Over the shoulder shoulder holder backpack

In my yoga classes at the end of June and beginning of July we prepped the bodies for modified supported handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana).

We also practiced what I was calling over the shoulder shoulder holder (pictured to the left). A student told me another teacher calls it a backpack. So I am now calling it over the shoulder shoulder holder backpack.

We practiced the pictured “pose” after we had prepped the body to moved into a modified and supported handstand and practiced the handstand (if the student chose to do so).

I decided to sport the over the shoulder shoulder holder backpack recently while sitting at my desk/laptop for several hours to see how I felt, if that was accessible for my body, if it helped with my posture, etc.

I was surprised to find it fairly comfortable (I’m not saying it felt like soft and billowy cotton candy or anything).

What I felt in my body when I set up this way (and I got similar feedback from my students as well) is my posture is much better, posture is easier to maintain (thought I can still fall into my bad posture habits), it felt good, my chest was more open, I felt taller (especially after I removed the strap), shoulder blades were down on the rib cage, shoulders were away from my ears.

Wanna know how to set yourself up in the over the shoulder shoulder holder backpack? I knew it! Read more below:

It is best to have at least an 8-foot but really a 10-foot yoga strap. I also tried this with the belt from my robe, but for most people it will likely be too short. (Click on the photos to increase their size.)

Step 1

Take the strap along your back and place at the lower tips of your shoulder blades. Hold the strap forward of your chest. The strap should appear to be “shooting” out of your arm pits. Make sure the strap is in equal length on both sides.

 

 

Step 2

Take the left end of the strap and drape it over your left shoulder. Take the right end of the strap and drape it over your right shoulder. The strap will likely loosen behind the shoulder blades. If that happens adjust across the back and over the shoulders. It should fit snugly.

 

 

Steps 3 and 4

Criss cross your strap over the back of the shoulders. Again check if the strap loosened and adjust if needed. Take the opposite ends of each strap and opposite hands and gently pull down.

 

 

 

Step 5 (optional)

If your strap is long enough and has a buckle you can fasten yourself in and the backpack is now hands free.

 

 

 

Let me know if you try this out and what your experience is. Feel free to comment below or send me an e-mail to ann@gofitgirl.com.

Happy Summer Solstice

Welcome Summer!

Read below for some fun ways to welcome Summer with me today, tomorrow and Saturday.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac Summer Solstice happens today, Thursday, June 21, 2018 specifically at 6:07 a.m. EDT (3:07 a.m. EDT).

In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice occurs when the Sun reaches both its highest and northernmost points in the sky. (In contrast, the June solstice in the Southern Hemisphere is when the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky.)

The word “solstice” comes from Latin solstitium—from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that on the solstice, the sun appears to stop moving in the sky as it reaches its northern- or southernmost point. After the solstice, the sun appears to reverse course and head back in the opposite direction.

The timing of the June solstice is not based on a specific calendar date or time; it all depends on when the sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator. Therefore, the June solstice won’t always occur on the same day.

Richard Rosen, explains why we practice Sun Salutes: “You are saluting the outside sun for providing life to the planet, and your internal sun for providing consciousness.”

Join me in celebrating summer today by practicing Sun Saltues/Sun Salutations/Surya Namaskar.

  • 10:30-11:45 a.m. OmBase in Hillsdale
  • 5:45-7 p.m. Garden Home Yoga and Wellness* (yoga in a yurt)
  • 7:15-8:30 p.m. Garden Home Yoga and Wellness* (yoga in a yurt)

*Pre-registration required for Thursday night Garden Home yoga classes. Please click here to sign up for classes. You can e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com if you have any issues or questions. More information about yurt yoga can be found here.

Coffee with a Yogi

I’m guest teaching at Coffee with a Yogi  this coming Saturday, June 23 at Solace Fine & Espresso in Beaverton.

Yoga is at 10 a.m. for all levels. Coffee/tea and conversation after.

Suggested donation of $5 for yoga (but no one will turned away).

If you’re looking to build a yoga community outside of a traditional yoga studio, join me this Saturday (or any Saturday for CWAY).

It’s lots of fun.

Summer Saturday Wine and Yoga event

Wine Glass Pose is one of the poses we will practice together at Wine and Yoga events at Hip Chicks do Wine.

Help me welcome and celebrate summer by joining me at Hip Chicks do Wine for the first Summer Saturday Wine and Yoga event. You don’t have to be hip or a chick to come and have fun. Guaranteed!

The next date is this Saturday, June 23.

Other Summer Saturdays: Saturday, July 21; and Saturday, August 18.

Registration is from 1:45-2 p.m.; yoga from 2-3 p.m.; and wine and sangria tasting from 3-4 p.m.
This year Hip Chicks is also throwing a sangria tasing in with our four wines.

Advanced tickets are $18 ($20 at the door).

Go to hipchicksdowine.com to purchase your tickets ahead of time to ensure your spot. (There is limited space.) If you click the linked dates above that will take you directly to the cart to purchase tickets for those date(s).

Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing.

All levels are supported and welcome.

You will enjoy an hour of wine-themed yoga fun with me. After yoga, we will taste four wines and one sangria from Hip Chicks do Wine.

Glasses, bottles, cheese plates and beer are available for purchase during our tastings as well.

Any questions, feel free to e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com or Hip Chicks at winegoddess@hipchicksdowine.com.

Hip Chicks do Wine is located at 4510 SE 23rd Ave. Portland, OR 97202. Phone number is 503-234-3790.

Yurt Yoga

Starting Thursday, May 3 I will be teaching two yoga classes in my friend Sandi’s beautiful Yoga Yurt. Classes will be all levels Hatha and will run from 5:45-7 p.m. and 7:15-8:30 p.m. Pre-registration is necessary. You can sign up for classes by clicking here.

Starting Thursday, May 3 I will be teaching two evening classes in my friend Sandi’s lovely and beautiful Yoga Yurt at Garden Home Yoga and Wellness.

You can virtually tour her yoga yurt by visiting Garden Home Yoga and Wellness’ website.

There is limited space in the yurt so pre-registration is necessary. Your payment will come directly to me. You can pay cash, check or credit card at the yurt.

My all levels Hatha classes will be held on Thursdays (starting May 3) from 5:45-7 p.m. and 7:15-8:30 p.m.

Cost: 10 class pass $140 ($14 a class); 5 class pass $75 ($15 a class); and drop-in class $17.

Your first visit with me in the yurt, please plan to come a little early to fill out a waiver, new student information and to make payment. You can fill out the paperwork ahead of time by clicking Garden Home waiver:new student information 05.2018  and e-mailing to me ahead of time or bringing with you when you come to class.

You will need to reserve your spot ahead of time as space is limited. You can sign up for Thursday night classes in the yurt by clicking here. Or by clicking the blue button to the right.

If you have any issues signing up or any questions you can e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com.

I will ask that if you cancel you give me 24 hours notice. If not, you will charged for the class. No shows will be charged.

When visiting the yurt please be mindful that it is located in a residential neighborhood. When visiting the yurt please keep your volume low.

Please park in the following areas:

  • in front of the house (one space on either side of the driveway)
  • across the street along the curb (where there are no driveways or mailboxes)

Sandi and her neighbors thank you in advance.

Sandi teaches classes in her yurt. You can find more information and her schedule here. My friend Karen also teaches classes in the yurt. Read more information on Garden Home Yoga and Wellness’ website to sign up for classes with Karen.

Taking care of No. 1

I recently made the decision to drastically reduce my teaching schedule.

Many of you know that and some of you don’t know.

This was a difficult decision to make and I didn’t take it lightly or make this decision without a lot of thought and love put into it.

As a yoga teacher I teach and preach self-love, self-care, self-discipline. I remind my students that they need to take care of No. 1 before they take care of anyone else.

I have not been taking care of No. 1, which means I can’t be the best yoga teacher (and cycling instructor) I can possibly be. I can’t be the best wife or daughter or friend or sister or cousin … either.

I feel tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, burned out …

I am opening myself up for some healing and new opportunities to arise. And some have already come to me. Some of the opportunities I am working on, some are set and some are what the future holds.

It’s amazing when you let go something else, another opportunity (or even opportunities) comes along.

Some of my students have been concerned that I am no longer teaching yoga. That is not the case. My current schedule has me teaching four classes regularly (two public and two private). I will be doing a lot of subbing in April. And in May I am adding two public classes to my Thursday night schedule in my friend Sandi’s beautiful Yoga Yurt. More information below.

My schedule has more openings for private sessions and classes, office yoga, yoga parties, workshops, weekend retreats, wine and yoga events, etc. You can e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com to inquire about dates and pricing.

To view my most up-to-date teaching schedule (including classes I am subbing and classes subbed for me) visit, Go Fit Girl! my classes tab.

My current teaching schedule (both public and private and yoga and cycle):

  • Wednesdays noon-1 p.m. private corporate yoga
  • Wednesdays 1-2 p.m. private corporate yoga
  • Wednesdays 6-7 p.m. public cycle 24 Hour Tanasbourne
  • Thursdays 10:30-11:45 a.m. public yoga (Hatha) OmBase
  • Thursdays (starting May 3) 5:45-7 p.m. public yoga (Hatha) Garden Home Yoga and Wellness* (yoga in a yurt)
  • Thursdays (starting May 3) 7:15-8:30 p.m. public yoga (Hatha) Garden Home Yoga and Wellness* (yoga in a yurt)
  • Fridays 9:15-10:15 a.m. public cycle 24 Hour Tualatin
  • Fridays 12:30-2 p.m. public yoga (Restorative/Easy Does It) OmBase

*Garden Home Yoga and Wellness yoga in a yurt classes will need pre-registration by visiting my scheduling page. There is limited space with payment coming to me. You can reserve your spot by clicking here.

Your first visit with me in the yurt, please plan to come a little early to fill out a waiver, new student information and to make payment. You can fill out the paperwork ahead of time by clicking Garden Home waiver:new student information 05.2018  and e-mailing to me ahead of time or bringing with you when you come to class.

If you are having difficulty booking your class or have any questions, you can e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com.

I’ve decided that I have to plan for right now. We all have a lot of uncertainty, myself included. And I don’t know what the future holds. But I can be as present as I can be right now for this moment in my life while taking care of myself with love, kindness and compassion.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – – determined to save
the only life you could save.

~The Journey by Mary Oliver

Spring Forward 2018

On Sunday at 2 a.m. most of us in the U.S. Spring Forward.

It’s that time again to Spring Forward (on Sunday at 2 a.m.).

Twice a year I write about time change. (Read last year’s Spring Forward post here.)

I have never been a fan of time change.

I don’t get the point of it. I grew up in Arizona where time change doesn’t occur.

I say, let’s Spring Forward and be done with it. When is this going to finally happen????

To my Arizona family members who can never quite get the time difference: Starting Sunday we will be on the same time.

The past two years when we Sprang Forward I followed all of the advice (and then some) I am giving below and wow, it really does work! (Here’s the post about me taking my advice with time change.)

Unfortunately (or really fortunately) I am going to be in Las Vegas over the time change. Which means I basically will NOT be following any of my advice.

This is the advice I like to give on how to deal with time change:

  • Don’t go to bed too late Saturday and Sunday night.
  • Make sure you have breakfast Sunday morning (and every morning).
  • Try not to eat a lot of crap. Stick to fruits and veggies as snacks instead of sugary or salty foods.
  • Drinks lots of water Saturday and Sunday (and every day).
  • Exercise. (At least a walk sometime Sunday and maybe even Saturday.) I’ll be doing my own yoga home practice and taking a yoga class late Sunday morning.
  • Keep up the exercise throughout the week, especially on Monday. It will be tough, but well worth it.
  • If you do nap Sunday (I love my weekend naps), don’t nap too late.
  • If caffeine really affects you, maybe cut back Sunday and definitely don’t have it too late in the day.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink this weekend. (I don’t drink much these days, but over the weekend I will in be Las Vegas. So, yea … )
  • Try to start winding your day down an hour before you go to bed on Sunday. If you normally go to bed around 10 p.m., then at 9 p.m. make sure you are done for the day and ready for Monday’s workday. Do something relaxing for that hour: read a book, knit, lounge, practice restorative yoga or self-massage, take a bath, do the next item on the list.
  • Maybe try a cup of warm tea, cider or even hot cocoa to get you warm and cozy before bed.
  • Perhaps take Melatonin (a natural supplement). I wouldn’t take this for the first time Sunday night. And you should discuss this with your doctor first. You want to make sure it doesn’t make you groggy the next morning. So maybe try it a night or two before the time change if this will be a first time for you.
  • Do a gentle yoga practice. Anytime is nice. But later in the afternoon or soon before bed can help with your sleep. Try a couple of simple poses: Lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest; Jathara Parivartanasana (Reclined Twist); roll over and come onto all fours and transition into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog); Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Forward FoldSupported Setu Bandha (Supported Bridge Pose); Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall). (I wrote a post sharing a yoga sequence for sadness, which I think benefits many things, including calming the body and mind for rest. Feel free to try it out.)
  • Restorative Yoga practice (my video linked or your own practice). You can do just one or two of the poses or all of them. I teach you set up and how to get out of each pose. Holding each pose for 3-5 or even 10 minutes (if you have the time) will be beneficial.
  • You can also do one of my other online yoga videos, which can be found on my YouTube channel, Ann’s Yoga Videos.

Any of my readers have any other suggestions or things they do?

2018 wine and yoga events

I am once again partnering with Hip Chicks do Wine in 2018 for more wine and yoga events.

Wine and yoga events at Hip Chicks are so much fun! If you came last year, you know how great they are, and you likely want to come again. And if you didn’t have a chance to come and want to, book the below dates now!

You don’t have to be hip or a chick to come and have fun. Guaranteed!

The dates are Saturday, April 14 and Saturday, May 12. (Summer dates are Saturday, June 23; Saturday, July 21; and Saturday, August 18.)

Registration is from 1:45-2 p.m.; yoga from 2-3 p.m.; and wine  and sangria tasting from 3-4 p.m.

Posing at Hip Chicks do Wine in glass of wine pose.

This year Hip Chicks is also throwing in a sangria tasting in with our four wines.

Advanced tickets are $18 ($20 at the door).

Go to hipchicksdowine.com to purchase your tickets ahead of time to ensure your spot. (There is limited space.) If you click the linked dates above that will take you directly to the cart to purchase tickets for that date(s).

Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing.

All levels are supported and welcome.

You will enjoy an hour of wine-themed yoga fun with me. After yoga, we will taste four wines and one sangria from Hip Chicks do Wine.

Glasses, bottles, cheese plates and beer are available for purchase during our tastings as well.

Any questions, feel free to e-mail me at ann@gofitgirl.com or Hip Chicks do Wine at winegoddess@hipchicksdowine.com.

Hip Chicks is located at 4510 SE 23rd Ave. Portland, OR 97202. Phone number is 503-234-3790.

Lessons from an almost 4-year-old

In September last year (2017) a friend from the Bay Area was visiting with his almost 4-year-old (who is now 4!).

Our little friend has been practicing yoga for some time now at her day care. She loves it.

When she comes to visit she gets excited to see my yoga props and asks if she can use them. Of course!

I have a singing bowl that I use and play in my yoga classes. The bowl was sitting on a shelf and she was playing with it.

Think about how an almost 4-year-old would bang (or I mean, play) the singing bowl … She was banging the striker (wooden stick) against it and not holding it in a proper way.

I asked her if she could please play it “this way.” And I showed her how I wanted her to play the bowl.

She responded: Well, my yoga teacher has one of these and this is how she plays it.

I responded: I understand that. But this is my bowl and I am asking you to please play it “this way.”

You can imagine how a conversation with an almost 4-year-old would go. We went back and forth a few times.

At some point so looked at me, got a little stiff and said, I am really frustrated right now. She set the bowl and the striker down and walked upstairs into the spare room.

I was astonished.

Soon after her dad asked where she went. I said, oh, she got mad at me and went upstairs to put herself in time out.

Apologies flooded from dad.

I said, don’t be sorry. That was amazing. She handled herself with maturity by expressing her feelings without yelling and decided to remove herself from the situation to give herself some time to breathe.

That’s non-violent communication by an almost 4-year-old.

If as adults we could display that kind of maturity this world would be a better place.

I remember this situation regularly and try to channel that almost 4-year-old in my responses when I am upset, frustrated, angry, hurt, etc.

Merry, Happy Everything!

Fall Back 2017

On Sunday at 2 a.m. most of us in the U.S. Fall Back.

Wow, It’s been months and months since I’ve written a post. There are definitely things I want to share with you all. Just time isn’t on my side these days.

You can keep up with me via social media and my monthly newsletter (you can sign up with the button to the top right.)

On to this post …

Twice a year I write about time change. And we are upon that time once again.

For most of us in the U.S. we will Fall Back on Sunday at 2 a.m.

Many of my readers are from Arizona, so this post doesn’t apply to you as much. (And note to my family, starting Sunday I will be an hour behind for about four months.) But I think the suggestions I am going to make are great whenever you cross time zones or as we move into the cooler and darker (and in Oregon, wetter) season.

I am not a great sleeper. And time change for me is pretty difficult.

When you Spring Forward, you lose an hour. The light is different. It is more difficult to get to bed on time for your workweek.

When you Fall Back, you “gain” an hour. But that gain can still really mess you up.  If you normally get up at 5 a.m. then you are likely gonna start rousing at 4 a.m. Ugh! And the evenings get darker earlier, which has already been happening lately.

That “gained” hour can throw your day (or even the following week) off.

There are ways to help your body adapt to time change, whether it is an hour (or several hours when traveling over time zones).

I write about the time change when we Spring Forward and when we Fall Back.

One thing I want to point out and preface is if you have trouble sleeping, please don’t go to your phone to announce that on Facebook. The blue screen on your phone (computer, iPad, TV, etc.) are messing with your melatonin. Try some Restorative yoga, reading a book, meditating, etc. (According to my doctor Kindles are considered “screen time.” Find a book or magazine to

My advice to all who need some extra help Monday morning or all next week:

  • Don’t go to bed too late Saturday or Sunday night.
  • Make sure you have breakfast Sunday and Monday morning (and every morning).
  • Try not to eat a lot of crap. Stick to fruits and veggies as snacks instead of sugary or salty foods.
  • Drink lots of water Sunday (but also today and tomorrow and always).
  • Exercise. (I will be in yoga training all day Saturday and all day Sunday. I think we will have some time to practice actual yoga. If not, I’ll make sure to sneak at least a 10-15 minute practice in.) Even going for a walk can be helpful.
  • Keep up the exercise throughout the week, especially on Monday. Find that motivation. It will be tough, but well worth it.
  • If you do nap Saturday or Sunday (I love my weekend naps), don’t nap too late. Maybe instead of a nap, you practice 30 minutes of Restorative Yoga.
  • If caffeine really affects you maybe cut back Sunday and definitely don’t have it too late in the day.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol, especially too late in the day/evening.
  • Melatonin is a natural hormone found in our bodies. You can buy it over the counter to help with sleep. My doctor advised me at one point to try melatonin to help with my sleep issues. It helps me sleep. But I wouldn’t advise trying it for the first time Sunday night, especially the day before you have to go to work. Talk to your doctor about it. Try it a night before you don’t have to go to work.
  • Try to start winding your day down an hour before you go to bed. If you normally go to bed around 10, then at 9 make sure you are done for the day and ready for Monday’s workday. I know it is hard for all of us, myself included, but no screen time an hour before bed. Do something relaxing for that hour: read a book, knit, lounge, take a bath. Even practice a Restorative Yoga pose or two. A few poses that can be beneficial are: Legs Up the WallInstant Maui; heart opener; and Savasana are just a few you can try. Hold these poses for at least 10 minutes (heart opener can be 5 minutes) each or longer. You can also try Supported Child’s PoseSupported Twist. These poses can be held for 5-7 minutes. This video shows some poses.

Practicing Viparita Kirani (Legs Up the Wall) is a great pose to practice when you need calm, to help with jet leg and insomnia, can help ease anxiety and slight depression.

I wrote up a sequence sometime ago to curb sadness. It would also be great for time change or when you want a slower practice. I feel refreshed and amazing after practicing this sequence.

The sequence I am teaching my students and am practicing in my home practice this week is slower, more mindful and calming.

Some of the poses we are practicing are inversions, which are poses where your head is below your heart, such as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), Uttanasana (Forward Fold), Prasarita Uttanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Fold), Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose).

We are also practicing Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose–pictured above), which is great for insomnia, jet lag, anxiety, mild depression, etc. To find out more, read here.

Happy sleep and awake this week, next week and always!

Continuing to reinvent myself

At the end of my yoga teacher training in May 2014 we did an exercise in class where we pretended like we were all getting together a year later for a reunion.

We talked about what we did. The idea was if we said it as if it did actually happen it would make it more real. We were advised to write a letter to ourselves to read in a year, which I did.

I wrote to myself on May 9, 2014 with instructions on the envelope that I could open the letter on May 8, 2015 or later. I opened that letter May 8, 2015.

I read the letter a year later (and wrote about it here) and wrote myself a second letter to be read on May 8, 2016 or later.

I opened that letter last year and posted about it on May 9, 2016.

I stated intentions in my third letter (with some edits) to the following:

  • I will reduce my yoga class teaching schedule to make it more manageable for me physically, mentally and emotionally. DONE. My schedule is ever changing and I continue to find the right balance for me. Starting soon I will be back to having two days off and plan to keep that. 
  • I will reduce my cycle classes I teach and become a student of cycle much more often–at least once a week. DONE. At the time I wrote this intention I was teaching five cycle classes a week. I was down to three classes at the end of 2016 and added a fourth in early 2017. By mid-May I will be back to three a week. 
  • Karma Yoga relationship/program established. I have done a little work/fundraising with Living Yoga. But still figuring out my Karma Yoga. 
  • GFG! and newsletter going strong. Blog has slowed down. But newsletter continues on a monthly basis.
  • Private clients continue to grow, especially since I am teaching less. Private clients are more occasional. But there is opportunity to grow that. 
  • Office yoga continues. DONE and continues.
  • Continue to be a student of yoga. DONE. Not as often as I would like.
  • Start my RYT 300 teacher training. The TT I want to attend has not started up yet. When it does I plan to be there.
  • Plan trip to Italy. DONE. Planned and getting ready to go later this month.
  • Teaching workshops on props and Restorative Yoga. Half DONE. I taught a Restorative yoga workshop in December 2016. I plan to teach more Restorative workshops at the end of 2017 and a prop workshop early 2018.
  • Will have earned my “E” in my E-RYT 200. DONE. The “E” represents experienced and that I have taught at least 1,000 hours of yoga. I hit that number during my special Christmas Day donation yoga class. 

And I wrote myself a new (the fourth) letter today and will read it in a year and see what has become, changed and grown.