The Steve Nash Downtown Sports Club on Granville Street is offering FREE Anti-Gravity Yoga to members for the month of November and December. If you complete six classes, you will get 50% off a class card. If you are a member, you should check it out. It is a great way to mix up your yoga routine.
Laughter yoga was created by Dr. Madan Kataria in 1995 in Mumbai, India. The idea came to him at a time he was writing an article ‘Laughter- The Best Medicine’. It originated as a ‘Laughter Club’. After two weeks of telling the same jokes, the participants became bored. Dr. Kataria’s wife is a yoga instructor. He consulted with her in further developing the ‘Laughter Club’. They discovered that there were a lot of similarities between laughing and pranayama exercises. Laughter yoga was born, resulting in a blend of Yogic Deep Breathing, Stretching, and Laughter Exercises that cultivate child-like playfulness. Dr. Kataria came to the realization that the body cannot tell the difference between real and pretend laughter.
I took my very first Laughter Yoga class at Open Door Yoga on Commercial Drive. I have to say, there were a lot of times when I thought to myself, what the heck am I doing. However, the laughter was contagious. I left the class feeling happier and lighter.
Give Laughter Yoga a try. Go with an open mind and an open heart.
Saturday was a blissful Sadie Nardini filled day. Having watched a few of Sadie Nardini’s FREE YouTube video’s over the last few months, when I heard that she was coming to Vancouver, I knew I had to go.
Sadie had several workshops at yyoga (various locations) throughout the weekend, but I was only able to attend the Saturday sessions at Highgate (Burnaby).
If you are not familiar with Sadie Nardini, she is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga. Based out of NYC, she travels internationally, has her own Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga teacher training program as well as retreats and offers hundreds of free videos on YouTube.
Saturday consisted of two two hour workshops at the beautiful Highgate Yyoga with some fantastic Core Strength Vinyasa yoga. The basis behind Sadie’s Core Strength Vinyasa yoga is a new way of looking at asana’s and simplifies how to use our “core” more efficiently when practicing. A practice that left me feeling it the next morning, which is the best kind in my opinion. But that’s JUST the yoga!
We all know yoga classes offer us so much more than just the yoga, and what makes us enjoy the asana even better is a fantastic teacher, which Sadie most certainly is. A real, down to earth type of person, who gives you the impression that going out for coffee with the woman would be fun and insightful all at the same time. She has a raw presence about her, and after conversations about “what is the point?”, why do we do the things we do when we really don’t want to? Why do we feel we need to please other people, when it doesn’t please us and why do we feel the need to not tell these people or look out for ourselves? She encouraged us to respectfully but honestly speak our truth, don’t give everything you have to somebody else and leave nothing for yourself.
I find that my most favourite teachers or yoga classes are the ones that give me a piece of self reflection that stays with me as I walk out the door, oh and the soreness the next morning. Take Sadie’s truth message posted on her Facebook account this morning, “THIS week, start saying what you really mean, respectfully, and yet honestly…to yourself, and those around you. Why hide, if you really believe that you’re OK just as you are, that ultimately you don’t need anyone’s acceptance to be passionate and happy and your truth is equally as valid as anyone else’s? Hmmm…”
Brilliantly awesome! Thanks Sadie for a fabulous day of learning how to move through asana’s with more ease and core strength and that little bit of self reflection I needed to start off a new month! Looking forward to your return for the Vancouver Yoga Conference in the fall.
A well worn “Post-It” sits on my bedside table adorning this phrase; “Action is movement with intelligence” by B.K.S Iyengar; a mantra or better yet a metaphor for pretty much anything we do in life, on and off the mat.
Question is…how often do we practice it?
Last night I stumbled upon an intriguing article from the NY Times called “Stretch/ When Yoga Hurts” by Lizette Alvarez and it reminded me of how necessary it is to take the time to move with careful precision and be mindful of limitations in our body.
The foundation of her article outlines the exponential rise of injuries in Yoga over the last several years. Her top 2 findings below are agreeably valid:
1. The overzealous, eager student (we have all been there).
2. Poor alignment and bio mechanical asymmetries.
As a YogaFORM teacher, Movement & Performance Coach I work daily with clients on corrective strategies to become more kinesthetically aware of their own unique mechanics, and it makes a world of difference on and off the mat.
Yoga is one of the best forms of therapeutic movement; as it provides an atmosphere where one can practice internal awareness, and become aware of their limitations while working towards methodical corrective mechanics.
Therefore, to build upon my “Post-It’, intelligent action and movement implies focusing on improving the responsiveness in the body for an all encompassing awareness.
This means that each movement we make and the corresponding transitional movements require exquisite observational skill and mastery to cultivate alignment and prepare the body for automatic responsive sequencing. As you continue to observe, adjust and integrate into your postures, this will lead to less strain on the all the muscles, bones, joints, (CNS) Central Nervous System and (PSNS) Parasympathetic Nervous System responses.
When we move and act with intelligence and intention we open channels within our structural framework that results in improved alignment, a nurturing sense of balance and steadiness in postures for better symmetry overall.
How’s your form? Do you move with intelligence?
NY Times article: Stretch/ When Yoga Hurts, by Lizette Alvarez: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/24/24stretch/
Although most of the time I have a lot of motivation I find myself sometimes lacking the discipline that could so nicely compliment it. This lack of discipline can lead me into a lot of trouble, but I’m working out ways to really listen to my body as to when it’s best to simply rest and when I should muster up both the motivation (and discipline) to persevere. As we know, if we want to really reap the benefits of yoga, we have to consistently practice and keep our focus.
1. I’m tired. This is probably the biggest excuse and the most frequently used (and probably the most valid given that a lot of us work a full-time job. Yoga a mere compliment to everything else we do). But, there are ways to get past fatigue. One of those ways is to get moving. Taking a few minutes for sun salutations to simply warm the body up could be all it takes to re-energize and prepare for a full practice (5 Sun Salute A’s and 5 Sun Salute B’s and a nice 5 minute Savasana could do the trick). Another way is restorative poses. Staying in a few restorative poses for 5-10 minutes can help to restore some lost energy (supported backbend for savasana, and a personal fave, supported legs up the wall pose). There are times when it’s best to refrain from practice all together (some refrain during their period, a new moon, full moon or sickness). Given these times, it’s most important to listen to your body and to do what’s best for it. And, let us not forget about meditation! We don’t always need a yoga practice to meditate!
2. I ate too much. This one has sabotage written all over it. You pretty much know when your class time is and if you have a home self-practice, well then, you have no excuse really as you can wait until your belly is ready. If you aren’t eating during the day because your life is too busy, then it’s probably a really good time to bring some balance (and nourishment) back in so as to not miss a class that can be so good for someone who is so busy (and possibly frazzled).
3. I don’t want to leave the house. For whatever reason, we all feel like we want to be hermit (or feeling shy) from time to time. In those instances, and if you don’t have a home self-practice, there are A LOT of great teachers who offer online classes. And, not that the online classes should replace the real thing (as we could miss out on great adjustments, the connectivity, etc), but sometimes online classes are exactly what we need when we don’t feel like going anywhere or perhaps when the weather isn’t great for driving, walking or cycling.
4. Oh I’m a little sore. Perhaps we’ve done a bit too much of this or that that has left us a little bit sore. Well, yoga is just the thing for sore muscles (of course listening to your body in order to not over do it). Yoga helps to relax tight muscles and helps to remove lactic acid build up (the stuff that makes muscles sore). Yoga can actually help the body recover faster from whatever other training sessions we endure.
5. I’m feeling depressed. There’s nothing that can’t turn that frown upside down like some yoga can. Yoga has been proven to help elevate mood and help with temporary phases of depression. Some of my favorite postures for when I’m feeling blue include, all-levels backbends (upward bow pose, bridge pose, camel pose and upward facing dog). Sometimes a good Vinyasa or a sweaty Ashtanga class can also help get you back in the swing of things.
What are your experiences, excuses, and reasons to keep going?
Photo credit: http://www.iyogalife.com/.
If you haven’t yet purchased your Passport to Prana yet, it’s not too late, they do not expire until July 31, 2011. For only $30, you only have to use it twice to get your money’s worth as most drop in fees are $15.00 plus.
This is the second year I have purchased the Passport to Prana, and while last year I probably only did use it twice, this year I’m hoping to get more use of it and am well on my way. With almost 30 locations there are LOTS of options for taking in a class here or there, however if you don’t drive or don’t have the time to venture out to some of the locations then you probably will only use it a few times.
A few wonderful friends of mine have all purchased the Passport to Prana and we use this time to catch up as we venture out to try a new studio & a new teacher and have brunch or dinner after. It’s a great and affordable way to check out new classes and studios, and especially if you are hunting around for “your” space to practice in, this is a fantastic option to get a feel for the studio and see if you want to become a member. For me, I use it to try different styles of yoga, Bikrams, Anusura, Kundalini with different teachers and get a different feel for my favourite styles.
Are you planning a vacation anytime soon? Make sure you check out wwww.passporttoprana.com and ALL the other Canadian cities plus many US cities and purchase your Passport to Prana for wherever you are going.
I’ve heard it said time & time again, that lots of women make their first path into yoga when they are pregnant, and what a better place to be when you first make your way into yoga then to already be on a path of change.
I was graciously invited to come & take one of Lori Lucas’ Prenatal classes at the Roundhouse last week, and was delighted to be surrounded by love and baby bellies! Yoga is a great practice for Moms to be who are more aware of the changes in their bodies and allows them to prepare mentally and physically for the birth of their babies. Prenatal yoga helps in building awareness and self love, along with strength both mentally and physically as well as added perks of relaxation, decreased swelling, relief from back and neck pain and so much more.
A trained Doula, Lori has been in attendance at numerous births and has completed both her Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and Kids Teacher Training. Lori’s classes are a place of love and comfort, where all the mummas are encouraged to go at their own pace or make adjustments to their practice as their body tells them. With the never ending circle of new baby bellies and new moms that come through the door, Lori continues to make a community for these new moms to share and talk about how they are feeling with other moms to be. But it’s not over there, once baby arrives these moms can still have that connection with other new moms at Mom & Baby yoga. Mom & Baby yoga builds on the community that Lori so lovingly builds and ensures that these moms continue to stay connected to people who have played an integral part in their pregnancy.
Since most women make their way into yoga when they are pregnant, the idea of going to a studio may be a little daunting. Lori’s classes are held at local Community Centres (Roundhouse & Mount Pleasant Community Centre) and while some people have a perception that Community Centre teachers are no where near as good as Studio teachers, Lori’s classes confirm you can get the same level of teaching if not better at your local Community Centre.
Check out Lori’s blog at: http://yogawithlorilucas.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook and if you are a Mom to be and haven’t yet signed up for Prenatal Yoga, give it a whirl, or if that new bundle of joy has arrived take that time for you and baby & head to a Mom & Baby yoga class. Lori’s schedule can be found on her blog or on Facebook.
I woke up to hear about this on the radio this morning and all I can say is REALLY? WOW!
Ganja Yoga Combines Marijuana & Meditation
Excerpts Taken From the Globe & Mail
“As the light of pot smoke dissipates in the Downtown Toronto living room, the ganja yoga session begins.
“When you’re high, you can focus better on your breath,” says Dee Dussault, who runs a monthly session of “cannabis-enhanced yoga” at her home dubbed Follow Your Bliss.
“ Yoga and marijuana, together… It’s like putting salt on your food. It’s just a little enhancement.”— Tanya Pillay
She says smoking marijuana in small doses before a yoga class also makes students more receptive to the poses and philosophies behind the activities. “For some people, it makes them uninhibited and open to the idea of the heart chakra, for example.”
Heart chakras aside, ganja yoga has the THC whiff of being the latest yoga fad, following on the heels of hot yoga, circus yoga, pre- and postnatal yoga, acro yoga (acrobatics), even hip-hop yoga. While cannabis has been deeply entwined with spiritualism over the centuries, some yoga practitioners say that a pure body is ideal for the exercise and that smoking pot could cause an unwieldy imbalance. As one online-forum commenter opined: “Why should we try to purify our body and soul through yoga if we later intoxicate it again with marijuana or other substances?”
Funny, had a look at the website and no where is it listed on there, that I could find, anyways. See if you can find it, www.followyourblisstoronto.ca. What do you think, would you attend a Ganja Yoga Class? Come to think of it there has got to be one in Vancouver with our famous “BC Bud”.
September is Yoga Month! In order to bring awareness to the different styles and the benefits of a yoga practice, September is designated Yoga Month to help build awareness.
Generally these type of awareness building initiatives tend to be only focused on the good ol’ USA, however, there are lots of studios events happening in our own backdoor to help YOU take advantage and celebrate Yoga Month. Listed below are some of the ones I have found:
- www.yogamonth.org – What appears to be the offical Yoga Month website, contains lots of detailed information about the health benefits of yoga PLUS the best part, a list of over 1500 studios who are offering Free Week Yoga Passes for new students & even better, some of them are local, like; Bamboo Yoga (New Westminster), SOL Yoga Centre (Surrey), Exhale Yoga Studio (Vancouver), Semperviva (Vancouver, All Locations).
- My Yoga Online – Is offering a number of FREE videos for the month of September from some of their top teachers and feature vinyasa, hatha, meditation and more. Videos are available to anyone, anywhere and can be found; http://www.myyogaonline.com/free-yoga-videos-national-yoga-month.
Here is a clip about the National Yoga Month from 2009, from the founders:
What are you doing to celebrate National Yoga Month, perhaps its a personal 30 Day Challenge for the month of September or taking advantage of some of the FREE yoga listed above or maybe you are hosting your own events to celebrate National Yoga Month, or maybe you are finally taking that friend to experience a yoga class with you, whatever it is; tell us, we want to hear how you are celebrating!
Happy National Yoga Month!
I recently joined Fitness World in Kitsilano to add some cardio into my usual yoga routine. It’s great because they also offer group classes like yoga, aerobics, spin, pilates, etc. Watch out, however, because some ‘specialty classes’ are an additional fee on top of your monthly membership dues.
I had to sign on for 2 years and my membership works out to about $40/month. I live next door, so I have NO excuses not go to the gym!
Now called “Steve Nash Fitness World” because of their recent merger with the NBA star’s company, I can work out at any location around the city. They offer different membership packages, and if you pay a bit extra you can also go the Steve Nash Sports Clubs in either downtown Vancouver, Surrey, or Richmond.
Watch out for high pressure sales consultants who will try and persuade you to sign up right there on the spot. Ask for a trial pass to check out the club before you make the plunge on a membership. Remember, you’ll usually be locked in for 2 years, and will have to buy-out the membership if you want to cancel!