About Sarah Jamieson

http://www.moveolution.com

Sarah is the owner and head movement coach at Moveolution; a Vancouver based consulting company focused on the integration of movement and recovery science. Bridging the gaps between the clinical and performance fields Sarah’s passion stems from lifelong passion of Yoga, Jujitsu, and Qi Gong; which she integrates into her coaching practice. She is a full time social change maker, a ‘run-a-muker’ of everything outdoors and repeatedly engages in random acts of compassion.

Posts by Sarah Jamieson:

THE YOGI ATHLETE: FASCIAL ELASTICITY & YIN YOGA

Fasical elasticity and sequencing in Yin Yoga, to prevent athletic injuries? You said what now?!

The practice of Yin can be an instrumental benefit to our fascial trains and fascial net. Yin Yoga is designed to deeply relax and renew the connective tissue of the human body.

But what is connective tissue… and what is fascial elasticity or the fascial net?

Fascia (as a whole) forms the biological container and is the fundamental connector for every organ; including muscles and connective tissues (plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, iliotibial band, thoracolumbar, etc). The fascial trains and net in particular, acts as a single connected unity in which the muscles and bones float, along with smaller connectors where the organs literally hang and co-mingle.

If we take it one step further, and include the neuro myofascial net, which also includes; the blood and blood cells, and other elements not part of the structural cellular “net.” Perhaps the closest term we could introduce all of these elements would be the extra-cellular matrix (ECM), which includes everything in your body that isn’t just cellular; including fibers (collegen weaves), collodial gels or the “glue” that holds and supoprts movement within the connective tissue and lastly water; which surrounds and permiates the cells.

And down the rabbit hole we go… lets bring it back to the benefits of Yin and prevention of injury.

Benefits of a Yin Yoga practice can be immense, especially for students who are also runners or athletes. For example, runners who train fascial fitness and employ fascical elasticity more often (quick whole body movments) will be using less muscle power during their runs, as they ultimatley store more energy in the stretch and then attain it back during the release. Thus, they will be able to run longer with less fatigue.

Therefore including sequenced postures that promote fascial elasticity and resetting the integrity of the trains, post run or training; most teachers and students alike will find these key areas significantly improved on and off the mat:

  • restoring natural bio mechanics settings for posture and function
  • prevention of asymmetries in the body, but addressing small indicators
  • easing the long-term consequences from injury and preventing new ones
  • extending functional movement for longevity

Herein lies, the “Yin” to that Yang, a great Yin practice can balance out the stress of training to prevent injuries and breakdowns. When we reset and maintain elasticity in our body, we move more freely.

YOGA. BELOVED PETS. SONG BIRDS UNITE! A 2012 CALENDAR PHOTO CONTEST

HOT OFF THE PRESS: An opportunity for yoga teachers and students to get involved in something revolutionary AND play with their pets?! You bet!

Three songbirds of renowned talent and compassion; Melissa McClelland, Janine Stoll and  Lisa Winn founded Ladybird Animal Sanctuary, a multi-tiered safe haven for abandoned animals, a means of advocating for our furry friends, and a call to action in our communities Canada wide to help reduce the extraordinary number of cats and dogs euthanized each year.

Social Change meets Yoga once again; and Ladybird Sanctuary is pioneering a great marriage of sorts, by combining our devotion to Yoga and the devotion to our beloved pets to help animals everywhere! 

Leveraging their talent as musicians, songwriters and singers; they have co-created the Yoga Calendar 2012 project; which is generating a huge blissful buzz amongst Canada’s Yoga community!

Ladybird is currently calling for submissions across Canada; photos that capture and convey the playful, poignant, relationships we have with our pets and our yoga practice. Take a photo of your best downward or upward facing dog, cats flow, pigeon pose or any other pose displaying you and your lovely pet and you could win a spot in their 2012 calendar and be featured on their website!

Proceeds from the 2012 Yoga Calendar will go towards a safe haven/ rescue adoption space for animals to help take the load off local shelters bursting at the seams, as well as therapeutic programs for animals, community outreach programs and workshops on important topics; such as spaying and neutering your pet.

 If you don’t have a pet, but advocate for the protection of our furry friends you can still take part! Full spectrum of contest guidelines can be found by visiting their website or Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ladybirdanimalsanctuary  or by simply emailing [email protected] on how to get involved!

 What a great way to combine Yoga, your beloved furball and social change for the betterment of all creatures big and small!

Sources:

Ladybirds Animal Sanctuary: http://ladybirdanimalsanctuary.com/

Melissa McClelland:http://www.melissamcclelland.com/

A MOVEMENT MEDITATION

“With a body made joyous through movement, the mind is able to relax. With mind/body balance, we can take the power of feeling good and generate compassion.” —The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche (Zen Buddhist)

Movement frees the body and mind. It is one of the most natural and functional movements the body can harness, as it propels us forward in life, literally, as well as metaphorically. Running is often the form of exercise chosen to reduce stress, which brings us greater perspective in connecting us directly with the wisdom and appreciation of our body mechanics.

Most runners will naturally agree, that running is a form of mental therapy, their time to just be… free and joyous.

This begs the question; does the practice running and the practice of mediation have similar affects on the body and mind?  The answer would be yes, and when nurtured can not only improve your state of running, but your state of mind.

The art and practice of meditation and yoga can offer similar benefits; which aid us cultivating stillness and nonjudgmental awareness of the mind’s activities. Even though one is sedentary and the other is not, they both require consistency and discipline. They both are a form of training and both are benefited when the student uses the skill of visualization and control within the moment.

As a  an ultrarunner and founder of RUN for A CAUSE, meditation and yoga are a significant part of my training all year round, as well as for those I coach.

When the mind is trained, the body follows and as many runners will convey, there is a moment in every athlete’s state of performance and consciousness when there is this sense of union within the body. All your senses are heightened and you feel free, even in the presence of fatigue.

Running can be seen as the extension of a basic meditative practice. The next time you head out for a run focus and meditate on your intention and don’t forget to hit the Yoga mat post run for a good stretch.

Next week lets look at the art of meditation in exercise as a preventative tool in prevention of injury and rehabilitation.

PLAY. BUILD. REACH. LEARN! How do you practice sustainability in the real world?

Ideas Worth Spreading.  Riveting Talks By Remarkable People, Free The World!

Does this sound familiar? If you guessed Ted.com, then Namaste to you!

Over the course of the last decade through the art and science of Yoga I have sought out Dharana (inner conceptualization and compassionate awareness). Through the service to others and much like Yoga intends – found a place of union with something larger then myself; which we know to be the basic fundamentals of the yamas and niyamas of Yoga teachings. Yet, it is no easy task as the landscape of the global revolution changes daily.

At a cross roads I continually find myself asking, how do we practice sustainability in real life?  Today I ask all those who embody the Yoga way to take their practice off the mat and consider this opportunity…

Imagine for one moment, if we could harness that potential as kids? Imagine for one moment the potential if we START with our kids? And lastly, imagine for one moment we could return and re connect with that child-like potential as adults?

It takes a community to raise a village, therefore empowering kids’ means they don’t even have to be your own! We live in a generation where; yoga, get your green on and sustainability are part of our evolutionary process, WE are passing these teachings onto the next generation! Humanity’s framework is always under construction.

This is what [email protected] is preparing to achieve on Sept 17 2011.  Vancouver will host the conference’s first home. [email protected] is a platform for facilitating opportunities to empower kids and support authentic learning. A gathering of remarkable people with young hearts will aim to share their captivating stories borne from genuine curiosity and bold ideas. Much like Ted.com conference, except with the color and vibrancy of play, build, reach and learn and as adults, I say we embrace our inner kids!

In a recent Ted.com video with Jacqueline Norvogratz, called “Living a Life of Immersion,” she coined this closing statement, and I ask each of you to meditate on it for a moment during your next Dharana practice…

Robert Kennedy once said, “few of us have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and it is in the total of all those acts that the history of this generation will be written.”

If you know a speaker, nominate them! If you have a story to tell please apply @[email protected] Story telling, this is one way we create sustainability in the real world!

Sources:

Ted.com: www.ted.com

[email protected]: www.tedxkidsbc.com/

KARMA YOGA: DO YOGA, DO GOOD

Yoga for Social Change! 

Karma (meaning to do or action) Yoga (meaning union):  in its simplest meaning literally translates to selfless service, the discipline of action or the union through action; which ultimately brings us closer to dharma.

A growing trend in the West, Karma Classes have been gaining momentum at a steady Vinyasa. More importantly, karma classes are finding their own place amongst social change makers and the Sports Philanthropy Movement; harnessing the Ying to the Yang in the therapeutic sense. This movement is designed to engage industry leaders and professional teachers in a dialogue about the value of sports/therapeutic philanthropy and aims to connect them with social change tools and causes that best fit their passions, recognizing their efforts to inspire others.

About a month ago I posted an article on Yoga & Activism, and karma class, my Yogic friends is the vehicle from which the compassionate-asana is driven! Karma classes also allows for a unique space, where the energy from inside a class is solely dedicated to a greater purpose!

From a business perspective the Yoga Industry can leverage their business in a socially responsible manner and showcase great grassroots initiatives/causes that can have a deep impact towards sustainable, positive change; both locally and internationally. More over; foster social change from a place of hope, opportunity and positive prana on a larger scale.

You can find a karma class at almost any Yoga studio these days, but if you are looking for a larger unified front, this has recently come across my radar and I felt compelled to share…

“Why stretch when you can reach?”  – The Engage Network

…is their tagline. Founded by Sean Crone, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling” Off the Mat, Into the World ® (OTM),” is a non-profit program of The Engage Network, and is dedicated to bridging yoga and activism and is geared towards communities around the world who collaborate for social change. Understanding the idea that we are stronger and more powerful together then we are apart, making a difference starts from the foundation, our roots.

As Yoga teachers and advocates for compassion, a karma class is an incredible tool in our toolkit to bring awanress to social change and connection to our global community!

Sources:

 The Engage Network: http://www.offthematintotheworld.org/community.html

 Charter for Compassion: http://charterforcompassion.org/site/

 SAVE THE DATE: Camp Moomba Yogathon & Blissfest, July 24th Vancouver BC.

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.

Bridging the Gap Between Yoga and Functional Movement Part 2

 

YOGA & BACK CARE

The functional movement of Yoga is integral to our health and wellness, but did you know that Yoga can also benefit the health of your spine! Therapeutic movement and alignment based postures have been used to improve the integrity of the spine, as well as overall mobility of the spinal segments, all by nurturing your spine and caring for your back.

Your spine consists of several parts. Each segment has about 2 degrees rotation when turning. Your lumbar spine has 5 vertebrae and  is designed for stability, as well as load distribution through the hips to the lower limbs. Your cervical spine or neck counts 7 vertebrae. Your thoracic spine counts 12 vertebrae and is designed for mobility.

Our thoracic spine plays an integral role in our overall movement and ability to move freely. Lack of thoracic mobility is as common as lack of hip mobility. Lack of thoracic mobility forces your body to function in ways it was not designed for.

While participating in a class, or teaching your own class keep these anatomical and movement principles in mind:

 Breathe:  When we hold our breath, we hold onto tension. Quiet, introspective breathing, allows for relaxation and increased circulation to tissues whose vessels are constricted during times of stress

 Create Movement of the Spine With Flexion and Extension:  The spine needs movement to lubricate the joints and provide nutrition to the spongy disks between the vertebrae.  During movement, the disks soak up nutrients., therefore it’s necessary to reverse the curvatures for brief periods of time.

Balance Flexibility with Strength: Developing strong yet flexible muscles is perhaps the most crucial principle in back care. It is important to lengthen contracted muscles before working on strength. When lengthening the spine, its natural curves should be maintained, keeping the low back in its concave curve. The back’s curves are designed to absorb shock throughout the spinal column.

 The Importance of Yoga Sequencing: Sequencing yoga poses from basic to more advanced is very important. Start with postures that bring our attention to releasing the fascia first and establishing movement in the thoracic spine.

So the next time you find yourself saying….”awww my aching back”…. Stop, drop and roll out that Yoga Mat!

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN YOGA AND FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT PART 1

What do Yoga and Functional Movement (FM) have in common?

In Sanskrit the word Yoga is derived from the root “yul” meaning “to control,” ” to unite,” and “to join;” meaning whole. There are many paths in yoga, all of which lead us to the same ultimate destination; which is optimal health and wellness in body and mind and a connection with something greater then ourselves. Functional movement aims to achieve the same destination, but does so through a more scientific modality. One rooted in understanding the approach to freedom in movement through the application of transformational biomechanics.

 Let’s take a closer look at the fundamentals of both Yoga & Functional Movement (FM):

  • Yoga: Anamayakosha – the physical body and its systems.
  • FM: biomechanics, anatomy & physiology of the human body
  • Yoga: Pranamayakosha – the energy body and breath
  • FM: deep diaphragmatic breathing & energy flow distribution
  • Yoga: Manomayakosha – the psychoemotional body
  • FM: sports psychology & emotional mechanics
  • Yoga: Vijnyanamayakosha – the watcher state or higher mind
  • FM: visualization & skill attainment
  • Yoga: Anandamayakosha – the bliss body, higher consciousness and the enlightened state
  • FM: homeostasis & equilibrium, in mind, body  & spirit

As a health practitioner of movement coaching we focus on aligning the body, and controlling movement through the use of transforming negative restrictions or “bio mechanical breakdowns” into symmetrical movement patterns. These movements are based on real-life situational biomechanics that affect us daily. They usually involve gross motor movement involving multi-joint movements that prepare the body for real life developments; which also place a high demand on the body’s core, segmental stabilizers and innervation of the body processes.

Yoga and Yoga therapeutics have been a growing niche market of the Western Yoga World for many years and with more teachers becoming more educated on human anatomy and physiology and more health practitioners understanding the benefits that Yoga modalities can have both mentally and physically on their clients, it’s easy to see the direct connection between the two disciplines. Both aim to teach on-going adaptation; which is required for people to remain injury free, and to maintain freedom of movement and peace of mind.

Join us next week as we look at the role of Yoga therapeutics and transformational biomechanics in rehabilitating back pain, a common issue in today’s society. Your spine will thank you! Namaste!

YIN & YANG: A RUNNERS GUIDE TO YIN YOGA

With the Sun Run and the BMO half/full marathon just around the corner adding a little Yin to your Yang could be your best preventative approach towards staying injury free this season.

As an ultra marathoner and Yoga teacher I realize that stretching is a crucial part of any athletes repertoire. Over time, as we age, and especially in competitive athletics when load is applied continuously our structural frame our connective tissue and joints are ultimately the most affected. This creates stiffness, limited mobility and sometimes injury.

 So how does Yin and Yang relate to human physiology?

Yang tissue make up muscles, are more fluid-filled, soft, and elastic.  Yin tissue make upconnective tissue (ligaments, tendons, and fascia) and bones are dryer, harder, and stiffer.  By extension, exercise that focuses on musculoskeletal tissue is yang; exercise that focuses on connective tissue is yin.

Through dynamic movement and the linear mechanics of running, we place 8 times our body weight with every gait cycle; which generates a large amount of heat within working tissue. So it’s no wonder so many athletes gravitate towards adding a little Yin to their Yang practice.

Yin Yoga provides a slower, calmer method of yogic stretching that targets the joints, ligaments and fascia/connective tissue in the body. When combined with deep diaphragmatic breathing; the vagus nerve is stimulated and the relaxation response within tissue is activated, releasing new depths in postures, deeper ranges of motion, or an increased flow of energy can be achieved by focusing on the deeper tissues of the body through this practice.

Moreover, a yin approach works to promote flexibility in areas often perceived as nonmalleable, especially the hips, pelvis, and lower spine, all areas that runners need to be mindful of during their peak training leading up to race day.

As you approach the Sun Run and BMO half /full marathon create space for Yin Yoga, it’s a great addition to your taper. Try YogaFORM on Saturday mornings on the North Shore, or if you are an evening Yogi; one of my favorite spots is YogaPod, also on the North Shore, Friday afternoons and Saturday evening bliss!

 Happy Yin, to all your Yang!

MOVIE REVIEW: FIERCE LIGHT, WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION

What does Yoga and Activism have in common?   COMMUNITY!

Last night I watched the ground breaking documentary, “Fierce Light, When Spirit Meets Action” an in-depth look at the power that is released when our spirituality/belief and activism meet.

Sparked by the movements of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu,  Thich Nhat Hanh, and Mandela, by igniting a global movement of positive, compassionate action. It is a global journey of social change motivated by love, and the necessity to save our world through ethical action.

When asked by students what my message is, I say I am an Activist for Compassion, thus my message is to be an activist for compassion.

It is here, where we see a direct correlation between Yoga and Activism; both deeply rooted in community. The growing popularity of yoga at this time of global transformation and shift of inward search for our own humanity is not a coincidence.

If we look at the definition of a Yogi it is someone who strives to live in harmony with the earth, our environment and embracing the connection with another; which is at the heart of belonging.

A yogi seeks self-realization through the practice of action to become a more centered and rounded partner of society. By living in an other-centered way rather than a self-centered way, the yogi lives harmoniously with the earth, with all beings and things, and ultimately with oneself. This is the very way of life that is reflected in our leaders who have taken compassionate action towards a better world.

The practice of yoga on the mat can provide us with very practical skills to enable us to dismantle our present negative culture, a culture of dis-ease, based upon the exploitation of the earth and injustice of our fellow human and to act with non-violence to shift the paradigm towards social change.

So the next time you are on your mat, think about how you can transfer the loving, compassionate traits evoked from your practice and take them off the mat.  Imagine individuals and organizations connected by a shared commitment to compassionate, positive action….that’s most definitely Fierce Action!

Transform.  Inspire.  Enable

YOUR PATH TO PRANAYAMA

breathe deep and relax

We know that the word “prana” means life force and “pranayama”  in Yoga means “breath control” or deep diaphragmatic breathing; which is crucial to both sustaining life, as well as relaxation.

But did you know your diaphragm does more then just help you breathe deeper and cultivate prana? 

Deep breathing establishes the mind-body connection needed to regulate our autonomic nervous system (ANS); which can become under-active or over-active with higher levels of stress, tension and the daily hustle and bustle of our urban lifestyle.

The ANS is comprised of the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and the sympathetic Nervous System (SNS); which are responsible for regulating the body’s involuntary functions; which includes the movement of the diaphragm, breathing, circulation, muscle contractions and how you got into the Yoga posture you are practicing right now!

When we meditate or sleep all of these processes slow, along with our breath and we reach a steady state of deep breathing, which is controlled and methodical.  

However, daily stress, tension, muscle fatigue and anxiety can obstruct the fluidity of breathing leaving us with shallow, rigid breathing patterns. This results in unbalanced or impaired autonomic responses that restrict the flow of energy in our body, thus weakening our prana.  

Deep diaphragmatic breathing exercises engage the diaphragm, abdominal wall and rib-cage which improves the inner space within the abdomen for the organs to move freely.

Practicing your pranayama helps to circulate freshly oxygenated blood throughout the system, improves mental clarity and activates the PSNS by stimulating the vagus nerve; which induces the relaxation response, and provides a healthy respite from chronic stress.

Your Path to Pranayama can begin in a relaxed seated or supine posture. Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly:

  • Steady your mind.
  • Breathe more slowly.
  • Breathe more deeply, from the belly.
  • Exhale longer than you inhale. 
  • Cultivate Pranayama

Happy Breath makes Happy Prana!

Sources:

*  Full Path to Pranayama article can be found here:  “The Da!ly Muse” YogaFORM’s official blog site.  http://gimmedailymuse.wordpress.com/  

* Yoga Anatomy: author Leslie Kaminoff and The Breathing Project, Inc – NYC

YOGA: DO YOU MOVE WITH INTELLIGENCE?

A  well worn “Post-It” sits on my bedside table adorning this phrase; “Action is movement with intelligence” by B.K.S Iyengar; a mantra or better yet a metaphor for pretty much anything we do in life, on and off the mat. 

Question is…how often do we practice it?

Last night I stumbled upon an intriguing article from the NY Times called “Stretch/ When Yoga Hurts” by Lizette Alvarez and it reminded me of how necessary it is to take the time to move with careful precision and be mindful of limitations in our body.

 The foundation of her article outlines the exponential rise of injuries in Yoga over the last several years. Her top 2 findings below are agreeably valid:

1. The overzealous, eager student (we have all been there).

2. Poor alignment and bio mechanical asymmetries.

 As a YogaFORM teacher, Movement & Performance Coach I work daily with clients on corrective strategies to become more kinesthetically aware of their own unique mechanics, and it makes a world of difference on and off the mat.

Yoga is one of the best forms of therapeutic movement; as it provides an atmosphere where one can practice internal awareness, and become aware of their limitations while working towards methodical corrective mechanics.

 Therefore, to build upon my “Post-It’, intelligent action and movement implies focusing on improving the responsiveness in the body for an all encompassing awareness.

This means that each movement we make and the corresponding transitional movements require exquisite observational skill and mastery to cultivate alignment and prepare the body for automatic responsive sequencing. As you continue to observe, adjust and integrate into your postures, this will lead to less strain on the all the muscles, bones, joints, (CNS) Central Nervous System and (PSNS) Parasympathetic Nervous System responses.

When we move and act with intelligence and intention we open channels within our structural framework that results in improved alignment, a nurturing sense of balance and steadiness in postures for better symmetry overall. 

How’s your form? Do you move with intelligence?

Sources:  

NY Times article: Stretch/ When Yoga Hurts, by Lizette Alvarez: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/24/24stretch/

 YogaFORM Links: www.fittotrain.com.  Blogroll: http://gimmedailymuse.wordpress.com/

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