Corporate Yoga the Best Investment You Can Make

If you were guaranteed a 300% return on your investment would you sign on the dotted line? Absolutely. What about when it comes to your health? Despite the research and statistics that are out there, we continue to play Russian Roulette with our health. We work hard to make money so we can live the life we desire. But what is all that money worth if we are not healthy enough to enjoy our lives the way we want to?

When our health declines, it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow and steady descent that is often difficult to recover from and usually results in one or more losses in our lives. We are proactive with our finances: we save; we invest for the future. Now is the time to also start being proactive in our health and the path to better health can begin at work.

Companies want employees with unique specialized skills: people who go above and beyond expectations. They anticipate challenges and respond to opportunities that create growth and value for the company. Whether it is sales, marketing, finance, law, or something in between, companies want their employees to be at the top of their game and to be productive all day, every day. Unfortunately, the reality is that our bodies are not physiologically designed to withstand the demands and stresses we impose upon ourselves during long busy days at the office.

You don’t wake up one day and decide to be sick or unwell. Unless you are in an accident, there is likely something happening over time that causes the body to break down and become ill. Stress has become normalized in the workplace; many people don’t even realize that they are stressed. General busy-ness, hurriedness and day-to-day chaos place our bodies in a constant state of fight or flight for extended periods of time. Our natural state should be one of rest and repose, which is now becoming the exception rather than the rule.

Burnout rates are higher than ever. Sick leave, stress leave, and mental health leave are becoming regular occurrences. These conditions aren’t only a cost to the health of the person afflicted but they also cost that person’s company time, money and manpower.

So what are smart modern proactive companies doing about this? Leading companies are working with health and wellness service providers who offer solutions to these problems, health and wellness providers like me. Companies expect a lot from their employees. Workers likewise give a lot of their time and effort to be successful and productive. So why not invest in yourself and your people? When companies invest in their employees’ wellness they can expect three dollars in cost savings and benefits for every dollar spent.

Corporate Yoga is a wonderful proactive approach that companies are bringing on board to help keep executives and their employees healthy, happy and productive. Often times when someone hears the word yoga, they immediately think of hyper-flexibility and fitness. Yoga is so much more than that and it doesn’t require any flexibility whatsoever. Yoga is an adaptable system that affects the body, the mind and the spirit in profound ways that literally change how we think, act, and feel.

Companies can help workers improve their mental clarity, boost creativity and sharpen their problem solving skills. The beauty of yoga is that it extends itself off the yoga mat and out of the yoga class into your day-to-day work and activities. You learn mental and physical skills that you first apply with some effort, but that will become second nature.

Looking for a long-term solution to improving the bottom line, cultivating healthy workers and maintaining happy bosses?

A good corporate yoga teacher is your trusted advisor who will work to understand your company’s needs and provide solutions that are customized and unique to your workplace and its people.

To learn how you can energize your workplace from individuals to teams to departments email me at lindsay@innergycorporateyoga.com for a complimentary onsite consultation. Customized. Informed. Educated. Wellness for life.

Make Summer More Enjoyable Through Food!

Yoga and food are inextricably linked but eating healthy is more difficult than ever. Eating healthy everyday is essential to our health and wellbeing. We need to eat nourishing food to maintain energy levels, stave off illness and encourage healthy relationships, etc.

I work irregular hours and have no motivation to shop, prep and cook dinner at the end of the day. Supper Works in Toronto has been an answer to my woes. I go into the store once a month and prep fresh, healthy dinner entrees that I take home and put in my freezer. That means more time for me to enjoy my summer and no-brainer dinners.

Below Susan Patterson, the owner of SupperWorks Leaside, provides a few ideas how you can make your summer more enjoyable through food:

  1. Slow down and plan ahead to makes dinnertime less stressful. Being organized doesn’t have to take much time but it can save a lot of last minute headaches- and will certainly save you time in the end. You might even invest in setting up a weekly meal planner. Plan and shop for meals a few days or even a week in advance so you can be sure you have the ingredients you need on hand. Keep very perishable items and some ready-to-cook dinners in the freezer to save having to shop frequently. You don’t want to have to run to the store from the cottage or even stop on your way home from work to pick up one essential but missing ingredient. Wouldn’t it be nicer to go straight home?
  2. Try some fresh new foods. This is a great time of year to try something new. You might find some new vegetables or at least some interesting variations on familiar foods at local farmers markets. Think heirloom tomatoes, purple carrots, the many varieties of mushrooms. Take your kids and let them choose – they will be more likely to eat their veggies!
  3. Cook extras. That way you will have easy leftovers for lunches or spontaneous dinners when unexpected company drops by. BBQ’d meats, chicken, shrimp or fish are also great to use on salads the next day for lunch or a lighter dinner. For example, all of SupperWorks’ Flat Iron steaks and marinated chickens such as Lemon Rosemary Chicken make a bed of leafy green salad something special.
  4. Speaking of salads, always have salad ingredients on hand – some of my favourites are berries, nuts, seeds, mixed greens, avocado, crumbles of cheese (goat!). A great salad can accompany almost anything – like a delicious burger – to complete an easy, summery supper. For an easy and delightful salad dressing, try one-third good quality olive oil, one-third balsamic vinegar and one-third maple syrup.
  5. Quiche is another excellent staple in the summer. It can serve as a breakfast, lunch or dinner and comes in many different varieties. It can be served hot or cold. And it’s an first-rate source of protein.
  6. Have some fun with your child (age 8 or over) at a special Saturday morning Bring Your Child session at SupperWorks. Children learn how to put meals together and experience shows that children who have a hand in making dinner are much more likely to enjoy eating it – and are even willing to try more adventurous foods!
  7. Ok, one more thing. You’re probably not going to be happy if you add a few pounds to your frame eating all this good food. It is bathing suit season after all. So enjoy all the flavours but watch your portion sizes. Esstablish a portion size that works for you and use it as a guideline. And get out and enjoy all the opportunities for outdoor exercise!

SupperWorks Leaside and SupperWorks to Go! is located at 105 Vanderhoof Ave in Toronto.

Save Time. Save Money. Eat Better.

Pick Up and Delivery options are available. SupperWorks to Go now means you can drop in and select meals that have been pre-made with out the commitment!

Mention this article for a complimentary side dish

(up to $8 value) when you make a purchase!

Breathing for Stress and Anxiety

Yoga_Photoshoot_Hany_easy pose 2Wouldn’t you love to live in a world where you could flip a switch and all your stress and anxiety would just go away? There are many different strategies we can employ such as going to a yoga class, getting a massage, meditating, being in nature or exercising. These are all wonderful things that we can do that will help. These all require finding time and going somewhere to do it. However, there is one more tool that we can use at any time no matter where you are. That is your breath.

Many of us who practice yoga or any of the above activites have gotten a glimpse of the switch that leaves us feeling, calm, relaxed and at peace. Unfortunately these feelings are fleeting, stressors find their way back into the limelight and it leaves us wanting without knowing how to get it back.

The answer lies not just in our breath, but how we breathe and the mindfulness that arises from this awareness. After years and years, dare I say decades of stress, years of being on anxiety medication and then the death of my mom, I stumbled across a doctor who told me I wasn’t breathing. I was holding my breath. I was certainly taken aback by this observation and it was turning point for me. Albeit slow, the process brought me to where I am today and now I want to share the skills with you so you can reap the benefits now and not years down the road.

Breathing is important for two reasons. One, it brings oxygen to our blood and two, oxygenated blood helps to heal our tissues. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way we have unconsciously learned a disordered way of breathing that is fast and shallow, that limits the flow of oxygen into our bloodstream. As a result, we are not taking in sufficient oxygen or able to expel sufficient carbon dioxide. Reduced lung function reduces our vitality, ages us prematurely, lowers are immune function, etc. So not only does breathing impact our cardiovascular system, but it also effects the respiratory, neurological, gastrointestinal, muscular and psychic systems. So you can see how important optimal breathing is for our overall functioning.

When we re-learn how to breath optimally we begin the healing process and improve our ability to cope with stressors.

We can also begin to experience these benefits for the long term:

  • Less respiratory problems, stronger heart by reducing it’s workload
  • Relaxes body and the mind
  • Improves the health of the nervous system, including brain, spinal cord, nerve centres and nerves.
  • It has an effect on your sleep, your memory, energy level and concentration.
  • Aids in digestion and elimination. Assists in weight control. Oxygen helps burn up excess fat more efficiently.
  • More oxygen in the blood means better complexion, fewer wrinkles, more energy, clarity for the mind, positive thinking, supports vision and hearing.
  • Rejuvenates muscle and organ functioning. Lack of oxygen to cells is a major contributing factor to cancer, heart disease and strokes

Why Do We Breath Fast + Shallow?

Let’s face it, our lifestyles often dictate that we are in a hurry most of the time. Our movements and breathing follow this pattern. Perhaps you have noticed in your yoga practice how your mind and body mirror each other. The increasing stress of modern living makes us breathe more quickly and less deeply. Other reasons could be related to negative emotional states, reduced physical activity,  environmental pollution and even our culture (the desire for an attractive flat stomach results in gripping and holding of the abdominals. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow “chest breathing” seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety.)

Medical journals suggest that fast, shallow breathing can cause fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, stomach upsets, heart burn, gas, muscle cramps, dizziness, visual problems, chest pain, and heart palpitations.

Disordered Breathing Patterns

In addition to fast, shallow breathing, you might resort to chest breathing which is a habitual pattern failing to fully exhale and inhale. Other disordered patterns include mouth breathing, breath holding and hyperventilating.  When the sympathetic nervous system is switched on all the time, it can lead to changes in anxiety, blood pH, muscle tone, pain threshold, to only name a few. Overuse of accessory breathing muscles can lead to neck and shoulder pain/dysfunction and could even mimic cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems.

Typical symptoms of disorder breathing can include:

  • Frequent sighing and yawning
  • Breathing discomfort
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Erratic heartbeats
  • Feeling anxious and uptight
  • Pins and needles
  • Upset gut/nausea
  • Clammy hands
  • Chest Pains
  • Shattered confidence
  • Tired all the time
  • Achy muscles and joints
  • Dizzy spells or feeling spaced out
  • Irritability or hypervigilance
  • Feeling of ‘air hunger’
  • Breathing discomfort
  • Back pain. Research suggests there is correlation between breathing pattern disorders and low back pain.

Our reactions to stress is also known as the “fight-or-flight” response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people to react quickly to life-threatening situations. The carefully orchestrated yet near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses helps someone to fight the threat off or flee to safety. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties.

The stress response suppresses the immune system, increasing our susceptibility to colds and illnesses. The build up of stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

We can learn to use our breath as one tool to down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system and up-regulate the parasympathetic nervous system that helps the body rest, digest and recover.  The body is designed to spend the majority of its time in the parasympathetic nervous system.  Ideally, it only uses the sympathetic nervous system for true life-threatening emergencies.

To learn how to optimize your breathing to reduce stress register for my Breathing for Stress and Anxiety workshop May 20, 2017 at Leslieville Sanctuary. These are skills that you take with you in the car, at work and play. This workshop is appropriate for kids, teens and adults. No yoga experience is required.

To find out how you can host a Breathing Workshop for Stress and Anxiety at your workplace contact me for details.

Spring into Action – New classes, workshops and retreats

PhotoShoot_EmilieDee_meditationSpring a time of renewal and growth is certainly upon us. As I write this the rain pours down from all angles and the sky is grey. The first signs of spring precariously poke through the soft earth and shout gleefully that spring is finally here. Warmer weather is around the corner and we are getting antsy to resume outdoor activities and focus on our health.

I have been busy planting and nurturing the seeds of some new and current classes, workshops and retreats that are coming up in the next couple months. Now is a great time to dedicate time for a yoga practice to help prepare yourself for the coming summer months of athletics, travel and outdoor adventures. Yoga helps us to keep our body supple and strong, prevent injuries and pain, and helps us come into a grounded state of calm and clarity.  To help support and nurture all that  you do I have a new studio class starting at Leslieville Sanctuary on Tuesday evenings from 7:15-8:30pm called Yoga Foundations.

Yoga Foundations a slow paced, gentle, rehabilitative style class to help you develop flexibility, improve range of motion, and stability moving from a state of relaxation rather than moving through tension or over efforting. This class is perfect for anyone who wants to learn the foundations of yoga in a safe and accessible environment. People with long term injury, pain, or restricted range of movement will also benefit from this class. For experienced yoga practitioners, it is an opportunity to come back to basics, learn to move more purely and nourish the freedom in your body.

On Tuesday and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm I am teaching group Hatha yoga classes at Avalon Woods Fitness (ages 40+) in Etobicoke. Classes are free with Membership or drop rates/class passes are available.

Starting April 19th until June you can register for Yoga + Networking at Marani Law on Wednesdays from 6:15pm-7:15pm. Grab a friend from work and come meet some new people. This is a 10 week session package for $150.

April 29th from 1:30-3:30pm I am teaching  a Yoga Rehab workshop  on Breathing Your Way to Wellness. Our breathe plays an unparalleled role in how the systems of our body function. Beginning with awareness we reveal the awesome power of healing that is already within us. Learn some anatomy and physiology as it relates to the breath, uncover your breathing style and learn how to breathe easier to reduce stress + anxiety, sleep better and move better.

In May I am launching a Complete 12 Day Cleanse and Yoga workshop with Naturopathic doctor Corina Dinca in Don Mills. Despite our best intentions we often veer of the path of wellness and get stuck in emotionally guided patterns of eating and neglect self-care. Sometimes all we need is little bit of support and motivation to kickstart new habits. This 12 day program is designed to educate, develop awareness, support and motivate you to make small changes that have a significant and lasting impact on your health and wellness goals. Whether you want to lose weight, start exercising, address mental and emotional concerns or to develop greater balance in your life this program provides you with the knowledge and skills to get there.

Join me June 4, 2017 for a Day Retreat to Crawford Lake. We will hike around Crawford Lake and appreciate nature in all it’s glory. We will stop for an hour Hatha Flow yoga class and then enjoy a vegetarian lunch. In the afternoon we will explore some trails and practice a walking meditation. The cost is $80 and includes lunch.

To learn more about any of these classes, workshops or retreats please get in touch with me.

New Workshops Starting January 2017!

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My pain clinic workshops are open to everyone. However, if you’re not sure who these classes would be ideal for you can answer these 3 questions:

  1. Do you have chronic pain or long standing limitation of movement?
  2. Have you tried a number of different treatments but only found temporary relief?
  3. Are you ready and willing to be an active participant in your recovery?

If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, then my workshops are meant for you. Our bodies are amazing entities that have the ability to change and heal themselves, especially we take the right steps to aid the healing process. The truth is, you can improve your overall function and ease in which you move everyday with some very simple, easy principles and movements.

I have written a couple blog posts about the myths of Injury, Pain and Strain and the Truths of Healing. Now I want to give you an opportunity to put these truths into a practice. Starting this January, I will be offering monthly workshops to help you address your injury, pain, or strain. Each workshop is 2 hours where we will address pure movement, breath work, relaxation, and meditation. The first workshop, January 14th will focus on how to address low back pain, hips, knees and feet. In February, the workshop will focus on shoulders, neck and arms.

These workshops will be pre-requisites for future registered group classes that will continue to develop the principles learned in these sessions.

My intention to teach you how to move properly so healing can begin to take place. Pain doesn’t need to be a part of our “normal” day to day life.  After each workshop I will give you a video of the key movements so you can continue to practice at home. Unfortunately we can’t take one yoga class and walk away healed. It is a practice and requires ongoing dedication and effort from you to continue the process.

Class sizes for my workshops have been kept purposefully small, so you can get the most of our your experience.

The first workshop will be:

  • Date: January 14th 2017
  • Time: 1:30pm-3:30pm
  • Location: McMaster Fitness at 1820 Bayview Ave just north of Eglinton. (FREE Parking)
  • Cost: $45 plus HST – to be paid in advance to secure your spot.
  • Focus: Low back pain, hips, knees, ankles.

Book Your Spot

 

Myths about Injury, Pain, Ache and Strain & The Truths of Healing – Part 2

Tree Handstand VariationIs my last article I discussed Susi Hately’s* 5 myths about pain and truths about healing. Here are 5 more to convince you that life without pain is entirely possible. It is all up to you.

Healing from pain should be a multi-disciplinary team effort. Going to just one healthcare/wellness practitioner may provide some ease from the discomfort but the pain keeps returning.  Often what we fail to realize is that the problem doesn’t lie in the same place that feel the pain. Restriction through the hips can be the source of knee or ankle pain for example. Elbow or wrist pain from the shoulder blades. That being said, to address the issue of pain is to treat the whole person, not just the “spot” of pain.

Along with your yoga therapist you may wish to see your chiropractor to relieve subluxations, massage therapy to relax and calm the muscles, physio, osteo, acupuncturist, naturopath, aromatherapist, reiki, healing waters,  etc. Diet too, is often overlooked when it comes to the healing process of physical pain. The food that we consume can impact how we think, feel and act. It is important that you also take this into consideration and get tested for food allergies (I won’t go any further into this today).

Here are 5 more myths about pain the truths of healing:

Sixth Myth: Acheyness is normal.

Sixth Truth: Physiologically, yes, it is. And, it doesn’t have to be a normal part of your life.

 

Seventh Myth: Being achey is a part of yoga.

Seventh Truth: Nope. Ease is part of yoga.

 

Eighth Myth: Pulling the shoulders back, belly in and chin in/back is part of improving posture.

Eighth Truth: A well-functioning body surrenders upward. This creates a calm, steady, and strong posture.

 

Ninth Myth: Once pain is there, it will never be resolved.

Ninth Truth: Tissue can change. It is a matter of listening and being aware and then acting on what you hear and perceive.

 

Tenth Myth: Pain is just a way of life.

Tenth Truth: For now, maybe. And if there is a compelling reason for change, and the right professional/team of professionals to guide you, anything can change.

When you work with me in rehabilitative yoga, I can refer you to excellent healthcare/wellness providers in Toronto to help you get out of pain fast.

(*Myths published by Susi Hately – Functional Synergy)

Myths about Injury, Pain, Ache and Strain & The Truths of Healing

TrikonasanaI’m going to let you in on a secret. Tell everyone. Seriously. You can live pain free and it’s super easy!

Often in conversation, whether it is in a yoga class or a passing conversation, I hear resignation to pain caused by injury, illness or stress. As a society we have taught ourselves to accept our physical imbalances, our fatigue, chronic stress, rigidity and tightness in the body, and our inability to move in the same way we did when we were younger. All these things I have just listed do not have to be your reality, despite what you think or may have been told.

After I was in a car accident in 2008. I thought I would have to live with at least a certain level of back pain for the rest of my life, despite my regular yoga practice and chiropractor visits. After studying therapeutic yoga with Susi Hately, I learned that I could have a pain free/discomfort free life. So let’s get clear on  some of they myths of injury/pain/ache/strain and the truths of healing.*

First myth: Pain is part of getting older.
First truth: Tissue can change and function can improve at any age. It all depends on the stimulus you give it.

Second myth: Nothing has worked.
Second truth: Nothing has worked, yet.

Third myth: Feeling pain means being overwhelmed by pain.
Third truth: By learning to move in a range that doesn’t increase pain, your pain will decrease.

Fourth myth: It took 40 plus years to create this problem, it will take a long time to resolve it.
Fourth truth: If your reason for resolving the issue is compelling enough, the speed of healing can be quite mind blowing.

Fifth myth: True change is impossible.
Fifth myth: True change is entirely possible. The first and second steps are awareness and self-care.

If these myths are resonating with you, consider getting in touch with me to chat about how I can customize a program specifically for you.

Pain Clinic workshops will be coming soon. Stay tuned for more details. Contact me to be added to my newsletter or to schedule a consultation or class.

(*Myths published by Susi Hately – Functional Synergy)

World Yoga Day – Free Class at Trinity Bellwoods Park

World Yoga Day posterWorld Yoga Day is June 21st and Innergy Corporate Yoga teachers are hosting a FREE yoga class at Trinity Bellwoods Park downtown Toronto. The class will be taught by four of Innergy’s teachers from 6:45pm to 8:00pm in the park. Fresh on Crawford is also throwing in something delicious so stay tuned for more details closer to the date. As an additional bonus you will be entered into a draw to win a free Private or Corporate Yoga class. What’s even better is four teachers means four chances to win! Bring your friends. We can’t wait to see you there!

Find the event on Facebook!

3 Easy Steps to a Personalized Home Yoga Practice this Summer

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I hear all the time, “I love the idea of practicing yoga but I just don’t have time to go to a studio. I can’t afford regular private yoga classes, how can I have a yoga practice without the cost and time commitment?”

I hear you!

Now that summer is almost here, the days are longer and we are spending more time with outdoor activities and travelling. As much as ever, it is important to dedicate certain activities to a regular routine or schedule. If yoga is on your radar as a part of your self-care this summer, I can help you get there without having to commit to regularly scheduled classes or dragging yourself away to a studio for group classes. Like any skill or good habit you want to develop, you do need to set aside some time and dedication to practice. It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

The 3 Step Process:

Step 1: Book a complimentary consultation with me (10-20 minutes) to discuss your goals and what you would like your personal yoga practice to look like.

Step 2: Book a 1 hour private yoga session at your home with me. You will learn a personalized yoga sequence that you can practice as often as you want. I will write out the sequence for you with diagrams. I will break down how you can use it for shorter practices if a full hour isn’t an option for a daily practice. How awesome is that? Only 1 private yoga class and you are all set!

Step 3: Dedicate time daily or as many days of the week as you want to practice the sequence I taught you. The more often you practice the better you feel, the more energy you will have and the better you will sleep at night.

yoga sequence

Step 4 (optional) – Book a follow up session. I will go over your sequence with you, check your alignment, answer any questions you might have and help you add to or modify your practice as needed. (Bonus: If you book a follow up session at the same time as your initial session I will include weekly accountability calls (up to 4) to check in and see how your practice is going.)

When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of others and the world becomes a more beautiful place.

Yoga Means Business

Last week I mentioned the launch of our newest program with Innergy Corporate Yoga – Yoga Refresh. The easiest way to de-stress, relax and re-energize at work without the hassle of yoga mats or changing your clothes. Mindfresh in NYC is a similar program to Innergy Corporate Yogas Yoga Refresh program for businesses here in Toronto. This video demonstrates what a Yoga Refresh class could look like at your workplace.

How we are different:

  • Classes can be 15, 30 or 60 minutes.
  • Large offices could run four 15 minute sessions in a row with different groups of people or in different spaces.
  • Every Yoga Refresh class will tailored to the needs of the group and space available
  • Our rates are half of what the NYC based company is charging, making it affordable and accessible to all businesses large and small.
  • Classes are taught by experienced registered yoga teachers like myself with a passion for wellness and feeling great!

Contact me for a complimentary consultation on how I can help you incorporate Yoga Refresh at your company!