teacher at downtown NYC’s Jivamukti studio, what started as a temporary way to shut out distractions became a consistent practice.

“I did one class blindfolded, and it was so great,” says Lombardo. “It totally revitalizes one’s practice.” Now, he’s practicing blindfolded on a regular basis, and so is his girlfriend, Broadway actor Cristy Candler. With mats side-by-side, the two flow from chaturanga to upward dog, invisible to each other.

I feel wearing blindfolds, or even just keeping your eyes shut during practice, forces you to have dialogue within yourself – your positive or negative thoughts, judgements, and criticisms cannot be escaped via outward distractions. You must confront them, head-on. I think blindfolded yoga classes would catch on quickly in Vancouver. What do you think?

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