Vancouver

THINK TANK REVIEW: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN STRENGTH & CONDITIONING AND YOGA

Tonight I was given the opportunity to attend a “Think Tank” session to discuss the ‘state of the industry’ in health, fitness and sports performance. Carmen Bott, newly appointed Director of the NSCA of BC invited over 30 health professionals to openly brainstorm and discuss strengths within our scope of practice, industry standards, pitfalls, trends and presentation topics, as well as, what we would like to see implemented into the next NSCA Conference. A wish list if you will!

L.A Clippers Blake Griffin, Mens Health Magazine 2011

Who was in the room? Strength coaches, personal trainers, educators, RMT’s a physiotherapist, athletic trainers, FST’s, a yoga teacher (me); and at this networking gig… there was no pink elephant in the room, just unbridled passion for harnessing human potential.

Honored to be invited and to sit next to these leaders in strength and athletic performance, I quietly wondered if this was a little out of my league. Many years ago I made the slow transition out of sports conditioning to Yoga, then to corrective movement; therefore, what could a Yoga teacher possibly bring to the table?

I had a realization.  The goal of a health professional is not to solely enroll in courses, or engage in discussions we already know the answers to, but to continue to learn and evolve our scope of practice, so that we can integrate a holistic approach to better serve our clients and our industry.

A background in the physiology of flexibility, the fascial system and the traditional holistic methodology of “Yoga” would be a very beneficial topic up for discussion in this group and on the flip side, learning more about strength conditioning and athletic based performance metrics would most definitely offer me the chance to better communicate with my clients that fall under the auspices of athlete and strength based populations.

As we know, teaching fascial stretch or Yoga to a rugby player, will be much different then teaching Yoga to an endurance athlete or a dancer. Why? Genetics, muscle tensity, sport performance, gender etc! Our genetic make-up and muscular and fascial composition make all the difference. As a Yoga Teacher, read this next sentence…

“Each has a unique genetic make up that requires a specific repertoire of movement patterns, release techniques and conditioning metrics for improved mobility and stability  for better movement and performance mechanics.”

Now, re-read that sentence if you are a strength coach? Doesn’t it sound like we are trying to achieve the same destination? The answer is YES, we just look at the mechanics a little differently.

This is why understanding the dynamics of strength coaching is so important if you teach to a population inside athletics. Moreover, an integrated approach is so integral to anyone with the goal of improved movement and human potential for that fact.

What is the NSCA?

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) has become the worldwide authority on strength and conditioning for athletic performance.  They have achieved this accreditation by supporting and disseminating research-based knowledge and the practical application to improve athletic performance and fitness on a myriad of levels.

This think tank was a great representation of how we can each play a role and impact the evolution of our industry and better serve our clients. The science and the health sectors are constantly changing, and with the integration of holistic wellness outreach, I truly believe there is much to be learned and benefited from when we combine the science of biomechanics and human kinetics with the art of traditional Yoga. A practice that for over 5000 years has been rooted in the very embodiment of human performance potential – mind, body and spirit.

For every Ying, there is always a Yang!

Sources:

To learn more about the NSCA please visit:  http://www.nsca-lift.org/

To learn more about Carmen Bott please visit:  http://www.carmenbott.com/

Set Yourself Up For Success

Adhering to a regular, consistent yoga practice is difficult at the best of times. It takes dedication and commitment, love, sweat and hard work. It can be almost impossible to find the time to attend yoga class when things get busy. And this time of year is very, very busy.

Today is the last day of August. Although the weather isn’t great, many people have been desperately trying to take advantage of every sunny day before the September crunch starts. Back-to-school preparations are well underway. A general sense of business and fret are circulating with the impending sense of another fall.

What I have found is that my practice hasn’t remained the same as usual. My body wants gentler routines, my mind wants them shorter. Rather than promising myself to “start in September” or “do more next week,” I have promised myself to continue my routine, but in a way that suits my needs right now. I am setting myself up for success.

What does this look like? I am practicing more at home right now. Sometimes my sessions only last 20 min. Sometimes they are quiet and easeful. Sometimes all I have time for is Legs up the Wall and a bit of breathing. That’s OK. The important part is to show up on your mat and make the commitment to spend a little time every day to love and cherish your own self, body and mind.

In this busy week before back-to-school, try not to put off your yoga practice until later. Negotiate though—figure out a way to absorb some practice into the little gaps of time you have. Pick the 5 poses your body absolutely needs and practice them with love and intention. Take a little time for yourself no matter what. Breathe. Smile. Appreciate your little victories.

Source: http://www.wellonecoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/team-jump-for-joy.jpg

Hockey Star Turned Yogi? Milan Lucic Visits Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown

Vancouver native and Boston Bruins forward, Milan Lucic, tried yoga for the very first time this month when he stopped by Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown. The Stanley Cup champion (who was toting the coveted cup around Vancouver last week) was surprised the hot and sweaty yoga class was so challenging and he even found relief from a shoulder injury.

Lucic’s not the only professional hockey player to include yoga in his fitness routine. Teammate, Tim Thomas, has been practicing yoga for over four years and openly attributes his success on the ice to regular yoga practice. Other hockey players such as Mark Messier, Mark Recchi and George Laraque have all practiced yoga to further compliment their game.

According to Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown’s owner, Brad Colwell, Lucic has insisted he will return to the Burnaby studio for training in summer 2012.

Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown
Tel: 604-451-FIRE (3473)
3665 Kingsway, Suite 150, Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2

CRANK IT OUT CYCLISTS: BETTER POSTURE MECHANICS

“Cadence: the number of revolutions of the crankset on a bike per minute”

Understanding the role of fascia in healthy movement, sport and postural distortion is of integral importance to athletes that spend a lot of time in their sport of choice.  Today we explore cycling, as we near the date of the Vancouver to Whistler GranFondo!

As we know, the most common sports-related injuries primarily are overuse injuries, due to restrictions and repetitive load. As the name implies, an overuse injury results from wear and tear on the body, particularly on joints and fasical lines subjected to repeated activity.

Cyclists can experience overuse injuries because of the amount of time clocked on the bike, (this is especially the case with cyclists that use tri-bars). Possible causes, could include poor handlebar or saddle position. A poorly placed handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. With your back bent low over the handlebars, you have to tilt your neck up to see ahead. After a long ride, the neck muscles may tighten up and go into spasm from this awkward position. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source of neck pain.

To understand the mechanics and the muscles of the upper extremity, can be divisible into  several groups, corresponding with the different regions of the limb. These are known as the Deep Front Arm and the Deep Back Arm Fascial Lines:

  • Muscles Connecting to the upper extremity to the Vertebral Column
  • Muscles Connecting the upper extremity to the anterior and lateral thoracic walls
  • Muscles of the shoulders, arms, forearm and hand

Primary muscles associated with the front and back arm lines are then divided up into 3 tracts each, however for purposes of cycling related muscle injuries and  fascial breakdowns we will filter our focus towards the primary muscles cyclists experience pain referral or stiffness in.

This includes; the upper trapezius, rear deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, which sometimes results in shoulder impingement. The levator scapulae from improper cervical spine alignment and forward head carry. The pectorals major and minor; which increases rounding of the shoulders). Even stressing out as far as the thoracolumbar fascia and sacral fascia (opposite side of thoracolumbar fascia) due to the kyphotic positing on the bike.

Most of the time spent in corrective movement usually center around anterior extension and posterior stabilization, but positioning of the bike and how we hold our upper frame (shoulder and pectoral girdle) is of the utmost importance.

One great addition to any cyclists program – cycle coaching on and off the road. Taking it inside can have many benefits so that you can take out the external environment and focus solely on gaining feedback on how to correct your compensations, improve your leg turnover, posture and ergonomics on the bike.  Then you can take the knowledge and apply it to your long endurance rides.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite spots – Cadence Cycling Studio on West 6th in Vancouver. Mike Porter, owner and Lululemon Ambassador knows the cycling realm. Cadence instructors are cyclists, health nuts and coaches and even though delightful in real life, on the bike they will drill into you the necessity of working hard, correcting your form and…well…cranking it out! Cadence is set in a boutique urban industrial style setting, where puddles of sweat can easily be mopped up, as it goes without saying each cyclist will be pushed to their limits and within their unique mechanics for better riding performance.

Next time you ride don’t forget to think about the impact on your muscles and fascia, always take time to stretch. Try these post ride:

Deep Arm Line & upper Mechanics:

  • Cat Flow Series for Spinal extension and spinal articulation
  • Arm Circles standing or supine on foam roller – (Chest, shoulders, scapular stabilization)
  • Neck Stretching Series (through flexion, extension and rotation to release)
  • Thread the Needle (rotation through the T-spine and back line)

Lower Mechanics:

  • Kneeling Crescent Lunge -Psoas/Hip Flexors (Improves leg turnover and reduces hip impingement and femoral compression)
  • Supine Hamstring Stretch with Band – Hamstrings/Calves (for more leg turnover on the backpedal stroke)
  • Half or Full Pigeon Pose – Hips, SI Joint, Glutes (This leads to less hip rock and less knee rotation while pedaling)

Happy Cycling!

VISIT CADENCE CYCLING STUDIO: http://cadencevancouver.com/

My Five-Minute Yoga Practice App

Eve Johnson, a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher based in Vancouver, created My Five-Minute Yoga Practice app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

A useful application for beginners, Eve talks you through 11 five-minute practices, with detailed instructions describing exactly what to do in each pose. Gradually, five minutes at a time, yoga will become part of life. It’s also a great tool for those who struggle with finding enough time to fit yoga into their day, or frustrated with the lack of progress in their yoga practice.

Available in the App Store, you can also visit Eve’s website for additional information.

AntiGravity Yoga – Weightless Aerial Yoga In Vancouver

AntiGravity Yoga is aerial yoga, encouraging fitness through levity. The belief is that through the pursuit of anti-gravity, a lighter existence can be achieved. Inspired the gracefulness of aerial art and Vinyasa yoga, this unique type of yoga is a fusion technique often seen as a bridge between fitness and traditional yoga modalities.

Flowing silk hammocks are hung from the ceiling that suspend participants and help them achieve seemingly impossible yoga postures. And unlike traditional yoga inversions, going upside-down in an AntiGravity yoga class is weightless. There’s zero compression of cervical spine, so it’s very therapeutic for the body.

The concept grew out of AntiGravity, an acrobatic performance troupe founded in 1990 by Christopher Harrison, an aficionado of yoga, who designed the fitness regimen around hammocks. For more information regarding AntiGravity, visit their official website: www.antigravityyoga.com. AntiGravity yoga classes are offered at Steve Nash Sports Club in downtown Vancouver. Visit their site here for additional information, and their current schedule.

Yoga Photo Of The Day: Leaving Hornby Island

Our good friend Krystle’s zen moment in Sukhāsana leaving British Columbia’s beautiful and serene Hornby Island. Ommmmmm… Today’s yoga photo of the day was captured by designer, producer, DJ, and photographer extraordinaire, Davin Greenwell.

Send us your perfect zen moment in time to [email protected] and you could be featured as Vancouver Yoga Review’s “Yoga Photo Of The Day”!

Stand Up Paddle Yoga Vancouver – SUP Yoga!

Take your Yoga off the mat and onto the water!!!

SUP Yoga Vancouver has combined Stand Up Paddling with Yoga to teach you to breathe, move and be present not only on the water but in your everyday. SUP Yoga will tone your core, build your stability and provide you with a fun learning environment to play and have fun with your practice outside the studio.

SUP Yoga classes will include on land Yoga teachings to prepare you to take your sequence of postures onto the water. On the water we will flow and move while floating and enjoying all the elements of the wilderness and landscapes from snowy mountain tops to beautiful ocean sunsets.

Combining breath with movement you’re sure to find moments of fun, laughter and focus while moving with the water on your board.

*Learn to SUP lesson is a prerequisite for SUP Yoga lessons.
*Previous Yoga experience is an asset – but not required.
*Wear comfortable clothing that you can move and stretch in – dress in layers for the weather and conditions (rain or shine).

For lesson information and pricing, click here, and for the current SUP Yoga monthly schedule, click here. Visit their official website www.standuppaddlevancouver.com, or find them on Facebook. For additional info regarding SUP Yoga, contact [email protected]

Vancouver Chopra Yoga Center’s Complimentary Classes At Lululemon

Breathe, flow, meditate with Danielle Mika Nagel of the Chopra Yoga Center in Vancouver, BC.

Danielle will be offering complimentary yoga classes at various Lululemon stores in Vancouver for the month of August. Classes will be suitable for all levels so you can get a sneak peak of what the new Chopra Yoga Center has to offer.

Free Yoga Classes At Lululemon:

  • Mondays Aug 1 & 22 West 4th at 8pm
  • Tuesdays Aug 2-30 Lululemon Lab West Broadway at 6:30pm
  • Sundays Aug 7-21 Robson at 9am

Chopra Yoga Pre-Opening Memberships Available Now!

Chopra Yoga is fast approaching its Vancouver Grand Opening, and the studio would like to share its excitement by offering pre-registration incentives! Pre and post-opening membership plans feature free gift offers on select membership purchases, and by registering early, you can save up to 30% off regular prices before its September 2011 launch.

Check out the Chopra Yoga website here for complete details.

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