Yogis

Welsh Team Turns to Yoga for Rugby World Cup Glory

Welsh Team Turns to Yoga for Rugby World Cup Glory

Wales, Rugby World Cup vs Samoa. Source: http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/home/teams/team=33/photo/index.html

In New Zealand, the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup is underway. Twenty teams have been waiting four years for the chance to demonstrate their skills on the pitch and take home the title as the world’s best rugby team.

According to articles on BBC and WalesOnline.co.uk, the Welsh team, known for their brutish hard work and gruff demeanour, “turned to yoga in a bid to boost their quest for World Cup glory.”

Wales hand-picked six players who they thought were more susceptible to injury and not as flexible as other players. They made the yoga portion optional to other players, but ended up turning people away because they could only fit 10 in the room.

Many of these players went from being unable to touch their toes, to placing hands flat on the ground. The conditioning chief commented, “If you think, the ball goes over their head, they have to stretch, they get hit in awkward positions, they have to run and they have to have certain mobility to hit positions in running. The guys were good. They said we’ll give it a go and the feedback was excellent.”

This is not the first instance of professional athletes using yoga to improve their flexibility and strength in their primary sport. Just in the Vancouver area, the Vancouver Canucks are known to use yoga for strength and conditioning and, recently on Vancouver Yoga Review, Taya journaled Milan Lucic’s foray into Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown as part of cross-training.

Two weeks into the Rugby World Cup, Wales has both won and lost a game. Stay tuned to action in New Zealand to see how the yogic preparations pay off for the Welsh!

Hockey Star Turned Yogi? Milan Lucic Visits Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown

Vancouver native and Boston Bruins forward, Milan Lucic, tried yoga for the very first time this month when he stopped by Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown. The Stanley Cup champion (who was toting the coveted cup around Vancouver last week) was surprised the hot and sweaty yoga class was so challenging and he even found relief from a shoulder injury.

Lucic’s not the only professional hockey player to include yoga in his fitness routine. Teammate, Tim Thomas, has been practicing yoga for over four years and openly attributes his success on the ice to regular yoga practice. Other hockey players such as Mark Messier, Mark Recchi and George Laraque have all practiced yoga to further compliment their game.

According to Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown’s owner, Brad Colwell, Lucic has insisted he will return to the Burnaby studio for training in summer 2012.

Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown
Tel: 604-451-FIRE (3473)
3665 Kingsway, Suite 150, Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2

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.

Yoga Photo Of The Day: Leaving Hornby Island

Our good friend Krystle’s zen moment in Sukhāsana leaving British Columbia’s beautiful and serene Hornby Island. Ommmmmm… Today’s yoga photo of the day was captured by designer, producer, DJ, and photographer extraordinaire, Davin Greenwell.

Send us your perfect zen moment in time to [email protected] and you could be featured as Vancouver Yoga Review’s “Yoga Photo Of The Day”!

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.

A Reality of Gratitude

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In yoga, we are reminded by our teachers to take a moment each day to be grateful for all we have. We sit on our mats, eyes closed, and give recognition to how lucky we are. In class, relaxed and clear headed, this gratitude seems easy to find. But each day, outside of our yoga kula, this gratitude is often buried by life and its many happenings.

I recently visited Bali, Indonesia. A getaway I’ve dreamed of for years to make my surfing fantasies a reality. I pictured crystal clear ocean, white sandy beaches surrounded by colourful hibiscus and a peaceful tranquility. Everyone I’d met who visited the tiny island has a love story they attach to it. And I wanted mine.

From the moment I stepped outside the airport and onto a nearby street to catch a taxi, my mental image of Bali vanished as the reality took over. Traffic like I’ve never seen, four person families speeding along the road’s shoulder with no helmets in sight. Rows of run down shacks and empty lots of debris lined the streets.

I thought hopefully to myself, the beachside areas will be better. They were worse. Packs of locals trying to sell you anything from a flower petal to a paper fan chase us along the crowded walkway. Men in rickety boats constantly call to us for a “good price” island tour. Young children, shoeless and unaccompanied, reach for me to give them money, after all, in this part of the world we are rich. Millionaires to be exact.

As much as there is beauty in this very bustlingly popular place, I have never had my eyes opened quite like they were each day in Bali. I’ve never desired to come home after being away. I’m always upset on the last day of my vacations, dreading the routine life that awaited me. This time, for the first time, I looked forward to it. To the clean water, air, streets, and homes. To the opportunity, education, activities, and food. To the mundane job, routine weeks, orderly transportation, and safety.

It’s funny how we often go away to relieve ourselves from our realities only to learn that these realities are a blessing. My recent third world experience reminds me to take my gratitude with me outside the yoga world and keep it from being buried in my daily life.

Chataranga Dandasana

My subject today is the dreaded chatarunga (dreaded by me, anyway).

Source: yogaflavoredlife.com

We all have poses that teach us about our limitations. For many people these are poses like paschimottanasana or other hamstring zingers. But there is the other side– the upper body strength poses– like chataranga. I have been blessed with flexible, long hamstring muscles, which makes yoga much “easier” for me. So my challenges are different. I can find full hanumanasana on some days, but I cannot do a sun salutation!

Chataranga continues to elude me.

I do yoga because of how it makes me feel, because of how it allows me to be in the world– the freedom I get from my practice both in my life and in my body. But there is a part of me that would like to be able to do a vinyasa properly. So I get up every morning and do my yoga and muddle through my vinyasas. My difficulty with chatarunga teaches me to be humble and to continue to experiment in my own body.

Strength and ease in chatarunga is different for me than it is in other postures, but just as worthwhile to explore. Every vinyasa is an opportunity to laugh at myself and let go of any expectations that I have. I aspire to do the pose like this guy:

Source: blog.ricecracker.net

CYCLE THIS! NOTHING SUPERFICIAL ABOUT THIS MYOFASCIAL LINE

In celebration of the Tour De France, the next myofascial meridian we will focus on is the Superficial Front Line (SFL); which functionally balances out the Superficial Back Line (SBL) in the sagittal (anterior-posterior) plane. *applause*

France is a bit far, but for those of you gearing up for local cycling spec events, listen up! Cycling requires strong quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, but, overusing these muscles without maintaining proper form can throw mechanics off balance and excessive wear on joints can occur.

As we know a common occurrence in medicine is to treat symptoms, and isolate the pain referral point, however, symptoms are not always where the problem begins but rather where they are being expressed, hence the need to prevent, rather then treat.

Road cyclists are susceptible to many overuse injuries. Most injuries usually occur at the hip or knee, with the forward posture of cycling we see many clients with rounded shoulders and unbalanced postural mechanics.

The solution is simple = prevention an take precautions by stretching your fascia.  To understand the structural functionality better, let’s look at the anatomy.  

The Superficial Front Line (SFL) runs on both the right and left sides of the body from the top of the foot to the skull including the shin, the quadriceps group, the rectus abdominis, sternal fascia  and sternocleidomastoideus muscle, connecting to the temporal bone. In terms of muscles and tensional forces, the SFL runs in two pieces – toes to pelvis, and pelvis to head, which function as one piece when the hip is extended, as in standing.

In the SFL, fast-twitch muscle fibers predominate and function in movement to flex the trunk and hips, to extend the knee, and to dorsiflex the foot. Chronic contraction of this line creates many postural pain patterns, pulling the front down and straining the back and neck, thus cyclists are more predisposed to structural breakdowns in this train.

In Yoga,  stretches are focused in backbends and sequenced stretching the front of the body – the SFL.  As with cycling specific muscle recruitment, two obvious muscle group to release are; the quadriceps group and hip flexors. This opens the front of the hip and helps to reduce anterior pelvic tilt, which aids in reducing lumbar lordosis. Other key muscles that can lack functional integrity are the neck, which is  important to release forward-head posture, as well as reducing stress to the SBL.  

The breathing and meditation techniques in yoga can turn your simple ride or intense workout into a moving meditation and can power up your cycling in many ways.

Take 10mins a day, get off the bike and hit the mat. Here are a few key anterior opening stretches and quintessential backbends to implement into your routine:

  • Warrior I and Kneeling Lunge – Virabhadrasana opens hips, hip flexors and abdomen
  • One legged King pigeon Pose Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – hip and SI joint opener
  • Fish Pose – Matsyasana – Opens the chest and throat/neck
  • Upward Facing Dog/ Cobra – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana  –   flexibility of the spine

 Happy Cycling!

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

PET + POSE 2012 YOGA CALENDAR PHOTO CONTEST

Calling on all yogis!  Last month I posted a “Yoga Teaser” on a national event, linking up yoga communities for a global cause. Well, the details are in!

The Ladybird Animal Sanctuary (LAS), an animal rescue group made up of three Canadian singer/writers (Melissa McClelland, Janine Stoll and Lisa Winn) are on a mission, to bring much needed awareness and support to our furry friends.

The LAS sole purpose is to help as many dogs, cats and other domesticated animals in need, and in celebration of the joy of yoga and the beautiful relationship we share with our pets, the LAS is looking YOU to submit a Pet + Pose Photo for their 2012 calendar.

Here is the challenge:

Take your best pic of YOU and YOUR Pet (or your neighbors) – we want to see a beloved pet in the photo with you. The more creative the better, they are looking for anything fun, playful, beautiful, poignant, peaceful… you name it. Anything that expresses your wonderful relationship to your yoga practice & your best furry pal.

The LAS will choose 12 winners from across Canada who will be featured in our 2012 calendar, which will be sold in yoga studios throughout our country. The Grand Prize winner will get the cover photo and all winners will receive a gift pack with yoga and pet related goodies. Alongside your photo will also be a short description of you, your photographer and your animal. The best part of this whole project is that all proceeds from the sales of the calendar will go to helping animals in need.

To enter, please send the following to [email protected]

  • 1-3 photos, ideally 8×12”, 300 dpi (jpeg or pdf)
  • A quick description of yourself, your pose, your pet + your photographer friend (max. 200 words).

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: AUGUST 31, 2011.

So Get Your Best Downdog, Updog, Cat Pose or Pigeon Asana On!

Check out thier facebook page for more details and connect with the Song Birds behind this great cause!

Ladybird Animal Sanctuary Pet + POse Yoga Photo Challenge: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=218722811484946&ref=ts!

Namaste & Good Luck!

Vancouver Yoga Riot 2011!

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

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

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

RUN’YIN TO YOGA: A GREAT WAY TO TAPER

In celebration of Vancouver’s upcoming running events; proper running mechanics and prevention of injury are key elements to any runner’s success. Last week we identified fascial elasticity in Yin Yoga, and the benefits aligned with the Spiral Line Meridian (one of many fascial anatomy trains).

Today we look at how Yin Yoga can be a great addition to your taper for an upcoming race. Common lower limb mechanical injuries associated with distance running (to name a few) are  ITB syndrome, knee pain, shin splints and plantar fascitis, which can usually be attributed to  a breakdown in the structural framework of a fascial meridian, most injuries are not muscular in origin.

The Spiral Line myofascial meridian is somewhat more complicated than the other fascial trains, as it forms distinct spirals of deep myofascial connections looping around the legs and torso.  This is a complex fascial meridian and has functional implications.

Focusing specifically on the lower limb mechanics and to jog your Yoga brain from last week; the spiral loop starts at the anterior hip (ASIS), which then follows the TFL muscle and ITB, connecting to the tibialis anterior (shin)  just below the lateral knee to its insertion on the base of the 1st metatarsal. Then continues up the peroneus longus (outer lower leg), to the insertion of the biceps femoris (lateral hamstring) that attaches on the head of the fibula.  It then follows the biceps femoris to its origin on the ischial tuberosity (sitting bone). 

Repetitive load bearing movements; like running can breakdown our fascia and interconnected neuro web, thus placing stress on the entire meridian line; associated joints and muscles. This can cause minor, sometimes major imbalances, that can go undetected until acute pain or discomfort manifests (ie. muscle pain, strain or tears). 

 The result?  A reduction in performance, agility, speed, endurance and power execution, to name a few.

The best way to prevent injuries from even occurring is to invest in fascial stretching and therapeutic movements used in the Yin Yoga style.  Leading up to any race or event your 1-2 week taper period should include at least 2 Yin classes to reinforce fascial elasticity and improve mobility and flexibility within the joints.

 If you are gearing up for the Scotiabank half marathon & 5km next weekend,  try out this sequence for taper bliss:

  1. Start with 3-4 mins of soft tissue work: foam rolling the mid back, glutes, ITB, quads and hamstrings.
  2. Always begin with T-spine mobility (improve upper running mechanics)
  3. Kneeling Lunge (hip flexor/psoas stretch)
  4. Dancers Hamstring Stretch  (toes pointed to stretch shin)
  5. Pigeon Pose (to stretch glutes and SI joint.  Add in thread the needle for rotational mobility).

 RUN. YIN. REPEAT.

Sources: To learn more about fascial elasticity visit YogaFORM at http://yogaform.wordpress.com/

‘GET YOUR YIN ON’ THE SPIRAL LINE MERIDIAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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