Yoga for Skiing + Biking

The mountains are almost ready… are you? As athletes, we tend to focus on the joy we get from our favourite sports, not stretching. This changes quickly after an injury! Being an avid runner, swimmer, skier, biker…and anything else I can possibly do, I get it! I would much rather be moving, but I realized in my early 20’s if I wanted to keep moving I need to let my body heal. If I didn’t do yoga, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t stretch!

Yoga for Biking + Skiing was created for athletes who need dedicated stretch time. This class is a power flow style, to strengthen the upper body – which isn’t the focus in either of these sports, and stretch the lower half! The goal of this class is to help build your endurance, and prevent injury. We help to bring balance to the body through various poses and breath-work.

Yoga for Balance

In order to be a strong, powerful and agile athlete, it’s very important to have a strong core. The core is the centre of our bodies strength and helps us to balance. Try standing on one leg with your eyes close. Now try it engaging your core – the pelvic muscles. Quite a difference!

By doing simple exercises to become conscious of engaging your core, you will notice your skill in both skiing and biking improve. While these sports are primarily leg-dominant, it’s important to keep a balanced body. Holding plank and doing fun variations of plank are great for strengthening the core and the upper body … and efficient so we can focus on deep release of the glutes & quads. Ensuring we stretch  as we strengthen our body for our sport of choice is essential to continue to build healthy, lean muscle. By allowing recovery time, our body will be better prepared for the next adventure and we lessen the chance of injury.

Yin Yoga for Deep Release

If you are happy to try some deep stretching for your whole body, Yin is such a soothing class! We hold gentle poses for 1-5 minutes to allow the muscles and surrounding fascia to melt, which allows the body to re-set. This is a perfect class to ease you into a solid night sleep.

I look forward to seeing you on the mat!


Belly Dance for Pre and Post-Natal Exercise

What do you think of when you think of belly dance? A celebratory dance? A sensual experience? ….Childbirth? There are many who believe that the origin of bellydance is linked to childbirth rituals of centuries ago. While these theories are controversial, it is easy to argue that many of the movements of bellydance mimic movements of a labouring woman. And, more importantly, many of the movements of bellydance use the same muscles used by a labouring woman.

Bellydance to Prepare for and Recover from Birth 

Pregnancy can wreak havoc on a woman’s body, but exercise, especially core and pelvic-floor strengthening exercise can help to minimize damage and expedite the healing process. Due to the wild changes in a woman’s body, many conventional abdominal & core exercises can cause more harm or exacerbate conditions such as diastasis recti –  a gap of roughly 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. This can cause a woman to appear pregnant months or even years post-birth. Many pregnancy fitness programs, including the Dia Method – which was featured in the “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” – modify abdominal exercises involving contracting and releasing abs from a standing, seated, or side-plank position, to prevent or reverse diastasis recti, to stay healthy and to prepare for or recover from childbirth.

Bellydance in My Pregnancy

As I researched these programs for my own pregnancy, I noticed that these are the exact movements I use in my belly dance teaching and practice. Except, of course, the belly dance version is much more fun! I have been recommending this beautiful art form and exercise to women, and sometimes men, since I took my first class nearly two decades ago.

Benefits of Bellydance 

The benefits of practicing this dance are relevant to all women, and, I believe, especially important for women preparing for or recovering from child bearing. To name a few:

  • Gentle strengthening of core
  • Increasing ability to isolate and control muscle groups
  • Helping prepare the body for birth and preventing diastasis recti
  • Recovery after birth
  • An emphasis on body positivity and acceptance and the feminine form in all its diverse representations
  • Improving posture
  • Stress relief
  • Development of rhythm and some cool party moves!
  • FUN!!

I truly believe belly dance is for everyone, regardless of age, size, shape! If you are pregnant and concerned, check with a medical professional before engaging in any exercise.

Biotensegrity Workshop North Vancouver

Embodied Biotensegrity Training brings the biotensegrity paradigm beyond the intellect to one’s experience in the body. A synergy of theory, interoceptive practice, yoga philosophy and enquiry gives rise to a new understanding and experience of the body. Balance, ease, presence and wholeness arise.

Biotensegrity says that our structure is based on an ever-changing balance of opposing forces on many scales. Continuous tensional forces hold us together against discontinuous expanding compressional forces. We exist as continuities of tissue, different in specialization yet the same in origin. Everything is connected. We cannot isolate single muscles or bones: when one thing moves everything else responds in complex and sometimes subtle ways. Our movements are not restricted by the delineations of up/down, side to side, back/front that we have been taught, but can be fluid, omnidirectional and spiraling. Biotensegrity speaks to what we feel in the body when the mind is quiet and awareness rests with sensation. The body is not solid and fixed – it is alive with ever-changing sensations – tingling oscillations, swirlings and a dissolving of boundaries of skin and separateness.

We see in biotensegrity oneness and duality, the essential coexistence of opposites, and the macro reflected in the micro. Embodied biotensegrity looks to yoga texts and draws relationships between these understandings and the biotensegrity paradigm. In embodied biotensegrity practice, these same concepts are explored with the body.

Embodied Biotensegrity Training opens the door to new explorations in the body by:

  •  cultivating healthy posture and movement patterns
  •  balancing and healing the fascial matrix of the body
  •  finding ease in movement and stillness
  •  experiencing wholeness
  •  quieting the mind
  • bringing yoga philosophy to conversations of emerging science

Embodied Biotensegrity Training uses innovative teaching methodology to foster “sticky learning” inviting teachers of all yoga styles and movement practices not just to integrate the theory, but to generate new knowledge and become trailblazers in their fields.

Join Chris Clancy for her Biotensegrity Workshop at Studio 202 on Nov 4th from 2-4!


Daily Meditation for Your Health

I’m sure you’ve heard of many of the benefits of meditation, so I won’t get into this. But what I do hear often, is how do you meditate? We all have very different ideas of meditation, and that’s completely ok. It’s a very personal journey and can take many forms; walking, painting, music, or more traditional forms including focused meditation, mindfulness, and incorporating breath work, known as pranayama – ‘breath control’.

Why Meditate?

Everyone also uses meditation for different reasons, but this too changes throughout our lives. Many experience anxiety and use meditation to help find peace.  We are better able to be objective, see situations without unnecessary emotion, and better communicate with others. Meditation can help us refine our dreams. Meditation can help us heal, by releasing emotions and helping us to focus on what is most important to us. Energy flows where thoughts go.

How to Meditate

I don’t believe there is one way to do anything, just like there isn’t one way to meditate.  I don’t think it’s necessary to ’empty’ your mind. We are thinking beings. Using the power of meditation to observe objectively is a great practice, and in time you will notice you will have little moments of inspiration come to you more frequently.  Overtime I have learned some valuable tools to meditate in a safe way. When we are energetically exposed, as we can be when we meditate, it’s important to ground and energetically protect ourselves. We are extra receptive after meditation, and you don’t want to be picking up on others energy – this is especially true if you are already very sensitive to others.

  • Begin by getting comfortable in a space you can meditate every day undisturbed
  • Closing your eyes, inhale through your nose to the count of 3 and exhale through your mouth for 3 – sigh it out!
  • Begin inhaling and exhaling for equal 4 counts through your nose, allowing your stomach to relax
  • As you feel your body relax, bring your awareness from head to your seat (crown chakra to root chakra)
  • On your next exhale, imagine roots or a golden cord reaching from your root chakra into the earth. Feel this connection deepen. Exhaling any unnecessary energy into the earth to be dissolved
  • Continue with deep steady inhales and exhales for as long as you wish

More Meditation Tips:

For more information on meditation, you can follow us on Instagram and join our Facebook event: Month of Meditation. 

This is completely free, and you will get tips every day for your home mediation practice. Our Thursday Yin class is another lovely way to meditate whether you have practiced for a while or are new to meditation. Yin is accessible to beginners. For mediation with children, we host Karma Family Yoga on Saturdays (by-donation). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.