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

CRANK IT OUT CYCLISTS: BETTER POSTURE MECHANICS

“Cadence: the number of revolutions of the crankset on a bike per minute”

Understanding the role of fascia in healthy movement, sport and postural distortion is of integral importance to athletes that spend a lot of time in their sport of choice.  Today we explore cycling, as we near the date of the Vancouver to Whistler GranFondo!

As we know, the most common sports-related injuries primarily are overuse injuries, due to restrictions and repetitive load. As the name implies, an overuse injury results from wear and tear on the body, particularly on joints and fasical lines subjected to repeated activity.

Cyclists can experience overuse injuries because of the amount of time clocked on the bike, (this is especially the case with cyclists that use tri-bars). Possible causes, could include poor handlebar or saddle position. A poorly placed handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. With your back bent low over the handlebars, you have to tilt your neck up to see ahead. After a long ride, the neck muscles may tighten up and go into spasm from this awkward position. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source of neck pain.

To understand the mechanics and the muscles of the upper extremity, can be divisible into  several groups, corresponding with the different regions of the limb. These are known as the Deep Front Arm and the Deep Back Arm Fascial Lines:

  • Muscles Connecting to the upper extremity to the Vertebral Column
  • Muscles Connecting the upper extremity to the anterior and lateral thoracic walls
  • Muscles of the shoulders, arms, forearm and hand

Primary muscles associated with the front and back arm lines are then divided up into 3 tracts each, however for purposes of cycling related muscle injuries and  fascial breakdowns we will filter our focus towards the primary muscles cyclists experience pain referral or stiffness in.

This includes; the upper trapezius, rear deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, which sometimes results in shoulder impingement. The levator scapulae from improper cervical spine alignment and forward head carry. The pectorals major and minor; which increases rounding of the shoulders). Even stressing out as far as the thoracolumbar fascia and sacral fascia (opposite side of thoracolumbar fascia) due to the kyphotic positing on the bike.

Most of the time spent in corrective movement usually center around anterior extension and posterior stabilization, but positioning of the bike and how we hold our upper frame (shoulder and pectoral girdle) is of the utmost importance.

One great addition to any cyclists program – cycle coaching on and off the road. Taking it inside can have many benefits so that you can take out the external environment and focus solely on gaining feedback on how to correct your compensations, improve your leg turnover, posture and ergonomics on the bike.  Then you can take the knowledge and apply it to your long endurance rides.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite spots – Cadence Cycling Studio on West 6th in Vancouver. Mike Porter, owner and Lululemon Ambassador knows the cycling realm. Cadence instructors are cyclists, health nuts and coaches and even though delightful in real life, on the bike they will drill into you the necessity of working hard, correcting your form and…well…cranking it out! Cadence is set in a boutique urban industrial style setting, where puddles of sweat can easily be mopped up, as it goes without saying each cyclist will be pushed to their limits and within their unique mechanics for better riding performance.

Next time you ride don’t forget to think about the impact on your muscles and fascia, always take time to stretch. Try these post ride:

Deep Arm Line & upper Mechanics:

  • Cat Flow Series for Spinal extension and spinal articulation
  • Arm Circles standing or supine on foam roller – (Chest, shoulders, scapular stabilization)
  • Neck Stretching Series (through flexion, extension and rotation to release)
  • Thread the Needle (rotation through the T-spine and back line)

Lower Mechanics:

  • Kneeling Crescent Lunge -Psoas/Hip Flexors (Improves leg turnover and reduces hip impingement and femoral compression)
  • Supine Hamstring Stretch with Band – Hamstrings/Calves (for more leg turnover on the backpedal stroke)
  • Half or Full Pigeon Pose – Hips, SI Joint, Glutes (This leads to less hip rock and less knee rotation while pedaling)

Happy Cycling!

VISIT CADENCE CYCLING STUDIO: http://cadencevancouver.com/

Yoga + Spinning = Spynga

Spynga, the yoga and spinning philosophy is about living authentically: Yoga + Spinning = Spynga! The routine involves a half-hour of cycling on a stationary spinning bike and then 30 minutes on the yoga mat for lengthening and strengthening poses.

Based in Toronto, Spynga was created to bring the owners’ two favourite exercise regimes together and make them accessible to people in a non-intimidating environment. Their studio is set up as though you had a bike in the middle of your own comfy living room. No gym-style fluorescent lights or unsightly carpeting. The zen-like room has wood floors, high ceilings with a chic chandelier and large windows that let in loads of natural light.

Currently, Spynga does not have a location in Vancouver, BC. However, Vancouverites can enjoy a similar class called YRide at YYoga.

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.

Yoga Photo Of The Day: On The Flyer

Yoga on top of the world! Master Saumik Bera of Real Yoga and his students practice yoga in a capsule of the giant observation wheel also known as the Singapore Flyer.

One of our readers, a Vancouverite yogi currently living in Singapore, kindly emailed us this captivating photo. Send us your yoga moment in time to [email protected] and you could be featured as Vancouver Yoga Review’s “Yoga Photo Of The Day”!

Leap, and the Net Will Appear

Leap Source: http://gabistevens.blogspot.com/2011/05/last-week.html

Blessed to be living with a kitten, I am compelled to watch little Dusty as she explores her very big, mysterious world. As I wrote in a previous post, the kittens were a litter of three – her two brothers have since found a home together. Dusty is now a permanent fixture in our house.

Watching Dusty sniff, scratch, run and jump is an amazing journey of discovery. The most mundane of objects become wildly interesting to her. I often catch her staring with absolute intensity at something, and then realize with laughter that she is analyzing the ceiling or a sock. Her inquisitiveness is infectious.

On the weekend, I was enjoying some sun in the backyard when I saw her climbing a tall tree: climbing, stumbling, swatting at her tail, ignoring her mother’s cries below and climbing more, into the heart of the tree, far above what her mother thought safe.

Then she squatted low and considered a jump. She bounced a little to test her feet. Then LEAPED and landed with a bounce on the grass below. Unbelievable! My first thought was how reckless and dangerous an act that was. The arrogance of youth right? She could really hurt herself!

But after those first few panicked thoughts, I realized how important it is to leap sometimes. So often in our lives and yoga practices, we refrain from doing things because of a dull, uninformed concern or fear of the unknown – we hesitate to try new poses, we stop before reaching our true limit, or we tell ourselves that we’ve found our “edge,” but really we are well within our comfort zone. We don’t take our yoga practice to new places, because we don’t know what’s out there or how it will treat us.

Sometimes taking risks doesn’t work out how we hope. But sometimes it yields results far more stunning than we can imagine – Dusty’s delight of flying for the first time, the feeling of wind and space, before the pat of soft grass under her paws. Sometimes we need to leap, and trust that the net will appear.

A Complaint Free World

The book, A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen recently came across my radar.  The title really intrigued me, so I decided to ingestigate further.  Basically, one undergoes the challenge to not complain for 21 consecutive days.

A few months ago a good friend of mine gave me a Louise Hay cd on how to use daily positive affirmations.  Shortly after beginning the practice of using  my affirmations, I became very angry at myself for  just how negative most of my thinking actually was.  Here I thought I was a positive, glass half full kind of person?  However, this was a catalyst for me to begin to change my thinking.  I am a true believer that what we think about manifests into our lives, whether they be good or bad.  I believe this is why the book came to me at this time.

“Complaining is thinking about things you do not want rather than what you do want.  When we complain we are using our words to focus on things that are not as we would like.  Our thoughts create our lives and our words indicate what we are thinking.”  Bowen, Will.  (2007) A Complaint Free World (Kindle).  Retrieved from http://www.amazon.ca.

I have decided to embark on my own complaint free challenge.  I will blog about my adventures at http://www.westofyoga.wordpress.com.  Please join me in the challenge.  Maybe we can start a complaint free movement here in Vancouver?



Yoga Arms

Popeye

I miss my yoga arms. I’ve put my pass on hold for the month of August and I’m really noticing some changes in my body. Less strength in my arms mainly, with a side of lower back pain.

So I need to keep up as I’m falling short. I found an extremely helpful article in Yoga Journal called Arms Control by Julie Gudmestad. She thoughtfully shares how to work our biceps, triceps, and upper body to withstand the many poses which require arm strength.

http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/1747

It’s interesting how the more we do yoga, the more change we see in our bodies for the better. Just as the less we do yoga, the more we see changes in our body for the worse. I’d like to be back in the “more yoga” category. Wouldn’t  you?

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.

SEASIDE YOGA: ANCIENT BENEFITS

“Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is never silent, is never still. ” ~ H.P Lovecraft

Regardless of where you practice Yoga, there is always something so serene about practicing Yoga outdoors. Not only is it an opportunity to be more eco-friendly and environmentally sound, but it also offers us a chance to re connect with the beauty of mother natures landscape.

Over the course of the next four weeks, I have been given the opportunity to teach my Yin YogaFORM4athletes workshops outdoors, marina side in False Creek with Le Physique Studio; where my students not only learn about the benefits of Yin and fascial elasticity, but are able to breath in the abundance of practicing seaside.

The ambiance of the sea, cool breeze and practice of Yin to balance out our Yang society evokes a feeling of euphoric calming that not only soothes the soul, but has many therapeutic benefits that go beyond ones practice.

Just take a moment and think that water is the most abundant compound in our body. But what you may not know is the water contained in all of our tissues, cells, blood, etc. is a salty water solution, very similar to the seawater.  

Almost 75% of our body is water:

  • Blood is 83% water
  • Muscles are 75% water
  • The brain is 95% water
  • Lungs are 90% water

Therefore, it is of no surprise that we connect so well with fresh flowing water, streams, rivers and oceans.

One of the largest benefits to practicing yoga seaside; is the abundance of salt in the air. During yoga we focus our attention on the pranyama or breath work; which gives rise to the opportunity to inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water.

Anyone who has enjoyed an ocean swim knows this refreshing feeling! Without salt in our bodies, we would faint due to low blood pressure, as it helps to regulate proper blood pressure parameters.  

Functionally significant to athletes; electrolytes are comprised of sodium, chloride and potassium. These minerals can carry an electrical charge and flow through any part of the body where water resides; which promote healthy cells by carrying nutrients into them and removing any waste as they depart. The main cause of muscle cramping is dehydration. The natural sodium and chlorine in unrefined salt work to maintain body fluids, keeping muscles well hydrated.

We have known for centuries that salt can inhibit bacterial overgrowth and if you are feeling a little under the weather, salt shrinks swollen membranes; congested membranes that can often lead to infections and the common cold. More over, it improves respiratory and cardiovascular functions. Salt is vital for extracting excess acidity from inside the cells, particularly the brain cells, kidneys and liver through sweat and urine.

During the changes of the seasons, salt is a strong antihistamine and combats the particles which cause allergies in the first place. Even in small amounts the salt from the ocean can help to increase circulation and assist in the rejuvenation of the cells, because it naturally aids in healing.

In a Yin practice, as we move and stretch, our fascial and central nervous systems relax and with this the body begins to naturally detoxify our tissues through the process of our asana practice.

Breathing in the sea salt air is just another way to improve your health and your experience of yoga overall. Practicing near water connects us deeper to our own internal water components as water hydrates the body, mind and soul; not only as a physical necessity, but as a symbol of our duality, and in the same time of our unity with all the other elements in nature.  Take time to breath, smell the fresh salt air and connect with your environment.

~Namaste~

AntiGravity Yoga – Weightless Aerial Yoga In Vancouver

AntiGravity Yoga is aerial yoga, encouraging fitness through levity. The belief is that through the pursuit of anti-gravity, a lighter existence can be achieved. Inspired the gracefulness of aerial art and Vinyasa yoga, this unique type of yoga is a fusion technique often seen as a bridge between fitness and traditional yoga modalities.

Flowing silk hammocks are hung from the ceiling that suspend participants and help them achieve seemingly impossible yoga postures. And unlike traditional yoga inversions, going upside-down in an AntiGravity yoga class is weightless. There’s zero compression of cervical spine, so it’s very therapeutic for the body.

The concept grew out of AntiGravity, an acrobatic performance troupe founded in 1990 by Christopher Harrison, an aficionado of yoga, who designed the fitness regimen around hammocks. For more information regarding AntiGravity, visit their official website: www.antigravityyoga.com. AntiGravity yoga classes are offered at Steve Nash Sports Club in downtown Vancouver. Visit their site here for additional information, and their current schedule.

Teaching Your Teacher: Sharing the Love

Source: http://www.leeanncareyyogashopping.com/stretch-one-on-one/

My saga of being a newly certified teacher continues! Yesterday I taught a 20min segment to my very favourite teacher – it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

After all the coursework, readings and practical teaching exercises in my summer Yoga Teacher Training, I was feeling pretty good about things. I was getting great feedback from friends and students about my teaching. My youngest brother had a sore calf, which I helped out with using my new therapeutic techniques and a couple of well-considered (and well-taught!) stretches.

I was feeling pretty good – until my favourite teacher in the world asked me to lead her through a short class so she could get a sense of my style. Yikes!

Last week I devoted myself to planning and fretting. I practiced and prepared. I visualized her loving it – and hating it. I’m usually pretty balanced and confident in front of people, but when I placed my mat down and she rolled hers out in front of me, I wondered how such an amazing teacher could even start to enjoy my teaching. How can I, her student, measure up as her teacher?  I became a little undone— I’m not going to lie.

When the music started and I launched into my routine, my voice was a little shaky and my instructions a bit garbled. I realised though, that teaching my teacher was a great opportunity to share my love for yoga in an expression that she hasn’t seen from me before. Not only that, but I could get tips and pointers from someone I respect and admire a great deal to apply to my teaching!

I realised that I should just do what I’ve been compelled to do all along – share my love for yoga in my own way and hope others will feel inspired and drawn to practice it with me. We both had fun!

Lululemon Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Our friends at I Heart Wellness (Vancouver ladies who ‘bring the glam to healthy’) are currently offering a chance to win a $250 gift card to lululemon athletica!

Yes, you heard correctly, $250 to spend at Lululemon to purchase more yoga pants, perhaps a new mat, or whatever your heart desires! How do you enter this contest? Visit their Vancouver-based health and wellness website here for all the details.

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