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!

Positive Effect Of Yoga On Type 2 Diabetes

A study, conducted on 60 patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes, revealed that performing yoga can help control the disease. Researchers found that practicing yoga controlled patients’ blood sugar levels, resulted in weight loss, and the participants reduced their body mass index from 25.9 to 25.4. The study also showed that yoga reduced the level of oxidative stress levels in the body, which occurred due to the increase of reactive oxygen in patients’ bodies. (Rise in oxidative stress can result in other various health disorders). Science is proving what yogis have known for ages – yoga has a positive effect on health!

[source: frenchtribune.com]

 

Love Yoga And Writing? We Might Be Looking For YOU!

Do you enjoy practicing yoga on a regular basis and love writing? Would you like to combine your two passions? Vancouver Yoga Review is looking for an enthusiastic yoga blogger to join our inclusive yoga community. We’d like for you to commit to submitting one new and unique yoga/health/fitness related article per week. Contact us at [email protected] if you’d enjoy being apart of Vancouver and the lower mainland’s yoga community!

BACK 2 SCHOOL: YOGA BASICS 4 THE HEALTH OF OUR KIDS

Back 2 School season is upon us, and with this comes heavy back packs, books galore, sitting hunched over desks for hours, intermitted periods of activity, and usually random intervals of eating (hopefully healthy). The health of our kids is crucial, so that they can grow to their fullest potential and become the next leaders of tomorrow.

One of the governing concerns these days is backpacks.  Kids walk to and from, and around school all day long! This allows any person to carry more items than would be possible by the arms and hands alone. The risk, however, is overload, which can strain the back, neck or shoulders. The back will compensate for any load applied to it for an extended period of time. A heavy weight carried in backpacks can cause a person to lean forward inducing in proper balance and stressing spinal integrity, as well as distort the middle and lower curves of the back, which can cause strain and irritation to the joints of the spine and rib cage. And let’s not forget rounding of the shoulders! An ergonomic back pack is key to back to school health.

Studies have shown that Yoga may be one of the most effective exercises for back pain relief, but we rarely ever think about applying these principles to our kid’s health!

Corrective re patterning of biomechanics actually stems from pediatric development; therefore, as our children grow it makes sense to be pro active and take preventative measures to ensure they grow to their full potential without restriction and premature structural breakdow.

However, as effective as a Yoga style may be to reduce and prevent pain in the body, knowing exactly what poses to perform, the style of yoga, what corrective poses  and in what sequence to execute them should be taken into consideration before using it as a therapeutic relief from discomfort or pain. It sounds complicated, but it is actually very simple, PLUS for kids you want to keep it FUN!

I find that for younger kiddies, it’s all in the fun and imagination – naming the pose and sometimes combining that with drawing and coloring the pose can be creative and improves the fun factor.

For the older, more mature youth, relate it to a sport or an activity they are already engaged in. This will help them relate the benefits to their chosen after school activities.

Yoga Poses to prevent back pain and keep it fun for the kids:

  • Cat Flow Series (meow)
  • Downward Facing Dog to Pike and Plank Variation Sequence (woof)
  • Bridge  Pose (ummm… what sound does a bridge make)?
  • Supine Fish Pose (gurgle, gurgle)
  • Sun Salutations with Cobra:  (hisssss)
  • Warrior Sequence with Ninja Triangle Variation: (wax on, wax off)

Yoga has many benefits beyond keeping the body in balance; it will help generate a good mental balance of discipline and attention to detail for your child’s ample learning potential. Have fun and roll out that mat!

 

 

Salutation Nation 2011 In Vancouver

On Saturday, September 10, 2011, at 9:00 am local time, roll out your mat and do yoga. Join your community to move, breathe, connect, get your downdog on, and create this neverending om! What is Salutation Nation?

• An annual, international day of yoga
• Led by local yoga ambassadors
• Complimentary
• Open to all levels
Salutation Nation In Vancouver:

  • lululemon Oakridge

    Spanish Banks, 4707 Northwest Marine Drive


  • lululemon Metrotown

    North Pond, Central Park, Burnaby BC


  • lululemon Robson

    Spanish Banks, 4707 Northwest Marine Drive


  • lululemon W. 4th

    Spanish Banks, 4707 Northwest Marine Drive


  • lululemon lab

    Spanish Banks, 4707 Northwest Marine Drive


  • lululemon Factory Outlet

    North Pond, Central Park, Burnaby BC

Can’t make it an event in your area? Celebrate Salutation Nation at home! Visit www.salutationnation.com for more details.

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?

Eat Local

I am passionate about food.  It brings people together and fuels our body.  My Bikram yoga practice made me very aware of the food I was putting into my body and my bodies reaction to it.  I felt so clean from all the sweating that I no longer wanted to put junk food into my body.

In Vancouver we are so lucky to have access to a variety of amazing food.  Currently, we have a bounty of local produce.  Just go check out one of the many farms in Richmond or your closest farmers market at http://www.eatlocal.org.

Right now is the perfect time to take advantage of the 100 mile challenge.  Try to eat only foods produced, grown or sold within 100 miles of where you live.  This way we eat healthier and reduce our carbon footprint.  To learn more, read the book 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon.

Bon Appetit!


YYoga’s Mexican Yoga Retreat

YYoga’s Mexican Yoga Retreat

Autumn is rapidly approaching, but fret-not, you can escape Vancouver’s rain by attending YYoga’s sunny Mexican yoga retreat this November! Delicious food, serene scenery, warm sea breezes, and daily yoga sessions conducted by YYoga instructions — will all make for an unforgettable 7-day experience.

Where?
Maya Tulum Resort (1.5 hours south of Cancun, Mexico)

When?
November 5-12, 2011

Who?
All levels
are welcome and you are free to participate in as many (from power and meditation to core and yin) or as few classes a day as you would like. If you book with a friend by October 1, you will each receive $200 off. For further information, visit the YYoga website here.

[source: YYoga.ca]

THINK TANK REVIEW: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN STRENGTH & CONDITIONING AND YOGA

Tonight I was given the opportunity to attend a “Think Tank” session to discuss the ‘state of the industry’ in health, fitness and sports performance. Carmen Bott, newly appointed Director of the NSCA of BC invited over 30 health professionals to openly brainstorm and discuss strengths within our scope of practice, industry standards, pitfalls, trends and presentation topics, as well as, what we would like to see implemented into the next NSCA Conference. A wish list if you will!

L.A Clippers Blake Griffin, Mens Health Magazine 2011

Who was in the room? Strength coaches, personal trainers, educators, RMT’s a physiotherapist, athletic trainers, FST’s, a yoga teacher (me); and at this networking gig… there was no pink elephant in the room, just unbridled passion for harnessing human potential.

Honored to be invited and to sit next to these leaders in strength and athletic performance, I quietly wondered if this was a little out of my league. Many years ago I made the slow transition out of sports conditioning to Yoga, then to corrective movement; therefore, what could a Yoga teacher possibly bring to the table?

I had a realization.  The goal of a health professional is not to solely enroll in courses, or engage in discussions we already know the answers to, but to continue to learn and evolve our scope of practice, so that we can integrate a holistic approach to better serve our clients and our industry.

A background in the physiology of flexibility, the fascial system and the traditional holistic methodology of “Yoga” would be a very beneficial topic up for discussion in this group and on the flip side, learning more about strength conditioning and athletic based performance metrics would most definitely offer me the chance to better communicate with my clients that fall under the auspices of athlete and strength based populations.

As we know, teaching fascial stretch or Yoga to a rugby player, will be much different then teaching Yoga to an endurance athlete or a dancer. Why? Genetics, muscle tensity, sport performance, gender etc! Our genetic make-up and muscular and fascial composition make all the difference. As a Yoga Teacher, read this next sentence…

“Each has a unique genetic make up that requires a specific repertoire of movement patterns, release techniques and conditioning metrics for improved mobility and stability  for better movement and performance mechanics.”

Now, re-read that sentence if you are a strength coach? Doesn’t it sound like we are trying to achieve the same destination? The answer is YES, we just look at the mechanics a little differently.

This is why understanding the dynamics of strength coaching is so important if you teach to a population inside athletics. Moreover, an integrated approach is so integral to anyone with the goal of improved movement and human potential for that fact.

What is the NSCA?

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) has become the worldwide authority on strength and conditioning for athletic performance.  They have achieved this accreditation by supporting and disseminating research-based knowledge and the practical application to improve athletic performance and fitness on a myriad of levels.

This think tank was a great representation of how we can each play a role and impact the evolution of our industry and better serve our clients. The science and the health sectors are constantly changing, and with the integration of holistic wellness outreach, I truly believe there is much to be learned and benefited from when we combine the science of biomechanics and human kinetics with the art of traditional Yoga. A practice that for over 5000 years has been rooted in the very embodiment of human performance potential – mind, body and spirit.

For every Ying, there is always a Yang!

Sources:

To learn more about the NSCA please visit:  http://www.nsca-lift.org/

To learn more about Carmen Bott please visit:  http://www.carmenbott.com/

Ohhhhh That Monkey Mind

Do you ever feel like things are out of control? Your mind is racing with the things you have to get done. Perhaps the left over task you didn’t accomplish the previous day. There are so many thoughts rushing through your head that you cannot concentrate on one specific thing. Add into the mix the judgement we place on ourselves for not accomplishing everything we wanted to do in a particular day. The little negative thoughts that do not help but somehow slip in.

That’s the Monkey Mind; the devious little monkey that chatters away until we cannot think straight. It happens to all of us. I am sure it even happened to the Buddha at least once. Or maybe not, but to us mere humans it is a constant affliction that we try again and again to overcome.

I sometimes find that even on my mat I am surrounded by a cloud of thoughts that swirls out of control.

I try my hardest to bring myself back to the present moment so that I may enjoy my practice. It is a challenge, but eventually I just focus on one thing – my breath.

I try to see the breath flowing from each part of my body.

I try to feel the texture of my breath as it slips through my nostrils; slightly cool on the inhale and a little warmer on the exhale having come from my lungs.

I take myself to my lungs and see if I can image them expanding with each breath; the rib cage accommodating that needed expansion.

I feel my shoulders slowly relax as I exhale – encouraging my body to release and let go.

I feel my heart beat, with each breath it slows down.

I then travel to my belly and try to squeeze it closer to my spine in order to press out any remaining breath.

Then I start over, but perhaps this time I start with my toes – can my toes breathe? Why not?
You can imagine anything; there are no limits to the imagination. Have fun!

The mind may still wonder – again that monkey mind, but I try to imagine those thoughts as clouds in a beautiful blue sky. I acknowledge them and then I let them pass. I place no judgement on them, or value, I just let them go.

Of course, this in on your mat, but I believe that the same principles can be applied no matter where you are. Just bring yourself back to your body and your breath. Allow yourself to focus on something as lovely as the sky – even if it is grey. There are textures to that grey. There are rabbits in those clouds. Or anything else you can imagine. Isn’t this fun? Try not to be so serious, let everything go.

Allow yourself a moment or two to just breathe and remember that your mind doesn’t control you, you are in charge. You can slow everything down by taking yourself to your breath.

And remember to always be kind – the world is harsh with judgements. Try to believe that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

You are perfect in your imperfections.

Namaste(source: dfareviews.com)

Set Yourself Up For Success

Adhering to a regular, consistent yoga practice is difficult at the best of times. It takes dedication and commitment, love, sweat and hard work. It can be almost impossible to find the time to attend yoga class when things get busy. And this time of year is very, very busy.

Today is the last day of August. Although the weather isn’t great, many people have been desperately trying to take advantage of every sunny day before the September crunch starts. Back-to-school preparations are well underway. A general sense of business and fret are circulating with the impending sense of another fall.

What I have found is that my practice hasn’t remained the same as usual. My body wants gentler routines, my mind wants them shorter. Rather than promising myself to “start in September” or “do more next week,” I have promised myself to continue my routine, but in a way that suits my needs right now. I am setting myself up for success.

What does this look like? I am practicing more at home right now. Sometimes my sessions only last 20 min. Sometimes they are quiet and easeful. Sometimes all I have time for is Legs up the Wall and a bit of breathing. That’s OK. The important part is to show up on your mat and make the commitment to spend a little time every day to love and cherish your own self, body and mind.

In this busy week before back-to-school, try not to put off your yoga practice until later. Negotiate though—figure out a way to absorb some practice into the little gaps of time you have. Pick the 5 poses your body absolutely needs and practice them with love and intention. Take a little time for yourself no matter what. Breathe. Smile. Appreciate your little victories.

Source: http://www.wellonecoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/team-jump-for-joy.jpg

Shark Fin Soup Ban?

Shark Fin Soup Ban?

As Yogi’s and Yogini’s we learn to live our lives with more compassion.  However, the practice of yoga is not only on the mat.  Yoga is about more than just the Asana.  We are living yoga each and every moment of our lives, by learning to see the divine in all people and all creations of the universe.

It was announced on CBC News that Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May is calling for a ban of Shark Fin soup in Canada.  She is collecting signatures for a petition she plans to send to the House Of Commons.  This is a topic that I feel very strongly about.  If you are unaware of the shark finning industry.  Please watch the documentary Shark Water by Rob Stewart.  It is important for us to live consciously.  To be aware of where our food comes from and how it got to our table.

Sign the petition here: http://www.divepro.ca/

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