• 6 Ways to Simply Spring Clean Your Life

    As the skies fill with less clouds and more softly floating cherry blossom petals, energies that have been hibernating are now taking the stage, offering new life into all that we have been creating over the last few months. This is a time when we shed our layers, literally and figuratively, and make way for new and exciting moments. It’s important that not only on the surface we feel prepared for this seasonal and energetic transition, but within ourselves and the subtle layers of our beings.  Here are some ways you can ready your body, mind, soul, (and house!) for what lies ahead.

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    1. Ditch the Un-used.

    This is one of the biggest ways in which we impede the natural flow of growth and change. Holding on to physical items that we no longer use or care about not only clutters up our visible space, but contributes to maintaining ties with the past and getting in the way of our mental and emotional clarity. What’s better is that often these items can go to homes where they would be much more appreciated, helping more than just the state of our closets but those in need.

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    2. Do the Lemon Water Thing

    Just try it and see how you feel. Warm water with lemon every morning is a super easy and superbly beneficial way to clear toxins, reset the digestive system and you may notice clearer and more vibrant skin among other pluses! You may have heard the term ‘alkalization’ or ‘alkaline’ among one of the many health blogs circulating, and for good reason. What this basically means is that we are choosing foods and drinks that are going to bring our ever-changing chemical levels into a pH balance where our physiological processes run at their smoothest and our bodies become a place where disease is less likely to occur. Nowadays with the amount of toxic foods and lifestyles we are constantly surrounded with, our bodies can become too acidic, allowing health problems to develop because, quite simply, nothing is running the way it should. On top of giving you a Vitamin C boost, though it seems acidic, lemon is alkaline forming.

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    3. Clear your E-Mess

    This may sound funny (or a scary task) but those hundreds (or thousands) of emails that don’t seem to affect us to contribute as a bit of a dragging weight on a subconscious level. This goes for all those desktop icons that need purging, old voicemails, pictures that need archiving. Get rid of the bulk and see how head first you dive into upcoming projects.

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    4. Get Fresh

    Comfort foods have provided us with the strength and sustenance we’ve needed through this chilly time of year, but we’re moving on to fresher and brighter things. Incorporating bright, fresh whole foods into our warm recipes will ease us into more lively summer meals and pack a serious nutritional punch that will fire us up to get going. Go for the rainbow, and don’t be afraid to get creative with fruits and veggies you wouldn’t normally use!

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    5. Banish the Dust Demons

    In addition to looking desirable and creating a welcoming environment from which to grow, giving our nests a proper scrub will get rid of all the unseen dust, bacteria and allergens that take a toll on the immune system. The last thing we want is to be stuck with a cold when the sun’s shining!

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    6. Get a Massage

    When we’re freezing and stuck indoors, not only do we have a tendency to round our backs and shoulders as we shield our faces from the rain and get into poor postural grooves at the computer, but we can often hold onto this tightness long after the cold is gone. Think about how the body feels almost instantly softer when laying in the sun. Treating yourself to a tension-freeing session is the perfect way to jumpstart your momentum as we spring into the sunnier wave of the year.

  • 5 Restorative Yoga Poses to Hold You Over Until Your Next RMT Appointment

    We all know that warm, relaxed (and of course sometimes a bit sore) sensation we’re left with after an appointment with an RMT. Tension that earlier in the day was the centre of attention is now taking the bench, and hey, our stresses seem to be over there too.

    While nothing beats the skilled touch of an RMT, here are a few restorative yoga postures you can do at home to give you that ‘back to balance’ feeling in between sessions.

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    1. Child’s Pose

    The one yoga pose to rule them all, and for good reason! Not only are you alleviating spinal pressure in Child’s Pose, but you are simultaneously bringing openness into the hips, thighs and upper and lower back muscles, all the while in a passive position that can invoke a deep sense of calm and security. Child’s pose can also help activate your digestive processes, and provides us a welcome opportunity to turn inward and enjoy a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle.

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    2. Legs up the Wall

    A favourite of many, legs up the wall is one of the most beneficial and effortless postures in yoga and is considered deeply therapeutic. Simply inverting for a period of time everyday allows gravity to help regulate tension, promote circulation of fluids within all extremities, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure. You may find that holding this position for an extended length of time provides intensely relaxing effects. Try 5-10 minutes to start, and increase to as long as you feel comfortable with. Try placing soft pillows under the arms, lower back or neck for even more support. *Note: You do not need to lay on the hard floor for this to take effect. If your bed is up against a wall, do it from here for maximum comfort!

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    3. Reclined Twist

    They say you are as young as your spine is flexible. As the fluids in the spine don’t move by themselves and can be a storing ground for built up toxins and free-radicals, this is a great reason to bring a gentle spinal twist into a relaxation routine. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and arms out to the sides. Softly lower your knees to the right, looking over the left shoulder. Pause here and breathe deeply. Repeat on opposite side.

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    4. Seated Forward Bend

    All the feels of a morning stretch but at any time of day. Seated Forward Bend targets the back side of the entire body, while promoting digestion and washing away stresses as we turn inward. Approach this posture lightly, your body will do the rest. Close your eyes.

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    5. Savasana

    Although it is a pose of complete surrender and relaxation, this can make it slightly more challenging. Still the mind by focusing on each part of the body you are hoping to bring ease. Mentally relax this part, and move onto the next. If you feel the mind wander, just come back.

    Enjoy knowing that with only a bit of effort, these poses are helping to revitalize the body and mind, restoring balance and promoting your wellbeing from the ground up.

  • Reflections of a First RMT Experience

    jairo-alzate-45540As a dedicated yogi and advocate for good health, and throughout much self research into various healing dualities, strangely, massage has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. Sure I’d had a few relaxing experiences in tropical locales that did seem to provide noticeable benefits to my state of calm, particularly during the session, but coming in to Soma Studio I was greeted with not only a different environment but an unanticipated approach altogether. Instantly upon my assessment with my RMT, I could tell that this was much more involved than I had imagined. While some come to massage for general relaxation and relief of your everyday tensions, some are drawn to it seeking to heal deeper rooted concerns, whether that is physical imbalance or injury, emotional trauma or a knot that just won’t seem to budge.

    What remained intact through a treatment that continued to pleasantly surprise me was the encapsulating tranquil and comfortable atmosphere that was maintained the whole way through. Often times nowadays, medicine and remedial practices tend to take a sterile and unwelcoming persona, so much so that a lot of people are put off by say, going in for a doctor’s appointment, and I realized that this calibre of massage therapy was breaking that stigma, through the use of techniques and skills that stand before a backbone of in depth physiological science and first hand experience.

    I briefly shared with my RMT my physical concerns, and she was receptive and very professional as she did a postural assessment. Meeting me back in the room, I was given an overview of what to expect, and that at any time to let her know if something was not working, or was. Due to my specific needs, my RMT started off with what they call ‘Myofascial Release’ techniques. This method uses no oil, as the therapist needs to be able to grip the skin, working not only with the muscles but the subtler layers of connective tissues, known as fascia, that can be the cause of tightness and discomfort. I immediately felt the difference in how my body was reacting to this practice, as it wasn’t just a specific muscle that was causing my distress but an entire cohesive area. Giving the utmost attention to the spots that I had highlighted and a balanced level of care to the rest of my body, I was impressed an intrigued by my RMT’s intuitive knowledge regarding pressure level, pinpointing muscles I didn’t even know were there, and fluid motion, even using an oil-free technique.

    The session took a natural curve, beginning with lighter impressions and working up to a full on therapeutic treatment, before easing into a soothing finale to the upper back, neck, shoulders and head in what I would describe as ‘assertive yet reassuring wavelike movements’. I was left feeling light and fascinated by how accurate my RMT’s techniques had been.

    Moral of the story, booking an appointment with an RMT may be just what you’ve been seeking to restore balance in the body, and can become an important ritual in a self care routine, that doesn’t feel like a chore in the slightest.

    Many thanks to Tina at Soma Studio East for providing an excellent treatment from which to share the experience. To book an appointment with a Registered Massage Therapist, give us a call or book online. 

  • Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

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    Pamela Nadav has said, “There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.” Preganancy is a remarkable journey that invites a woman to completely new terrain, and to explore facets of herself that she may have never uncovered lest she embarked up this journey. It’s a time of introspection and inner nurturing, a time when she learns the intuitive capacity she has for being a vessel of life, of caring, and of love. Yet so often, the adventure to motherhood is fraught with physical discomfort and emotional ups and downs! Because a woman goes through so many changes during this time, having a support network in place in the form of community, breathing classes, massage, and yoga, can give a soon­to­be mom exactly what she needs.

    Preganancy is a time that prepares a woman to connect with her own intuition and
    wisdom. Especially for a woman, parenting begins with conception, as the tools she
    develops while carrying her child will be important ones she uses once the child is born
    and growing. It’s a time that is meant to allow the woman to rely more fully on her
    instincts, as these instincts are what give her the ability to move gracefully through the
    birthing process, no matter what the outcome, and to parent in a way that is connected to
    her deep inner knowing.

    A woman’s body inevitably experiences a multitude of changes during pregnancy, which
    can at times disconnect her from her own inner voice. As her uterus expands with the
    weight of the growing baby, there is more stress on her back, neck, shoulders and
    abdominal muscles. An aching lower back is a common sensation for many pregnant
    women, while others may experience aching legs, sore hips, swelling and/or insomnia.

    To reconnect inwardly, find ease in her body and mind, and reconnect with her spirit,
    prenatal massage therapy is a wonderful way to lessen her discomfort. A massage during
    pregnancy brings about a sense of well­being through relaxation, giving an expecting
    mother a once again clear channel to her own intuition, as well as a feeling of being
    settled and grounded.

    Benefits of Prenatal Massage

    • Soothes tired and tense muscles

    • Improves sleep

    • Relieves muscle cramps, spasms and tension in the lower back, neck, hips and

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    • Reduces the release of stress hormones

    • Reduces heart rate and blood pressure

    • Improves blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling (edema)

    • Can improve labour outcome and ease pain

    Soma’s therapists seek to support their pregnant clients by helping them to reconnect
    with themselves, to feel good in their bodies, and to feel prepared for the adventure of a
    liftetime. Our therapists are professionally trained prenatal massage therapists in
    Vancouver who understand the needs of a pregnant body, which techniques to use, and
    how to safely massage it to alleviate some of the discomfort. We recognize the
    importance of positioning the body during a pregnancy massage not only for comfort, but
    also for a woman and her baby’s well­being.

    As well as pregnancy massage, our prenatal massage therapists are happy to share their
    expertise in other aspects of prenatal care, from abdominal exercises to sleeping
    positions to postural correction. And when the time is right and a woman is ready, Soma’s
    therapists are also trained in postnatal massage.
    “The most important thing a woman would learn over the years was that there was no
    way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one” (Jill Churchill). Let Soma
    support you in your dynamic and exciting journey to motherhood, and feel the benefits
    immediately!

     

    By Lori Johnson, RMT & Owner of Soma Studio

  • Lessons from the Road by Cheyne, RMT

    photo 3 (1)¡Buenas dias a todas los personas!

    We’re almost back from our travels; we’ve seen so many places, met so many amazing people! Traveling is such a gift. Being able to work, supporting my partner Lila’s yoga workshops while on the road, has made it such an amazing journey.

    We’ve been to the Interior, the Prairies, east coast United States, Hawaii, but mostly Central America, in the past seven months. We’ve taught workshops, yoga teacher trainings, took a two week permaculture course, lived with handfuls of Central American families, and traveled with some of our best friends to some truly amazing places.

    From the deep wet jungle to the oppressively hot coastlines, what resonates most deeply for me after reflecting on the past seven months, and often what we all come back with after traveling, is memories of the people we’ve shared our lives with. It seems there’s a wisdom that comes with developing new routines. Playing soccer with the children in the dirt, howler monkeys in the trees, hand washing clothes, speaking a different language, listening to their stories… It seems we travel in search of something. Something beyond our lives back home; an inherent sense of humanity that crosses culture, language, ethnicity, even belief.

    To be honest, the majority of people traveling for a few weeks from the west are there to drink. Some stay, and develop ways of bringing their Western luxuries and lifestyle to, quite frankly, these impoverished areas that are economically forced to serve them. Some people are searching for something better when they travel, more so when they move there, studiously avoiding whatever is left in their wake. Chasing happiness as a set of preferences that seems fundamentally unattainable. Others come with a beautiful sense of exploration, some with an inner churning, some come with a burning desire to help the world. Or maybe a mix of all of them. But that’s an essay for another time. Traveling deeper into Nicaragua, past the areas with these socioeconomic challenges, there’s a different vibe. Bustling sidewalks, kids playing in the dirt roads, hungry dogs looking for scraps, and the stare of unfamiliarity from the locals as they assume you’re not Catholic. Nicaragua. It’s in these places, and deeper into the jungle, that we came across new friends, some we eventually traveled with, and communities we visited that left permanent impressions on us. There are some amazing things happening everywhere, and many people to be inspired by. Sometimes you just have to look with the right focus.

    After being on the road for what feels like a very long time, I’m sitting with some reflections before I head back to BC. Part of our intention on this journey was to gain knowledge and inspiration for some projects we have when we return home. For that part, we were overwhelmingly successful. Being able to share with yoga teachers the deeper physiology behind their craft and work has been super fun. But in the feeling of connection to people we’ve parted ways with, and others we can’t wait to see again, I’m left with something that’s quite hard to articulate. Being in developing parts of the world, working through times when we were seriously ill, broke, and seeking refuge at a Red Cross with dirt floors and questionable medication, comes with it some obvious perspective. I now care a lot less if there’s a coffee stain on my shirt or if the line is too long for my liking at the market. What comes to mind for me is that inherent sense of life and vitality in everyone, everywhere: the humble nature that pours out of the women in Nicaragua, despite the general lack of rights they’re subjected to. They’re not chasing a dream, they’re happy with what they have and the food and love they provide.

    That proud vitality, and vibrant sense of life and happiness that we all know comes from something other than what’s material, is what makes me so excited to be home, to my family and friends. Doing the work I love to do, living in the city and country I love. We describe it as the mountains, fresh air, cherry blossoms… summer in Vancouver. But it’s the essence of what’s behind all of those things. It’s the virtuous life, and the communities we build that sustain us.

    With grace and gratitude,

    Cheyne Cameron, RMT

    Cheyne will be returning to Soma at the beginning of April! Go online to book with him.

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  • Infant Massage Workshop with Kaely Brittliffe, RMT

    Picture 14Soma RMT Kaely will be teaching an infant massage workshop starting on Nov 26th! Here are some of the benefits of infant massage:

    • Promotes bonding and attachment between you and your baby
    • Promotes relaxation and decreases stress in you and your baby
    • Relieves discomfort from constipation, gas and colic
    • Promotes better sleep for baby (and maybe you too!)
    • Stimulates brain development and sensory awareness for baby
    • Babies cry less, as the parent is more responsive to babies’ cues

    Three Tuesday afternoon sessions: 11:30-12:30
    November 26th, December 3rd  and 10th
    Location: Acumamas in Olympic Village  #301 West 2nd Avenue (2nd and Crowe street),Vancouver BC V5Y 1C9

    For babies three weeks to pre-crawling and their primary caregivers
    Cost $105, RMT receipt for $35 issued in baby’s name at each class

    Registration required contact Kaely at 604 889 9971 or kaelyrmt@gmail.com

  • New Soma Contest!

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    Hi Everyone!

    Do you want to win a 60 min massage at Soma? Yes, I think you do… here’s how!

     

     

    • Step 1: Like us on Facebook and you get your name added to the draw.  Click here!  If you already like us (yay you!) then you name has been entered already!
    • Step 2: Write us a review on Yelp and you get your name added to the draw AGAIN!! Click here to write a review!

    Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

     

  • How Massage Helps

    Ease into the new year with Soma Studio! Tell us how massage has helped you and win a free one hour massage with a Registered Massage Therapist.

     

    Therapeutic MassageMaybe you were recovering from an injury, or looking to find ease in your body during pregnancy. Maybe you were dealing with stress in your job or daily life. Postpartum depression. Anxiety. Whatever your reason for choosing massage therapy, we want to hear-in 50 words or less-how it has helped you.

    Don’t worry if you’re not the next Wordsworth or Hemmingway. We want real stories from real people to share on our blog and in our monthly newsletters. So tell us about yourself; drop us a line with your story in the body of the email, and you’ll be entered to win a one hour massage with any of our talented therapists.

    Contest begins January 9, and closes January 22. Winner will be announced online January 23. Brought to you by Soma Studio and Vancouver Mom.

     

  • Everything I know…

    I had the great fortune to be the daughter of a wise woman. My mother was ahead of her time in many ways; most notably, her interest in herbs, alternative wellness, yoga and massage.  This was revolutionary stuff in small town Saskatchewan at that time. When I was 12 years old, she became a Registered Massage Therapist  and started a small practice in our home. I have known massage therapy to be an alternative to pain medication since I was quite young.  As a figure skater, I benefited greatly from her abilities.

    One of the myriad things that Mom taught me was that people use massage for many different reasons.  I hope to clarify for you how massage therapy can be used in your life.

    Medical:

    Some clients are referred to a registered massage therapist (RMT) by their MD, chiropractor or physiotherapist, for a specific health concern. It may be headaches, back or neck pain, injury from a car accident, sport injury, stress or depression. Often these situations require urgent attention and a patient might see an RMT twice a week. For both therapist and patient, getting the symptoms under control is a priority. After seeing an RMT for 3 weeks or so,  the main issue may be alleviated or at least under control. These clients may then stop coming for treatments until some other problem arises.

    Lifestyle/chronic conditions:

    Other clients choose to come for treatments as part of their wellness plan.  There may not be an obvious problem to work on or a nagging injury; this is more of a preventative approach to wellness. Clients book a treatment once every 2 weeks or once per month, on a regular basis. They reserve the time and make it a priority, like exercise.  Usually this type of treatment involves relaxation. Relaxation time should not be underestimated!  We live in a stressful world, with stress-induced illnesses. When the body knows how to relax, it can deal more effectively with what we put it through on a daily basis.

    Some of our clients have chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia. Massage therapy lessens the effect of the condition and adds to the quality of life for someone who faces these additional challenges.

    Temporary conditions:

    At Soma, we are all trained in pre and postnatal massage therapy. We’re very comfortable helping pregnant women cope with the many changes of the child-bearing year.  Many clients begin treatment at the beginning of the 2nd trimester, although massage therapy is very safe during the first trimester as well.  We recommend treatments once every 2 weeks in the beginning, increasing to once per week for the last month. Regular massage during this time helps to reduce swelling, lessen fatigue and decrease back strain. We also suggest that massage treatments continue for at least a few weeks after the birth, to help with hormonal adjusting, fight fatigue and reduce strain on the body.  Some women continue with regular treatment even after the baby is born to help with strain from breast-feeding, or simply for some “Me” time.

    So you see, massage therapy can be useful for everyone, at all stages of life! Listen to your body, and be good to it. Bring it in to Soma once in a while for a tune-up; you’ll be happy you did.

    Wishing you health and vitality,

    Lori

  • My Massage With Lori.

    I’m not saying you’ll buy yourself a bottle of wine and a green tea mousse cake after a massage with Lori. I’m just saying that’s what I did. Results may vary.

    Although we work together, Lori insisted we didn’t talk business on my “massage day”. I’d booked myself in for a one hour session on the first day off I’d had in weeks. To say I was looking forward to it is an understatement.

    As always, my neck and shoulders were tight, but Lori did a full body treatment on me. It brought to my attention parts of my body I hadn’t considered much over the last few months. My hips for example. I’ve been running pretty regularly, and though I always take time to stretch the usual suspects: hamstrings and quads, I’d been ignoring my hips. Lori really got into the cracks, and after my massage, my hips felt more open. Heres a few good hip opening stretches too.

    Lori has been doing this for awhile, and it shows. Her hands are strong, and adept. I was a little sore the day after my massage, but it was that good kind of soreness, the kind that makes you feel connected to your body. I followed her advice, and drank a lot of water.

    And, as I mentioned, I also had a little bit of wine. And a lot of cake. Some say that your muscles hold emotional memory. Well, since my massage with Lori, I am a firm believer in this. Sure, it was a lovely sunny day when I left Soma, but wow! I felt incredible. Light and breezy, with this feeling that I was doing great, and deserved a little reward after my challenging work schedule over the last few months. The massage was an excellent start, and a few hours (and glasses of wine) later, my reward was complete. Thanks Lori!

    Be happy,

    carleigh