Rejuvenate The Soul In Vietnam With The World Karma Project

Rejuvenate The Soul In Vietnam With The World Karma Project

The World Karma Project is a project aimed at creating and promoting random acts of kindness. “Not a charity. Not a big organization. Just a guy, trying to create better communities ­ one person at a time” ~ Adam Quang

The project bases its actions on the “karma bank,” in which the more good deeds you do, the more goodness will flow to you. The concept of the “karma bank” originates from an ancient Chinese text called “Changing Destiny: Liaofan’s Four Lessons.” Written more than 500 years ago, it shows how destinies are changed by doing good deeds.

The latest World Karma Project takes place in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, from March 3-17, 2012.

For two weeks, visitors will travel through UNESCO World Heritage sites on a dragon boat, stay in 4-5 star accommodations, practice yoga and meditation, eat delicious meals and learn Vietnamese cooking.
Participants will be led by Adam Quang, an energetic and easy-going fellow who started training as a Buddhist monk at 4 years of age and has been practicing the ancient arts all of his life. A registered yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance, he has achieved the E-RYT 500 Master level. Known for his wisdom and compassion, Adam’s students consider him a guru.

The tour costs $4300 CND (+HST) and covers all expenses, excluding airfare. The fee also helps build better communities, as a portion of the costs will provide a Vietnamese child with school tuition for a whole year. This donation not only helps a child, but adds to the karma bank towards making a better world.

Why Ha Long Bay? Because of a profound spiritual experience Adam had while last there:
“When kayaking on the bay, the sky ablaze with pinks and blues as the sun dips into the sea, a junk boat sails into view. Enveloped by mountains towering over the bay, it’s a dream-like scene of startling beauty. My breath deepens and my senses expand. My hand drifts into the water and I am refreshed, more truly myself than at any other time. I let go of the boundaries that define me. Everything is vivid: the smell of the ocean, the rhythm of the waves, the warmth of the sun. I am small within this vastness, yet connected at the same time. It is a perfect moment that produces a revelation: lead others to this place which opens the soul to the world outside, and to the world within.”

If you would like to know more about this World Karma Project trip, visit www.worldkarmaproject.com
or contact Adam Quang directly at [email protected] Adam is based in Toronto, and will be in Vancouver Nov 4-6 2011: The Yoga Conference Show.

Why So Yoga Slow?

Source: http://theyogalunchbox.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/13-balloon-lonely-girl-sad.jpg

It’s pretty obvious – attendance in studios is down right now. Typically fall marks an upswing in numbers, but instead many studios are marking much smaller class sizes than normal. Workshop numbers are down and 30 day challenges are a fraction of their usual sizes. Students aren’t purchasing class cards or memberships as quickly and teachers aren’t being followed with their usual gusto.

Many studios are feeling the pinch of a lack of students. It’s only normal to wonder why this sudden failure to launch. Vancouver Yoga Review readers – I want to hear your thoughts!

Is it the weather? Vancouver had a pretty terrible summer, followed by a lovely September. Maybe it is taking longer than normal for everyone’s schedules, and love of sun and outdoor BBQs, to normalise?

Is it the economy? Are you worried about how much you’re spending on “leisure” activities like yoga?

Has yoga finally reached its peak? Perhaps Vancouver’s ferocious interest in yoga has obtained its ultimate height and is now resting comfortably on a plateau?

Or maybe students have learned all they want to learn from local teachers? Are you looking for more variety of instruction? Less variety maybe? Or has the accessibility and affordability of online classes dampened students’ interest in live class settings?

Is the collective unconscious in Vancouver, one which has been engrossed in a love of all things yoga for many years, starting to head in some other direction? Engrossed in politics or end-of-times worries?

Of course I’m not suggesting yoga is dead. Quel horreur! Nor am I indicating that classes are empty – for some studios the difference is a matter of a few heads. Some may not be feeling or admitting to a difference at all.

The vibe is different this fall. I’m not the only one feeling it either. I have posited many questions. I would love to hear your thoughts Vancouver Yoga Review Readers!  Why is this fall so Yoga Slow?

The China Study

I just finished reading this book.  It is a must read for anyone interested in nutrition.  It gives some very compelling, scientifically proven evidence as to the benefits of eating a plant based diet.  The book speaks for itself. http://www.thechinastudy.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.

Ode To A Great Cup Of Tea

Source: http://www.sreducation.ca/everyday-sred-tea/

It’s cold and rainy outside. I’m at work early snuggling with the studio cat Charlie. I had a hot cup of coffee this morning on the way in, but realised as I was making tea for the students upstairs (soon to finish class), there is not much better on a cold rainy October morning (or evening for that matter) than a large, hot, flavourful cup of tea.

I just finished reading Taya’s article this week about Libre Tea Glasses and decided to continue with the theme of the marvelous brilliance of tea!

At the studio I work at (Hari Om Yoga) we provide complementary herbal tea to shoppers and students. We regularly stock tea from David’s Tea (multiple locations) and Tea Time (North Vancouver). Among my favourites are David’s Tea’s Pink Flamingo, Crème Brulée, Baked Apple (ohmygodsogood!) and Exotica. From Tea Time, their Honey Lavender, Corsican Pear, Blueberry Bang and Rose Petals blends rock my socks.

There are many reasons tea is a beautiful thing. It smells delicious. It looks delicate and heavenly. Dried tea has a beautiful sound when shaken in the bag before steeping. A nice cup of tea smells and tastes so brilliant. Good tea is worth discussing. It creates community and better health. Tea feels good to drink – promoting warmth, comfort and balance. It’s hydrating after a yoga class. Tea can lift your spirits or provide grounding, depending on your mood. Have I mentioned it tastes great?

I could go on and on about the marvels of a great cup of tea on a cold, rainy day. Instead, I’ll finish with an anonymous poem that sums it all up perfectly:

When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.

There is magic in its fragrance,
There is solace in its taste;

And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.

The world becomes a lovely thing!
There’s beauty as you’ll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

Libre Tea Glass Review & Giveaway!

**UPDATE** This contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone for entering, and congratulations to Adrienne Summers for winning a beautiful Libre Tea Glass!

Libre, from Gibsons, BC, is an eco-friendly company committed to sustainable people and planet practices. They are the creators the portable ‘on-the-go’ loose leaf tea glass for all to enjoy and relax with – anywhere, anytime.

“Libre (lee-brah). The state of being free. Letting go, bringing ones mind and body to a place of rest and free from restraint. Tea is symbolic of an ancient ritual celebrating the secular as sacred. It is a space to take a breath, reconnect with oneself and the world. It is a time to stop to enjoy life, people and the planet and remembering the joys that life has to offer.”

The Libre Loose Leaf Tea Glass collection comes in three sizes: the 9oz Original, 14 oz Large and 10 oz Mug. Each beverage holder is a thermal bottle with a health-conscious glass interior for fresh tasting beverages and a tough polycarbonate exterior for portable durability. Its easy to clean stainless steel removable filter is surrounded by twist off BPA-free lid and drinking lip.

Just add hot water (or cold) along with your favourite loose leaf tea, watch your drink steep, and take leaf-free sips thanks to its efficient strainer screen. It’s is the perfect leak resistant thermal travel container (keeps tea warm yet cool to touch) to take to yoga class – its compact size fits easily in hand, purse, bike or car cup holders, and makes a healthy post-yoga class rehydrator.

This handy to-go bottle can be used two ways to brew and travel with loose leaf tea: Tea in the tea glass for longer-brewing herbal teas or tea on top of the twist off filter for black and shorter-brewing time teas. Here is a quick video on using the Libre Loose Leaf Tea Glass that shows how simple and easy it is to achieve a great cup of tea:

Libre is giving a chance for one lucky Vancouver Yoga Review reader to win a large (14 oz) Loose Leaf Tea Glass! You’ll find the following giveaway information below…

How to enter the Libre Tea Contest:

1. “Like” Vancouver Yoga Review and Libre Tea on Facebook.

2. “Follow” @VanYogaReview and @LibreTea on Twitter.

3. Leave a comment below when you have completed the above!

FYI: Liking this specific post on Facebook and sharing the link on your Facebook and Twitter accounts will add your name three extra times into the draw. Contest ends October 31st at 11:59pm. Good luck!

SUN SALUTATION FITNESS CHALLENGE 4 THE KIDS

You can put kids in sports. They put themselves in the game…

Karma Yoga offers many teachers and students the opportunity to give back to their community and stay healthy through the asana practice of Yoga & meditation, and this time it’s for the kids.  Between Novemeber 1-7th, Athletics 4 Kids is holding a Fitness Challenge acrossVancouver and BC, and anyone can participate!

Did you know that more than 1/3 of Canadian children cannot participate in sports or recreational activities due to financial barriers? A4K helps raise awareness and funds so that kids can live their dreams and participate in sports, which as we know is fundamental to their development.

The concept behind the challenge is easy; participants sign up with their gym or studio, join a team and choose to tackle a bodyweight workout of 250 – 1000 repetitions based on their personal fitness level. The goal is to finish the exercise as quickly as possible and collect pledges/donations in your community to support your efforts.

This is the 4th year of the Challenge and it has grown by leaps and bounds every year, but we need your help to continue this momentum in order to get the kids in YOUR community off the couch and into the game.

How does Yoga fit into this challenge?

Easy, YogaFORM has hopped on board to teach A Sun Salutation Series at numerous gyms, inVancouver and on theNorthShore and you can participate.

The Sun Salutations will be based on how many you can comfortably perform within a 60min session ~ 250, 500 or 1000 meditative Sun Salutations, you can choose to move through them in a hatha style flow or bring a powerful Vinyasa intention and get your sweat on.

I will be teaching various fun and challenging modifications to this ancient practice of honoring the sun through the dynamic asana sequence Surya Namaskar!

With 3 – 4 classes to choose from throughout the week of November 1st – 7th you can choose to attend one or all of them, join our team and get your pledge on!

The drop in rate for the class will also be donated directly to the A4K Fitness Challenge!

How to join the YogaFORM/ Sarah Jamieson team or register for a class?

Check out my YogaFORM Facebook page for more details on locations and contact information. I you are interested in
participating please comment on our Facebook page or email me at [email protected] and I will send you the karmic details and class A4K Yoga Sun Salutation schedule.

Together we can support kids and their dreams! Let’s get out there and play! Ask your local gym or studio if they are supporting Athletics 4 Kids and get involved!

For more information on A4K visit: www.a4k.ca

For our Team YogaFORM Page visit:  http://www.gifttool.com/athon/OurTeamPage?ID=1731&AID=1666&TID=10689

 

Free Yoga, Great Deals, Fun Times – A Perfect Day of Yoga!

Source: http://www.hardtailforever.com/yoga2009b.htm#

Thanks to Taya for mentioning this week the Fall Open House this Saturday, Oct 22 at Hari Om Yoga in Langley!

As the store manager and someone who has attended the open house many times, I can vouch for what a great day of yoga and yoga community this will be. Not only are the classes free all day (yay!), but Hari Om will be placing much of its yoga wear on special at 15% off! 20 and 50 class cards will be reduced by 10% on Saturday as well.

Hari Om stocks some of your favourite brands in yoga wear, featuring new shipments of Be Present and Hard Tail Forever, two unique brands made in North America.

Come and join a fun day of yoga with us! We will have food and snacks, as well as a great line-up of classes to try – whether you’re new to yoga and want to see what it’s about, or maybe you already know and love the yoga practice and just want to come for the fun of it! Classes are first-come, first-served, so arrive early to reserve your spot!

I’ll be there all day (and teaching Tragically Hips at 3pm!) so drop by and say hello!

Hari Om Yoga is located at #102 – 20230 64 Ave, Langley. For questions, call 604-539-5066 or email [email protected]. See you there!

Class schedule:

9-10am – Yin/Yang

10:30-11:30am – Hot

12:00-1:00pm – Luna

1:30-2:30pm – Yoga for Beginners

3:00-4:00pm – Tragically Hips

4:30-5:30 – Relax Deeply

Free Yoga Classes This Saturday

Hari Om Yoga studio in Langley is having their Fall Open House this Saturday (October 22nd, 2011). Bring your friends, family and neighbours to celebrate with a day long of FREE YOGA CLASSES!

If you’re interested in learning more about Hari Om Yoga, read our reviews of this blissful yoga studio here and here.

WHEN: All Day Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

WHERE: Hari Om Yoga — #102 – 20230 64th Avenue, Langley, BC   V2Y 1N3

For further information contact Hari Om Yoga: [email protected], call the studio at 604.539.0566, or visit their website: hariomyoga.com.

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.

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