November in Nicaragua

Well it's almost November and my first, "Practice, Breathe, and Surf Nicaragua" yoga surf retreat is just around the corner. I'm taking a small group for this one, and have two spots left!!
Chrisduggan.net
These yoga surf retreats always end up surprising me in ways I would never imagine. The first out of country one was with Natalie Rousseau and Shani Cranston of Milagro Retreats. We were at a beautiful resort called Mal Pais in Chacala, Mexico. It was breathtaking but started out very tricky. For our first class we went around the studio asking patrons what they were looking for, with regards to yoga. The first four ladies said they didn't want power, flow or inversions. The rest of the crew were up for anything! 
So we immediately had to rethink our whole gameplan, as it was called a "Vinyasa Flow Yoga Retreat". So the first evening class Natalie taught a beautiful practice that had everyone blissed out at the end after travelling.
In the morning we split the group up into two groups. The four ladies called themselves the, "special needs group" which made me laugh. I taught the ladies, and Natalie taught the vinyasa crew. At the end of my class, I had my ladies all wrapped up in a "savasana burrito" while the waves were coming in and the breeze was blowing. I sat there staring at my ladies and couldn't help but think of my Mother who is in a nursing home with dementia. It was somewhat overwhelming as she will never be able to see what I do, but we connect often. I was holding it together really well until I was about to say my closing words. I couldn't contain myself and broke down.. These four ladies proceeded to come around me as four Mothers would, and we were instantly bonded... Who was healing who?
From then on the retreat was magic, and the four ladies really opened up as well. We would all join in on the evening practice, and by the end of the week the ladies were doing many things that they hadn't expected! Their guards were down and were open for change.
From a beautiful hike to a private beach, where we were picked up by a boat and driven home... To a sweat lodge ceremony with a shaman, to a dharma talk by a Buddhist priest... The experience was magical!!

I have also hosted 7 yoga surf retreats in Tofino. These events are always the highlight of my summer and have been growing to this years maximum of 25 patrons. Tofino has a special place in my heart! It fills my soul with its connection to the ocean and the absolute beauty of Canada's west coast. Again I work with Shani as her food from Milagro Living is mind blowing! Raw, vegan, vegetarian meals combined with a firey morning practice, afternoon of surfing, evening yin practice, and ending with some bonding campfire time. "Practice, Breathe, & Surf Tofino #8" will be next Labour Day Long weekend. 
At the end of one of my Tofino retreats, we were hanging out at Tacifino before everyone drove home, and I was pulled aside by one of the patrons. She had an extremely stressful job and she looked at me and said, "I just wanted to thank you and say that this was the first time in my life, that I truly cared what I put into my body and how I moved it!!" Profound.
This is why we do these events. The deep connection to mind body, and the joy of sharing incredible experiences with like minded people.

I'm approaching this Nicaragua retreat with an open mind, and up for anything thats comes up.
I plan on a sweet morning practice, some amazing hikes, a ton of surfing, evening yin, and a lot of hammock time!!
I have had a few friends stay at Costa Dulce resort, and they were raving about it!! They surf break is right out front, the intermediate break is just down the beach, and the rustic chic accommodations look perfect! The yoga shala is open to the ocean, and the jungle is teaming with life.
We will be flying into Managua and travelling to San Juan Del Sur, where Costa Dulce is located. Survivor was shot very close to the resort, so we are in it!!

If you or a few friends want grab the last two rooms, we would LOVE to have you join us!!

For sign up information write to practicebreathesurf@gmail.com

Te Quiero
Chris

Body Maintenance and Yin Yoga

 

The last few months have been an interesting ride!

I’ve been traveling from Chiropractic ( Dr, Geneive Burley ), to Physio ( Sharon Spinder ), to A.R.T. ( Dr. Jaime Ackerman ), to Osteo ( Brian Mount ), to RMT ( Cody Cummings ), and Ozone Injections ( Dr. Stella Seto ).

This journey has taught me a lot more about past injuries. I’ve learned that my spine is twisted in 5 places, I’ve had multiple whiplashes, and a couple concussions. My levator scapulae and rhomboid muscles on the left side were pretty much locked up with deep knots, and I broke a bone in my left elbow that wasn’t treated. This created an over-working in my left forearm and several knots. QL on both sides, mainly right are really knotted, and piriformis and glute med were very unhappy!! My left hip is externally rotated and right hip is internally rotated. The last treatment with Stella got deep into the traps….. That was crazy.

The reason I’m mentioning all this is for the athletes out there that have spent hundreds of days on the mountains, power yogis who arm-balance a lot, andaggressive sport athletes to keep up with your body maintenance!!

Although all these treatments have hit my pocketbook hard, I’m elated that I am finally being proactive and addressing these issues now.

All this damage creates scar tissue, and an amazing way to move that scar tissue and tight fascia around is Yin yoga. I’m so stoked to be adding Yin to my teaching schedule! It’s the perfect compliment to my aggressive Power practice and taps more into the mental / meditative side of yoga . I took my first class with Danielle Hoogenboom and couldn’t even sit still for 10 seconds. But over time 5 – 10 minutes became bearable thanks to Slava Goloubov. Slava’s Yin teacher was Jolens Bayda. So, last summer I took Jolene’s Yin teacher training at Karma Teachers. It was a crazy journey… Every day she had us sit in poses for 20 – 30 minutes. I thought I was gonna go crazy everyday, but at the end of the week my body was dramatically different and more open!!

Twice a week I teach a sweet combo at a couple studio’s! Thursday 5:45 – 7:15 Rocket / 7:30 – 9:00 Yin at One Yoga. Friday 5:30 – 7:00 Rocket 7:15 – 8:30 Yin at Stretch. I also teach the Rocket Saturday’s at 4:15 at One Yoga and stay for Slava’s Yin at 5:45.

Rocket ( Ashtanga based Power with inversions and arm balances )combined with Yin is beautiful way to heat you up and open the body!

Yin Schedule:

Monday 6:45 “Candlelight Groovy Yin” at Dharma Movement Company

Tuesday 7:30 Yang / Yin at One Yoga ( 30 min. Yang / 60 min. Yin )

Thursday 7:30 Yin at One Yoga

Friday 7:15 Yin at Stretch

This practice has really benefitted the meditative side of my yoga journey. And sharing my favorite sequences is a real treat. I keep the music groovy and chill, so you can relax with some sweet beats!

So come and join me and work on your fascia and connective tissue. Take care of yourself, strengthen your mind, and don’t forget to drink a bunch of water!! <3

 

The Rocket

Rocket Yoga, also known as 'The Rocket', is a style of yoga developed by Larry Schultz in San Francisco during the 1980s. Rocket Yoga is rooted in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice of yoga. It is combined with and restructured from the Primary and Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga as well as key postures from the 3rd and 4th advanced series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Schultz's yoga was first called "Rocket Yoga" by Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead, because Weir said, "It gets you there faster." Larry's system was informed by over nine years of dedicated Ashtanga practice with his teacher Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

This practice was taught to me by the amazing Dustin Fruson!

His teachings have affected me more than any other teacher to date. I was introduced to this practice by Jodie Neault. I instantly loved it but was dealing with so many injuries at the time that I couldn’t keep it up on a regular basis. Then as time went on and my body healed, Dustin arrived at One Yoga and the practice was re-introduced to me.

With a very busy teaching schedule, I was only able to get to minimal classes with Dustin, but everytime he taught “The Rocket” I left feeling that I had just done the perfect practice for my body!!

So just over a year ago I took Dustin’s morning intensive at One Yoga, where he totally broke down the Rocket series. It was fantastic!!! After the intensive was over we met. I asked him if he didn’t mind me teaching this incredible practice at One Yoga. He was stoked that I asked him, as when he is away, his huge following was in need of the Ashtanga vibe!! So we figured out a 75min. condensed version of the “Rocket 2” series….. And I was off.

Since then I have been teaching this series at One Yoga, Yaletown YYoga, and Stretch. The rooms are generally packed, and the vibe is amazing!! “The Rocket” ticks off all the boxes of a well rounded practice, and keeps the energy flowing for the full 75min.

What I love about it the most is that beginners, can practice by experienced yogi’s, and everyone is happy. All the arm balances and inversions are optional, and you practice at the wall. So if you need support you just spin around and use the wall. Also breaks are encouraged, so if your body feels fatigued, just hang out in child’s pose or down dog. Having “all levels” around the room, rises the energy. I see breakthroughs weekly! So much more than in any other class I have taught. It is a real treat to lead and give endless adjustments to all the eager participants. Deep adjustments have greatly improved my practice, and I love sharing them.

So if you are attracted to Power Yoga, and are looking for a set series that will help you judge your progression…… Come and check out “The Rocket”!!

Tuesday 5:30 – 6:45 at Stretch

Friday 5:30 – 7:00 at Stretch

Saturday 4:15 – 5:30 at One Yoga

Sunday 5:45 – 7:00 at Yaletown Yoga

Click Here to Check out the Rocket on Youtube

 

Yoga Retreats

This will be my 7th year hosting yoga retreats. I have hosted mostly yoga & surf retreats; 7 really successful ones and a couple that didn’t make it. The market in Vancouver is saturated with retreats; patrons have such a variety to choose from. And usually they wait ‘till the retreat is near to book. This drives the hosts like me crazy as we have to front all the deposits, and roll the dice. These days, resorts have multiple escalating deposit dates to stress us out even more. But they have to cover their ends.

To my potential patrons: please note that the early booking deals, benefit all parties!!! The resort gets its deposit, the patron is committed and stoked for a vacation, and the host can relax and focus less on sales and primarily on the vacation planning!!

These retreats have affected me like no other job!!!  When you’re sitting around the dinner table having another amazing healthy meal, and you have already had a killer practice / surf…. Your soul starts to fill up!! Just like the feeling you get, after an amazing “powder” day on the mountains. Blissed-out and so grateful for Mother Nature and Mother Ocean!

I am always especially gratified when the beginners to surfing get out of the water after their first ride on a surfboard. The look on their faces is priceless. I feel amazing knowing I have opened a door to an exciting future of a love affair with the waves.

In the studio, the Anesthesiologist is practicing beside the Burlesque Dancer, beside the Emergency nurse, beside the Social Worker and the Fireman. All different walks of life are getting together in a beautiful setting and sharing a special week. So good!! 

I’m in the process or reserving the last week of November for Nicaragua 2016!!

“Practice, Breathe, & Surf Nicaragua”……. I’ll be taking a small group 10 – 20 patrons. The days will consist of 2 yoga classes daily…. Power / Flow in the morning with a couple Workshops, and Yin in the evening. Surfing with Instructor Heidi daily, 3 amazing meals, and some definite hammock time!!!

I plan on making this an annual event, and can’t wait to be surfing in Nica…. Finally. J

If you are interested in grabbing one of the spots, please let me know…… Pricing will be coming soon. This is the resort I will be working with. www.seekingsantoshanicaragua.com

 

Testimonials from my previous Retreats:

Dear Chris - thank you so much for a lovely weekend getaway full of good food, good company, and good waves. I look forward to the next one with anticipation!

Paula Meyler

test2.jpg

Practice and Breathe with Balance and Grace…. Less Struggle more Surrender…..Less Ego more Compassion

Website: chrisduggan.net

Facebook: Chris Duggan Yoga

Instagram: chrisdugganyoga

Twitter: @chrisdugganyoga

 

My Journey From Damaged Athlete to Yoga Teacher

I thought my story might be beneficial to people unsure of the power of a steady yoga practice.  Back in ’78…… Yeah ’78, I started my first serious sport, basketball. By ’84 I was the top recruit from Burlington, Ontario. I played University and City All-Star, but knew that I had taken it as far as I could. So I switched all my focus to beach volleyball and in a couple years I was playing on the Labatt’s Pro Beach Volleyball tour. Needless to say all the jumping took its toll on my knees and lower back! I spent a lot of time in the gym lifting weights, but never focused on stretching.

Winter’s were tough in Ontario and I really despised them, until my friend Stefan took me snowboarding!

I moved to Whistler 6 months later where I absolutely fell in love with everything snowboarding had to offer. We played basketball and volleyball in the summer, but my entire focus was snowboarding ; living in Whistler is, “all extreme”!!

After riding 100+ days a year for 5 years my body was wrecked! To date I’ve broken 9 bones and had 4 surgeries.

My left femur break was the catalyst for leaving Whistler. With my knees, hips, and back messed up, I moved to Vancouver. I joined a great gym and a dance studio. My body slowly transformed but I still didn’t focus on flexibility. I have had many friends mentioned yoga to me and one of the pro snowboarders Martin Gallant, did yoga every morning and he’s still at it! He’s had sponsors for over 20 years and still rides, mountain bikes, and surfs at a high level…. I saw the power of yoga.

So on my 40th birthday I took my first yoga class. It was really embarrassing but at the end of the class I was hooked. It took me 3 years to sit crossed legged, but every class I noticed improvements. I was taking 1-3 classes a week, and about a year into it, the teacher didn’t show up. So I said, “ I’ve been practicing at home….. Would you like me to guide me through my practice?” The other students said, “Sure, we came here for a good stretch!”

Then shortly after that my friend Josh, came in to teach a class and he said, “I’m the most un-flexible yoga teacher you will ever meet.” It was the best thing I could have heard, as I realized that you don’t have to be a Master to teach. You just need to be passionate about the process…… And that I was!

My next step was to find a Teacher Training that resonated with me. My tattooist Steve Moore www.getmooretattoos.com took me to Eoin Finn’s class at Kit’s House.

I had found my teacher!! I got my teaching chops at Kitsilano Workout, where I taught Power Yoga, Hip Hop, and a fusion I called Yoga Dance Mix.

Since then I have added One Yoga for the People, Exhale, Chopra Yoga Center, YYoga, and Stretch to my resume. I am also running workshops, retreats, and making beautiful custom RAD yoga bags.

Teaching full time is a very physical but incredible experience. It reminds me of my team sport days, when the room’s energy is electric, and everyone is practicing with passion!! It’s really incredible when some days you show up for class, and you are down and sore and the students pick you up, and you leave feeling amazing. Everyone is a teacher and a student.

It’s truly amazing how diverse the Vancouver yoga community is! I tend to be more drawn to the more powerful and playful side of yoga. I take a lot of inspiration from Ryan Leier, Dustin Fruson, and Danny Paradise with their Ashtanga backrounds. Eoin studied Ashtanga as well, but he added a surfer vibe to his classes which really drew me in.

I’ve also trained and practiced with Christine Price-Clark, Natalie Rousseau, Sjanie McInnis and Suzanne Slocum-Gori.

I love to remix the styles and add creative flows to my power classes! Keeping it challenging, but also keeping it fresh and fun! I teach Power, Flow, Yin, and The Rocket.

Many times I have pushed too hard and caused setbacks. For the A-type athlete, sometimes just slowing down and taking the “yin” approach is really what’s necessary (as I learned from taking my Yin Teacher Training with Jolene Bayda).

The “long hold” yin practice, has done wonders for moving around all my scar tissue. Slava Goloubov said in class one day, “How you do anything, is how you do everything!” That really resonated with me and seemed to quiet my mind allowing me to focus on my healing breath.

My Physiotherapist Sharon Spinder is untwisting my hips from years of standing sideways on a snowboard, and her IMS treatments have released my tight lower back from heavy weightlifting. But as the years roll on my practice keeps improving!! When my back is too inflamed I focus on my hips. The practice has made me so tuned into my body now.

'Less ego, more compassion'

We have our good days and our bad, but the most important thing is to make time to be on your mat. Over time it’s amazing what you can accomplish, if you keep consistent…. Nothing has to happen yesterday.

While Danny Paradise was doing an incredibly long arm balancing sequence, he said…. “It gets easier when you get older!!”

He’s in his 60’s….. I’ve got some work to do!

Mantra:

Practice and Breathe with Balance and Grace…. Less Struggle more Surrender…..Less Ego more Compassion

Website: chrisduggan.net

Facebook: Chris Duggan Yoga

Instagram: chrisdugganyoga

Twitter: @chrisdugganyoga