Teachers

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.

Gearing Up For The Vancouver Yoga Conference

Source: www.theyogaconference.com/vancouver2011

The Yoga Conference and Show is coming to the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre from Nov 4-6! That’s coming up soon! There will be a huge number of interesting booths, as well as a number of celebrated teachers to take classes from. It’s going to be an exciting weekend!

For a $15 show ticket, you can attend the 3 day show and have access to 39 Garden Yoga Classes, as well as 120 exhibitors.  To attend the more in-depth classes and workshops, class costs range from $46-198, depending on the class hours, etc. There are 36 internationally renowned faculty teaching 130 workshops!

A full listing of classes, teachers and other information is available online here. Sign up soon for this great weekend!

Interested in volunteering? Volunteer positions available too! Applications are available on the conference website.

Teachers and presenters to check out (see detailed bios here):

  • Padma
  • Teresa Campbell and Chris Brandt
  • Shannon Cluff
  • Michelle  Cormack
  • Seane  Corn
  • Jason  Crandell
  • Mike Dennison
  • Nischala Devi
  • Sat  Dharam Kaur
  • Maria Garre
  • Ted Grand
  • Susi  Hately
  • Leslie  Kaminoff
  • Devinder  Kaur
  • Martin Kirk
  • Mark  Laham
  • Blake  Martin
  • Djuna  Mascall
  • Kelly  McGonigal, PhD
  • Theresa  Murphy
  • Michael Stone
  • Brad Waites

Emily Millen

You’re looking to feel like a marshmallow, you say? Perfect, read on!

Emily Millen happens to be one of those people that perplexes me. The first time she wafted into the room I didn’t believe that she was always so soft-spoken and ripple-free. After a year of taking her classes I’ve come to realize that I still have no idea. She could have a penchant to cuss up a storm when away from the studio for all I know. Hey, I know I do.

But I digress. I’ve only ever taken her power and hatha classes and I have to say both are the most consistently mellow practices I’ve experienced. Not that she’s predictable, but you’ll know what to expect unlike, say, Liv Hilde. However, Emily is as equally stable and strong as Liv and floats into inversions as if someone had her on puppet-strings. Seeing her perform these feats you’d be hard-pressed to imagine that she (if I remember correctly) tore her ACL some time ago along with some other knee parts.

Those injuries (fascia-types) can be long-term and extremely debilitating but she told the class one day that mended her injury through sound healing. She proceeded to demonstrate and got all of us to try it; humming the alphabet one letter at a time in different pitches and tones. I admit it was awkward though I can’t deny my back felt oddly loose and limber without actually moving. Oh, and that’s another thing about Emily’s influence; you may feel like you’re not doing much but she’s actually getting you to work every atom in your body. I wouldn’t say it’s effortless (since she’s putting her full effort into the class) but it’s a certain type of minimalism. There’s a cliche that everyone uses that fits here but I don’t feel like typing it.

Bright and beaming is what you’ll always get. (http://yyoga.ca/welcome/our-team/emily-millen/)

With that experience in mind, I practiced both sound healing and minimalism after my eye surgery (PRK) and again after tearing my hip flexor. I wonder how I would’ve handled those recovery periods if I hadn’t met her or the likes of Anila and Alex, two other teachers that remind you to just take it easy. The yoga community is very fortunate to have teachers that stretch the spectrum of pure power and complete softness, and the best ones teeter between the two. Emily is one of those teachers that can effortlessly switch from all-out to wind-down at the appropriate moments. I imagine her injury had a part to play in the  forgiving nature of her practice and how she can do so much while seemingly doing little.

Her power classes on Wednesday (both regular and upside downs) aren’t too strenuous and she normally doesn’t suggest insane postures if there are more than a few newcomers. She’ll put in a headstand in the upside down class as it’s relatively accessible and adventurous enough already. She’s conscious about how intimidating yoga can get and I’m sure it wouldn’t do to traumatize anyone. Her hatha class on Saturday evening is excellent for those looking to start up or veterans to go shake it out. I try my best to attend since it ends/starts any week on a fine note.

After my tearing my hip flexor the first class I went to was hers since I knew her experience could help. It was difficult to move my leg without using my hands, but she showed me all the variations I could do without compromising the tender integrity of my healing hip. That one class provided me with an enormous amount of flexibility and strength the next day, which is excellent because sitting motionless with an icepack on the hip only got me so far. That and I was getting batty from immobility.

The other nice part about her classes is that her way of speaking, her tone, can put one in a trance. More than once I’ve snapped back to my senses at the end of a savasana to realize that I don’t recall doing anything between the starting “aum” and hearing her ask us to sit up from savasana. That may be why her classes seems like a breeze; you’re not aware you’re doing anything at all. It’s difficult these days to come across people such as Emily; people that make you feel at ease without trying too hard to be funny or wax philosophical.

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.

 

Renowned Yoga Teacher Returns To YYoga For Workshop

World renowned yoga teacher, Sadie Nardini, will return to Vancouver’s YYoga to conduct a workshop at the end of September. Unfamiliar with Sadie Nardini? Here’s some background details about this awesome instructor:

Her accessible teaching style, down-to-earth yoga tips and centered-living tools are regularly covered by the national media including Elle, Glamour, Self, the New York Times, CNN, Yoga Journal. She’s a regular blogger and columnist for national magazines like Yoga Journal, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine, the Huffington Post and the Elephant Journal. Sadie is also the author of the life-shifting book, “The Road Trip Guide to the Soul” (Wiley, 2008) which is currently being produced as a TV show […]

For more information about Sadie, visit her website www.sadienardini.com. And for additional info regarding her upcoming workshop and to register for the event, visit YYoga.ca.

Mula Bandha Power Flow with Sadie Nardini
When: Sep. 30, 2011, 19:00 — 21:00
Where: YYoga South Granville
Price: $50

Jennifer – Steveston Village Yoga

If you are looking for a change from your chain yoga studios?  Try Steveston Village Yoga.  Tucked behind Alegria Cafe in the heart of Steveston Village is this lovely, quaint yoga studio.

I go for Jennifer’s Tuesday 7pm Yin class.  I am greeted with a warm and inviting atmosphere.  The space has a real Zen feel.  I take my spot on a mat provided, which is decked out with all the props:  eye shade, 2 blocks, bolster, etc.  The candles are lit and the class begins.

Jennifer has a soothing voice that lulls you deeper and deeper into the poses.  I feel completely relaxed, even in the final moments of a 5 minute posture.  She is a natural Yin teacher, who exudes a friendly, nuruturing energy.  She is very personable and attentive.  I like the one on one instruction.

I highly recommend this class.  Just what is needed after a long, stressful day.  You will sleep like a baby afterward.

Namaste.

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]

Meghan – Semperviva Kits Beach

It was my second time taking Meghan’s Monday noon class at Semperviva-Kits Beach location.  She teaches a kick your butt Vinyasa Power Flow.  I like that she is not afraid to try some of the more difficult postures.  She creates a lovely, fluid flow that seemlessly melts into one another as if you were doing a dance.

She starts the class with a small chat.  Today’s topic, how the people in your life reflect what you need to learn about yourself.  After the chanting of three OM’s she gets right down to business.  It is a non-stop Power Flow from then on.  The class is warmed up nicely, climaxes with some harder postures and is slowly brought down to Savasana.  You finish the class feeling that you really accomplished something.

This girl knows her yoga and obviously has a regular practice.  If you are looking for a more challenging Power Flow, this class is for you!

Anila

My first power class was lead by a very stern and straight-forward teacher. She started with a curt introduction for the new people, myself included at the time, and lit the fuses underneath our butts immediately thereafter. We did some partner work in balancing poses and I ended up in my first full wheel. That was actually the last class I saw my friend in; I think she may have stopped her practice altogether.

For me it was another handhold for my ascent up the mountain that yoga is. That kind of brisk yet solid pacing and concise manner in which she spoke was something that locked me into my practice. She never waffled or forgot her sequences. She made sure we knew where she was taking us. She asks us to build a practice from our experiences in life whether they be ones to cultivate or ones to shed. Instead of reading from a book or notes she gets us to dredge the depths of the self.

Anila Lacroix likes to push the boundaries as much as shatter them. Many of her classes involve doing things that we normally wouldn’t fathom in any given day, say hugging strangers or share personal stories (if you want to, that is) with the class. Odd as they may be she’s just putting the yogic way into practice; to open up and connect in every way.

www.yyoga.ca

Her voice is strong and fierce if not simply bold. Yin classes are ones where people go to in order to relax and be soothed by words and chants. I come out of her classes feeling like I want to destroy a marathon or leap to the moon. She can supercharge your brain by the way she instills you with the facts of life and yanks your inner power to the surface. If you can’t tell it’s quite difficult to describe her aura. I do encourage you to try her ways.

During my recovery period she imparted a very interesting method of resetting the mind. A few days here and there, when my eyes didn’t aggravate me so much, I sat/lay/crumpled somewhere quiet and imagined my brain as a field. I would then imagine a plow running through the soil and scrapping all the old growth and leaving the field bare for new seeds. I’d imagine the new seeds being planted as ideas, sprouting into whatever I wished them to be.

If you get to know her you’ll find out she’ll always have a little something for you to help you through the spats that life has with us. She can revitalize you with a word and spur you with a breath. She’s amazing.

My Five-Minute Yoga Practice App

Eve Johnson, a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher based in Vancouver, created My Five-Minute Yoga Practice app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

A useful application for beginners, Eve talks you through 11 five-minute practices, with detailed instructions describing exactly what to do in each pose. Gradually, five minutes at a time, yoga will become part of life. It’s also a great tool for those who struggle with finding enough time to fit yoga into their day, or frustrated with the lack of progress in their yoga practice.

Available in the App Store, you can also visit Eve’s website for additional information.

Lauren Roegele – Demonstrating Yoga’s Healing Benefits

Lauren Roegele is an Anusara-inspired teacher with a kind soul and a profound love for the healing benefits of yoga. I have taken a few of her classes before, but had the opportunity to work with her at a deeper level in my teacher training last month.

Source: http://www.muddyrootsyoga.com/teachers/

As part of his 200hr YTT program, Dan Clement hosted local teachers in our classes – a way for us to learn diverse elements of yoga from specialists in the field. Among these speakers were Todd Caldecott (Ayurveda), Carol Wray (Restorative Yoga, Thai Massage, Structural Therapeutics), Naomi Clement (Anatomy) and Lauren.

Lauren came in for several sessions – the most striking of which were the healing and therapeutic segments. To start, she told us her story of being hit by a drunk driver’s car while crossing the road. She told us about the years of mental and physical health difficulties. She explained with profound emotion how finding yoga gave her the ability to heal herself and rediscover her enthusiasm for life.

She has practiced under a number of influential teachers, including John Friend, Christina Sell, Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers, Bernie Clark, Sean Corne, Martin Kirk, and David Swenson. She brings her understanding of the body’s limitations and hesitations to a teaching style that is safe, effective and fun. When a student is discouraged and says, “I can’t do this,” Lauren is quick to respond with a warm and encouraging, “not yet…”

Lauren teaches Anusara, Yin and Level 2 at Muddy Roots Yoga in South Surrey (www.muddyrootsyoga.com), as well as a weekly Flow class at Hari Om Yoga in Langley (www.hariomyoga.com).

You can read more about Lauren’s journey, as well as her private session techniques, testimonials and at www.laurensyoga.com.

1SCHOOL 1DAY: BE A PART OF A DAY OF MOVEMENT “BEND 4 A CAUSE”

 The health and fitness community of Vancouver builds a school for the kids in Ethiopia. Want to be part of the movement? Join us for this special event on September 24th, 2011 at 1pm. This is a great opportunity to get Vancouver Yoga Teachers and their students involved in a one day event geared towards spreading the  our love of Yoga, health and movement AND support education in Ethiopia. 

BE A PART OF A DAY OF MOVEMENT :

Education for all should be a basic human right. In developing countries women and girls are around 70% of the beneficiaries, yet many children, especially girls are not given the opportunity to attend school. An educated child will help form the backbone of a healthy society and  help lift the community from the hands of poverty.

On September 24th at 1pm, participants will come together for an hour (or more) of motion to support education in Ethiopia. Participants will choose where they move from a list of our health and fitness affiliates or  –  create your own and become an affiliate. We will share the experience of moving together and on that evening, a Wrap Up Celebration will acknowledge all the great efforts of our community.

1SCHOOL 1DAY GOALS:

  • To raise $100,000 – the cost of One School in Ethiopia via Imagine1day
  • 5,000 Participants moving at the same time all across Greater Vancouver
  • To unify the Health and Fitness community towards a greater good

CALL TO ACTION FOR TEACHERS & STUDENTS:

I would like to propose a Yoga call to action, “Bend 4 A Cause.”  Many of us live all over Vancouver, we read each other posts, we enjoy each others classes, why not ban together and spend an hour (or more) teaching Yoga. The concept is to have as many Yoga teachers teaching outside or inside their chosen parks or places at exactly the same time, with the same purpose –  to raise awareness and much needed funds for education in Ethiopia. This is a movement for social investment.

As part of the health and wellness movement, our combined power will help bring to the forefront of our time, the importance of health and balance, while creating a social change movement  stemming from a unified front to support and empower our  leaders of tomorrow.

If you would like to be part of a whole day of movement, YogaFORM will be spearheading a Yoga Relay, an entire day of movement starting at 9am and will be looking for teachers to hop on board and create the day with me. How amazing would it be to do a variety of Yoga classes, around the city and  zen-co-mingle, get fit, all that the same time. If interested email [email protected] for more details.

To get involved and become an affiliate with 1School 1Day please contact [email protected]  and join a team of talented individuals who are committed to changing the world.

Master Teacher Matthew Cohen is Coming to Kushala Yoga!

Matthew Raymond Cohen will be facilitating 2 workshops integrating Eastern life practices for body, mind and spirit. Matthew has 30 years experience in Martial, Yogic, and Healing Arts. He teaches at his Sacred Energy Arts Center in Santa Monica, California and leads teacher training and intensive workshops internationally.

Details:

Sacred Energy Arts Yoga Master Class: Balance and Flow

Experience a transformative blend of Eastern health practices

This 3 hour introduction to Sacred Energy Arts will focus on building strength and grace. Guided by master teacher Matthew Cohen, Sacred Energy Arts Flow is the culmination and evolution of Matthew’s extensive training in all of his practices and teachings. Emphasis will be placed on the breath, cultivating stillness in motion, and movement in meditation. This dynamic balance practice encourages and invokes seamless and fluid transitions from one Asana to the next, leaving you feeling revitalized and radiant.

Benefits:

  • Improve muscle tone and core strength
  • Find greater balance and stability in poses
  • Increase your natural health and vitality

Details and Registration

Saturday September 17th
9am – 12pm
Kushala Yoga at Suter Brook
$60 + HST for 1 workshop, $110 + HST for both workshops (recommended)

Chi Kung: The Art of Energy Cultivation

A subtle practice that can radically improve your health.

Chi Kung is a powerful health system from China that sustains emotional and physical balance. Through easy-to-learn standing exercises, breathing, and slow repetitive natural movements, Chi Kung builds a powerful sense of well-being and peace. This simple but transformative practice offers tools to build your body’s vital energy and to manage your own health.

Join master teacher Matthew Cohen for this expertly taught 3 hour workshop. Special emphasis will be placed on intention, alignment and Taoist “natural breath.” This class will help you to relax and to connect with the elements within and around you.

Benefits:

  • Release tension, stress, anxiety and fear
  • Promote serenity and deep relaxation
  • Detoxify the body and stimulate the immune system

Details and Registration

Saturday September 17th
1pm – 4pm
Kushala Yoga at Suter Brook
$60 + HST for 1 workshop, $110 + HST for both workshops (recommended)

To register visit: /www.kulayoga.ca/

* Images and workshop descriptions from. www.kushalayoga.ca

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