running

“Happy Feet” The Importance of Foot Mechanics

“Happy Feet” The Importance of Foot Mechanics

Your feet are the foundation of every stride you take. Nowhere is the miracle of the foot more clear than watching the human body in locomotion. It is something to be marveled. The combination of 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and a network of tendons, nerves, our fascia matrix and blood vessels all work together to establish the graceful synergy that allows us to get from A to B. The balance, support, and propulsion of our body all depend on the foot. But before entering a fitness regimen that includes jogging, don’t forget to make certain your body’s connection with the ground is in proper working order.

So why is it that so few runners give their feet proper care? We stretch our hamstrings, tighten our stomachs and carbo-load our muscles, but barely pay any attention at all to our feet.

Which is especially misguided when you consider that, after the knee, the foot is the most frequently injured body part.

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How’s Your Gait?

Many health professionals now use gait analysis as a critical part of their assessment and screening protocol. A comprehensive analysis will look at the foot mechanics in several focuses: a non-weight bearing state, standing, walking, running at pace (i.e. endurance vs. sprint) and after fatigue. A well rounded analysis will also take into consideration more than the foot — you must look at the knee, pelvis and low back, and what’s most forgotten, the reciprocal relationship of the arm mechanics in static posture, and in swing.

Biomechanics in a non-weight bearing foot boils down to the functionality of the multiple joints of the foot and how they interact, particularly in a dynamic state. Is your foot rigid, flexible, flat or high-arched? Does your big toe have the motion it needs for push-off? Is the main ankle joint (talocrural joint) moving correctly? What changes when the foot bears weight in standing, walking or running? What happens if we load the structure, how does balance and coordination shift?

When running, foot strike location in relation to the body position is a major factor in efficiency and effectiveness. If foot contact with the ground is made in front of the line of the body, regardless of where on the foot the contact happens, the foot will act as a break in motion. Ideal foot contact should be under the body to allow forward momentum to continue unimpeded.

What does this mean for the average runner? Think more about where your foot is landing and less about which part of your foot lands first.

The Big Toe “This Little Piggy Went to Market”

The toes (especially the great toe) play a vital role in normal arch functioning, both in the shock absorption and propulsion phases. In normal stride cycle the toes are flexed up on landing so the foot lands with the arch high like a shock absorber at full extension. Then the toes lower and the arch flattens dissipating shock in a controlled manner. As stride moves forward the heel lifts up, flexing the toes up, and lifting the arch-turning it into a rigid lever for an energy efficient push-off. this “Windlass Mechanism” requires free movement of the toes and plantar fascia ligament for proper shock absorption and propulsion.

The great toe being able to stabilize the arch in midstance and takeoff is critical for a funcional gait and normal arch functioning. Remember an arch is supported by its ends- this is the front end and a heel flat and balanced with the forefoot is the other end. When medical patients lose their great toe due to injury or infection they are left with a foot that is very unstable, with no ability to absorb shock, and with limited to no propulsive properties. Not surprisingly, many of these patients often end up with severe disabilities and higher amputations as they traumatize other foot structures.

The big toe must be properly aligned and the flexor hallucis longus and brevis allowed to perform normal stabilizing functions.

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You Gotta Have the Right “Sole”
Proper shoe selection is vital to foot health–not merely the shoe brand and model, but the fit. “Bad shoe fit can cause a multitude of problems for your feet, everything from numbness and burning to blisters and painful calluses. Shoes that are too short can cause black toenails. Shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot can cause pinched-nerve pain, bunions, corns or calluses. Shoes that are too wide allow the foot to slide around, which causes undue friction, which in turn can lead to blisters. And so on. Just like Goldilocks and the 3 bears, you have to try a few on before making a decision. Most shoe stores these days have experts in this field, so seek out a pedorthist and ask for guidance.

Once you purchase shoes with the right fit, you then need to maintain them and replace them when they’re worn out. The average life of most running shoes is 350-500 miles, but if you’re a heavier or taller runner, or if your gait isn’t smooth, you may need new shoes sooner.

Think Patterns of Running, Not Parts

Efficiency is affected by hip stability and mobility, trunk stability and thoracic mobility, shoulder mobility and head posture.

Runners with a mid-foot strike will translate much of that energy into up and down motion – rather than forward motion — will be less efficient than a heel striker who sends all the energy forward.

Things to think about when taking the piggies out to the market.

 

Next week we will address the corrective strategies for addressing re stabilization for the foot and mobilization of the lower limb mechanics.

 

Empower Women & Girls Globally: Join Walk In Her Shoes Vancouver

Empower Women & Girls Globally: Join Walk In Her Shoes Vancouver

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On Sunday March 9th, 2014 WALK IN HER SHOES 103 KM RELAY Celebrates 

103 years of International Women’s Day

Vancouver’s Sarah Jamieson, founder of RUN4ACAUSE joins forces once again with CARE Canada for the annual Walk In Her Shoes campaign. An annual run event, that aims to empower women and girls globally.

Vancouver, February 1, 2014 – To help break the cycle of poverty and in celebration of the 103 years of international women’s day (IWD), Sarah Jamieson  of RUN4ACAUSE & CARE Canada want to empower Vancouverites to join a Walk In Her Shoes 103km relay team.

Who is CARE?

CARE focuses on global issues such as maternal and child health, education, economic empowerment, adaptation to climate change and emergency relief. The necessities to empowering women, children and whole communities through the ability to live, learn and earn.

CARE Canada’s staff, many of whom are citizens of the countries in which CARE works, help strengthen communities through an array of programs that work to create lasting solutions to root causes of poverty.

What is Walk In Her Shoes?

She needs to walk an average of 6km per day to gather the things she needs to keep her family alive. CARE & RUN4ACAUSE are challenging you to try and experience what this is like. On Sunday March 9th, join thousands of Canadians in celebration of International Women’s Day to empower women and girls to fight global poverty – Join Walk In Her Shoes.

How Can You Help?

RUN4ACAUSE & CARE are challenging Vancouverites to participate in our 2014 Walk in Her Shoes campaign. This 103km relay is divided into 8 relay legs ranging from 10km – 12km in length and each supports a specific CARE project. You can join as part of a team and run or walk at your own pace or become a run ambassador. As a run ambassador, participant or volunteer you inspire your community to help CARE empower women and girls in the developing world.

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Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Sign up to be a Run Ambassador and build a team for your relay leg, supporting a specific CARE project.
  • Join a relay team, walk or run at your own pace.
  • Raise funds to help women and girls fight global poverty.
  • Donate to our cause here and see how your support can impact below

This is your chance to…

  • Learn more about global issues.
  • Become physically active.
  • Inspire girls around the globe.

What Impact Can you Make:

Your support and donation is then leveraged at 3:1 ratios by our Canadian Government; thereby increasing the impact! All projects are instrumental towards empowering women and girls around the world.

How does your donation impact these families?
  • $10 can purchase schoolbooks in a child’s native language for a year.
  • $25 can purchase life saving vaccinations, treatment and micronutrients which prevent a child from diseases like malaria, anemia, and diarrhea.
  • $26 can provide a week long leadership training course to an adolescent girl to help her understand her legal rights at home, work and in the community.
  • $60 can purchase clean water for a family and help build a well.
  • $100 can help a woman start a business.

What The Numbers Tell Us:

  • When women earn an income, they reinvest 90 percent of it in their families.
  • For every year a girl spends in school she raises her family income by up to 20 percent.
  • Educated girls grow into educated women, who have healthier babies and are more likely to educate their children.
  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • Engaging men, boys, girls, and women can transform gender roles and increase gender equality.

Join today…

To register contact Sarah Jamieson @ 604 789 0203 or Email: [email protected].

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RUN4MOM: Break the Silence. End the Violence 57km Supporting Battered Women’s Support Services & CMHA North Shore

RUN4MOM: Break the Silence. End the Violence 57km Supporting Battered Women’s Support Services & CMHA North Shore

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VANCOUVER (July 21, 2013) – On July 28th  starting at 0700hrs,  Sarah Jamieson, a local Vancouverite will embark on a 57km journey – to honor the memory and spirit of her mother’ Nora Lynn Donnelley, who passed at the age 57 in her North Vancouver home on July 31, 2008.

A run to break stigma, break personal barriers and bring awareness and much needed support and end violence against women.  This non-sanctioned event aims to pay tribute to those families who endure and dedicate their lives to surviving stigma, to surviving violence and to those who have the courage to break the silence.

RUN4MOM is a 57km run that honors every year Sarah Jamieson’s mother was alive. It is during this run she pays tribute to her mother’s courage, strength, worthiness and compassion.

RUN4ACAUSE exists to challenge the community to better understand, accept and work towards an inclusive society by empowering ourselves and our community to break the silence. It is on this day we celebrate the courage, strength and beauty of all those who struggle with significant life challenges. We celebrate those who have taken that next step for the betterment and opportunity of their future, and we offer a call to action for those victimized – let us stand together to end violence and stigma.

SUPPOTING BATTERED WOMEN’S SUPPORT SERVICES:

For over 30 years BWSS has been working to end violence against women and girls. Battered Women’s Support Services provides education, advocacy and support services to assist all battered women in its aim to work towards the elimination of violence and to work from a feminist perspective that promotes equality for all women. In 2010 we launched they launched The Violence Stops Here campaign recognizing the role men play in eliminating violence against women.

THE FACTS:

  • 1 in 4 women will suffer violence at the hands of another at some point in their lives
  • 1 in 3 Canadians will experience or be connected to a mental health problem.
  • 66% of all female victims of sexual assault are under the age of twenty-four, and 11% are under the age of eleven. Women aged 15 to 24 are killed at nearly three times the rate for all female victims of domestic homicide.
  • Immigrant women may be more vulnerable to domestic violence due to economic dependence, language barriers, and a lack of knowledge about community resources
  • On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women (along with their 2,500 children) are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.

Surviving Child Abuse: My Personal Account of

“I was 6 years old the first time, my mother’s second husband hit me.  I had left an empty popsicle wrapper on the table, and forgot to put it in the trash. These memory of how this event shaped is still fuzzy, but what I do remember was my first real and raw understanding of what fear, anxiety and no longer feeling safe feels like. What I do remember is hearing screaming behind me as I ran up the stairs blindly grabbing at the carpet, as he dragged me back down – kicking and screaming.  Being thrown into the spare bedroom, it was dark, a chill in the air. He scrambled on the bed and my own screaming for my mother was deafening. She cried in the corner of the doorway, begging him to stop. Then I felt something hit the side of my head, sending me flying off the bed and into the side wall. I remember tucking myself into the fetal position, my face hot, I was sweaty, shaking, my head pounded and I could taste iron – my own blood. He left, closed the door and told me, lights off and to not come out until I was ready to be “good.” 

 

I stayed in that room for what seemed like hours, laying on the floor, trying to understand what had just happened. Trying to understand why someone who said they loved me and my mother would cause such pain and fear. At the age of 6 – nothing, none of this makes any sense and it re defines, it re shapes how you see the world and your place in it. From that moment on, I slept with a night light on, I had a backpack ready by my bedroom window, a crayoned route to my biological father’s house and I slept with that widow cracked open in case my cat and I had to escape. No child should ever have an escape route from their own home.

After that day, the abuse, the anger would continue. I would witness him hit my mother, fight with her, knock her down; physically, psychologically and spiritually. Over the years she became less and less the strong, vibrant mother I knew – and more of a woman fighting for her life. He controlled her actions, she lost friends, she rarely went out, she drank, he made her do cocaine with him. He was a sexual predator. For 9 years, I was slapped, spanked, whipped with a belt and even up to the age of 12 I remember being stripped naked and “disciplined.” At the age of 14 when we lost our home to debt, I convinced my mom to leave him. I got 2 jobs in high-school, she got a restraining order and when the divorce was finalized – the healing began. The long road of recovery, begins with a single step.”

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I tell this story in detail because stories, like mine, need to be told. They need to be heard and the silence needs to be broken. Abuse is what started the downward spiral of my mother’s mental illness – a two decade long battle with her demons, her manic depression – later turned- bi polar disorder and addiction.

For me – I turned to running as a way to process and understand “what the F*** had happened to me.” In all our trauma, my mother never got angry with me, she was always loving and even at a young age, I knew I was the glue that had to hold it all together. This burden turned out to be my most valued lesson.  In my mother’s passing from accidental suicide; I have learned that in my own silence there can be no full healing. I choose to not only speak for myself, but to pay tribute and honor to my mother’s memory by telling her story of courage.

As an adult, I have had decades of therapy to better understand the long term effects of my childhood abuse and chronic pain has been one of them. I have suffered from back pain for nearly a decade. The reasons why some children experience long-term consequences of abuse while other’s emerge relatively unscathed are still not fully understood. The ability to cope, and even thrive, following a negative experience is what we call “resilience.”

Resilience comes from really owning your sh*t, really accepting the cards that we are dealt and more importantly, accepting that your future, the life you wish to lead, the legacy you wish to leave behind – can only be chosen by “YOU.”  The right to choose is the most important rights we, as a human species can harness.

For years I struggled to understand why some people who survive trauma – be it combat, violence, sexual or physical abuse, neglect or isolation – exhibit tremendous resilience and lead full, loving lives; while others become defined by their trauma. For years, I stood somewhere in between. Someone who couldn’t fully accept her past, but someone who wasn’t about to be defined by it either.

Over the last year, I have been knee deep, head down, rolling around in every leader, TED Talk and podcast I could my hands on that deals with; wholehearted living, defense against the dark arts, vulnerability, cognitive behavioural therapy, superhero movies – you name it, I am researching it.

One of the turning points for me was the talks, and associated books by Brene Brown, specifically, her book called “Daring Greatly,” where she discusses “Gremlin Ninja Warrior Training.” Shame derives power from being unspeakable – from being silent. It’s easy to be silent, because they do not have to risk judgement, ridicule or criticism. To be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen – is a scary place.

Daring greatly requires worthiness and much like those manipulative “gremlins” from the 1984 Steven Speilberg movie; shame is that booming voice that self sabotages our efforts to move forward, it numbs us from feeling. I don’t want to feel hurt anymore, I don’t want to be angry anymore – but at the same those gremlins numb us from feeling love, connection, trust and joy. We cannot NOT feel. It is that voice that says…. “You’re not enough,”  You don’t have a degree,” Your past is less than exceptional,” “Your still single,” and so on and so on and so on.

Roosevelt once said; “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The answer is shame resilience. Resilience is about moving from shame to empathy. When we share our story with someone or a group who responds with empathy and understanding, and we practice self-compassion – shame cannot exist. Gremlin Ninja Warrior Training has four elements:

  1. Recognizing same and understanding it’s triggers.
  2. Practicing Critical Awareness – Give yourself reality checks
  3. Reaching out – Own your sh*t and share your story.
  4. Speaking Shame – talk about how you feel

RUN4MOM is all about putting one foot in front of the other; both metaphorically and physically. This is first year where I am focusing the majority of my acceptance, advocacy and awareness on surviving child abuse and sharing my mother’s story of domestic and family violence. Battered Women’s Support Services has been an expert on providing women-centered, anti-oppression training for more than two decades. They provide several training programs for women and front line workers across BC, as well as programs, services and crisis intervention for women and children who struggles with significant life challenges, to help them end violence.

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SUPPOTING BATTERED WOMEN’S SUPPORT SERVICES:

For over 30 years BWSS has been working to end violence against women and girls. Battered Women’s Support Services provides education, advocacy and support services to assist all battered women in its aim to work towards the elimination of violence and to work from a feminist perspective that promotes equality for all women. In 2010 we launched they launched The Violence Stops Here campaign recognizing the role men play in eliminating violence against women.

One of the key programs, I feel needs to be recognized is the Advancing Women’s Awareness Regarding Employment program; which  is one of the many ways that Battered Women’s Support Services works to eliminate all forms of violence and abuse against girls and women.  Their specialized employment program includes:

Recognizing, Understanding and Overcoming the Impact of Abuse (RUOIA)

Workshops related to personal development and employment related skills

Career Exploration including informational interviews, job search skills, volunteer work experience

Information and referrals to educational and training.

Since 1979, Battered Women’s Support Services has provided education, systemic advocacy and support services for girls and women, who have experienced abuse and/or violence.

 

Critical and Essential Services:
Battered Women’s Support Services responds to over 8,000 direct service requests, in 2008:

  • Over 5460 women called our Crisis Line
  • Over 1300 women accessed Crisis Support and Accompaniment
  • Over 2304 women accessed Counselling
  • Over 3650 Counselling sessions were provided
  • Over 980 women accessed Support Groups
  • Over 1,200 women who were starting over received clothing and/or household items

Diversity:

  • Percentage of women who self identified as recent immigrants: 42%
  • Percentage of women who self identified as Aboriginal, Indigenous, First Nations, Native, Indian or Métis: 18%
  • Percentage of women who self identified as refugee: 2%

For more information on BWSS: http://www.bwss.org/

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MY SISTER’S CLOSET:

Women are the experts of their experience and their healing journey. BWSS has numerous programs to help women establish better connections and healing along their journey. Everything from crisis line support, to counseling, to legal advocacy, to youth programs, to a social enterprise called “My Sister’s Closet.”

One of the many BWSS meet the needs of women in our community is through social enterprise. This includes a Retail Program and a thrift boutique, My Sister’s Closet.

Social enterprise — also known as business with a social purpose — makes up a third sector that is quickly gaining importance in the overall economy. Social enterprise is way of describing how non-profit organizations have engaged in the trade of goods or services over the past century. Though not really new, the concept has emerged in British Columbia and other parts of Canada as a “new” concept with its own lexicon, leaders, investors, and entire organizations devoted to the exploration and development of social enterprise.

Since the early 1990’s BWSS has offered women the opportunity to be social entrepreneurs; at first through the marketing and skill-based counseling training programs then later through the opening in 2001 of the My Sister’s Closet Thrift Boutique on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. In 2006 they opened their second location of My Sister’s Closet at 1092 Seymour street in Vancouver. Having grown to fully realize what it means to be successful social businesswomen and we work to ensure that our business model:

  • Is consistent with our organizational mission
  • Promotes and mentors women-ist leadership
  • Fosters women-ist teamwork, collaboration and partnership
  • Embraces change, respects what is working, and integrates new learning
  • Reflects our commitment to delivering results in this critical area
  • Views problems as opportunities

My Sister’s Closet: http://www.bwss.org/services/programs/social-enterprise/my-sisters-closet/

Join us for RUN4MOM ON July 28th and why not stop by and support BWSS, CMHA and Sarah J on July 26th for our RUN4MOM Pre race event party!

 

RUN4MOM Pre Race Event @ My Sister’s Closet

Date: Friday July 26th

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Location: 1092 Seymour Street, Vancouver

Come and join Sarah Jamieson for the RUN4MOM pre race party. This is a great opportunity to connect and meet the women and supporters of BWSS and SHOP at My Sister’s Closet. This is a free event, and all refreshments can be purchased by donation.

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT?

  1. Join me on RUN4MOM. Walk with me on my run route – from Ambleside to Dundarave @9am on July 28th
  2. Donate to either one of the charities and take a stand against violence and stigma. Donate here: http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?
  3. Share RUN4ACAUSE and help break the silence at www.sarahmjamieson.wordpress.com

 

BARE ALL, FEET FIRST

BARE ALL, FEET FIRST

“Walk where there is no path, and leave footprints.” ~ Unknown

For ultra runners, our feet can literally be coined the “tools of our trade.”  Clocking on any given week, my mileage “runs” an average of 140km via commuting, walking and being active for my profession as a corrective movement coach, and then of course training –  frolicking in nature (urban and rural). My feet have surprisingly held up very well over the last 2 decades of “pounding the pavement.” I like to think that Yoga and my Karmatic piggybank are to thank for my good fortune. Some have called me “Gandhi with Sneakers” others have called “a pure nutter.’ I would say both equally apply.

Running has always been my greatest teacher, my salvation, and my savior. Every step can be a tool to build upon the framework of thought, reflection and exploration. A moment in tme to process some of our most internal challenges and our greatest fears. And since I also believe that “fear” is merely “love” masked by shadow – we can all overcome any adversity, with the right strategy.  I have running to thank for creating the space, from which my mind, body and spirit can co-habitate to work through some of those moments where we strive to find balance, truth and our purpose in life. I believe sports and movement are fundamental to this process, and our feet – our greatest asset.

From the Ground Up:

Getting to know the mechanics of your feet and the pivotal role they play in athletics, yoga, movement and grounding is the first step to establishing a solid foundation in your any daily practice. In the yoga tradition, the lowly foot paradoxically has an almost transcendent status. Students will touch or kiss the feet of teachers, mentors and gurus alike – as a means of reverence, appreciation and respect.

Just as the foundation of a home or any structure for that fact, it must be level to support all the structures above it.  This is a perfect metaphor for our feet, as it makes sense to strive for foundational balance and sturdiness to support the legs, spine, upper extremities and the weight of the head, as well as the gravitational compression of our environment.

If our foundation or base is tilted, unsteady or collapsed, it will be reflected up through the body as distortion or misalignment and can cause compensational breakdowns throughout the interconnected systems. Therefore, does it not make sense to consider your feet first, and start cultivating balance from the ground up?

The Foundation of Design:

The foot is the foundation of athletic movements, our root to the earth and often, it is the most neglected. The foot is an intricate structure of 26 bones (I count the  tiny sesamoid bone in the great toe, but this is usually not counted –  let’s honor him here) that form two crossing arches of the foot. The longitudinal arch runs the length of the foot, and the transverse arch runs the width. The muscles of the foot, along with a tough, sinewy tissue known as the plantar fascia, provide secondary support to the foot. The foot has internal muscles that originate and insert in the foot and external muscles that begin in the lower leg and attach in various places on the bones of the foot.

Unlike solid structures, our bodies are mobile temples, and thus our feet are required to be adaptable, flexible and adjust to varied terrain and environmental factors.

When there is pain, the body reacts by changing the way it moves or functions in an effort to reduce the pain. Biomechanical changes or (dis)ease may prevent the normal range of movement and cause further injury. For instance, if there is excessive wear on one side, the foot can shift off its central axis, which can put strain on the knee, hip or sacral areas.  Weakened or unbalanced mechanics found in the feet, often refer pain and discomfort elsewhere in the body and literally can change the way we move through the world.

Our feet also ground us to the earth. Yoga is an exceptional fragment in time to clearly focus on this connection, as well as the obvious summer time walk along the beach, barefoot walk in the park – or barefoot anywhere, as is all the craze with barefoot running (I will save this for another article) as this topic is growing on me.

Reach for the Peak in Mountain:

Take mountain pose for instance; a perfect time to enhance your connection with nature and the earth, and to create malleability in the foot. We do this by taking the time to feel every inch of our feet, where our weight distributes and be stretching it lengthwise and extending it out laterally. By making the foot more elastic, we build an effective trampoline that springs the weight of the body upward. In all standing postures in yoga, these complementary forces of descending weight and rebound are at work.

Also consider postures that allow your connect both your hands and feet to the earth; a few personal favorite of mine are (of course) the sun salutation series (modified to focus on more joint fluidity), forward fold variations (there is something about swaying in the wind and having my feet rooted, but hands grace the floor that is comforting to me), triangle pose (reaching one hand to the sky and the other firmly planted along with me feet to earth is empowering), and lastly a vinyasa of crow pose to teddy bear stand to modified head stand (for some silly reason I find this one inspiring and playful at the same – it reminds me of fooling around in grade 3 gym class). Find posture that resonate with you and re connect this Spring!

As Spring has finally sprung, take some time to walk barefoot and connect to your roots, and during your next yoga practice take time to re connect and give your feet a little more (much needed) TLC.

 

 

 

Vancouver Yoga Review Author Featured On The Georgia Straight!

Vancouver Yoga Review Author Featured On The Georgia Straight!

Vancouver Yoga Review author, Sarah Jamieson, is currently featured on the cover of the Georgia Straight magazine. This inspiring yoga teacher and movement coach is running for the world to raise money for charity:

Nearly a decade ago, the North Vancouver native made it her goal to raise $1 million for charity by the time she hit 35, a venture she’s dubbed Run for a Cause. Now 32, she’s raised almost $800,000, logging thousands of kilometres running at home and abroad to support organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Vancouver Police Foundation, and Engineers Without Borders, among many others […]

Read the full article here or pick up a print copy. Congrats Sarah!

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

FOAM ROLLING, YOGA & THE BMO MARATHON… OH MY!

As a marathon runner and Yoga practitioner I love any opportunity to marry the two passions and with the BMO marathon right around the corner, many Yogis and Yoginis will be participating in this grand event. If you find yourself pondering, how do I know if I am effectively tapering and preparing for race day? Don’t worry, you are never alone! Let me offer some direction…

Foam rolling and soft tissue release can be very beneficial towards preparing your mechanics for any event, and truth be told; as a biomechanical coach I instruct my clients to use this tool as a warm up to their warm up, before any exercise; running, biking, Yoga and beyond!

Why you ask? What a great question, thank you …

Foam rollers have been gaining popularity as a much needed tool for soft tissue therapy and to treat somatic dysfunction; but they aren’t just for the clinic.  Foam rollers are popping up in most therapeutic modalities, sports teams and even in Yoga.

Unfortunately, I hate to play the age card, but as we get older, our joints start to lose their elasticity thus reducing the range of motion and mobility at the joint, creating sore muscles, week muscular chains and delayed movement overall; which is never fun when you are trying to rock your Yoga mat in a Vinyasa class or any class for that matter.

A few weeks ago we looked at Yin Yoga as a runner’s best asset towards balancing out their Yin & Yang! Yin Yoga as we know focuses on asanas designed to bring intention and relaxation to our connective tissue.

When gearing up for any small or large event, adding the roller to your movement prep can make a world of difference!

Foam rolling can help prep your body by addressing restrictions and soreness by relaxing contracted muscles, increasing circulation and lymphatic drainage and breaking up fibrous tissue and by products. It also simulates the stretch reflex of muscles and connective tissue.

This year at the BMO marathon, I will be sitting on the side lines volunteering at the expo with my friends at IMPACT Magazine, but I am sure you can guess what will be in my tote bag – you got it; runners, my travel foam roller and my Yoga Mat!  Feel free to stop, drop and give the foam roller a whirl.

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