Seminars & Workshops

Lisa draws from her vast experience in yoga, bodywork, and fitness to offer workshops and seminars on functional movement, corrective exercise, injury rehabilitation, and deeper yoga exploration. These workshops can be customized for groups or individuals at gyms, yoga studios, teacher training programs, or your home. Find out more below.

Functional Movement Clinics

Go Deep! Finding depth in your squat

Trouble getting below parallel in your squat? want to rid yourself of knee pain? Back pain? Should we even ask about what happens when you add a weighted barbell to your squat?!

Brute Yogi mastermind, Lisa Vaughan-Meer, will utilize her skills as a body mechanic to dissect one of the most foundational movements in life – the squat. With all of her experience as a massage therapist, functional movement expert, Crossfit coach, and alignment-based yoga practitioner – we will assess movement patterns and prescribe some therapeutic mobilitysequences to pull together all of the pieces that make a functional squat puzzle.

The Tenth Domain

Despite the fact that flexibility is one of the ten recognized fitness domains within CrossFit programming, increased flexibility potential remains ignored by most of you! According to the ten general physical skills list, flexibility is just as important as power or strength. So why aren’t you taking it more seriously?

Poor flexibility limits what you can do in a WOD. Period. Lengthening your muscle fibers increases your resilience and muscle recovery, improves the elasticity of your tendons in those O-lifts, and ultimately increases your power output and performance. Being flexible doesn’t make you a sissy! It is part of being a complete, well-balanced, INJURY-FREE athlete. A lack of mobility will hurt your performance just as much as lack of strength or poor endurance.

If “yoga” scares you and “stretching” seems broad and boring, you’re not alone. The Functional Fitness seminar will address mobility issues while teaching you movements that will specifically address points of weakness that many CrossFit athletes face. Don’t you want to improve the depth of your squat? What about the lack of shoulder mobility in your snatch? Functional Flexibility takes only the best techniques from yoga, pilates, and physical therapy and leaves all the fluff behind on the floor. This seminar will focus on specific injuries, address parts of the body that commonly get stuck and experience issues, and will teach you specific movements to fix these deficiencies.

We don’t need to learn how to cross our feet behind our head or tie ourselves into knots in order to achieve Functional Flexibility. Most of us just want to be pain-free while chasing performance.

Up & Out: Going Overhead

Picking up heavy stuff and going overhead while doing full body movements is common in CrossFit, but also unique to our sport.

Going overhead has its benefits as well as pitfalls. Other than overhead exercises, there isn’t much opportunity for isolation of the smaller, vital stabilizing muscles that can make or break the health of your shoulders. Overhead movements can help stabilize and strengthen those muscles, but there is also a tendency toward shoulder injuries in CrossFit.

Frequent injuries such as shoulder impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tears, and ligament damage are all due to the fact that the shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the body. Combine that instability with a lack of strength and flexibility in the shoulder’s posterior chain, and you’ve got a serious chance of injury with only a minor deviation in form.

In this seminar, you’ll learn:

  • Strengthening and stabilizing exercises for improving handstand pushups, overhead squats, and presses
  • Proper and more efficient shoulder placement for presses and overhead squats
  • Flexibility drills for scapular mobility and stability that will foster a healthy range of motion between the scapula and ribcage and scapula and humerus (arm bone).
  • Mobility exercises for thoracic mobility, which goes hand-in-hand with shoulder mobility. The scapula floats on the ribcage (the main component of the thoracic body) and the body is stronger when it is properly aligned within its center.

No matter your goal, whether shoulder strength to get rxd handstand pushups or flexibility for more efficient form to finally get that bodyweight overhead squat, you could use improvement in your overhead flexibility, stability, and strength. GOING OVERHEAD will get you there.

3-part Workshop Series – Refining the Asana

You’ve heard the phrase “form follows function.” Actually, structure begets function and then function leads to the form. In other words, structural balance allows the body and its musculature to function in the way it was meant to with strength AND flexibility. When there is an imbalance in the structure or a weak link in the chain (the spine or the skeletal system), the container that is the body cannot hold the prana or energy that we are working to generate in our practice.  We are missing out on opportunities to develop our inherent power – inside and out – and allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to strain and injury.

Trying to force your body or a student’s body into an asana based on form alone leaves behind the higher intention of function. In yoga, function is more valuable than form for gaining the benefits given to us through the asana. Whether you are an experienced student with a deep interest in learning more about the body or a yoga teacher, you will find value in this small group workshop. We will begin to learn about refining the asana to find integrity AND beauty and bring about healthy function and ultimately, a healthy physical vehicle.

This workshop is a 3 part series broken up into two hour segments.  There is no need to attend all three consecutively, and it is available to anyone curious about HOW to access some asana that may seem unavailable and elusive. Along with learning, exploring and understanding a few asana from a dynamic and therapeutic perspective, there will also be time for questions and discussion.

Part 1: Warm Up & Sit In Your Seat

Sun salutations are one of the most common elements of any traditional asana practice yet there are so many different variations and modifications.

Part 2: Backbends & Twists

With one simple alignment technique in a few common backbend poses, let’s figure out how to find a pain free back bending experience.When backbends feel good, they feel very, very good: They leave you feeling energized, expansive, even joyful. But when they feel bad, well, you can fill in the rest. Think compressed, crunchy lower back, sacral pain, neck strain. Learning to align your pelvis and integrate your shoulders will help you to keep your lower back long and your spine compression free, so join us for some time to explore HOW to do this with props, proper alignment and partner assists!

Part 3: Standing & Balancing Poses

Unraveling the Mystery of Bandhas

“Yoga is a breathing practice, the rest is just bending.”

Bandhas are powerful energy seals that can be used to harness the prana that lies within every body. By cultivating that energy, it can be stored and used with more intention and direction. Bandhas are not only tools for deepening meditation and opening the chakras to awaken power along the spine from the root to the crown, but they can also be used loosen complex clusters of physical, emotional, and psychological issues so that healing and evolution can occur.

Much of western yoga focuses on the physical anatomy and the practical application of asana, the bandhas work with both the physical body and the subtle energetic primordial body by teaching us to access the deep muscles that tone the pelvis and core and create flexibility in the spine. These deeper muscles have a profound effect on the nervous system, bring more stability to the spine, bones, joints, and tissue, and can eventually bring deep states of relaxation.

In this workshop we will actively explore and explain the meaning of the bandhas. We will work together to de-mystify this so often misunderstood important yoga technique and learn some more practical applications for the bandhas in our lives and our asana practice.

This workshop is open for all levels of practice.


Creating Core Stability and Accessing the Bandhas

“Where is ‘the core’ exactly? What are the ‘bandhas’? What does ‘midline stabilization’ mean?”

Understanding the bandhas and why they are important is perhaps the most difficult aspect to grasp in the yoga practice. Learning, as well as re-educating ourselves on how to stabilize the midline, is vital to creating a physical container of support or “core” for the movement of prana through the use of the bandhas.

Using techniques from the yoga tradition, along with cues from functional movement modalities, we will first begin to explore how to find and maintain pelvic neutrality, the natural extension of the spine, and a deep release of the hip flexors and psoas. After gaining a clearer understanding of  how the placement of the spine and pelvis support the movement of prana/life force – we can then begin to learn how to activate the “locks” or “bandhas” to direct and regulate our prana.

All of this awareness connects us to our “core,” helping us find, and live from, that inner place of peaceful strength. This workshop will help bridge the gap between the subtle esoteric aspects of the energetic system and the practice of yoga and put it into western terms of anatomy.