The (Move)ment Re(evolution)

The (Move)ment Re(evolution)

human movement 1

What is movement?  Have you ever taken a moment to ask yourself and define, what is movement? In our modern age of innovation and creation, I have spent the last decade researching what this concept is; both from the standpoint of biology and physiology in forms of energy on the humanistic level, but also understanding the movement of interdependence in relation to our surroundings.  Over the course of the last several years this idea of “movement” in the health and fitness industry has started to take shape, transform and manifest a trend that many ask; what is it, why is it, and is it here to stay?

Movement Defined:

If we “google” the word “movement,”  (seems like a good place to start as any), there is no true definition of the word itself, it seems it is subjective and can mean many things. Wikipedia (movement as in a clock) suggests ; “movement is the internal mechanism of a timepiece.” Wikipedia goes on to include sub divisions in art and music, motor control for human physiology and onward to a social movement, as in a revolution of sorts. All applies.

At the simplistic level, I feel that this, all of this, is true and if we look closer we can see that they all have varying degrees of commonality. Humans are a timepiece, are we not? Everything in our internal mechanism is constantly in a state of movement and change – we grow, develop, evolve, age, slow down, speed up etc. We are in a constant state of internal dance.

One of the best descriptions of “movement,” I have heard most recently, is by Ido Portal, born and raised in Israel he is a pioneer of movement culture. Literally, that’s his company as well! his video has been shared around the globe and what I love about this dude is the first thing he says is; “I don’t do exercise, that’s not what I do, I talk about movement. Fitness is a small, small, small world within the universe of movement.” He is bang on.

Historically, movement has been used to express emotions and in language to express creative thought, and we can see throughout history that dance and music has been part of almost every cultural lineage as a means to tell stories of epic grandeur and to express one’s inner soul to the world, to be closer to family and to ones spiritual path, to release energy.

The Flow of energy:

Any infinite state of being has energy. Every living thing, human, animal, plant, water, air, earth and fire – is all comprised of energy and is in a constant state of motion, a constant state of flow. As an athlete I was introduced to movement as a young child, dabbling in ballet and dance, then gymnastics for a short term, then martial arts for the past 10 years. Each with it’s own style and expression of movement and motion.

In my professional career, apart from the obvious Yoga Teacher Training and Strength and Conditioning Certifications, I was first introduced to the “free movement” concept when I started playing around with the Functional Movement Systems, over a decade ago.

This system is usually thought of and represented in our industry, as a screening tool to address and identify dysfunction or breakdowns in movement patterning in the human form.  By breaking down the joint by joint approach, the FMS  combined the science of movement, but with a more clinical approach to help bridge the gaps in treatment and diagnosis to prevention and evolving ones perspective on how each joint relates to the other etc.

A school of thought that was born out of the neuro developmental process and paediatric development fields, by researching how we, as infants use motor control, how we do what we do.  As babies we are not told to move, we just do. We weren’t taught to fire our core, or told how to roll over or to use our limbs. We weren’t taught to crawl or walk; it is genetically coded in our DNA. Movement is the expression of our own internal and external connection to our world.

Most recently, over the last 3 years, working full time in a clinic and a sports environment with the FMS systems and Fit to Train Human Performance Systems, I find many people, young and old do not explore movement as we did as children and the body breaks down as a result of de stabilization, and loss of joint mobility. When we are not free to move, our health deteriorates. It’s as simple as that.

Our industry, the industry of fitness is great, however, it does segregate and break up methodologies in order to understand how they can apply to us, but at the same time – they are not separate. For so long I have heard phrases such as: “I can’t lift weights, I am an endurance runner,” or ” only cardiovascular exercise will result in weight loss,” or ” I can’t lift weights, I’ll bulk up.”These phrases are still part of our industry and a re education is deeply necessary to overcome the exclusion of our disciplines and to resurrect the inclusion of natural movement and play.

Now, re educating that to clients who want to lose weight, want to rehab an injury, want to be pain free is the hardest, but also most rewarding part of my job. Every day I have the opportunity to show clients how to improve their well being by proving the quality of movement, rather than merely the quantity is the key component in flow – in going beyond just the movement. When we flow from one movement to the next, with intention and purpose, controlled and methodical appreciation of every joint, muscle, system, breath and connection – we are in flow and we begin to see things differently, we being to feel a way of life, not a moment or fragment in time.

The Movement Revolution:

Yoga and Martial Arts are ancient forms of, what I call a dance of the soul. 5,000 years ago, it was not taught as a form of “exercise” or merely a way to find your Qi in “meditation.” It was and still is a flow of life, our energy force, our communion with ourselves and our surroundings and it is a way of being, not a “thing.”

Yet, it has given birth to many methods of modern day “movement” based trends that are gaining leverage in our industry as the best way to live a fulfilling, happy, enriched life.


Scott Sonnon: TacFit CST & Intu Flow:

“Youth is the ability to adapt and remain in flow.” – Scott Sonnon

Last year I was introduced to a pioneer in this field of movement, none other than Scott Sonnon, founder of the discipline of joint mobility, a world renowned joint mobility program called the Intu-Flow Longevity System.

In addition to this he has created RMAX International, with disciplines such as; Prasara Yoga, the TacFit CST (Circular Strength Training), TacGYM, TacFit Police, TacFit Commando, Recuper8 etc. All of which bring to light the necessary structure and education of movement with purpose that outlines a scope a practice beneficial for any person or professional designation.

You will have to wait till next week to learn more about Scott’s empire when we take a closer look at Intu Flow and Wolf Systems mobility yoga classes.

To learn more about Scott Sonnon, watch this video on how he started his journey in flow:


John Wolf of Wolf Fitness Systems: Evolution Kettlebell Groundworks

Next up, I was introduced to John Wolf, founder and alpha male of “Wolf Fitness Systems.” John is also the Director of US Operations for RMAX International with Scott Sonnon. I sourced out to find John Wolf after watching a video from TacFit Police, as I was pursuing a career in law enforcement last year; which is still a large part of my vision. Learning more about his work with TacFit CST, and Intu Flow, as well as his own creation of the movement discipline called “EKG (Evolution Kettlebell Groundwork);  a style of training that combines the movement discipline of the joint by joint mobility approach, as well as building strength and endurance with kettle-bells, club-bells, and circular body weight training.

Next week I will be flying down to Salinas California to meet John and “The Pack” and to experience first hand this style of training full force.

To see EKG movement in real time, check out this video edited by ESIK Productions:

Through John, I linked up with Animal Flow founder Mike Fitch and through Fit to Train Human Performance Systems I was connected with MoveNat. Two organizations speaking the same language – that movement, play and exploration are at the heart of flow and living a fulfilled life.

human movement 3

MovNat and Animal Flow:

Two more pioneers and leaders in our industry, I have had the pleasure to connect with is MovNat, an organization that teaches real-world physical competency and conditioning based on natural human movement skills, to support a lifetime of physical activity. Their movement skills focus on locomotive skills (walking, running, balancing, jumping etc), as well as utilizing manipulative skills (throwing, carrying, lifting, catching) and combative skills (grappling, striking, hunting… back in the day).

The other is Global Body Weight Training Systems and Animal Flow founded by industry leader Mike Fitch. Animal Flow is a primal workout system combining animalistic movements with elements of Parkour, break dancing, and gymnastics in a freestyle flow of fluid movement that he coins is intense and fun, and I would have to agree.

To learn more about Animal Flow check it out here:

To learn more about MovNat check it out here:

Are you evolving?

Exercise and movement is evolving, and thus are we. Movement will set you free. A revolution in movement is upon us and over the course of the next 4 weeks, I will be offering an in-depth look at movement and exploration my own energy flow, showcasing some of the work of these disciplines. This will involve gruelling hours of play time, jumping, balancing, throwing my body weight around and a few kettlebells in the den, in the park and wherever Salinas takes me and I will be documenting it all.

  • Part 1:  Intu Flow and Prasara Yoga
  • Part 2: Animal and Primal Movement
  • Part 4: Evolve Your Groundwork with Circular Strength Training and EKG
  • Part 3: Tactical Movement for Tactical Response

Look out VanCity because I could possible bring back John Wolf and his Pack and introduce TacFit CST and EKG to the Canadian masses. This is a revolution you will want to be a part of. It will change your life, are you ready to evolve? If you are then, the below leaders should be on your radar.


Injuries in Contact Sports: Rugby and the FMS Approach

Injuries in Contact Sports: Rugby and the FMS Approach

rugby canada

This past week I have seen 3 Rugby players of all ages, with all very unique goals and strengths stream into our clinic at Fit to Train Human Performance Systems. Each player shows some signs of dysfunction in movement that could potentially cause serious injury if not addressed, assessed and cleaned up. What I love about working with athletes is their drive and dedication to learn more about how to fine tune their mechanics for improved performance. More importantly, they are prepared with the mental fortitude to not look at weakness in the body as a negative, but to see it as an opportunity to mold, re pattern and adapt – to be stronger, fitter and more in tune with their surroundings.

Before, we move on to positional injuries, prevention and key pointers, let’s look at what’s happening  on the fields of one of the world’s most sought after sports.

Rugby Canada Sevens and Canadian U20 Men’s Team Tryouts:

Perhaps it’s the anticipation of our very own Rugby Canada Team playing in round 5 next week in the Sevens World series against Kenya, or perhaps it’s the anticipation of who will play for our Canadian U20 Men’s Team. Whichever, it may be, fans are in a tizzy, eagerly waiting.

First round of try outs for the U20 team were held on January 24th, in Shawnigan Lake, at the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence. 44 players from across the country were asked to come out, and only 26 – 30 players will make the team.

Completing a large selection makes for difficult decisions by Head Coach Mike Shelley and his selection team. “We’re working towards cutting it down to the 26 players that we’ll be taking to Chile for the Junior World Trophy in Chile in late May, early June” said Shelley.

Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world alongside soccer and cricket. Yes, it’s true now soccer in some countries is also considered football. So let’s say Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world alongside, soccer, football and cricket and has been gaining popularity, with more than 80,000 players registered with USA Rugby, 20,000 of these players are high school age. In Canada over 73,000 players of all ages, with over 55,000 of those athletes in high school as well.

With so many young athletes; it makes sense to focus our attention on injury prevention before an injury occurs, does it not? Yet, so many teams still treat, rather than prevent. When a team mate has to sit on the sidelines – the whole team suffers.

Do Not Sit on the Sidelines:

Due to the high numbers of physical collisions and tackles, musculoskeletal injuries are common. Fractured bones, dislocated fingers and elbows, cuts, sprained ligaments and strained tendons or muscles and deep muscle bruises. Let us not forget to mention elbows to the nose, cracked ribs, torn ACL/ MCL and of course bruised egos.

In a literature review for the BokSmart Program of SA Rugby, Murphy (2009) (Rugby Safety Program in South Africa) mentions that the lower limb is most prone to injury in the professional leagues. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (2004) mentions that the majority of studies have shown that the head and neck is the most common site of match injuries in senior rugby league players, while knee injuries are the most common site of injury in junior rugby league players.

The review goes on to cite a fairly recent South African based study done where the hip and pelvis accounted for 19% of all injuries and the knee followed as the second most commonly injured area, at 13 %.


Positions Play a Factor:

From a positional perspective it seems that its dependant on the country we look at for review.  In Australia, Murphy (2009), mentions that the scrumhalf is least at risk of injury overall, even though The locks are at greatest risk of facial cuts and cauliflower ear (external deformity to the ear caused by repeated blows).

A study conducted in Scotland in 2012 found that the majority of injuries were in the backline, with the wing sustaining most of the injuries at 21.6% and the centre next at 18.9%.  In Argentina, the flanker, at 16%, is injured the most. They also found that 53.3% of all injuries sustained by the forwards were specifically to the front row forwards.  Forwards are more frequently injured than backs because of their greater involvement in physical collisions and tackles.

These studies didn’t showcase players in rucks and mauls, but these injuries commonly occur to fingers and thumbs as well as abrasions and lacerations from cleats.

Stages of Injury: Pre-Season vs In-Season

The majority of training injuries occur in the early stages of the season, while match injuries occur in the latter stages of the season, suggesting that changes in training and playing intensity may influence the incidence of injury in rugby league.

Rugby demands the running and endurance of soccer combined with the contact and tackling that is similar to football. With running and fast cutting there is the potential for overuse injuries like tendinitis and bursitis. More common, however are traumatic injuries sustained during collisions with other players and/or the ground during scrumming, rucking, and tackling.

Prevention is Key:

Speaking of the U20, there is no one better to talk with than Coach Chamberlain. A UBC Thunderbird Alumni, and CFL vet, Mr. Bill Chamberlain coaches (and teachers) with Saint Georges High School in Vancouver; one of the most prestigious private schools known for cultivating and grooming leaders in our athletic community (Rugby being one of them).

Coach Chambo (as he’s called by his players) says, “Common injuries tend to be shoulders, hamstring pulls, knees, but lately its been hip stuff, “ says Coach Chamberlain.

When asked about the gaps in conditioning that may lead to injury he says; “the gap for me (as a Coach) is that the kids are working out more now and earlier on now. They have access to more then we ever did as far as how to get bigger, faster, and stronger but the gap for me seems to be in the flexibility area. Flexibility needs to be emphasized way more. But I am certainly not and expert. Try convincing teenagers to put down the biceps curls and squats and do more yoga…… That’s the tough part.

Coach Chamberlain is right! Flexibility ….more so mobility… needs to play a larger part in our young players up and comers success.

Let’s Narrow the Playing Field to  the Hips and the Spine:

After researching most common injuries and prevention techniques on how to prevent hip and spinal injuries, I found that the majority of articles out there was focused on traditional strength training and isolation exercises to..let’s say… “strengthening the lower back.” If it’s tight or hurts that must mean it’s weak right? Wrong!

One of the benefits to coaching the FMS systems and using this approach of screening, assessment and corrective intervention is that we focus on training movement patterns to not only identify dysfunctional movement and compensation in the body, but to also address the compensation patterns to “why” the injury occurred, what else has shifted in the body and how to clean up the pain and structural trauma, but also ensure the injury is not repeated.

When we look at the statistics of what positions have higher rates of injury we can also deduce how the injury most likely occurred. If the player can recollect the incident then we can also simulate and take into account the approximate angle, velocity, torque, and to a degree determine the undue stress placed upon the other structures and surrounding tissue. This, in its own right will have a compensation pattern that needs to be taken into account when treating a player for an acute injury.

Let’s review the “strength the lower back” again..


Training Isolation vs. Movement:

When I come across articles mentioning: “to reduce back injuries in Rugby and contact sports: strengthen the lower back,” I immediately ask why and how? I also ask what is the state of the other joints? The hips? The knees? How about the T spine? What about core stability? Yes, I said it – Core Stability.

Most Rugby players that are fit can plank for an hour. I could do push-ups on their back for an hour and they will plank like a champ, but does this mean that when they stand up, brace when running at top speed, cutting in and out, and then rotate to block (or take a block) of an opponent that their core will fire appropriately and be able to take on the rotational load without straining their back? My point is – we are not just talking about the back. We need to take a step back from the Kinesiology 101 class and see the body as a moving machine, not an isolated series of nuts, bolts and chains.

Isolating the lower back will not always deter injury. If it isn’t weak and you strengthen it more, you reduce the mobility and the joints above and below it will also have to either become more mobile and thus unstable. We must ensure we look at the whole picture.

Prevention of Back and Spinal Injuries in Rugby:

The lumbo-pelvic region of the hip complex sits at the cross roads of mechanical stress. Lack of motor control and instability can be replaced by generalized stiffness as a survival strategy, giving it the feeling of “weakness.”

Moving farther down the Rugby rabbit hole; ribs, vertebrae, and lots of muscle and fascia crisscrossing the front and the back of the thorax cause thoracic stiffness. Now, we don’t necessarily need a lot of mobility there, but in contact sports we want as much as we can get so that we have the elasticity of tissue to take on force. The low back or thoracolumbar fascia need to be stiff because it protects our organs. The back body most often takes the hit, as the anterior body  braces for impact or pushing through.

Apart from your thoraco-lumbar fascia, this also connects to your lower limb mechanics, via the glutes and hamstrings. The hamstrings are called bi-articular muscles because they cross both the hip and knee joints. This is an important consideration because a hamstring injury can affect your hips, low back, knees, and the motion patterns of the entire lower extremity.  Adductor pulls and groin pulls are also common in rotational injuries.  If we consider fascial connections (posterior line), we will see that a hamstring injury can affect a very large area and vice versa. If you have a back injury it can pull on this entire line and place undue stress on your anterior line AND your spiral line (one of the lines that support rotation).

This is why, I say strengthening the back or isolated exercises will not allow the athlete to properly prevent injuries from re occurring, and it rarely fixes the problem. What I do, is look at the most asymmetrical movements and apply that to the acute injury.


In our case we are talking about the spine and lower back. Therefore, when I assess my clients who specifically play contact sports,  I pay close attention to the following:

1. ASLR, and ask if it’s asymmetrical (1/3 or even even 2’s) I then break it down, is it a mobility issue or is it motor control? We are talking hamstring, hip flexors and quads, femoral movement in the hip socket, lumbo pelvic stability and trunk engagement.

2. Shoulder Mobility, most often there will be an asymmetry because of ball handling, bracing, protecting and repeated game dependent movement patterns

3. Core stability in movement and assess breathing mechanics in a range of positions. Notice I did not say the Trunk Stability Push Up Test (TSPU), primitive position (prone) showcases just the trunk in a “plank” variation. This does not always show true weakness. When we apply the load of gravity in standing and in movement, start to notice if the athlete can properly engage and balance intra abdominal pressure. Do they understand the mechanics of breath and integration of the nervous system etc?


Contact sports will incur injuries – that’s a fact, and we ladies love a good scrimmage. Ensuring you prevent injuries means taking a preventative approach and learning as much as you can about your own unique mechanics before injury occurs.  If you are at the high school level, you are in the prime time developmental stages of grooming your performance, so hit all the angles, not just the heavy loads and pushing weight. Understanding that muscle length, muscle and fascia tensegrity and elasticity will help you absorb force and re bound out of tackle quicker and more safely. Any type of “flexibility training” or “mobility” training needs to be unique for you. Yoga for Contact Sports… I may even start a class.

If you are currently treating an injury, ensure your health professional is not just treating the pain, but also taking into account compensations and screening for dysfunction.

The best way to prevent an injury is to be pro active:

  • Practice a balanced and structured training regimen involving strength, flexibility and endurance not just in season, but post season.
  • Seek advice on corrective movement and get screened pre, during and post season.
  • Always use proper technique when tackling, rucking and scrumming.
  • Learn proper positioning during game play to minimize risky moves and anticipate your opponent.
  • Use a quality, properly fitted mouth guard.
  • Participate at a level consistent with ability.
  • Adhering to the rules for the formation of the scrum, no showboating.
  • Ask your athletic trainer/coach or other sports medicine professional about any training or injury questions. We like to give you lots of freebie information.

Watch the next Rugby Canada Sevens game Feb 08th in Las Vegas against Kenya.  Happy Scrumming!




 “Master your body ….. before you try to master your sport.” – Bill LeSuer

With the Superbowl just around the corner, many of the teams leading the pack are sharing some of their claim to fame success stories as to why they excel at their sport.

Most recently, the San Francisco 49ers chalked up their current success to many factors, but one stood out and that is – STRETCHING. Now, when I say “stretching,” I do not mean Yoga or general flexibility in those terms. I mean tissue health and that includes elements of mobility, stability and motor control. In this case, let’s look at mobility that is relative to the functionality of the sport – Football. The game of Champions.

The San Francisco 49ers’ two-year rise from the depths of mediocrity is widely attributed to their ferocious defense and to the speed and agility of their quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.  Some are saying that he might just become the most-bet-on player in Superbowl history, surpassing Peyton Manning. That is one big statement to make.

It’s been 18 years since the San Fran 49ers have advanced to the Superbowl, so why are they playing so good? How’s this for another possibility: Maybe it’s that they stretch a lot?

In the Wall Street Journal on January 16th, Several 49ers  made headlines saying “the explanation is a stretching regimen. We do these old school stretches—heavy, heavy squats with chains, a lot of flexibility, a lot of warming up when a lot of people in the NFL skip warming up,” said safety Donte Whitner. “That’s why we have a good, healthy football team right now.”

The 49ers we are told, stretch religiously (both static and dynamic based). Stretching often gets short shrift compared with weight lifting, agility drills and sprints. Let’s face it, if you want to see the face of determination and aggression, most likely you see a shot of line backer back squatting a small house. However, I can say from personal experience that I have made many a CFL player start to sweat and scrinch his face up with an passive active straight leg raise or trigger point under the scapular region of the shoulder.

In the Wall Street Journal, Mike Bracko, a sports physiologist based in Calgary, said stretching is considered a much lower priority in the NFL than “diets or weight training or jump-training.” However with the being said, the NLF is starting to take a new twist, seeing benefit to not just stretching, but “MOBILITY” training, ensuring their players muscle tissue has the right balance of elasticity and “pull factor” that can withstand the need for speed, quick movements, cutting and, of course stopping a 300lb tank if need be (on the field of off).

I had the honor of corresponding with Mr. Bill LeSuer,  THE retired Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Medical Staff who specializes in Muscle Tissue and Body Work Therapy. His work is known by many professional athletes and teams, and while flying under the radar most of the time, his skills are rated at the top of the list. He says…  “athletes spend thousands of hours training but almost always neglect the single most important factor in human performance….. their muscle tissue.”

Healthy tissue means healthy movement, poor tissue means poor movement, it’s that simple.  More importantly Bill says that when we add undue load to any dysfunctional pattern,” well  that’s a potential injury, is  just a ticking time bomb. Bill’s company “Flexibility Pro,” and his performance treatment techniques, focuses on precise palpation techniques, restoring pliability, flexibility, and range of motion, while at the same time working to remove adhesion’s, contractures, and restrictions in the muscle tissue; which lead to poor movement mechanics. How we stretch, is just as important as why we stretch. This is why I say it’s not just about stretching, it’s muscle tissue health. Stretching is one of the tools, in the muscle tissue toolbox.

FMS & The NFL:

Almost every player in the NFL is screened using the Functional Movement Systems protocol to ensure the coaches work with therapists and medical personnel to catch dysfunction pre season, in season and post. Functional Movement Systems screenings are utilized by several top professional and college sports teams, as well as a host of government agencies, private industries, and noted medical facilities, all over the world.

These organizations understand that it costs more to rehabilitate a team member following an injury than it does to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place. Here are a few of the organizations currently utilizing the functional movement screens:

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Montreal Canadians
  • New York Jets
  • Oakland Raiders
  • Orange County Fire Department
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Secret Service
  • Stanford University
  • Texas A&M
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • United States Government
  • University of Georgia
  • United States Military


FMS – Functional Movement Screen – Functional Movement Screen is a multi-part system used to evaluate the quality of a “movement pattern.” The Functional Movement Screen generates the FMS Score, which is used to target dysfunction in the body and is then further used to track progress through corrective intervention strategies to help restore functionality and normal movement. By screening these patterns, the FMS readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries that can lead to injury. This scoring system is directly linked to the most beneficial corrective exercises to restore mechanically sound movement patterns.

Dysfunction in the body, if left untreated, can reduce the effects of functional training and physical conditioning and can distort body awareness. For this reason, The Functional Movement Systems screening process was created to gauge balance, stability, and mobility.

SFMA – Selective Functional Movement Assessment – The SFMA is a clinical assessment that takes the FMS Screen further. If during the FMS screen the coach and client find pain, this is then either referred to a clinical professional who can assess further, or if in a clinical setting, the professional can then further break that movement down by applying the SFMA Top Tier breakouts.

By addressing the most dysfunctional non-painful pattern, the application of targeted interventions we can focus on capturing injury and further risk of injury and this must include the assessment of body relative movement patterns, not just isolation at the point of pain. When the clinical assessment is initiated from the perspective of full body movement patterns, the clinician has the opportunity to identify meaningful impairments that may be seemingly unrelated to the main musculoskeletal diagnosis but are contributing to the primary complaint (regional interdependence).


Next weekend’s Super bowl game should be one to remember and let’s see if that 49ers new found mobility will bring a Super Bowl championship. In closing, the rule of thumb here for any athlete, or even any weekend warrior is to ensure you create a program that focuses on the long term health of your tissue. It makes sense to take the necessary steps towards catching injuries and breakdowns before they happen. The FMS and applied Corrective Movement strategies can help, but it also takes a team of integrated professionals to get you there. Surround yourself with reputable, caring professionals who work together to offer you to tools towards your best self – your best tissue health.

I know who I am cheering for, what about you?



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!

A Review: Molecules of Emotions

A Review: Molecules of Emotions

“The popular answer is the evolutionary one–that emotions have helped us survive.”


Why Do We Have Emotions?

The word “emotion” dates back to 1579, when it was adapted from the French word émouvoir, which means “to stir up”. However, the earliest precursors of the word likely date back to the very origins of language. Emotion is the generic term for subjective, conscious experience. Emotion is often associated and considered reciprocally influential with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation, as well as influenced by hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline serotonin, oxytocin,  and cortisol.. Emotion is often the driving force behind motivation, positive or negative. (Wikipedia).

An evolutionary answer with a bit more detail is that we’re animals: more aggressive and self-conscious than rivers and plants are. Aggression and the desire to survive that comes with selfhood helped scoot animals up the food chain. If you want to create a system that works hard to survive, make it consciousness and emotional. It will want to keep itself around. On top of that, human beings are the most self-conscious animals. This makes us increasingly invested and crafty in our need for survival.

The Molecules of Emotion:

Candace Pert is a brilliant molecular biologist who was a key figure in the discovery of the endorphin molecule, the body’s natural form of morphine. of a new field of science known as psychoneuroimmunology (Smithsonian, June 1989). Her research into brain biochemistry at the National Institute of Mental Health contributed to a radically new understanding of mind and body.

In  1974, Candace Pert and Saul Sayder discover that the brain has its own receptors for opiates. Opiates such as morphine have long been known to effectively reduce pain. Pert’s and Snyder’s discovery enables other researchers to find opiate-like molecules produced by the brain – endorphins. Today, it is widely known that endorphins, such as those produced during exercise, are the body’s own natural mood enhancers and/or painkillers. Moreover, that the peptides released from nerves that bind to them also play a significant part in  we form the biochemical basis of emotion.

The field of psychoneuroimmunology, although based on exacting research, has had a hard birth. Its core idea is that the surfaces of cells are lined with many specific “receptors” to which only specific molecules can attach themselves. These molecules, in turn, are messengers through which the body and mind, as well as our neurons, glands and immune cells, are all constantly sharing information. In the book Molecules of Emotion Candace’s scientific know how comes to life, in a down to earth, easy to read book that is more like story telling.

The book “Molecules of Emotion” takes us on a journey through the science of the body and brain, but also on a journey of the heart. Emotions play an integral role in our decision making process, what nurtures our instinct, and what drives our wants, desires and basically, our survival.

“Dr. Pert and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health map the locations of receptors for neuropeptides (tiny bits of protein made of strings of amino acids) and find that they are not only present in the brain but they are found in other organs throughout the body. Pert and her team suggest that the biochemical basis of emotion involves the presence of these molecules in both body and mind. Pert’s theory echoes what William James suggested in 1884 when he proposed that emotions are located everywhere in the body, and not exclusively in the brain. Pert believes that the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are interlocked in a body-wide system where each part can communicate with every other part. This concept challenges the prevailing idea that the mind has power over the body. Instead, according to Pert, bodily emotions are the key. “Emotions are the nexus between mind and matter, going back and forth between the two and influencing both.” ” (the new medicine, 2005).

In Chapter 7, “The Biochemicals of Emotion” Pert writes;  ” I should say first that some scientists might describe the idea of a biochemical basis for the emotions as outrageous. It is not, in other words, part of the established wisdom even now. Indeed, coming from a tradition where experimental psychology textbooks (which focus on the observable and measurable) do not even contain the word emotions in the index, it was not without a little trepidation that I dared to start talking about their biochemistry. I grew bolder in 1984 when Paul Ekman, a highly respected psychologist who studies human emotions at the University of San California in San Francisco, introduced me to Charles Darwin’s book on the subject.  If the great Charles Darwin had thought it important, than surely I was on firm ground. In “Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals,” Darwin explained how people everywhere have common emotional facial expressions, some of which are also shared by animals. “

Pert cities Ekman more than once in her book and notably so considering their work both independently has been instrumental in the area of “emotions.” For more than 40 years, Paul Ekman has supported the view that emotions are discrete, measurable, and physiologically distinct. Ekman’s most famous work revolved around the finding that certain emotions appeared to be universally recognized, even in cultures that were preliterate and could not have learned associations for facial expressions through media. His research findings led him to classify six emotions as basic: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise, and later on in the 1990’s Ekman further broke down these 6 emotions into further sub-categories. For example; to add under Happiness, we can also include joy, pride, achievement, optimism, contentment, etc and under Anger, we can include; disgust, guilt, embarrassment, envy. All these sub-emotions, or sub categories are unique because of their unique facial expressions.

This journey towards understanding our emotions has not been an easy one. Part of the difficulty in this area of science, is because our experiences are so complex and involve so many different factors, so distinguishing one emotion from another is a lot like drawing lines of sand in the desert. It can be hard to determine where one emotions ends or another begins. Tony Robbins, a prominent speaker on self improvement, NLP and everything awesome, states that humans have over 500 notable emotions, yet we only use on average 12.

“The physiology of emotions has been preserved and observed again and again over evolutionary eons and across species. “Why do we feel what we feel?  How do our thoughts and emotions affect our health? Are our bodies and minds distinct from each other or do they function together as parts of an interconnected system?” – Pert

These are just some of the questions Pert discusses in her book “Molecules of Emotions.” Therefore, is it not safe to say that emotions are a very real part of what not only makes us human, but connects us to all living things on our earth?

Next week we will look at the idea structure behind the Somatic Theory of Emotions.


A Review of 2012: Great Authors, Great Insight

A Review of 2012: Great Authors, Great Insight

With the end of 2012 coming to a close, it is a time for all of us to look back on great memories, and to look forward to many more great memories to come. For me, 2012 has marked a period of evolutionary grow, where I have learned to let go, to embrace my vulnerability and my strength and a chance to truly embody my life’s purpose. Now, there is still much work to be done and I feel that 2013 will my year, as I hope it will be your year to grow, proper, find love and joy and happiness.

In today’s article, I share with you some of my top blog artists, authors and people of raw awesomeness!

Yours in Health,

Sarah Jamieson


Brene Brown:

Ordinary Courage Blog Series:

Below are some of my favourite readings and chapters from Brene’s book “Daring Greatly.” Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Brené is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (2012). She is also the author of The Gifts of Imperfection (2010), and I Thought It Was Just Me (2007).

“ If we truly want a more compassionate world, we must dare greatly and take actions that communicate to veterans or military families that they are not alone. Actions that communicate, “Your struggle is my struggle. Your trauma is my trauma. Your healing is my healing.” ~ Brene Brown



Gabby Bernstein:

Gabrielle Bernstein is making her mark. Expanding the lexicon for the next generation spiritual seekers, Gabrielle is a #1 bestselling author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life – A hip guide to happiness and Spirit Junkie – A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles. In January 2013 she launches her new book May Cause Miracles (published by Random House.) Gabrielle is also the founder of the social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Manifesting!

(Posted: November 27th, 2012)

“Manifesting” is such a buzzword these days, but what exactly does it mean? Let me demystify it for you. Here’s the deal: We’re all super attractors. We all have the power to co-create our reality. The only problem — often we use our power wrongly. We think we’re playing magic tricks with the Universe when really we just need to be more creative. In this video, I share my favorite tips for artfully co-creating your reality. Want to kick it up a notch?”

Video Link for Gabby’s Vlog: 

Seth Godin:

SETH GODIN has written fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.


Believing What We Want to Believe

(Posted: December 27, 2012)

Human beings, thanks to culture and genetics, are inclined to be pessimistic, fearful, skeptical and believers in conspiracy theories. We also don’t like change.

The marketer (products, government, religion, whatever) that decides to trade in any of these glitches has a tremendous advantage. It’s far easier to create fear than to soothe it, far easier to argue for a conspiracy than to prove that one doesn’t exist.

When we find ourselves rewarding our instincts instead of reality, we often make poor choices. Of course, sometimes there’s a good reason to be afraid or to imagine that a secret conspiracy is at work. Not often, though.

When confronted by a mass of facts and nothing but instinct or tribal confirmation on the other side, it might be worth revisiting why we choose to believe what we believe.



Cliff Harvey:

Cliff Harvey (ND, Dip.Fit, HbT, Adv.Psych-K, Reiki lll) is a Naturopath, author and speaker specialising in holistic performance nutrition and mind-body-spirit medicine. He teaches people how to give themselves the chemical building blocks of health (great nutrition) and how to integrate new patterns of behaviour and actions to achieve their life, health and performance goals.

Leading or Convincing?

(Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012)

My good friend Coach Bott of Human Motion Strength & Conditioning  once said something that really stuck with me; ‘I’m not here to convince anyone of anything’.

We have all been in discussions and tried to convince people that our position or our perspective is the ‘right’ one, and having all been in this position we can see how in most cases it is futile.

I think most of us have been in the position too of not having a thought of convincing others that our way is the right one, but instead simply doing what we know and believe to be the right thing. And hey presto, people begin following!
When we lead with conviction and a clear sense of purpose people will follow for the simple reason that they are being given a role model that inspires them, and most importantly that they do not feel that they are being sold anything.

We’re just out there doing our thing, doing the work and inspiring people along the way.

You can spend your valuable time and energy trying to convince people of your position, or you can act and do something to make a positive change in the world.”



Fantastic and Zen-Mind Blowing Blogs to Follow:



“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

Pain Series Part 3: Top 7 Corrective and Restorative Therapies for Chronic Pain

Pain Series Part 3: Top 7 Corrective and Restorative Therapies for Chronic Pain

Movement-based therapies such as yoga, tai chi, qigong and more mainstream forms of exercise are gaining acceptance in the world of chronic pain management. Many pain clinics and integrative medicine centers now offer movement-based therapy for pain caused by (dis)eases; like cancer and cancer treatment, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and other (dis)eases and conditions.

Here I offer you seven of my top therapies that I have used  on and off to manage injuries, back pain, IBS and intermittent colitis, as well as coached clients through or referred clients, which has resulted in better movement, overcoming pain and restoration of their well-being.

In my own practice I am able to pull from a gambit of tools; where , Yin Yoga, deep breathing, NLP guided brain wave work and corrective transitional movement are part of my weekly pain management regime. Apart from what I can guide myself through, we all know that a support system and integrated teach is key. You can’t do it all yourself. Therefore, many of the therapies listed below I cycle in every 4-6 weeks. The first step is to always remember to honor the process and have patience as you progress. The second step is to ensure you keep moving. Humans are made to move, we are not meant to be stagnant. The less you move the more you will “feel” pain, your fascia will stiffen and you will lose strength. Train smart, not hard and take time to re build the trust in your training. The third step is understanding that there will be obstacles, detours and pit stops along the way. Like all things in life – unpredictability is a constant, so be prepared to have feedback from your body. In the beginning, your pain may increase, but this is a natural response, a protective response. If you keep your pain as an observer and your goal of living pain free as your driver, your body will respond as such, just give it time. Every step you take makes you stronger and brings you that much closer to the well-being you wish to achieve.


Yin Yoga & Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Yoga and the art of pranayama are ancient systems developed in India that address the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the individual. Studies have shown its positive effect on stress through a decrease in serum cortisol levels and increase in brain alpha and theta waves. It may also be of benefit by increasing self-awareness, relaxation on physical and emotional levels, respiration, and self-understanding (Nespor, 1991). Decreased stress may positively influence the emotional component of pain. On this basis, it has been advocated as part of a multimodality program for back pain (Nespor, 1989). In clinical studies, yoga has reduced the pain of osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome (Garfinkel, 2000), and promoted stress reduction and positive mood (Kerr, 2000; Schell, 1994). These are just a few of the many studies that show Yoga as an instrumental benefit to anyone living with chronic pain.

Committing to a regular practice of deep breathing is the first place to start. Learning how to train the body and mind to move with breath will help, not only to break down that protective “turn on” of our auto stress response, which leads to contraction and “tightness,”  deep breathing will help release and relax tissue, as well as work to supplies every organ with necessary oxygen and blood to help restore function.


Scott Sonnon, Intu-Flow and Prasara Yoga: 

NLP Integration and Somatic Healing:

The power of language goes beyond words. Combining the methods of NLP and Yoga; two powerful schools of thought; you can experience the transformational tools that can lead you towards breaking down barriers that hold you back from greater potential. A private yoga setting is the perfect space to connect the body and mind through practiced, sequential postures; while utilizing the power behind guided meditation and language to encourage your consciousness to overcome obstacles, de stress, restore and rejuvenate.

Meditation is proven to have a huge influence on brain activity and physical response. Meditation produces significant increases in activity in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for positive characteristics like optimism and resilience, as well as “higher” executive functions. By tapping into the mindfulness of meditation and focused movement, you can reduce stress levels, by reducing the production of cortisol and regulate your adrenal glands (the organs designed for fight or flight). This in turn encourages your immune system to function in optimal levels.

Somatic education emerged during the twentieth century, but has been practiced in Eastern traditions for centuries. Western science classifys somatic healing and somatic education; a term used interchangeably, as an internalized learning process which is initiated by a teacher who guides the client or student through a sensory-motor process of physiological change.

When we speak of self-teaching, self-learning, self-healing, and self-regulation, we know that this is a somatic process, and as coaches and teachers we must guide our clients to the understanding that these are genetically-given capacities intrinsic to all human beings. When we combine guided meditation and yoga, the body can undergo a transformation.

NLP Integration:

Corrective Movement:

Repetition in movement and altered movement patterns through compensation can cause imbalances in the body and increase the high sensory stress response in clients with chronic pain. This can lead to changes in the elasticity of the tissue. And as most of us know when we feel pain, we tend to do less; which leads to the body getting weaker and the tissue getting tighter. This fear of movement is the number one cause that continues the viscous cycle of pain.

There is evidence that if you perform slow paced movements with regular breathing and slow the heart rate, you can calm or quiet the autonomic nervous system. Slow paced, corrective movement can ensure a client’s success towards moving away from pain and moving into a more stable and pain free existence. This tempo and focused intention can target the pathways by shutting off or diminishing the inflammatory response that causes chronic pain. Many of my clients who suffer from chronic pain show better movement and reduced tightness, tone and neuropathy after 12 weeks of consistent corrective movement 2 times per week.

Functional Movement Systems: Understanding Corrective Movement  Video:

Tai Chi  (Taiji) and Qigong:  

are gentle movement practices that have been used for centuries in China for health. As a form of exercise and relaxation they have been used to improve balance and stability, reduce pain and stress, improve cardiovascular health, and promote mental and emotional calm and balance. In the area of pain management, scientific studies have shown their benefit in reducing stress, as evidenced by alpha and theta brain wave increases, increases in B endorphin levels and drop in ACTH levels (Ryu, 1996). Effectiveness has also been shown for complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic low back pain when combined with education and relaxation training (Creamer, 2000; Berman, 1997). Studies continue to clarify the mechanisms of action, benefits and applications of these movement practices for health maintenance and disease management.

Shou-Yu Liang (SYL) Wushu Taiji Qigong Institute:

KMI Structural Integration

KMI is expressed in two parallel through awareness of movement and Structural Integration; which is a hands-on form of tactile, kinesthetic communication. This technique allows the client and practitioner engage in precisely structured movement explorations that involve sensing, moving, energy work and relaxation. The design of KMI is to unwind the strain patterns and compensations residing in your body’s locomotors system, restoring it to its natural balance, alignment, length, and ease. Common strain patterns come about from inefficient movement habits, poor posture habits, and our body’s response to our external environment. Individual strain patterns can come from imitation when we are young, from the invasions of injury or surgery or birth, and from our body’s response to traumatic episodes. Compensation begets compensation, and more symptoms. KMI is designed to unwind this process and reduce structural stress. The method depends on a unique property of the body’s connective tissue network.

Structural Integration attempts to make one aware of his/her habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and to expand options for new ways of moving while increasing sensitivity and improving efficiency without increasing in pain.

Sherri Leigh Iwaschuk:


Millions of people worldwide use acupuncture to ease a variety of painful conditions. Ever since the 1970s, when this ancient Chinese tradition debuted in the U.S., Western researchers have sought to understand the phenomenon of acupuncture. Even though there is still some controversy surrounding the scope of this ancient treatment; many swear by it’s healing powers and how it can be an effective tool towards reducing pain. What happens when a needle is inserted into “Acu-points,” the needle stimulates pain-sensing nerves, which trigger the brain to release opium-like compounds called endorphins that circulate in the body. There are some who believe that acupuncture works through a placebo effect, in which the patient’s thinking releases endorphins.  As for myself, I have seen Mon Jef Peters, with Fit to Train and I can say that it has worked wonders for me.

Fit to Train Human Performance Systems:


Osteopathy is a well-established branch of complementary medicineIt is a gentle hands-on treatment that aims to adjust your body’s structure (the alignment of bones, joints and muscles) so that you can function at your best, physically and mentally. The osteopath uses physical manipulation, stretching and massage to correct imbalances in the joints and muscles. Osteopathic treatment can also help problems that seem to have nothing to do with joints. Chronic fatigue, asthma and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have all been successfully treated.

Correcting joint imbalances and postural problems allows your body to heal itself, freeing blood circulation and trapped nerves.

Roderia Ostepathy Wellness Art:

Additional Articles and Links:



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 –



There has been a growing concern amongst the health and wellness community, and this concern is chronic pain. More and more clinicians and trainers are having clients come to them with pain they are struggling to diagnose. So, what is chronic pain, and why is it on the rise?

First of all what is pain?

Pain is an defined as an unpleasant feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. Therefore, we know that pain is a signal that tells us there is damage or something is wrong. However, with some pain conditions, the systems (including the brain) are altered. The pain sensory feedback cycle gets turned on repetitively and does not turn off, this is when we go from normal “pain,” to “chronic pain.” While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain occurs, when there is pain that persists over an extended period of time; where the nervous system signals continue to fire.  This altered sate is often referred to as Neuroplasticity (also called brain plasticity, cortical plasticity or cortical re-mapping).

What makes pain “chronic?”

Chronic pain may be divided into “nociceptive” (caused by activation ofnociceptors), and “neuropathic” (caused by damage to or malfunction of the nervous system).

  • Nociceptive pain may be divided into “superficial” and “deep”, and deep pain into “deep somatic” and “visceral”. Superficial pain is initiated by activation of nociceptors in the skin or superficial tissues. Deep somatic pain is initiated by stimulation of nociceptors in ligaments, tendons, bones, blood vessels, fascia and muscles, and is dull, aching, poorly-localized pain.
  • Visceral pain originates in the viscera (organs). Visceral pain may be well-localized, but often it is extremely difficult to locate, and several visceral regions produce “referred” pain when damaged or inflamed, where the sensation is located in an area distant from the site of pathology or injury.
  • Neuropathic pain is divided into “peripheral” (originating in the peripheral nervous system) and “central” (originating in the brain or spinal cord). Peripheral neuropathic pain is often described as “burning,” “tingling,” “electrical,” “stabbing,” or “pins and needles.

Does this sound repetitive? There’s that word again – Neuroplasticity. In the case of chronic pain, the somatotoic representation of the body is inappropriately reorganized following peripheral and central sensitization, and thus causes the signal to remain active. In order to understand the finite complexities, we need to have a good understanding of what “neuroplasticity” is.

What the Stats Tell Us:

Back pain, migraines, un diagnosed digestive issues and other chronic pain affect at 1 in 10 Canadians between the ages of 12 – 44. In 2010, CBC News Health provided a report featuring a case study involving 57,660 respondents, representing 14.6 million Canadians in the younger age range, and about 1 in 10, an estimated 1.5 million answered “no” if they were usually free of pain or discomfort. Among those aged 12-44, chronic pain was associated with back pain. Part of this is due to our lifestyle. We spend more time sitting, at the computer or technological devices, spend more time in cars, constantly seated in school, more and more North Americans are over-weight and over-worked. And when pain occurs, are natural response is to do less, and by this I mean, exercise less, move less and this all contributes to the onset of what is known as chronic pain.

The next question is; what causes it and why? This is the conundrum of our age, it’s extremely hard to treat and prevent something if you cannot diagnose, right? Many people who have chronic pain undergo test after test and the result is NO structural damage, no medical reason? Because, pain can’t be seen, like bleeding, or something structural found on an x-ray; medical professionals are taught to diagnose based on “the level of pain (intensity) must correlate to a specific medical finding.” When it does not, the client’s request and complaint can be easily dismissed because pain is – subjective. Two people with same injury for instance, can subjectively experience that pain in different degrees of pain; which can be based on genetic factors, pain tolerance, stress levels etc. Care must be tailored to each client, but I am getting ahead of myself (hint – teaser for the end of this article on the stigma of chronic pain).   Let’s circle back to one of the bulleted points of chronic pain – neuroplasticity.


We looked at this in a previous article “Neuroplasticity: The Power of the Mind.”  Let’s break it down; the word (from neural – pertaining to the nerves and/or brain and plastic – moldable or changeable in structure) refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses which are due to changes in behavior, environment and neural processes, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury. Let us also remember that the brain; in how it determines pain, does not recognize “mental” pain, from “physical” pain – it just “feels” pain. Therefore, if test, after test, after test comes back “negative” for structural damage, then as the old saying goes… “It’s all in your head.” This is actually partly true, because the brain and nervous system are stuck in “pain,” and that pain is very real to the brain – thus to you.  Part of our journey towards optimal health and wellness and personal human potential is mastering, the mental, emotional and physical self. With every behavioural modification (physical and mental) there is a psychosomatic component; especially, when it comes to chronic pain, and this realm should be taken into account when screening or identifying indicators of chronic pain in a client.

And there is no wonder why so many people in the West are experiencing this phenomenon. In the Western world, we have created an external (and internal) environment of busy, busy, busy, go, go, go, start early-stay late, cram, cram cram, beta, beta, beta (brainwaves)….you get the picture. Brain activity in individuals suffering from chronic pain, measured via  (EEG), has been demonstrated to be altered, suggesting pain-induced neuroplastic changes. More specifically, the relativebeta activity (compared to the rest of the brain) is increased, the relative alpha activity is decreased, and the theta activity both absolutely and relatively is diminished.

Not only are we not getting enough rest (sleep and/or recovery), we usually sacrifice nutrition and exercise to meet a deadline. This all leads to increased stress (ding, ding, ding – auto stress response – beast mode on), increased cortisol levels, increased tension in the fascia and musculoskeletal lines, shallow breathing, decreased circulation and blood flow, decreased mental acuity, anxiety, increased rate of depression, feeling of hopelessness – the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder; our bodies cry out in….pain.  In the experience of pain, communication between body and brain goes both ways. Normally, the brain diverts signals of physical discomfort so that we can concentrate on the external world. When this shutoff mechanism is impaired, physical sensations, including pain, are more likely to become the center of attention.

The Stigma of Chronic Pain:

The human body is a marvelous adaptive organism. Our brains are designed to learn from our environment and adapt. Pain is very different for every person, and it is usually mis understood and undertreated, because our medical system is poorly prepared to treat it.  The stigma stems from mis communication and lack of understanding. Most often those who have chronic pain are prescribed medication to treat it.

In a study done in 2011 by CTV News called “Adults With Chronic Pain Face Stigma: Study,” CTV quoted Dr. Doris K. Cope, pain chief at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center stating; “The population’s getting older and less fit, and more survivors of diseases like cancer live for many years with side-effects from treatments that saved them. Too many patients think a pill’s the answer, she said, when there are multiple different ways to address pain including physical therapy, stress reduction, weight loss and teaching coping skills. Patients who take control of their pain fare better, but too many have unrealistic expectations. Pain is not simple.”

Pain is primitive, but it is also complex and as we have just outlined, it’s highly subjective.

It’s All in The Head: The Psychosomatic Element

In my experience, many of the clients I see for corrective movement and/or somatic healing deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. The anticipation of pain brings about fear of movement, and movement brings about the fear-memory of pain. You see the cycle?

Learning how to trust movement, identify barriers (physical, mental and emotional) is the first step towards removing stressors that contribute to the building blocks of the pain cycle. If a client comes in with high anxiety and pain, these two usually go hand in hand, starting with breathing in a supine (position 1 in FMS) will most likely reduce the level of pain. Why? Because deep breathing triggers the brain to secrete hormones that relax tissue, it also slows heart rate and induced more delta and theta brain wave frequencies. The very brain waves associated with deep relaxation, sleep and recovery. For review take a quick peek at my last article; “meditation for the mind: theta brain waves & your fascia,” and “Ride your brain wave: neuro-synchronicity and your human potential.”

The psychosomatic (mind-body) element; takes into account that the physical pain is almost always notably influenced by the client’s mental and emotional factors; which directly relates to the continued cycle. We will look at this in more depth next week. As coaches, having a background is psychology, NLP or life coaching comes in handy for cases involving both chronic pain and athletes. We all have barriers, fears, past limiting beliefs structured around painful memories. The goal is understanding the intention, the thought and response process and more importantly, how to guide a client towards dis-associating from the pain and re-connecting (re-patterning) with pain free movement AND thinking.

If the psychosomatic element is outside your scope of practice, ensure you refer to a professional. It will make your job a lot easier.

Stay tuned for next week!

Part 2: It’s All In Your Head, will feature the mental and emotional aspects of chronic pain and how you can uncover the power of language behind behavioral change.

Part 3: Movement is the Key, will feature safe and effective movement based, corrective exercises/ drills for chronic pain and how to properly coach a client who has been cleared by a physiotherapist for movement, but still has “pain.”

Don’t forget to follow our facebook page (Fit to Train), here you will find weekly tips, vlogs and resources on all things movement based.


CTV News Study 2011:

Harvard Health Publications:



Movember by Donation Classes in White Rock

Movember by Donation Classes in White Rock

Jeff, Live Yoga, White Rock

By donation Hatha Yoga classes this weekend in support of Movember Canada. All proceeds to this very good cause.  Classes taking place at Live Yoga in White Rock-

Help Jeff raise funds for a worthy cause. He’s growing his ‘stache in support of Movember Canada and raising money for prostate cancer research, a cause dear to his heart.

Bring your Mo brothers and Mo sisters for a by donation MO YOGA MOVEMBER Hatha class.

Two Mo-mentous classes to choose from — come for one or both and bring your friends!

Saturday, Movember 24
Sunday, Movember 25

4:30-5:45pm both classes

By Cash Donation – pay what you can, or what you want (suggested donation $10).

All proceeds go to Movember Canada’s fundraiser for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer research.

Live Yoga
15186 Buena Vista Avenue
White Rock, BC
V4B 1Y3

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