Give Your Time to the Power of Movement 2013

Give Your Time to the Power of Movement 2013

2013 marks the 7th anniversary of the Power of Movement, Canada’s Largest Yoga Fundraiser in support of the Arthritis Research Foundation.

The Arthritis Research Foundation raises, manages and invests funds for arthritis and related autoimmune disease research taking place in labs and clinics across UHN. They strive to increase awareness of this large family of diseases, which affects over 4.6 million Canadians. Through leading edge research and a greater awareness of the realities of arthritis-related diseases, they hope for a brighter future for those suffering from these debilitating conditions, and for better musculoskeletal health in Canada.

Did you know that Arthritis consists of more than 100 different conditions, which range from relatively mild forms of tendinitis and bursitis to crippling systemic forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It includes pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and arthritis-related disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, that involve every part of the body. Other forms of the disease, such as gout, are almost never thought of as arthritis, while osteoarthritis is often thought to be the only form of this disease.

In yoga, we often talk about Karma, and how we can help others without expecting anything in return. Karma means action or activity that produces a result and leaves behind an energetic impression inside our heart and minds. It can originate from many different places, whether it’s a thought, a word, a deed or perhaps even something that we perceive with our senses.

If we are looking to contribute to the universe on any level, the energy of kindness and compassion, positive energy gives off more positive energy. Karma encourages us to act selflessly and for the benefit of others. It may take a long time for karma to come back to us, but I invite you to not worry about that part, look and see how it feels to act selflessly and for the benefit of others.

When we can act from a place that is loving, warm and caring, we invite this in to our lives. Karma is ultimately our “action” of everyday life, what we put out and give off, and how this affects our lives and those around us, projecting what will come back to us as we continue along our paths.

Power of Movement is one of the Arthritis Research Foundation’s signature, annual events, which takes place nationally from Vancouver to St. John’s, NL.

It all started in 2005 when Dorna Chee, a yoga instructor, placed a call to the Foundation. Dorna had turned to her yoga breathing exercises to help her get through a lengthy stay in the hospital after being diagnosed with lupus. Dorna believed that with more than 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis, the benefits she experienced, thanks to yoga, could benefit others, and Power of Movement was born.

To date the Power of Movement has raised $1.3 million dollars and our goal is to raise an additional $400,000 through the 2013 campaign!

Last year’s Vancouver event had 154 participants and raised $11,000. This year, we hope to exceed that goal with 250 participants and over $15,000 in fundraising. Lets show how the Vancouver community gives back and supports those in need. Minimum registration is $20.00, which includes a tax receipt. Create your own team, or come solo.

Lots of prizes to be one on the day of the event, including prizes from Halfmoon Yoga Products as well as Luna Bars, Cocos Pure Coconut Water and much much more.

The event happens: Sunday March 3rd, 2013 with the class starting at 11:00am at the Creekside Community Centre in Olympic Village. The class itself is an all styles class, with something for everyone.

To register:

Need more information or have other ideas on how you would like to participate send an email to Alison Boons, Vancouver Community Coordinator for the Power of Movement, [email protected]

“All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states.”

Yoga of Eating with Sean O’Leary in Port Moody this Sunday

Yoga of Eating with Sean O’Leary in Port Moody this Sunday

Cultivate a diet that sustains and nourishes your body, lifestyle and yoga practice. This workshop and discussion will address the highly debatable and controversial subjects of our diet and the nature of food. As our physiology changes because of our yoga practice, so to does our awareness of how foods impact our wellbeing and digestion – we begin to feel the effects of the foods we eat. Just like any yoga practice should be developed to meet your individual circumstances, so too should your food choices reflect and nourish your own personal needs.

Topics covered include: the change in food in the last 100 years; eating mindfully; physical and mental experience; ahimsa (non-harming); food preparation; and the use of spices to enhance digestion.

You will leave this workshop with a better understanding of which food choices will create good digestion, encourage lightness and clarity, and achieve freedom and happiness in the mind and stomach. Learn how to make beneficial choices for yourself and your family while causing the least possible harm to yourself, other beings, and the planet.

Expect to practice mindful eating with some yummy Ayurvedic treats prepared by Sean.


Sunday January 20th
2pm – 3:30pm
Suter Brook
$10 + HST

Register with Kushala Yoga here. Tickets are almost sold out!

About Sean:

RYT and Thai Massage Practitioner, Sean O’Leary brings an inordinate passion and joy to his teaching – and to his food. An unbelievable self-taught cook, he is knowledgeable in using food preparation and spices to make food delicious, nourishing and full of love. Join him for the workshop, attend one of his yoga classes, or schedule yourself a thai massage on Fridays from 4-9 at Kushala Yoga (first-time massage only $50!)



” It always seems impossible, until it is done.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Apart from teaching Yoga and Movement & Performance Coaching, my community volunteerism is a large part of my life. 10 Years ago I started RUN4ACAUSE, which was idea to help promote community investment, both locally and globally by harnessing the power of your sport. For me, that was running. My goal has always been simple – to inspire others, through the service of helping others. To raise 1 million dollars before the age of 35, and over the past decade I have empowered many people to help raise over $810,000 for nearly 45 organizations worldwide – through the power of action. Last year I ran well over 8,340kms; and in those km’s were several half marathons, 3 full marathons, 2 ultra marathons… and my 6km per day pledge.

This post is dedicated to those organizations who are supporting the most vulnerable populations, it is because of their work and continued support that provide the necessary programs and services to our communities vulnerable populations.


Our December Campaign was a success! Flying a little bit more under the radar this year, RUN4ACAUSE has been vision boarding, bucket-list making, and running amok all over town gearing up for, what is shaping up to be, a fantastic year of philanthropic awesome-ness.

  • WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: On March 8th 2011, I pledged to run 6km per day for 439 days. Why? One reason – the power behind the world’s women. Every year, I lace up the running shoes and join CARE Canada’s Walk in Her Shoes Campaign. From 2011-2012 I decided to take it a few “steps” further, running roughly  8, 340km; which included 6km per day, several half marathons, 3 marathons, 2 ultra’s, and even though most of which I ran with dislocated ribs, sore muscles, etc…. there is nothing that can compare to the feeling of connection to that invisible force that is so much larger than ourselves.  Raising funds  for CARE Canada’s ‘I am Powerful” pillar I carried the names and faces of the worlds women and children; the names and faces of those stigmatized and marginalized by disease and poverty. The names and faces of those who will change their world through the empowerment of dignity and opportunity. For every year a girl stays in school, she raises her family’s income by 20-30%. Women are the key to unlocking change on every level.
  • (ME)NTAL (HEAL)TH:  On July 29th 2012, a group of inspired runners embarked on a journey from Kits to WhytCliff Park in Horseshoe Bay and back. 57km in honor of my mother’s memory and all those who struggle with the stigma of mental illness. Through our running and our advocacy work, speaking out on behalf of those who may not yet have the voice, we brought to the front pages that people are not defined by their illness, and that we must change societal fears around illness like; depression, bi polar disease, addiction and so on. Stigma stops here. Thank you to the CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) and Blue Wave Foundation  for all your continued work in this field.
  • YOUTH AT RISK:  Our children are our most precious resource. Nearly 137,000 families live in poverty in BC alone. That’s 1 in 6 kids going to school hungry and living in poor conditions. All of these children have big dreams and this December, Operation Elf helped give these kids a little cheer around the holidays. Nearly 30 people came together to bake over 500 cookies, bagged for the BYRC (Broadway Youth Resource Center) holiday hampers and over $3,000 worth of toys and gifts for their Winter Fest celebrations. Open since 1999, Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC) is an integrated one-stop centre that provides a wide range of social, health, education, employment and life skills services to homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 24.
  • FOSTERING A POSITIVE CONNECTION WITH OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT:  After a year of re visiting the idea of becoming a police officer with the Vancouver Police Dept and New West Police Dept, I had the opportunity to get to know the officers on the front lines and those responsible for educating our youth on the real and raw reality of our DTES. The BEAT Enforcement Team and Odd Squad Productions are an essential part of our community. Not only are they immensely passionate about their job, but they dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours towards prevention and education in our school systems all over BC and beyond. They go beyond the call of duty.  The Dairy of a Beat Cop, Eastside Stories told by Cst. Steve Addison, is a great example of what a day in the life of a Vancouver cop is all about. Even though it is not in my future to be a cop and walk the streets, I can say that all of the officers I have had the pleasure of knowing; are some of the most passionate, dedicated and caring people I have met. They are integral to the systematic change and evolution of our society, and to those most vulnerable. Check out THE BEAT on OLN.


On Feb 10, I will be turning 34 years old, which means I have just shy of 1 year and 1 month to raise $190,000. Yes, that’s correct, over the last decade we have raised $810,000 for nearly 45 organizations worldwide.

Coming up Next… FEAT CANADA 2013 – SPEAKER 

FEAT, Fascinating Expedition & Adventure Talks, is an annual evening of time-limited presentations. Each presenter speaks for seven minutes; no more, no less. With images. Although the speakers are invited because of their achievements, presentation themes focus on an aspect of their expedition – not the entire extended expedition. With stories of adventures on land, water and in the air, you will be enthralled.

“And yes, I will be a speaker! My talk will be “Our Pursuit for Human Potential by Harnessing Our Inner Superhero.” The idea of the Superhero, this invisible force – reveals to us, the common thread that is within each of us, and that is our human greatness and personal potential, and as we watch their lives unfold before us we are shown how to carve out our own path in our own pursuit for truth, for our own meaning and significance in our lives. Each of you sitting here today has the potential to understand and identify with those same qualities, to do something extraordinary.” – Sarah Jamieson (upcoming speech)”

At the FEAT Canada, on International Women’s Day I will be announcing my next challenge for Walk In Her Shoes… I encourage you to bring the kiddies and join me for RUN4ACAUSE. Mark your calendars and get your tickets now!



“Our passion is to move you to live yours”

Local Yoginis Christie Baumgartner and Erin Tetarenko are hosting an upcoming retreat themed ‘Find Your Flow’.” This January spend an enlivening 7 Days and 7 Nights on Nicaragua’s gorgeous north coast; where the tranquil ocean side paradise will capture your heart and ignite your soul.

What can you expect?

“You are only limited by your own creativity!”

The list is truly endless; volunteer and cultural experiences, daily yoga, meditation, life coaching and yoga workshops, music (by local music sensation; Vibra Positiva,  hammock time, surf and other outdoor adventures. Where you are encouraged to create the experience that serves you best and that empower you to reach your full potential and transform your life.

What’s unique about this retreat is that a large part of it is focused on working with the Nica community. This is the second year of this annual retreat where people from all over flock to take part in this transformational experience.

“I think one of the most unique aspects is the combination of body and mind transformation with coaching, yoga, nature and connection to the Nica community.” Erin


In a recent blog post at Erin and Christie’s website I.BE. (Inspire. Believe. Embrace), finding your flow is exactly what this retreat embodies.

What does it mean to ‘find flow’? 

Csíkszentmihályi (cheek-sent-me-hi) describesflow as a state in which it feels like time does not exist. We are totally immersed in our experience coupled with feelings of spontaneous joy. It is an experience of energized focus, enjoyment in the process, and immersion in the moment.

“Flow involves effortless, letting-be of the process and the graceful, integrated nature of being present to an experience.” – G Privette

Flow can be experienced within any activity; although, it is most likely to occur when a person is genuinely intrinsically motivated. This is motivation in which we are driven by internal reasons such as interest or enjoyment in an activity rather than for external rewards or external pressures.

Other ways of describing ‘flow’ include effortlessness of performance, fluid continuity, and the ability to progress with ease.

Why is ‘finding flow’ important?


Finding flow in our lives can have incredible positive effects on our performance in life and our well-being. Incorporating more flow experiences regularly invites us to choose authentically, be more present, and experience life more fully.

6 ways to increase ‘flow’ in your life

1 – Get to know YOU and what you’re passionate about. Ask yourself the powerful questions and discover what is really important to you. What do you love to do? What activities have meaning and heart for you? What do you value most in life?

2 – Be Autonomous in your Choices. ‘Let go’ of needing approval. Intrinsically motivated activities are those which you do because YOU enjoy them, not those activities done for approval from others. Let go of seeking approval and start doing more of what you love.

3 – Set Goals. Flow experiences involve clear set short term goals. This helps you create a balance between opportunity and capacity as well as prioritizes activities in your life that provide you with optimal challenge and enjoyment.

4 – Cultivate Mindfulness. Being mindful allows you to fully experience the activities you enjoy. Characteristics of mindfulness include present moment awareness and an attitude of open-mindedness, acceptance, and non-judgement. There are many ways to incorporate mindful presence into your daily routine. I suggest deep breathing, meditation, and/or yoga. Even, try being more present while doing your daily activities such as cooking, washing dishes, walking or driving.

5 – Embrace Change. Flow involves being being able to let go of the past so you allow yourself to be open to what’s available in the moment. ‘Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes’ – Lao-Tzu

6 – Integrate Flow into various aspects of your Life. Since flow can be experienced in any activity, create ways to experience flow in various life areas including: career, contribution, family life, personal experiences, health-related activities, personal growth or education, hobbies and social interactions.



Details on “Find Your Own Flow”


SAVE $100 when you register with a friend before January 1, 2013.


Enjoy bringing more flow into your life!

DIVA DATE NIGHT: The Healing Power of Sound, Tuesday January 8th 2013

DIVA DATE NIGHT: The Healing Power of Sound, Tuesday January 8th 2013

Attention Conscious Women of All Ages…

Do you Believe That EVERY Modern Woman Deserves to Have a Community of Like-Minded “Divas” Helping, Supporting & Encouraging Her To Live Presently, Act Consciously and Grow Deliberately?

Join us for the Tuesday, January 8th “The Healing Power of Sound”

Through the evolution of time, growth of development, innovation and our modern world, rapid changes are happening all around us, and are affecting us all, on a local and global scale. With the hustle and bustle of our society, it’s easy to get caught up in the “business or busy-ness” of today’s modern world, and as women we are uniquely gifted with the challenge of having one foot on either side of the fence. What I mean by this is that, we constantly debate, evaluate and moderate the balance of wearing several hats; “business woman,” “mother”, “wife,” “strong vs vulnerable,” “emotional vs stoic.”

All genders have great power, but the essence of the girl, the woman, is THE most powerful resource on earth. We are the cultivators and nurturers of our community, and we bring with us the energy to balance and soften our society to set in motion a refined beauty of authentic belonging that can, and has, transformed communities. By tapping into our own essence, we directly give others permission to break barriers and realize their own potential.

The search for inner peace, happiness and enlightenment has been an on going “trend” in Western culture, yet it isn’t a “trend” at all. It’s a way of life. Mediation, prayer and finding time to seek deep into your own soul, your being, is where we will all find the tools towards what it is we seek – Happiness, Courage, Strength, Peace. Our mind is a very powerful thing, and if you let it, it will show you everything you wish to see, when you are ready to see it, to experience it.

Meditation, Movement therapy, Brain Entrainment, are all tools for the re-discovery of the body’s own inner intelligence. Practiced for thousands of years, it’s not about forcing the mind to be quiet, it’s finding the silence that’s already there and making it a part of your life.

Over the course of the last several weeks, we have been discussing the effects of brainwaves therapy and how the frequency of tone and vibration in auditory entrainment can help lead you to the very place where the birth of peace, fearlessness, courage and happiness reside. By tuning into the power of the mind and thought, we can achieve much more than we ever realized, but this is no easy task. It takes patience, persistence and self accountability.

January is a perfect time to start the transition towards living your best life. Make 2013 the start of this new momentum.


“You can use sound as a conveyer of energy and intention, and to hold space so you can enter a direct state of experience and connection to life itself, the source of life. The human voice is the carrier of intention.” Matthew Kocel

In this unique, and uniquely powerful, Diva Date Night, you’ll explore the true nature of sound and vibration, and discover how it can be used as a tool to create deeper meaning in your life. Working with sound in a conscious, sacred manner you can bypass mind chatter, blockages and conditioning to experience the true oneness of existence.

Through ancient sacred sound, Sound Healer Matthew Kocel has found a clear way for each of us to reclaim a healing connection to the Earth and spirit as a source of hope and deep inner peace. Everything ~ thoughts, words, actions ~ is made up of energy. And every form of energy is rooted in vibration. This powerful meditation, performed live by Matthew, will allow you to directly experience a tangible connectedness within the group and the Universal community we are all a part of and an increased sense of clarity and purpose.

During this energizing evening, Matthew will share how sound can be a bridge between:

* The physical and subtle realms
* The realms of science and spirituality
* The individual conscious mind and the infinite living heart

Matthew’s short introduction to the foundations of sound healing will be followed by a direct experience of group meditation through sacred overtone music, grounding and group share.

For more information on Matthew Kocel –

Matthew Kocel is a throat singer, visionary musician and healing arts practitioner driven by his mission to inspire unity through the universal language of music and sacred sound. The harmonic overtones of his voice – two, three, or more notes at the same time – vibrate the core of your being with extraordinary sensations, awakening a deep spiritual presence beyond words.



CEO and Publisher, Kate Muker is dedicated to consciously living her best life. Always open to learning and adopting new teachings that allow her to live a life she loves. Health, Happiness and Amazing Experiences!
Their mission is to provide a platform that inspires and empowers women to be extraordinary versions of themselves by connecting within to discover their authentic path, speak their truth and live their dreams. We are a community for conscious women who value inner growth, have a desire to passionately live life without excuses and step into their power; expressing authenticity, feminine essence and uniqueness.

The Conscious Diva community is built on authenticity and values, purpose and passion, collaboration not competition. They believe that who you are as a human being supersedes who you are as a mom, wife, entrepreneur or professional.

The conscious diva vision is to empower women globally to experience a deeper connection with themselves, which can lead to positive shifts in their health, wealth and relationships; while enjoying more fun, peace and ease in their life. Creating a ripple effect that inspires their families, friends and community to do the same which ultimately leads to change on the planet.

To find out more information on Conscious Divas, please visit  –
** Important Reminder for This Evening – You will be experiencing the healing power of sound in a group meditation. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing to this Diva Date Night.



Date: Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Location: Vancouver school of bodywork and massage, 300 – 342 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B
Cost: $40 (Early bird $30 before December 31st)


“The power of one, starts with you. There are no limits to what you can accomplish.” ~ Sarah Jamieson



If you listen to any strength coach or athletic coach they will tell you that life (in athletics and off the field or track) is 80% mental and 20% physical. Our body and mind constantly offer us signs, signals and bio feedback loops; question is; are we listening? Even in language we see the paradox between non-verbal vs. verbal communication, 60% of all communication is derived from body language, another 30% in the tone and only 10% of the actual linguistic representation. You will gain much about the person’s state, interest, disinterest, likes, dislikes and what they place meaning on by learning how to read a person’s body language and most of what a trained NLP or coach will see is the sub conscious at work.

Our physical body’s work the same way; our physical body in sport and in the world, at work, at home, with your partner, your kids – our body and brain is constantly telling us something, and it does this in bio feedback loops. Energy is a cycle.

The Mental State, Is A State of Mind:

The interest in peak performance has in recent years, well maybe not so recent, as science and the evolutionary growth of the human species will show – that peak performance isn’t just for the athletic fields or arena, but the workplace as well. Peak-Performance techniques , once used only in high level Olympics, secret ops (as in recon operations, military and space programs); have become increasingly explored in tv shows, articles, movies, life coaching and even in schools. We all need a consistent edge and in today’s busy world, this isn’t always healthy.

What does this have to do with Chronic Pain? Most pain wasn’t so chronic. Pain becomes chronic after long periods of body compensation and when we choose not to listen to “that aching back,” or “those tight traps,” till one day you herniate a disc or go into adrenal fatigue.  It all doesn’t just happen over –night, we just excel at creating coping strategies that do not serve the betterment of our health.  This article is about how to re-gain the competitive edge, with ease and grace, without the need to suffer to succeed, how you can choose to let go and start listening to your body, as well as start re-directing it out of pain and into a space that you feel confident to perform and live the life you envision.

Chronic Pain is Physical, Mental and Emotional:

If we back track to ancient Greece, you will see the birth place of “mental training.” The importance of an athlete’s mental state was recognized more than 2,000 years ago at the cradle of the Olympics.  Nowadays, we understand the paramount role of the mental state in any successful position (whether it be winning a race medal, or just being able to walk without searing pain).  The mental strategies used in Olympic level sports, military programs and space programs are the same as those found at the foundation of sports psychology, life coaching and NLP. We just approach it a little differently and with a linguistic representation the non-athlete or corporate person can relate to.

In the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, he talks about the art of finding your purpose; that “greatness is not a function of circumstance, greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline. He proves this by asking us to draw three circles (in a triangular format, so that they all cross each-other in the middle). The top circle you write “what am I most passionate about,?” the second circle you write “what am I best at the world at,?” and the third you write,” what’s my economic engine.?” Your purpose is where they all meet in the middle.  There was once a time when we said a “Jack or Jill or all trades,” was a good thing, but science will show the most productive people choose what they are best at and excel at it. If you choose something that you are not passionate about, or where you just settle –you will be unhappy. It’s an easy equation. And guess what that leads to – low energy, fatigue, and pain.

In the book “Red Gold: Peak Performance Technique of the Russian and East German Olympic Victors,” by Grigori Raiport, M.D, P.H.D (Motivational Psychologist for the USSR Team Olympics), he writes, “It’s believed that a Jack of all trades cannot be molded into a master in any single discipline. Instead, the educators look for unexpected brilliance that could be the mark of talent in a specific area. They are then molded into mastery.  Your external environment, is just as important as your internal because both directly relate to the viability of your health and happiness long term.  In order to determine the outer limits of human potential, the primary task is to first define the human being; which we concentrate on three essential area of human nature; physical, mental and emotional. If one is out of balance, the other two will also be unbalance.

The human body has a built in program to find balance, to restore the body and mind to a healthy state, but life sometimes gets in the way. We work too much, we sleep too little, we pop pills rather than take the time to self discover how to heal ourselves – the list is endless, and this is what I believe leads to chronic pain.

Explore the State of Natural Inspiration:

What moves you ? What excites you? What inspires you to get up every day?

If you can’t answer these questions, then it’s time for a reality check and you have some serious work ahead of you. Congrats, because you have a great opportunity here to take charge of your life, your purpose and above all else, your health.  Pain never exists without a cause. It is always a symptom of some physical or mental disorder. There is always a stress producing factor when there is pain, and your body does not recognize the difference between physical or mental – it just feels pain. This displeasure serves as a motivational force; that motivational force is your body and mind is telling you something needs to change. Thus, pain can actually provide you with the catalyst to initiate change; and it can be a progressive force.

The East Vs. West:

“There is a distinct difference between the east and west; a certain glorious progress of the human species. The very complexity of our nervous system is the result of the evolutionary process stimulated by a general motive – optimal avoidance of displeasure. “

In the east, many leaders of enlightenment attribute their ability to find the source of happiness, by letting go of all suffering and coming to terms with detachment. Many geniuses, east and west credit their sufferings with having elevated themselves through overcoming obstacles. Obstacles and challenges are necessary so that we can choose what we do not want in life, and show us that we have the freedom and will to choose.

In the West most people are reared with the idea that pain is something to be avoided at all cost. Aversion to pain has been imbued in our historical lineage since childhood. We learn through experience. Quantitative reality shows us that pain is merely a springboard for transformation and development. Pain is not abnormal, it is a way of life. You cannot know pleasure, if you do not know pain. It is the duality of our existence.

The Quest for Excellence:

The first objective to riding the body of chronic pain is to explore that special state of inspiration in which a particular when you surmounted great obstacles, when you felt at peace in mind, body and soul and whatever that memory is, when we remember it – our brain immediately re live it and release serotonin, and happy chemicals into our systems. The goal is then to teach you how to re-create this state of free will and apply it when you need to take a step back and restore, recharge, re-wire.  The next step is to identify and accept what is holding back or standing in your way. As the old saying goes, it’s usually our own self that prevents us from both facing the fear and moving past it. The idea is to get to know who you are, what abilities you possess to move on and where you want to go. Once you have a goal and a timeline, then you have the freedom to do the work and the permission of the self to start building a future rather than re-creating the past.

Learning this tool, and let my first say it sounds easy, but takes time, guidance and practice…and patience, but overcoming my own chronic pain led me to understand the there is a vast, untapped reserve of strength available to all of us and that we are each capable of far greater achievements than we habitually produce, that somehow our mental powers, either propel us forward or self-sabotage our efforts and hold us back. If we can learn to move past this fear, and the fear of pain, on the other side you are able to tap into what we call “optimal functioning,” when one feels invincible and full of personal power.

Fear of Change:

“Be the change, you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi

Most of us have a fear of change, because we may lose something.  We fear change because we may not attain the goal. Thus, we are resistant to it. I have many clients that say to me; “but what if I am in more pain, what if I don’t get better,” and my response is always the same, “you have to ask yourself, the worst case scenario is that you won’t change, your pain won’t go away, and what would that mean? Does that mean you just stop trying? Would it not be better to try then to stay the same?” Besides, if you need scientific data there are hundreds of reports and publications that will state; “the worst thing for chronic pain, is to do nothing.” Humans are designed to move, and we designed to flourish.  Once the client can realize one’s perceived state; pain free and their own personal ability to use the power of their mind, as a coach we then start to show them the physical tools so that they can learn to summon forth at will and make that mental shift.

The brain responds by integrating the nervous system and we start to burn off those mental warts (laziness, procrastination, insecurity); which are very real and painful, but you cannot “protect” these flaws like a sort of “diplomatic immunity.” Your pain, does not define you, unless you let it. For instance; think of it this way, if you were stuck in a pitch, black room for years (think of this as your pain), and suddenly someone starts to guide you towards the a switch , and you fumbled around a bit, maybe even stumbled around and then you find that switch and you turn it on.  The light in the room would be at first blinding and glaring and even though you suffer small sharp pains you can feel confident that the light is now turned on, and you do not have to live in the dark anymore, unless you choose to switch it off. These fears have a single cause, the inherent conundrum of our atomic age, the same human nervous system that paradoxically contains all those infinite possibilities we are trying to bring forth.

You Always Have  a Choice:

The key towards unlocking the power of living pain free is to first make the choice to not be defined by it, to not let pain define even one day. Even if this is a mental objective to start, it will give birth to the physical manifestation of better health. There is a ripple effect in self-control and affirmations. When a person learns self-control in one area of life, it will automatically change how he or she relates to all his or her areas of life and feel compelled to exert that mental fortitude further. If you exercise your mind and your body diligently, you will develop the strength to move past your pain, but if you let it slide, it will overtake you.” Exercise in any form and focused intention on breath are the two fundamentals towards starting this journey. Both work to activate the neo and pre frontal cortex of the brain to secrete serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine levels etc – which in turn restore and relax the body’s systems. Spend 30mins minimum per day every day for 3 weeks and you will no doubt start to feel a shift towards living a pain free, happy and healthier lifestyle. By choosing to let go of pain, removing the barriers and conscious patterns we build up ourselves and by taking charge of your life – this is the first step towards living a life free of pain and optimal well-being.

Next week we will take this one step further and discuss movement and pain. How to safely exercise, and the secret behind movement coaching and corrective movement for clients with chronic pain.



“Red Gold: Peak Performance Technique of the Russian and East German Olympic Victors,” by Grigori Raiport, M.D, P.H.D ( Motivational Psychologist for the USSR Team Olympics).

Good to Great by Jim Collins –

Just Yoga Studio Review

Just Yoga Studio Review

Vancouver Yoga Review was recently invited to experience Just Yoga, a local yoga studio in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Since opening earlier this year, they’ve attracted many loyal yogis and yoginis with their down-to-earth approach to yoga and wellness. Just Yoga provides mindful, authentic and accessible yoga classes in Vancouver – it’s yoga with heart and soul!

The following is our team member Kat Wong’s lovely experience at Just Yoga:

It was pouring rain and as the day dimmed before supper, I was really in need of some comfort.  I stopped into Just Yoga studio on Broadway and Quebec St.  The owner, Jeni, who was very pleasant and friendly, greeted me as soon as I stepped inside.  It was warm and cozy and carried an ancient aroma.  She showed me around her studio and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Bali.  The studio floor is absolutely gorgeous and I was very surprised about how spacious it was.  It’s evident that a lot of love and care went into create a beautiful and peaceful space.  I was led through a very relaxing Yin class, led by Beverly and was reminded that all bodies are unique and that I should listen to my own.  Just Yoga is a wonderful space to practice yoga.  They make it very accommodating for all levels and welcome everyone to practice.  I had a lovely experience and would definitely practice there again.  It really was like a small vacation for me.

For further information about the wonderful Just Yoga studio, including class times, visit their website, connect with them on Twitter @JustYogaVan and Facebook.

Just Yoga
53 East Broadway (@ Quebec Street)
Vancouver, BC
Tel: 604 709 9642 (YOGA)

MEDITATION FOR THE MIND & BODY: Theta Brain Waves & Your Fasica

MEDITATION FOR THE MIND & BODY: Theta Brain Waves & Your Fasica

Many of the questions I am asked from clients and interested parties in what is “corrective movement,” what is “fascial based YogaFORM? and “what is the right “state” of mind that will make a difference to how my body relaxaes?”

Our body is like a computer monitor, the mouse, the keyboard, the software that you visually see, it’s  the visual representation of what the CPU or harddrive uses to interact with the world and with you the user. Therefore, the CPU or harddrive is like your brain, and this harddrive holds thousands of programs so that you run efficently. Like a computer, your brain has certain frequencies where it runs specific programs like everyday tasks that are goal oriented (beta waves), times when you need to conetemplate and rejuvinate the body with exercise (theta waves), times when your body needs deep relexation and sleep (delta waves), times when you are completely asleep and your brain is processess and filing your day (alpha waves) and at last, times of deep introspection, and enlightenment (gamma waves). We looked at all of these states in our last post “Ride Your (Brain) Wave: Neuro-Synchronicity and Your Human Potential. Therefore, does it not make sense to utilize the most out of your day, your task, your well-being and “tune it in” to the right frequency. The answer is YES!

“The person who is most flexible will always have the power to change. Flexibility of the mind determines flexibility of the body and will”

Our bodies undergo daily changes, challenging events, and sometimes trauma, throughout our lifetimes, forcing it to continually adapt to new stresses, new environments and new patterns of thought. These challenges and circumstances constantly challenge our mental and physical well-being on a daily basis, and as a result, our bodies compensate, re align and shift, but not always for the better. Somtimes our bodies shift our of necessity and become un-balanced.  Our fascia system plays a significant role in how our body shifts, because it is interconnected to every muscle, bone and organ in our body.

Our Fascia System – 3 Layers

Let’s review our fasica system for a moment. We have 3 distinct layers that permeates and connects all our systems. Our visceral fascia envelopes our organs and is what holds them in place. Our superficial fascia acts as our initial layer where our skin is the terminus. It covers our muscles and transverses our adipose tissue. It’s softer and more malleable than our third layer, our deep fascia. Our deep fascia is thick and is the connective tissue that acts with our muscles, deep layers that attach to the muscles and bone. For example our thoraco-lumbar fascia.

The next question is how can meditation and accessing the right brain wave frequency offer us a chance to balance our body and reduce stress. For clients who have chronic pain and find it hard to move, or clients whose fascia and nervous systems are functioning at high sensory; this can be challenging, but it is achievable.

Theta Brain Waves – Meditation and Relaxation

Given the popularity and effectiveness of meditation as a means of alleviating stress and maintaining good health, there is a pressing need for a rigorous investigation of how it affects brain function.  Whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep, the brain always has some level of electrical activity. During meditation, theta waves were most abundant in the frontal and middle parts of the brain.

These types of waves likely originate from a relaxed attention that monitors our inner experiences. Here lies a significant difference between meditation and relaxing without any specific technique. Previous studies have shown that theta waves indicate deep relaxation and occur more frequently in highly experienced meditation practitioners. The source is probably frontal parts of the brain, which are associated with monitoring of other mental processes.

When we measure mental calm, these regions signal to lower parts of the brain, inducing the physical relaxation response that occurs during meditation.  Alpha waves were more abundant in the posterior parts of the brain during meditation than during simple relaxation. They are characteristic of wakeful rest.

During meditation or deep relaxation the mind can wander, this is very normal and a part of our mental process. Spontaneous wandering of the mind is something you become more aware of, and familiar with when you meditate consistently. This default activity of the brain is often underestimated, as it represents a kind of mental processing that connects various experiences and emotional residues, puts them into perspective and lays them to rest if needed.

During theta frequency it’s important to stay “alert,” but as the observer, keeping your mind slightly active, but non directly. Nondirective meditation yields more marked changes in electrical brain wave activity associated with wakeful, relaxed attention, than just resting without any specific mental technique

Theta Brain Waves Meet Somatic Fascia Healing

One of the barriers of progression can be found in the cells memory banks and the limiting beliefs in our subconscious mind that prevent us from moving forward. A simple and effect method  that allows time and space for the mind and body to meet in middle ground, is to include theta brain wave beat frequency into your practice.  This influences the cellular structure at both the conscious and subconscious levels. The mind can filter and process without distraction. This lowered frequency allows sets the tonal vibration within the body, at the cellular level, to release.

The relaxation response corresponds to a physical portion of the brain (located in the hypothalamus) which—when triggered—sends out neurochemicals that almost precisely counteract the hyper-vigilant response of the fight or flight response. When we take time to meditate, practice controlled, slow movements, we can start to elicit the relaxation response more efficiently and we can predictably measure its benefits on the body. These include: a decrease in blood pressure, diminished respiratory rate, lower pulse rate, diminished oxygen consumption, increase in theta, delta and alpha brain waves (associated with relaxation), and in many cases, an improved sense of mental and spiritual well-being.

The relaxation response is a physiologic response, and as such, there are many ways to elicit it, just as there are many ways to increase our pulse rate (another physiologic response). The key to deriving the benefits of the relaxation response is to practice it daily.

Vancouver Yoga Teacher Profile: Kat Wong

Vancouver Yoga Teacher Profile: Kat Wong

Kat Wong has been instructing Flow, Hot & Core Yoga classes since 2008. Her students love her energy, her voice, and the experience she gives them. She keeps her students challenged with new ideas, engaging them with music, props & visualizations. They explore movements of strength while keeping the mind calm and centered. Students leave her class refreshed and ready to embrace life’s challenges.

With a strong passion in health and fitness, she found yoga as the perfect adjunct to balance her busy lifestyle.  Kat found she could connect with her inner self by coming to her place of solitude, her mat.  She has learned to understand the power of the breath as a tool to calm the mind and relax the body.  As a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer, she feels that an individual’s health is vital to enjoy life to the fullest.

Man sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die,
and then dies having never really lived”
~ Dalai Lama

She hopes that her students’ journey in health and fitness will not just be for self-improvement and discovery, but will also offer them a tool for self-creation.

Email Kat Wong at [email protected] and catch a class with her at:

Book Review: Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone

Book Review: Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone

When many of us think about the state of the environment it can feel like such an overwhelming task to create change. The book Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone is an invitation to explore how we can remain positive, replenished and active in the work to sustain the environment.

Any change process requires us to look at ourselves first and how the culture we live in perpetuates consumerism, individualistic attitudes, and creates messages that negate what is truly happening to the environment. What is called  “the business as usual strategy” that prevents positive change from happening. De-constructing this business as usual strategy is not about feeling guilty about how or what we consume rather it provides an opportunity to bring awareness to capitalism, mass consumerism and the ecological impacts in a critical and compassionate way. This awareness raising provides pathways for individual, community and global change.

As an eco-philosopher and scholar Buddhism, Joanna Macy weaves in Buddhist philosophy and eco-spirituality through the book. It is easy to forget just how integral the earth is to our survival, plants, animals and the whole eco-system. Active Hope reminds us this earth we live in something to hold with great reverence and gratitude for. We can become “active participants in bringing about what we hope for” – Active Hope provides practical tools to help us to remain energized, re-connected and inspired so that this planet earth is sustainable for future generations.

 About JoannaMacy and Chris Johnstone

Ecophilosopher Joanna Macy, PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a groundbreaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application.

Chris Johnstone is a medical doctor, author, and coach who worked for nearly twenty years as an addictions specialist in the UK National Health Service. Chris has been a trainer in the Work That Reconnects for more than two decades, working with Joanna on many occasions and running facilitator trainings in the United Kingdom.

About the Author: Angela Kayira teaches Yoga at Heart Centre Yoga in Burnaby. Her teaching is informed by her work as a social worker. Angela is a registered Yoga Teacher (E-500 RYT), the co-director of In Life School of Yoga and co-hosts the In Life School of Yoga Book Club.


Ride Your (Brain) Wave: Neuro-Synchronicity and Your Human Potential

Ride Your (Brain) Wave: Neuro-Synchronicity and Your Human Potential

In today’s modern society, we can easily forget that we are the controllers of our reality and how we build our model of the world. Moreover, that “our reality” is not made up of  outside influences, but that it actually consists of our thoughts, beliefs and mindset. Those outside influencers are an experience, but it is how we “choose” to process them that forms our reality. Everything on our little planet (and beyond) are all energy; which means, tapping into energy can allow us to experience a deeper…well… experience.  Understanding brainwaves is the first key to unlocking our subconscious. It’s time to dig deep.

Most people understand that brainwaves have something to do with the electrical activity of the brain, but understanding some of the basics of your brain and brain wave states is very useful as well. By understanding how your brain goes in and out of certain brainwave states, you can learn to take advantage of each state; to be more productive, creative, and even to be able to learn how to relax and restore the body, mind and spirit.

All brain cells communicate via electrical signals (hence the waves). Your brain contains about 100 billion neurons, which is well over the number of stars in in the sky. Each neuron is connected to about 10,000 other neurons, making for about 100 to 500 trillion neuron-to-neuron connections in the brain; which at the present moment science still does not fully understand. What we do know is this… “The neurons that fire together, re-wire together.” Thus, what we think, we become. The brain has the power to change.

Brain activity has a pulse, a beat, or frequency that corresponds to it’s level of current activity – much like a flicker of a light. These brain beats, or brainwaves, happen at a variety of speeds. For example, during deep sleep,  the brain will flicker or beat about 3 times per second. During high-focused thinking, the brain might flicker or beat as much as 50 times a second.

Modern technology allows us to tap into brainwave frequencies and or “patterns” and with a little auditory help, we can learn to use our brain more efficiently – to restore, rejuvinate, build our internal vision boards, etc. Different brainwave frequencies or breats have been shown to connect to different “states of mind,” which corresponds to a spectrum of subjective experience. If you can access the right state you can also experience and illicit suggestions like “you are currently experiencing excellence,” or “go forth with confidence,” or “you can succeed with ease and grace,” – this is what we call a  guided experience. You can ask your subconcious or you can have a coach guided you, either way the lower more relaxed states are easy to tap into if you know how.

Your brain naturally cycles through the brainwave states during the day. It is not as if, we are stuck in one all day or at any one time. Every 90 minutes or so, your brain requires a break or a shift let’s say and it must slow down its activity.  This cycle is known as the ultradian rhythm, or basic rest and activity cycle (BRAC).

A well known technology used since the mid 1900’s is known as “Brainwave entrainment” or “brainwave synchronization,” which is any practice that aims to cause brainwave frequencies to fall into step with a periodic stimulus having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state, like falling asleep or inducing relaxation. This stimulus can be known as binarual and monarual beats.

This effect is produced in the brain, not in the ears as with monaural beats. Thi is produced by the neural output from the ears and created within the olivary body within the brain, in its attempt to “locate” the direction of the sound and creates a subjective experience.

The slower the beat or frequency, the more relaxed you will feel.  These frequencies are generally classified into 5 groups (from slow to fast): delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.

The 5 Brain Wave States:

Beta (14-40Hz) : Our Waking Consciousness & Logical Reasoning State

Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and a heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning. Now, this sounds like a great place to be in, and it is if you are a high functioning induvidual, but it can also be the state that increases stress, anxiety and can lead to depression and mental health problems if you are in this state too much and for too long.  Hence, we need to learn how to tap into various states to properly maintain balance.

Delta (0.5-4Hz): Deep Sleep State

Delta brainwaves have a frequency of about 4 beats or less per second, as if the brain is breathing slowly and heavily. The brain generally only enters the delta state during the deepest stages of sleep, appropriately known as “slow-wave sleep”.

Theta (4-7.5Hz) : Light Meditation and REM Sleeping State

Theta brainwaves are associated with dreaming and REM-stage sleep and sometimes light sleep. This is where brain activity beats anywhere from 4 to 7 times per second. But theta also occurs several times throughout the day. If you’ve ever “zoned out” while driving or otherwise went on mental “auto pilot”, that means you entered theta.

In running, when you are in the zone;  that’s also theta. Deep meditation is another example of this deep trance like state.

Theta can be used for creative flow states, where ideas seem to come effortlessly. During accelerated learning programs theta is the state that coaches usually want thier students to be able to tap into because this is where idea generation can stem from.

Alpha (7.5-14Hz): Deep Relaxation State

Alpha brainwaves have a frequency of 7 to 13 beats per second. The alpha wave state is a sign of deep relaxation while awake. Like theta, it can be used in hypnosis (trance work) and accelerated learning. While in deep meditation, you can notice that just by deep breathing and tapping into lower energy, you can lower your frequency to the alpha and theta states, and sometimes even increase the frequency to beta states.

Gamma ( above 40Hz) – The Deep Introspective & Insight State

The Gamma  range is the most recently discovered and is the fastest frequency at above 40Hz. While little is known about this state of mind,research shows Gamma waves are associated with bursts of introspection, enlightenment and  insight and high-level information processing. Long periods of meditation and internal processing can lead us into a deeper state or states of consciousness. While this sounds very “kumbaya” it is scientifically proven to improve all areas of both our internal state of being, our physcial form and how we present ourselves in the world and how we respond to the changing environment. In short, it leads to personal evolution!

Ride the wave:

Most of the time your brain is firing at different frequencies; therefore, the goal isn’t to achieve one frequency, it’s to establish a synchronicity between frequencies and establish an equilibrium.

Brainwave synchrony measures just how well coordinated the different parts of your brain are. A brain in which all its neurons tend to fire at the same frequency would be highly synchronous..  The 3 main states involved with levels of relaxation, introspection and calmness are; delta, theta and alpha frequencies.

My Waves: Beta and Theta

After careful R&D, I have come to realize that the majority of my day is in Uptime or Beta and Theta and nearing the end of my day I am still quite… high strung. Does this sound familiar? In order to re pattern and bring more balance into my own life, I have realized that I need to carve out more time in my day to relax.  Once way to better understand these relaxation states is before bed or during times of meditation. For me, this is my 20mins in the morning of slow movement and yoga and an hour before bed. What has helped me prepare for sleep and utilizing more of my potential in delta and alpha (even more theta) is through guided brain entrainment and neuro synchronization.

To experience this, try these neuro-synchronizers before bed or for meditation. Not only will then help you sleep, but they will also “suggest” to your brain to process and filter for improved sleep, relaxation and overall well-being:

. 1.  Neuro-Synchronization-

2. Binaural Deep Sleep –

3. Binaural and Monaural Beats –



Thought Models NLP –

Brain Entrainment / Vibrational Sound Therapy:

Chronic Pain & Real Time Process:

Adrenal Glands 101: Mindful Restoration

Adrenal Glands 101: Mindful Restoration

The effects of adrenal dysfunction can be devastating and aggravating: fatigue and weakness; lowered immune system, susceptibility to colds, and other ailments that healthy  individuals aren’t as likely to get like; muscle soreness, moodiness or hormonal imbalance are all signs that your body is not in a balanced state of equilibrium. In today’s hyper active society, the hustle and bustle of our routine and over stimulated lifestyle, can lead to many compensations; both physical and mental. One way our body compensates is by increasing levels of cortisol, suppress the immune system and create adrenal dysfunction.

The good news is that adrenal fatigue can usually be relieved; Yoga and meditation can be instrumental in re setting the body’s physical and hormonal balance by establishing an environment where the body and mind can recover, as well as offering the opportunity to work on mindful strategies to deal with circumstances when negative stress arises. Outside of the postures and “asanas,” Yoga can offer the time and space to work on new behavior patterns if the stressors that trigger your stress are within your control.

Let’s look at the relationships between stress, high cortisol levels, and adrenal fatigue; and then we’ll look at how you can give your adrenals more support.

The adrenal gland has two parts. The first is the adrenal medulla; which secretes epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). These are the hormones that make your heart pound, raise your blood pressure, help ensure your muscles contract, and put your brain on high alert. The adrenal cortex secretes cortisol and other hormones. Cortisol is a natural steriod that raises your blood sugar level (so the muscles have plenty of fuel) and suppresses inflammation, but it also suppresses the immune system; which in times of high stress tricks the body into thinking this is a good thing.

Adrenal Glands 101:

To understand how adrenal fatigue develops, it is important to understand the original and historical function of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands original role was to save your life  The basic task of the adrenal glands is known as the “fight or flight” mode; with the fundamental role of  increasing production of adrenaline and other hormones.

When healthy, your adrenals can instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, slow your digestion and other secondary  functions, and sharpen your senses, but when these basic functions are altered, it changes your hormonal balance.

This response by your adrenals takes priority over all other metabolic functions, but it wasn’t designed to be a process that lasted continually.  Thus, in today’s society of high stress, hyper activity and go, go ,go mentality, a large percentage of our population is nearing adrenal fatigue.


What is cortisol? In its normal function, cortisol helps us meet these challenges by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen, and counteracting  inflammation. For a short time, that’s okay. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears down your body.  Cortisol is destructive to the body. Sustained high cortisol levels destroy healthy muscle and bone; slows down healing and normal cell regeneration; co-opts bio chemicals needed to make  other vital hormones; impairs digestion, metabolism and mental function;  interferes with healthy endocrine function; and weakens your immune system.

Modern Day Challenges:

Every challenge to the mind and body creates a demand on the adrenal glands.  The list of challenges is endless: lack of sleep, a demanding boss, the threat of losing your job or expectations, financial pressures, personality conflicts, yo-yo dieting,  relationship turmoil, death or illness of a loved one, skipping meals, digestive  problems, over-exercise, illness or infection, unresolved emotional issues from  our past or present, and on and on. The result is adrenal glands that are  constantly on high alert. The list of life’s unpredictability is endless, and as the age ole statement goes; “life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it.”

Here is where the Yoga comes in. To recover from this exhaustion, you need to do things that turn off the adrenal hormones and promote secretion of anabolic hormones, such as growth hormone. Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland almost exclusively during the deepest stages of sleep (slow wave sleep).

To help turn off the adrenal glands and calm the mind, practice restorative yoga postures daily in a warm, dark, quiet environment.

Outside of Yoga, here are some easy ways to start the recovery of process:

  • Listen to your body. Not every case of adrenal fatigue presents the same symptoms or has the same exact preconditions.  The adrenal glands are overtaxed, but that can come about from a number of causes. Modern life is so full of stress that the adrenal glands end up producing more stress hormones than the body was designed to handle.
  • Remove Stressors. Take a look at your current lifestyle, and make whatever changes you need to promote the things that make you happy and reduce the parts of your life that do more harm than good.
  • Reduce overall stress levels. Some stressors in life are unavoidable, but we can begin to address them in new ways that reduce their drag on our life and reduce the causes of adrenal fatigue.
  • Relax – Simply set aside some time each day for yourself and your overall well-being. Actually take a break during your work breaks.
  • Dietary changes to enrich your nutrition – The cortisol produced by the adrenal glands has a significant effect on blood sugar levels, and so eating habits play a major role in moderating the condition. Stay away from highly
  • processed foods, refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol.
  • Exercise – including moderate exercise and taking more time can be helpful to reducing your stressors, especially those that are constant.  No matter what is going on in your life, it will become  easier to handle if you set at least 30 minutes a day for exercise.
  • Breathe – Follow the optimal breathing technique to help reset your body’s adrenal function and stress receptors.
Neuroplasticity: The Power of the Mind

Neuroplasticity: The Power of the Mind

“THE BRAIN CAN CHANGE ITSELF. It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain’s basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging. The brain is not, as was thought, like a machine, or “hardwired” like a computer. Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with mental limitations, or what was thought to be incurable brain damage, but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature.” – The Brain That Changes Itself


Neuro is for “neuron,” the nerve cells in our brains and nervous systems. Plastic is for “changeable, malleable, modifiable.” Our journey starts here… neuroplasticity.

The first discoveries of neuroplasticity came from studies of how changes in the messages the brain receives through the senses can alter its structure and function.

For decades, the dogma of neuroscience was that the adult human brain is essentially immutable, hardwired, fixed in form and function, so that by the time we reach adulthood we are pretty much stuck with what we have. The doctrine of the unchanging human brain has had profound ramifications. For one thing, it lowered expectations about the value of rehabilitation for adults who had suffered brain damage or or about the possibility of fixing the pathological wiring that underlies psychiatric diseases. And it implied that other brain-based fixities, such as the happiness set point that, according to a growing body of research, a person returns to after the deepest tragedy or the greatest joy, are nearly unalterable.

But research has overthrown the dogma. In its place has come the realization that the adult brain retains impressive powers of “neuroplasticity”—t he ability to change its structure and function in response to experience and stimuli. These aren’t minor tweaks either, they can long lasting sustainable results. Even if one suffers a great trauma in their adult life, the brain has significant power to overcome and “re-wire” itself to improve “internal living conditions.”

In the TIMES article “The Brain: How the Brain Re-Wires Itself,” written in 2007, Sharon Begley states “When signals from the skin or muscles bombard the motor cortex or the somatosensory cortex (which processes touch), the brain expands the area that is wired to move, say, the fingers. In this sense, the very structure of our brain–the relative size of different regions, the strength of connections between them, even their functions–reflects the lives we have led. Like sand on a beach, the brain bears the footprints of the decisions we have made, the skills we have learned, the actions we have taken.”

Even more profound, the discovery showed that mental training had the power to change the physical structure of the brain. We seldom stop to realize that our world (our model of the world) is shaped by how our mind views reality. We experience reality within our minds, through sensory filters based on biology, cultural conditioning and personal interpretations that are based on experience and education.

Yoga and Mindfulness can play a significant role in the evolutionary process of neuroplasticity and re –wiring the brain. Neuroscience has proven to demonstrate that the neuroplasticity of the brain, and when there is sustained, focused attention …”mindfulness,” it can change the wiring of brain neurons.


If we look at the word itself …”Mindfulness” this means “the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment;” which can be further broken down into four acting components; regulation of attention, body awareness, self-awareness and regulation of emotion. Previous research on mindfulness meditation has shown that it aids in lowering blood pressure improves immune system, reduces stress and anxiety, improves mental health and brain function and minimizes pain sensitivity.


While the human brain has apparently underestimated itself, neuroplasticity isn’t all good news; it renders our brains not only more resourceful but also more vulnerable to outside influence. It is by understanding both the positive and negative effects of plasticity that we can truly understand the extent of human possibilities. Change is constantly happening in our inner and outer worlds. Through the practice of yoga including the use of breath, movement, sound, and meditation we can influence the direction of these changes.


“We can learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy” – Norman Doidage


TIME Magazine: “The Brain: How The Brain Rewire’s Itself”

Book: “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidage, M.D


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