Starting the conversation …

conversation of love

Drawing by Kortnee Moreland.

I’ve been struggling to get my thoughts together. And make sense of my words. I feel hopeless, sad, angry, my heart hurts …

Last week I was in my regular Wednesday morning yoga class where I get to be a student.

As class started my teacher mentioned the recent ugly, violent events taking place in our world. She talked about how many of us feel at a loss of what we can do.

It was the first time I had cried over the the night club shootings at an Orlando night club, two black men who were shot by police, one in Minnesota and the other in Louisiana, and the sniper Dallas police shootings. (It’s scary how many more ugly, violent things have happened since last Wednesday.)

Class was physically challenging. But in the challenging poses we were encouraged to look and find comfort. The practice was not about getting into the pose but about being in the pose.

With all the ugliness lately, which includes hate speech, I feel like I am losing hope.

THE CONVERSATION

But like my readers, who are also likely wondering, as a good, kind, open-minded, loving, caring person I want to know, what can I do?

Like, my yoga teacher said, we need to start and continue the conversation.

… So this is me, trying to start the conversation.

The big question is, how do we start and keep the conversation going?

I strive to be a good and kind person. I try to be open-minded and warm. I try to listen and be understanding. I practice patience.

I’m not perfect. None of us are.

We all grew up differently. We have different experiences to grow from and share. We need to strive to understand our differences, embrace them and celebrate them.

THE TALK

It breaks my heart to know some parents have to sit their young black sons down and have the talk.

From an article in Time, “If you are stopped by a cop, do what he says, even if he’s harassing you, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Let him arrest you, memorize his badge number, and call me as soon as you get to the precinct. Keep your hands where he can see them. Do not reach for your wallet. Do not grab your phone. Do not raise your voice. Do not talk back. Do you understand me?”

The lede of the article states: “Certain events have a way of changing everything, reorganizing life into an unforgettable before and after.” That means something to us today.

And it meant something three years ago. This article was written three years ago. THREE years ago tragic events were happening and we were trying to make sense of it. And today we are still trying to make sense of this irrational violence yet again and again and again …

BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE

We are all ignorant. We need to talk, learn, listen, read, understand …

We must be held accountable. All actions–good and bad–have consequences.

Before you say something ugly, first think about it. Is this OK? How would I feel if someone said that to me?

If someone says something ugly, how do you normally react? I know how I usually react.

Maybe instead of your usual reaction you make it a conversation. How did you come to that conclusion? What do you feel that way? Why did you say that? And maybe you let them know that what they said was hurtful.

SHARING LOVE OF YOGA

I love being a yoga teacher and sharing my knowledge with my students. I love helping them find their comfort and challenges while supporting them.

And I feel honored to be there for them when they need someone to talk to, someone to listen, someone to give them a hug.

I love that my students come to yoga for many different things.

Some come for the physical practice, some come for class with me, some come for my various themes, some come to heal physically, some come to heal emotionally, some come for the community, some come for the love, some come for the acceptance …

PRACTICING YOGA OFF THE MAT

I feel like a lot of my kindness comes from patience.

When there is a congestion yet again on the 217 … when someone parks their cart in the middle of the aisle at the grocery and wanders away … when kids are screaming at a restaurant … when the line is long in the refreshment line at the movies …

When I am in every day situations like those mentioned above and many more I could easily get frustrated, upset, angry. But instead I take a moment and breathe. I call it practicing yoga off the mat. I remind myself that it is not that big of a deal.

In most situations we can do this, take a moment, full deep inhales, long release of the exhales.

You can always come back to the breath.

TALK, LISTEN, UNDERSTAND

Be kind to one another. Show your heart, your love.

Violence brings on violence. Love trumps hate. Peace over war.

And we keep having the conversations. Talk, listen, understand.

… Let’s continue this conversation …

Yoga in the Park

Yoga in the Park

Yoga in the Park with Ann in August. Tuesday, August 9 and Tuesday, August 23.

I am excited to announce that next month I will be teaching Yoga in the Park.

I will be teaching two yoga class(es) for all levels.

If adults want to bring their kids along that is welcome. But children must be accompanied by an adult.

Details below:

THE WHAT: Yoga in the Park with Ann
THE WHERE: Evelyn M. Schiffler Memorial Park, SW Erickson Ave., Beaverton, OR
THE TIME: 6-7 p.m.
THE DAY(S): Tuesday, August 9 and Tuesday, August, 23
THE PRICE: Suggested donation of $5 (but no one will be turned away)
WHAT ELSE: Bring your yoga mat. Be dressed for a yoga class. Clothing should be comfortable.

Feel free to bring a picnic to enjoy after class and hang out.

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com.

a.m./p.m. yoga

am pm yoga

Over the past week my yoga theme was a.m./p.m. yoga.

One of my yoga students recently asked me if I could teach poses that could be done first thing in the morning and some poses that could be practiced right before bed.

What a great idea!

And a.m./p.m. yoga was created by me.

A morning practice can help to encourage mindful breathing and gentle movement, which can help begin your day with ease and joy.

A practice before bed can ease you into a restful night with a quiet yoga practice focused on deep breathing to calm the mind and release physical tension.

A calm, relaxing and Restorative practice before bed helps the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and relax) to kick in.

An evening practice can help calm the mind and relieve tension in they body. A soothing practice can be an effective natural sleep remedy.

I gave my students stick figure drawings of the sequence I taught. Though in true Ann fashion in most of my classes I ran out of time and had to cut some of the poses out.

The stick figures are provided above for your use if you so wish.

If you would like a PDF e-mailed to you of the sequence, please send me an e-mail at ann@gofitgirl.com with the subject line: a.m./p.m. yoga sequence.

A regular yoga practice does the body and mind good.

A celebration of yoga & people

athleta class june 11

I’m teaching students Vrksasana (Tree Pose) at the Athleta Washington Square store on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

June has been a fun month for me partnering with Athleta.

Turtles Yoga & Wellness, the studio where I teach, partnered with Athleta–Washington Square for June Studio of the Month.

Each Saturday in June a different Turtles teacher taught a free yoga or Pilates class.

I taught on June 11.

I had a great group of students. Many were some of my own students and some were new students.

We practiced Sun Salutes in anticipation of Summer Solstice and International Yoga Day Portland.

Yoga Day Portland

On Tuesday, June 21, it was Summer Solstice. There was a big celebration in Portland’s Pioneer Square.

Karen, Mari, Meghan, Kimi, Dena, Lisa and me posing in the Athleta tent right before the Athleta fashion show on Tuesday, June 21.

Karen, Mari, Meghan, Kimi, Dena, Lisa and me posing in the Athleta tent right before the Athleta fashion show on Tuesday, June 21.

There were many free yoga classes, vendors, music, dancing, an Athleta fashion show, where I was a model.

The fashion show ended up being so much fun. We put on a fabulous show and looked amazing while modeling and yoga posing.

Here is a video of a small part of the fashion show.

The group of women (pictured to the right) I rehearsed with and hung out with over many Sunday evenings are amazing people. I am sad I won’t be seeing them regularly.

Yoga Day Portland was a great yoga celebration. It was such an awesome community to spend the day with.

I met new friends, hung out with “old” friends. I ran into numerous students throughout the day.

warrior 2 athleta fashion show

Thanks to friend and yoga student Deb for taking this picture during the Athleta fashion show.

My friend Maui taught one of the free classes, Fully Belly for Digestion, after lunch.

Maui’s girlfriend, Abby, and I demoed the class while my friend Rachel assisted in the crowd of yoga students.

It was such a great and fun day. But man, it was exhausting.

The weather was almost perfect: no rain with some sun and a little warmth by the middle/end of the day.

After the closing circle a small group headed out for Happy Hour. We shared laughs and a good time over appetizers and drinks.

The Oregonian posted a story online, at Oregon Live, about Yoga Day Portland.

Check out the second picture in the slideshow … where (spoiler alert) I am demoing in Maui’s  yoga class.

Here are some more pictures throughout the fun day for you to view.

A lot of amazing people helped to put on Yoga Day Portland. But really, two women, Becky and Reagan, were the main planners on putting on this event day.

The Yoga Day Portland website describes the day as: We are a local group of Oregonians striving to improve our community and world by promoting peace within and without through the many valuable and beneficial forms of yoga practice.

Perfect way to describe a perfect day and a perfect celebration of yoga and people.

Ann’s third newsletter

Athleta June Studio of the MonthMy third newsletter came out Wednesday, June 1.

I am reposting it for my GFG! readers right here.

If you would like to sign up to receive future newsletters in your inbox, you can go right here to enter your e-mail address.

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Friends,

Thank you so much for your interest in my newsletter.

Many have been asking when the next newsletter is coming out. The wait is over and here it is.

This is my third newsletter. I have reposted the first two on my blog, Go Fit Girl! You can read the first here and the second here.

Wow, first day of June. I have some exciting things coming up this month.

Upcoming June yoga class themes:

  • Focusing on the pelvis from Wednesday, June 1-Monday, June 6. A neutral pelvis keeps the low back healthy. Many suffer from pelvic floor disorders, which can cause a lot of issues in the body.
  • Low back is the theme running from Wednesday, June 8-Monday, June 13. In the U.S. lower back pain is one of the most common complaints. The Mayo Clinic states that most people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Some causes of low back pain can be poor posture, tight hamstrings, herniated disc, tight hips, muscle strain, tight posas, etc.
  • Tuesday, June 21 is Summer Solstice. The week leading up to Summer Solstice (Wednesday, June 15-Monday, June 20) I will be teaching sun salutes (Surya Namaskar) to honor the arrival of summer.
  • I’m really excited about the sequence I’m teaching from Wednesday, June 22-Monday, June 27, which I am calling a.m./p.m. yoga. One of my students asked if I could teach some poses that could be done first thing in the morning and poses to do before going to bed. I will provide stick figures of the poses taught to my students.

A lot of friends and students have been asking me about the heart opener over the blocks pose. I decided to write a post on it, practicing heart opener. My post talks about the benefits and teaches you how to get into the pose, be in the pose and come out of the pose whether with blocks or a roll.

I am excited to announce that Turtles Yoga & Wellness (a studio where I teach) will be partnering with Athleta for Athleta’s June Studio of the Month. All the classes are free. I am teaching from 8-9 a.m. on Saturday, June 11 at Athleta, Washington Square, in Portland. The other classes are Saturdays June 4, 18 and 25 from 9-10 a.m. See my Facebook invite here.

After my June 11 Athleta class I am inviting students/friends to join me for a quick coffee at the Starbucks in the mall. I have another class that morning so I can’t hang out too long. Let’s have a quick coffee and a brief chat.

Did you know that June 21 is International Yoga Day Portland? It’s also Summer Solstice, as I stated earlier. There are amazing things planned for celebration that day in Portland’s Pioneer Square, including free yoga classes, vendor booths and an Athleta fashion show at 11:45 a.m., where I will be one of the models. The other models and I have some fun things planned and we’ve been working hard to make sure the show is amazing. If you can take a break and come out, please do. If you have more time, come for a free yoga class, the fashion show, tour the vendor booths, rock out to the DJ, etc.

At LA Fitness I use music by Power Music. They have lots of categories to use, whether for yoga or Pilates or cardio classes. For my yoga classes I stick with the yoga playlists. I played one recently that got a lot of comments and compliments, it was Power Down 9–Classical Reflections. I love Karma Moffett, and use his music at 24 Hour Fitness, The Xtreme Edge and Turtles Yoga & Wellness. Some of my favorites are Golden Bowls of Compassion, Ocean Bowls and Golden Bowls. (There is a lot of great calming music out there. And occasionally I will talk about it in my newsletter.)

Stay tuned for more exciting updates coming soon.

Want to keep up with me?
You can friend me on Facebook
You can like Go Fit Girl! on Facebook
You can follow Go Fit Girl! on Twitter
You can follow TheRealGoFitGirl on Instagram
You can read Go Fit Girl! blog
You can e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com

At any time you can unsubscribe to this newsletter. Thank you for your support and time. 

~Ann

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I have some cool and exciting ideas I am working on and hope to share them with my friends, students and readers soon. They will be posted in future newsletters.

Yoga Day Portland

Yoga Day Portland

Tuesday, June 21 is Summer Solstice.

There will be a huge celebration at Pioneer Square, Portland from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Yoga Day Portland is for everyone. Its a great opportunity to try yoga for the first time, restart your practice, get inspired to go deeper while celebrating the first official day of summer.

Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the benefits of yoga and community coming together for peace-within & peace-without.

The free event will include: all-levels yoga classes, giveaways, workshops, meditation tent, kids yoga and crafts, healthy food and snacks, yoga fashion show, music, dance party, etc.

I will be in the Yoga Athleta Fashion show at 11:45 a.m.

For more information, check out the Yoga Day Portland website.

Partnering with Athleta in June

Athleta June Studio of the Month

Turtles Yoga & Wellness (a studio where I teach) and Athleta Washington Square are partnering as June Studio of the Month.

On Saturday, June 11 from 8-9 a.m. I am teaching a FREE yoga class.

See Facebook invitation here.

After my yoga class I am inviting friends and students to join me for a quick coffee at the Starbucks in the mall.

Come first for some fun and fabulous free yoga. And after for some coffee and a chat (before I head out for my second yoga class that day).

The other Turtles classes are also on Saturdays: June 4, June 18 and June 25 (all those classes will be from 9-10 a.m.)

Athleta Fashion Show

Tuesday, June 21 is Summer Solstice, first day of summer!

It’s also International Yoga Day Portland. It will be a world-wide celebration of International Yoga Day in Portland.

International Yoga Day was inaugurated by the United Nations on December 11, 2014, and signed by 177 countries, including the United States.

The event is in Pioneer Square from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be free and fun.

Lots of things are planned for that day, including free yoga classes for all levels, vendor booths, DJ Prashant and more, including an Athleta fashion show at 11:45 a.m., where I will be one of the models.

The other models and I have some fun things planned and we’ve been working hard to make sure the show is amazing.

If you are in the Portland area and can take a break and come out, please do. If you have more time, come for a free yoga class, the fashion show and tour the vendor booths.

You can register for the day here.

Come experience the wonderful culture of yoga and meet the awesome community that participates in it year round.

I plan to get there early and get in a free class. And to get some booth touring in before the fashion show. And maybe lunch and a yoga class after.

Practicing heart opener

heart opener

Practicing heart opener over blocks.

Recently my yoga theme was for the desk jockey, a person who sits at a desk.

One of the poses we practiced in the sequence was the heart opener over the blocks, aka supported fish pose (pictured to the left).

So many of my students love this pose. They love how it makes them feel. I love it as well.

This pose reverses the negative effects of our poor posture when we sit at a desk, pound away on a keyboard, sit in the car or on public transportation during our long commutes, look at our smart phone or tablet, etc.

The heart opener is a baby backbend and puts our body into extension (we are usually in flexion–think hunched over computer back).

We open our chest, spread shoulder blades, open the collarbones and take stress out of the low back. Having the block behind our shoulder blades reminds us where backbends should come from, behind our heart center, not the low back or the neck.

The muscles, ligaments, veins, etc. are tight in the neck, chest, shoulders, upper back because of our sitting culture. This pose helps to stretch these tight/overactive muscles, making them longer and more supple.

Many people have asked me how to do the heart opener, whether they can’t be a student of mine because they live elsewhere or they are a student of mine and they want to do it at home or share with a friend/family member.

So here are the details of how to do the heart opener over the blocks or a rolled mat or blanket/towel.

Heart opener over blocks:

blocks set up

Heart opener block set up.

  • Set your blocks up at least 6 inches apart. My blocks set up to the left are about 7 1/2 inches apart. The block that supports the lower tips of my shoulder blades is on its lowest height. The second block to support my head is on the medium height.
  • Locate the lower tips of your shoulder blades. See a drawing of the upper back to give you guidance on where the lower tips of your shoulder blades are. The lower tips of your shoulder blades are a little below your arm pits, where a regular bra strap would go on your back.
  • You will sit in front of the blocks with the knees bent, feet on the mat. You will lie over the first block. The lower edge of the block is where the lower tips of your shoulder blades will rest. The upper part of your shoulder blades will not be on the block. I repeat: The lower edge of the block is where the lower tips of your shoulder blades will rest. The upper part of your shoulder blades will not be on the block. (I have to regularly repeat this as many will have the bottom block too high.) The second block is for your head. You may decide that the block for your head will go up a height or down a height.
  • Once you are set up on the blocks you can decide if you keep the knees bent, feet on the mat or extend your legs out long. If you have any discomfort in the low back bend your knees and keep your feet on the mat.
  • I like to hold this pose for five minutes. If that feels too long, hold it as long as is comfortable for you.
  • To come out of this pose, if the legs are extended out long, bend your knees, bring your feet to the mat. Roll over to your side in the fetal position. Press yourself up to seated, bringing your head up last. Take a few rounds of breath to check in and see how you feel.

Heart opener over rolled mat or blanket/towel:

roll

Blanket roll set up.

  • Roll your mat or a towel or a blanket. If you use your yoga mat, you will roll it up about half way.
  • You will sit in front of the roll with the knees bent, feet on the mat. Lower yourself down to the roll, lower tips of the shoulder blades resting on the roll. The upper part of your shoulder blades will not be on the roll. If you have the roll in the right spot your arms can easily be above the roll. If you feel like your head and neck need some support you can use a towel or blanket to support the head.
  • Again, once you are set up on the roll you can decide if you keep the knees bent, feet on the mat or extend the legs out long. If you feel any discomfort in the low back when extending the legs then bend the knees, feet on the mat.
  • I like to hold this pose for five minutes. If that feels too long, hold it as long as is comfortable for you.
  • To come out of this pose, if the legs are extended out long, bend your knees, bring your feet to the mat. Roll over to your side in the fetal position. Press yourself up to seated, bringing your head up last. Take a few rounds of breath to check in and see how you feel.

There are times where you might not be able to find that spot, the spot where you feel the maximum benefits of this pose. Make slight adjustments (up or down) to find that spot if it doesn’t quite feel right.

As stated above there are many benefits to practicing the heart opener. And it just feels really good, too. After my students practice the heart opener I watch as they come out and take a seat. I like to look at their faces. The majority of them look like they just got up from a nap.

I’ve written about this pose before and the benefits for our bodies.

Voting as a no-party liberal

vote

My no-party ballot wasn’t especially exciting. But I still voted in the Oregon primary. (In Oregon you vote by mail.)

Today is primary election day in Oregon.

I’m a political person to a point.

The first election I was able to vote in was when Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992. I was proud that Arizona went blue in 1996 for Bill’s second run.

At some point I changed my party from Democrat to no party.

I decided to become no party as a journalist. And I’ve kept it that way ever since.

In Oregon I can’t vote in the primary this time around. (That could change soon.) And I decided not to change my political party for the primary. That was my decision alone. And anyone who did change their party to vote, good for you. I decided that wasn’t best for me.

Even within the Democratic party I am tired and annoyed of all the bashing on both sides.

And I won’t even go into how I feel about that Republican nominee. Except to say being childish, mean-spirited racist, a xenophobe, a misogynist, lacking any sort of political experience … does not make a U.S. President … even a really bad one.

I am a woman. I am Mexican-American. I live in Oregon. I am an Arizona (and Tucson) native. I am a liberal. I am pro-choice. I believe in hard work. I believe in being a good human being and caring for and helping others.

I know who I like for President and what I think is not going to change anyone else’s mind.

But because I can’t vote in the primary I am just going with the flow.

In November, regardless who’s on the ballot I will be voting blue.

My second awesome newsletter

supported headstand prep

Self photo shoots rarely work on the first try or even the first 10 tries. The camera snapped as I was going up into Supported Headstand.

My second newsletter came out last Thursday (May 5).

I am reposting it for my GFG! readers right here.

If you would like to sign up to receive future newsletters in your inbox, you can go right here to enter your e-mail address.

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Dear friends,

Thank you for your interest in my newsletter.

If you didn’t receive the first newsletter (this is only the second) you can click here and read it on my blog. (The first one went out on Friday, April 15.)

There was one broken link in my first newsletter, which took you to my blog post called Going Bone Deep. The link should be good this time around.

Some of you told me you didn’t get the first newsletter. Likely one of two things happened, either I got your e-mail address wrong or the newsletter went into your Spam/Junk folder.

You will either be getting this newsletter once or twice (or even zero times–but then you won’t even know it). After I send it out I am going to follow up with an e-mail. This will let me know who’s e-mail I have incorrect. And if I have it correct it will alert you that a new newsletter has come out. That way you can check your Spam/Junk to see if the newsletters are hiding in there.

I’m excited about some of my upcoming yoga themes:

  • Back by popular demand is for the Desk Jockey running from Wednesday, May 11-Monday, May 16. A desk jockey is a person who sits at a desk. We are a sitting culture and I believe our sitting culture is doing a lot of damage to our bodies. (I wrote a blog post about the desk jockey some time back. Click here to read it.)
  • Core/Balance running from Wednesday, May 18-Monday, May 23. One of my yoga students requested some core work. I feel that core and balance go hand in hand.
  • Strong, Beautiful Warriors running from Wednesday, May 25-Tuesday, May 31. In this sequence we ready and prepare ourselves to work through various Virabhdrasana (Warrior) poses. (I will be subbing two classes at Turtles Yoga & Wellness during Warrior Week.)

Click here to see my full teaching schedule for both yoga and indoor cycling. I keep it regularly updated and will alert you when I will have subs for my classes and when I will be subbing classes.

One of my regular yoga students shared an easy, amazing, delicious, fulfilling and healthy lentils recipe with me. I wrote a blog post about it and it appears on the Recipes Tab on Go Fit Girl! The recipe can be made for the carnivore or the vegan.

For the first time I recently taught my very first private cycling session. I taught my friend how to set up her bike. And gave her the basics on intervals, sprints, jumps and climbs. The session lasted about 45 minutes, which included bike set up, about a 30 minute ride with a warm up and cool down.

Private sessions: Whether you want to work on something specific, you have lots of questions and don’t want to ask in a classroom setting (which I am always OK with and want and encourage) or you just prefer to work one on one or my teaching schedule doesn’t fit into your schedule then a private session might be for you. Private sessions can be for yoga or indoor cycling (as long as you have access to an indoor cycling bike). E-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com for rates and more information.

My rates for my private sessions are going up soon. Check in with me now to get in on my lower rates.

The photo above gives you an inside look at a self photo shoot. Sometimes the first 10 times or so you don’t get the picture you want. Eventually you do.

Stay tuned for some exciting updates coming soon.

Want to keep up with me?
You can friend me on Facebook
You can like Go Fit Girl! on Facebook
You can follow Go Fit Girl! on Twitter
You can follow TheRealGoFitGirl on Instagram
You can read Go Fit Girl! blog
You can e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com

At any time you can unsubscribe to this newsletter. Thank you for your support and time.

~Ann

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I have some cool and exciting ideas I am working on and hope to share them with my friends, students and readers soon. They will be posted in future newsletters.