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!


Yoga Social Book Club – March 4 at Banyen Books

Yoga Social Book Club – March 4 at Banyen Books

In the fall, I had the delightful opportunity to join Martina Bell and Angela Kariya for a yoga group book club meeting covering Active Hope, by Joanna Macy (read Angela’s fantastic review here).

The Yoga Social Book Club is meeting again on March 4  (free event at Banyen Books, 7-8:30pm) to discuss Stephen Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life – 10% off at Banyen Books this month! If you have an interest in the theoretical, social, and philosophical underpinnings of yoga, or just want to read a great book and meet new people for discussion, I would strongly suggest making plans to attend the book club meeting.

View full event details here: Great Work of Your Life -Yoga Social Book Club

Martina and Angela provided a warm and open environment for discussion and review of the topics and issued raised in the book. Guided by interesting and engaging questions, the book club got to know each other quickly in an evening of animated discussion, laughter and sharing.

These are two experienced yoga teachers, with a thoughtful and insightful perspective on a wide range of topics. Book club is open to anyone – no need to be explicitly involved in yoga. Just come and enjoy a great evening with interesting and engaging people!

About The Great Work of Your Life:

In this fast-paced age, the often overwhelming realities of daily life may leave you feeling uncertain about how to realize your life’s true purpose. But yoga scholar Stephen Cope says that in order to have a fulfilling life you must discover the deep purpose hidden at the very core of yourself. In The Great Work of Your Life, Cope describes the process of unlocking the unique possibility harbored within every human soul.

About Angela and Martina:

ANGELA KAYIRA & MARTINA BELL are registered yoga teachers in Vancouver. Combined they have been practicing yoga for over 22 years, taught for over 10 years and studied various styles and lineages in Canada, the USA and Europe. They teach Yoga Teacher Trainings at In Life School of Yoga.





 “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?



Give Your Time to the Power of Movement 2013

Give Your Time to the Power of Movement 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To register:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

About Sean:

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



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

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

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


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

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


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

Coming up Next… FEAT CANADA 2013 – SPEAKER 

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

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

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

Wake Up the Teacher Within – Embark on a 200 Hour Teacher Training without the pressure to teach the masses!

Wake Up the Teacher Within – Embark on a 200 Hour Teacher Training without the pressure to teach the masses!

What is a yoga teacher?  A mentor, a guide, someone who inspires and encourages you to go beyond what you believe is possible.

Here’s a little secret about your yoga teacher – it can be found inside you.

Many yoga students search for the elusive guru: someone to lift us out of darkness and illuminate our divine selves. Without a doubt, this teacher is responsible for much guidance, but it is by our own devotion on the mat that we grow and shift. We, as students, do the work. We create the change. We uncover our shadows and reveal that we have an inner guide, who was there all along.

As the cycle unfolds, some of us get stuck along the path. Some of us get the itch to unlock new dimensions of ourselves and go deeper through a 200 Hour Teacher Training.

There’s a misconception that teacher training is only for yogis who want to teach professionally. Not so. All you need is a willingness to work hard (physically and emotionally), an awareness of your insecurities (we all have them!) and a reminder that the teacher you uncover does not need to be on display ever.  You can apply your teacher training skills for self-development, physical prowess or to inspire others until they perhaps conduct their own training one day!

Take the leap, lean into the fear and trust that you will encounter a stronger you through a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – even if you don’t end up teaching!

Remember, this is about uncovering your inner guide, whether or not you utilize that part of yourself to inspire others.  Choose a 200 Hour program with a teacher whom you are overjoyed to spend a month with and jump in with your whole body and heart. If you give your all, you may receive more than you had ever imagined.

** Start your epic journey of Teacher Training… Come to Thailand in June 2013 with Clara Roberts Oss and Carolyn Anne Budgell for a 200 Hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training and connect to your inner teacher!  More info here: website, Twitter and Facebook.

About the Author:
Carolyn Anne Budgell (BA, ERYT 200) teaches vinyasa yoga and meditation in Vancouver, BC.  Carolyn has assisted 200-hour trainings at the Semperviva Teacher Training College, mentored at a teen girl yoga camp to increase female empowerment (Girlvana) and created free online yoga classes as an Ambassador for lululemon.

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!

YYoga Launches First-of-Its-Kind Yoga App

YYoga Launches First-of-Its-Kind Yoga App

Vancouver’s YYoga has officially taken yoga to another level with the launch of its new YYoga app! The unique app integrates gamification and social sharing to inspire and motivate people to achieve their fitness goals.

Benefits this app offers include:

• Easy booking: The YYoga app lets people reserve a spot in class with one touch of the screen unlike any other yoga studio.

• Gamification for motivation: The YYoga app offers a variety of yoga and fitness challenges, designed to inspire people to achieve new goals. The gamification challenges reflect the four main reasons people say they do yoga: to minimize stress; try a new style of yoga; to push themselves to practice more; and to develop more energy. Throughout the challenges, users receive beads towards a full Mala necklace, which is awarded and shared on social media upon completion. The mala necklace has yogic significance to users.

• Educational support: The YYoga app offers a dictionary of poses with instructions so that people have this information at their fingertips when they practice at home or wish to review after class.

• Social support: The YYoga app allows users to create unique profiles, invite friends to join them, and share their progress and class history with their community.

To learn more about the new YYoga app visit:
To download the app visit:

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:

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