Yoga

$49 For One Month Of Unlimited Yoga, Pilates, & Dance Classes At Exhale

Jump on this Groupon if you love Exhale Studio in Yaletown! This is also a great opportunity to try Exhale Studio for the first time if you’ve been thinking about it. $49 will get you one month of unlimited yoga, pilates, and dance classes – a $150 value. We voted Exhale as one of the top 5 yoga studios in Vancouver, you can read about it here.

Click here to check out this awesome Groupon deal.

Wear Your Love For Yoga, Surf & The Canucks!

Do you love yoga, surfing and the Canucks? Vancouver’s own Blissology is offering these amazing tshirts for sale in support of the Canucks’ fight for the Stanley Cup!

These tees are fitted and soft, 70% bamboo & 30% cotton, and are the perfect layering piece.   White, by Bamboo Naturals with the surfing canuck logo on the front, and our classic blissology logo on the right sleeve.  We know you will love it.  Support our Canucks and BC Surf Yoga Culture! Aloha.

Click here to purchase a men’s or women’s shirt from blissology.com. Go Canucks Go!

Give Up Lifting Weights For Yoga? Yogi Adam Levine Did!

Rocker and devout yoga practitioner Sting, has a predecessor: Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine (and perhaps Robbie Williams!). One of the current judges on The Voice, Adam has given up pumping iron at the gym and has instead devoted his health to yoga:

How’d you wind up at yoga?
A year and a half ago, my trainer recommended I try working with Alanna to help with my flexibility issues. I’m naturally very tight in lower back and my hips and hamstrings too. My first class felt like someone was ripping my body apart. It wasn’t what you’d call peaceful. But I was excited by the idea that the more dedicated I became the more effortless it would become to relax and give in to that tightness. Yes, the torture subsided a bit over time.

How did your body change?
Physically I have always been on the slender side. When I started practicing I instantly felt more sculpted. Yoga carves you into a different person—and that is satisfying physically.

Did it change how you work out?
I had been lifting weights for years. After our first yoga session, I vowed never to lift another weight again.

Do you believe in the mind-body connection?
I was skeptical, to say the least. I was wary of the cliche´s associated with yoga: spirituality used as a marketing tool or Eastern philosophy sold at Starbucks to disenchanted lawyers and accountants looking for meaning. What I soon realized is that yoga welcomes everyone—that’s extremely appealing.

How do you maintain your practice on tour?
Being a traveler, yoga is by far the most convenient way to exercise while I’m on the road. You don’t need anything but a few feet of space and a mat. And I can always find at least an hour a day to practice. 

(Levine made videos with his teacher to take on the road with him.)

What is your advice to people who think they are too inflexible to do yoga?
Start simple. Yoga will drastically improve you in every way imaginable. But let’s face it, I only practice yoga because the classes are always packed with beautiful women. (I am totally kidding.)

The Elephant Journal has some more risque photos if you’re interested, click here. What about you – do you practice yoga exclusively, or do you like to add weight lifting to your fitness routine?

Uncovering the Internal Drishti

As we stand in Vrksasana (tree pose), our bodies waver back and forth, our gaze turns to those beside or in front of us and we stumble and fall. Teachers remind us to find our “drishti point”, a focal point, to help with our strength and stability in a balancing posture and a way to bring our focus on ourselves instead of others around you. A Drishti point, is so beneficial to us in our balancing postures, allowing us to have that little extra stability that we need to get through, but how else can a Drishti help us?

{Source: http://most-interesting-pictures.blogspot.com}

Our eyes are one of our most powerful senses, giving us the ability to see the world the way we want, the colours, the shapes but are also, for many of us, a doorway to our soul. Our eyes control our brains, enhance our ability to concentrate and based on how the eyes “see things” we alter our emotions. When we want to be sincere, or show our concern or cares for another, we look them in the eyes. It is difficult for our eyes to hide our feelings or our emotions when they have the capacity to smile and show sadness.

Our Drishti can be in the literal sense, that spot on the floor or the mark on the wall that helps us to stay strong and focused on our balance postures, or the figurative sense; that point that is inside of us, our centre, our inner truth, our third eye point (Ajna) . But what does it all mean?

As you delve into your yoga practice you begin to hear more and more about inner truths, centres, still points that sometimes leave us wondering “what are you talking about?”  But ultimately causing us to take a bigger look at ourselves, who we are and what we want to be and how we see the world around us. This can be overwhelming and a huge lesson as we begin to take a deeper look at how our internal drishti changes based on our perceptions as we try to find “balance” in it all.

So, what do we do? While training our minds to find this drishti point during our yoga practice can sometimes offer a challenge as our curiousity about others gets the best of us, it is even harder to find this internal drishti. How do we deal with what is there, what if we don’t like what we see, how do we change what we don’t like?

First off, nothing is a bad as it seems, our minds have a way of telling us that things are worse than they actually are, since our minds are ruled by our emotions. For many of us, we may learn a lot about how we interact with the world, and how others can be cruel and unkind to others that perhaps we never really noticed before. This internal drishti will ultimately change how we interact with those around us and cause us to associate with those with similar qualities and let go of the ones in our lives that don’t. We may come across our inner truth that what we are doing and how we are living our lives is not what we really want, its not our dharma.

The internal drishti can uncover a “wow” moment or a “what am I doing” moment but whatever comes up take a deep breathe! Look at what you want to see and where you want to be, what little things can you change to ultimately live the life you imagine? How can you make small changes in your life to be kinder to those around you, to make a difference in somebody else’s life and in by doing so making a difference in your own life? Don’t be afraid of what you uncover, it is there to help you, to make you even happier and even to learn a thing or two. Remember, the simplest thing to bring even more happiness into your life and those around you is to smile!

What have you uncovered about yourself in your yoga practice and what did you end up doing to make a change?

Canucks Asana?

So unless you live under a rock, you are aware that the Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals after 15 years and the city is alive with “Canuck/Cup Fever.”

{Source: http://canucks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=453790}

As we all know Vancouver is a yogi’s little slice of heaven with so many different studios and class styles to choose from that it only makes sense that the Canucks added yoga to their physical regime. How else could Luongo pull off some of those crazy saves?

It was reported back in 2007  that Yoga was added to the Canucks program and has become a part of many players workout regime. The major reason behind the decision to add it was to reduce injuries and the recovery time associated with them, while it can’t possibly prevent all injuries (ie. puck to the face) it can help to prevent muscle strain or groin pulls.

While there have been no clear reports as to whether yoga is still a part of the Canucks workout plan, it has been reported that our competition, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, has been claimed as somewhat as a “yoga master.” It is reported that he began a yoga conditioning program to increase his flexibility & strength in order to increase his abilities as a goal tender. (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/715484-2011-nhl-stanley-cup-finals-comparing-the-goalies)

Check out the Canucks in an old yoga video for Canucks TV:

Canucks TV: Yoga

And an old interview from 2009 with NHL Players including Luongo on their views of yoga, hopefully Luongo has changed his mind since this video;

NHL Players and Yoga

Check out our competition goalie’s yoga practice;

Tim Thomas Yoga

What are your thoughts? Does yoga improve their playing abilities? Tune in Wednesday for Game 1 and find out!

GO CANUCKS GO!

Robbie Williams Takes Up Bikram Yoga To Battle Take That

No no, Robbie’s not fighting with Take That members again – they have actually let him back in the band and Take That is touring again. Robbie has always been plagued by stage fright, so to combat his nerves, he has enlisted the assistance of a new friend named Bikram. Yes, for the past three months, Robbie Williams has been sweating it out, through 26 poses. Robbie believes his twice a week sessions of 90-minute yoga has helped him become fitter and overcome his nerves.

“Rob suffers from crippling anxiety and has been worried about the lads’ forthcoming concerts. A pal suggested Bikram yoga to refocus his pent-up energy and handle stress more effectively. After a couple of sessions he was hooked – and sweating like a wildebeest. While the others have stuck to the gym or pool, Robbie’s been using meditation and yoga to help his stagefright and to keep him sane on tour.”

This just goes to show what I believe – that yoga can help almost anyone, from almost anywhere, through almost anything. I have a few friends here in Vancouver who don’t think yoga is for them (mostly male friends). However, the majority of them haven’t actually tried yoga! Encourage your friends to try a yoga class, before they jump to conclusions. Hey, they might surprise themselves and actually enjoy the experience 😉

5 Ways To Make Your Practice Your Own

1. Follow your teacher’s instructions during class, but do your own thing at home. Did you learn the “proper” way to sequence a class during a workshop or teacher training? Try it that way for a while (so you know you understand how to protect yourself from injuries), then throw it out the window. There are no absolutes in yoga. Experiment and find out what works for you.

2. Practice a lot! Practice at home. Practice at work. Practice in your car. Practice at the grocery store. Practice while you do dishes. Practice at the dog park. Practice at the beach. Practice before you fall asleep at night. Practice… well…you get the point… Eventually, you’ll find your own rhythm, breath, and style, but it takes TONS of practice…

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Balancing On Life’s Beam

shadesofpinkmagazine.com

I recently had a personal epiphany about balance in my life, and the lack of it.

I didn’t realize my imbalance until I found myself rushing on Sunday evenings when I didn’t accomplish anything as planned over the weekend. I was grumpy after work when coming home to my disorganized, untouched little suite. I was dissatisfied with my lack in reading, in practicing yoga, and in writing.

So what did I do to try and regain some balance? I chased it. Fast. Only to find after over a month of this desperate and unsuccessful chase, I had to stop. You cannot catch balance no matter how long you chase it for; balance will catch you when you slow down.

But how can we catch ourselves before we lose our balance? When researching answers, I came across a technique in Psychology Today called S.W.E.E.P by Dr. Charles Sophy.

Sophy writes, Balance is a scale, both concrete and imaginary, on which we weigh things that affect all aspects of our lives. To live our lives to the fullest, we must try to find balance in five key areas which together form the acronym S.W.E.E.P.

The five key areas to examine are Sleep, Work, Eating, Emotional expression of self, and Play.

People whose S.W.E.E.P is in check, can teach, guide and love from a position of balance and, quite simply, have better overall relationships. When we strike that balance and make that connection between our minds and our hearts, many benefits follow.

In reading this, I couldn’t believe how seemingly obvious these tasks are. I rolled my eyes as I read about the importance of sleep and eating, I mean, who doesn’t know this stuff?

Nevertheless, as obvious as these five areas are, I slipped up and need to work on a few.

Just like in yoga, some days we can hold Warrior Three without wobbling or struggling. Yet, there are those times when we shake and vibrate to hold the pose for a mere minute. So what do we do? We come out of the pose, come back to our breathing, focus on our intention, and try again. We slow down to catch what we want. And we can all agree, that it works.

For the full S.W.E.E.P article, go here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/side-side/201003/how-keep-your-life-in-balance-using-sweep

Fundraiser: Yoga Outreach Retreat

A unique yoga retreat fundraiser will be held for Vancouver-based charity Yoga Outreach! Come celebrate the diversity of Yoga — all proceeds will go to Yoga Outreach — a charity that shares the life-affirming gifts of Yoga with underserved lower mainland adults & youth facing challenges in their lives.

Enjoy a peaceful riverside setting, fresh mountain air, exquisite healthy food, top teachers from the Lower Mainland & beyond and the richness of practicing in community. This unique event sees 19 amazing teachers from many lineages including Anusara, Dru, Sivananda, Jivamukti, Insight Meditation and Vijnana come together to share their time in support of Yoga Outreach, investigating this year’s theme of Compassion & breathing it to life in their classes & workshops.

When: May 27 – 29, 2011

Where: North Vancouver Outdoor School Paradise Valley (near Squamish). For more information, including registration details, visit the Yoga Outreach website here.

Yoga Teacher Telesummit

Have you heard about the 2011 Yoga Teacher Telesummit?

If you haven’t, you don’t want to miss out. It’s completely free and a great way to connect to a variety of yoga teachers from Mark Whitwell, Sadie Nardini, Rolf Gates and many many more.

”Telesummit is designed to motivate, inspire, and educate yoga teachers and dedicated students from all over the planet; to connect and share and inquire; to provide tools for teachers, studio owners, and other yoga-related entrepreneurs to become more authentic and more sustainable, to broaden their reach and focus their attention on what really matters; to create a dialogue between many different styles, traditions, and schools of Yoga to find our common ground, the shared pscyho-spiritual ‘trunk’ that roots the yogic tree into the cosmic ground of our being.”

You can register for FREE on their website at; http://www.yogateachertelesummit.com and view the daily call schedule. They will send you email reminders about the upcoming call with login information, but don’t worry if you can’t make the time, all the call are recorded and available for download.

What an amazing opportunity to hear some fantastic teachers share their insights, without having the cost of attending a weekend workshop. Don’t miss out calls with Mark Whitwell and Susanana Harwood Rubin have already happened.

Yoga A-holes Unite

Define Yoga A-hole you may say? If you read Lia Aprile’s April 19th article with the Elephant Journal, How to Tell if You’re a Yoga A-hole, you may find yourself in many of her descriptions. I know I did and I hate to say it Vancouver, but yoga a-holes are all over this city.

My definition of a yoga a-hole is a self proclaimed yogi who doesn’t actually live up to the true yogi lifestyle . We open with om, stay present with our Kula, maintain gratitude throughout our classes, smile, breathe, sigh. But the moment we step off that mat, we leave our yogic mentality at the door. Rushing to leave the studio, pushing our way through the doors, we don’t smile, our breathing quickens, and we begin to create mental lists of all the things we have and want to do.

In class, we preach we don’t need anything. We could go on living without ever getting any more than we currently have and we’d be fine. Completely fine. But in reality, want and need become interchangeable. We strive to gain. Push our limits. Try and taint fate. And all the things we claim to believe during our practice mean nothing in our real lives.

We talk about being present and gracious. We write about it, share our stories with family and friends, recommend it to those who will benefit from it– but do we live it as we preach it? I know I don’t.

I cannot list the amount of times I have told someone he or she should go to yoga. It will help you stay present, focus on what’s truly important, teach you how to breathe, make you feel better about yourself and your body, place you in deep relaxation…as if I’m more enlightened than them because I practice this in the studio. This make me an a-hole. We must practice this in our daily lives to have the  benefits come to light.

How do we turn off our brains as we do in class and listen to our hearts? How do we carry the skill from our lessons  into the world? I don’t know about you, but I feel I’m in need of a good ass kicking to banish the yoga a-hole from my being and actually practice what I preach.

YES (Yoga Ecology Surf) Tofino Retreat

Are you interested in combining your passion for yoga with your love for surfing? Well, you are in luck! Vancouver’s Eoin Finn is offering a yoga + surf retreat happening June 16-19, 2011, in beautiful Tofino, BC.

YES retreats with Eoin Finn and Insiya Rasiwala-Finn are designed to celebrate all that this fine planet has to offer. Combine delicious food, stunning natural environments, surfing for all skill levels, and in-depth yoga.  Add in nightly “blissology” discussions and the company of a great community of people and you are set for a memorable and revitalizing getaway.  Expect to go deeper with your yoga practice. Yoga will consist of group sessions in a transformative flow style of practice as well as more alignment focused sessions where Eoin and Insiya will work with you individually to create a practice that benefits your needs.  You will feel stronger, more flexible… laugh till your cheeks hurt… and connect with some of the most incredible people on this earth.

For complete details, visit the blissology.com website here.

My Doctor Told Me To!

Things are rapidly changing not only with yoga but in life itself, and views of yoga and meditation practices are slowly becoming a recommended form of “self maintenance” and an over the counter prescription. 

{Source: http://health.howstuffworks.com/}

Yoga and meditation is not only being brought in to businesses at Lunch or after work, it is used to help cancer patients, children with autism, prenatal yoga and baby yoga, depression or anxiety and much more, the list goes on and on. After reading an article on www.myhealthnewsdaily.com, it appears that doctors are beginning to recommend yoga and/or meditation, as they continue to become more accepting or perceptive to the ideas of alternative medicine or organic alternatives, yoga naturally makes it’s way into the mix.

According to the article,

“the 2007 National Health Interview Survey found more than 6.3 million Americans used mind-and-body therapies due to provider referral. That compares with 34.8 million who were self-referred.”

One comment in the articles states that while most patients are referred as a last resort when other options have failed;

“It makes us wonder whether referring patients for these therapies earlier in the treatment process could lead to less use of the health care system, and possibly, better outcomes for these patients.”

Similarly, the Harvard Medical School released a publication titled “Yoga can blunt harmful effects of stress, from the Harvard mental Health Letter” in April 2009. According to the report;

“Yoga appears to blunt the harmful effects of heightened stress by influencing the body’s response to stress. This is reflected in slower heart and breathing rates and lower blood pressure, all of which are good for the body. There is also evidence that yoga helps increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s flexibility in responding to stress.”

While not all doctors may be on the Yoga/Meditation band wagon yet, it appears that they are beginning to take a closer look at the benefits and how yoga is not only a means of helping somebody with health problems but also in preventative maintenance.

Interestingly enough, when researching the Internet I did not come across any representations of yoga being harmful or damaging except for the occasional post of an individuals experience.

If you practice yoga, you most certainly have noticed these benefits in yourself from feeling less stress, less anxiety to eating healthier, all which of improve our overall health. So, if yoga has been around so long what has taken them so long to figure it out? Perhaps yoga and or meditation should be covered under our Medical Services Plan (MSP) or Extended Health Benefits just like Massage Therapy, perhaps that’s not too far down the road, here’s to hoping!

To read the full Harvard Medical School Report, visit; http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/Yoga-can-blunt-harmful-effects-of-stress

To read the full My Healthy News Daily report, visit: http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/complementary-alternative-medicine-yoga-mediation-doctor-referral-1488/

What do you think, should more doctors’ recommend yoga and meditation for their patients? Has your doctor or another medical professional recommended yoga to you?

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