My first two weeks at Turtles have been great.
My very first class (on June 15) was a Monday night Gentle Yoga class. And I had 13 students. (The max is 15.) My students seemed receptive. And I heard from the front desk that I got lots of great feedback.
My first Thursday night class was a little smaller. Some of my Monday night students came to my Thursday night class.
I also added a third class to my Turtles schedule: Saturday mornings at 10:15. It’s Yoga Align to Restorative. I am so happy to be taking a little more Restorative Yoga teaching on. I love practicing Restorative Yoga and sharing it with my students.
In Week 2 I am already starting to have regulars, which I really love. I want to get to know my students and make their yoga experience the best that I can.
And I am having some amazing connections with students.
I worked a front desk shift the past two Friday afternoons/evenings. I am learning a few things along the way. And I am able to help out with signing students in, getting their info into the system, etc.
And today is the start of Week 3.
My full Turtles schedule is:
- Mondays Gentle Yoga 5:45-7 p.m.
- Thursdays Hatha Alignment 7-8:30 p.m.
- Saturdays Yoga Align to Restorative 10:15-11:30 a.m.
You can find my Turtles schedule and my full class schedule here.
Did you know that Turtles are known to have a connection with our ancestors? They are known to be wise, hard working and all about going with the flow “being in present time.” At Turtles, we strive to follow the wisdom of the Turtle.
You are always welcome to come to Turtles for a tour. It’s a beautiful space. I am really happy and grateful to be part of the Turtles family.
A year ago today I graduated from my yoga teacher training at Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, Calif. Wow, it’s already been a year? Wow, it’s only been a year?
Marilyn, my mother-in-law, asked if there would be video of my graduation. I told her no, but there would be photos. Curt did end up taking video. You can watch it here.
I had some idea of what I would use my new knowledge and skills toward. But I had no idea I would be where I am today.
It’s better than I ever imagined.
Two days after I graduated I headed to Tucson for some R&R and some time with my family.
I taught my very first yoga class at Mindful Yoga Studio as a donation class on that trip. It was a scary, but great experience. I appreciated that Hilda let me teach the class at her beautiful studio and all of the students and friends (and family) who came to support me (and Tucson’s food bank).
I started subbing at Alameda Athletic Club in August and September for the regular teacher. She went on maternity leave in October and I took over her classes while she was on leave.
Since I had been taking indoor cycling classes for years I decided to get certified to teach these classes as well. I took the certification class and exam in December.
Once Curt and I were settled in Portland I started contacting gyms and studios near where we live at the end of January.
But the end of February I was teaching a few classes a week.
I am now teaching five cycle classes and eight yoga classes each week with a few sub classes sprinkled in. Also in the temporary I am working a front-desk shift at Turtles Yoga & Wellness to learn a few things and help out.
My updated class schedule can be found here, where my yoga classes and cycle classes are listed along with any classes I am subbing.
I really do love teaching and I think I found my true calling. I love connecting with my students and having fun.
The relationships I have already developed in such a short time is so gratifying. I want my students to trust me and come to me when they need.
I want to share what I know and learn about yoga, the body, the mind, the breath, alignment, etc. with my students in both yoga and cycle.
I want to help them find a deeper place in themselves and with their relationships.
Today is the Summer Solstice. June 21. The first day of summer.
Many yoga practitioners celebrate by practicing Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutes.
The tradition is to practice 108. There are many things I found giving significance to the number 108, from it being a sacred number in yoga and Hinduism to mathematical to many other things I read.
This coming week I will be teaching (and practicing in my home practice) a few versions of sun salutes to celebrate the Summer Solstice. (My students don’t need to worry, we won’t be practicing 108.)
According to one of my yoga teachers, Richard Rosen, when practicing Sun Salutes “you are saluting the outside sun for providing life to the planet, and you internal sun for providing consciousness.” (This quote came from Good Sunshine Day linked below.)
I’ve written about Sun Salutes before when I was in my teacher training.
The sun is the bestower of life. The Sun Salute is is a circular Vinyasa flow. Sun Salutes are about flow, methodical thinking, building and deliberate Vinyasa sequence.
I got some ideas for my sequence this week from an article in Yoga Journal titled Good Sunshine Day.
Today is also the first International Day of Yoga. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is quoted in a Yoga Journal article saying, “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being.”
If you want to celebrate Summer Solstice and/or International Day of Yoga and you don’t know where to begin, this Sun Salutation is a simple flow you can follow. You can do it once or 10 times, or maybe even 108. But I only recommend that if you are an experienced practitioner.
A few months ago I was wine tasting at a Fred Meyer, a one-stop shopping retail supermarket company. (Fred Meyer stores are located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.) After perusing the wine area I noticed an item called Wine2Go.
Wine2Go is a foldable, reusable wine bottle.
I filled it up with some white wine and used it recently at the pool.
The packaging claims it holds a full bottle of wine, which it doesn’t quite do. It holds almost a full bottle of wine. And it’s easy to fill.
The packaging also says, no glass, no worries, leave the bottle at home.
And all of that is true.
You can take the Wine2Go to the pool, camping, tailgating, while picnicking, anywhere you can’t or don’t want to tote glass.
When full, the Wine2Go takes up little room. When empty you can roll it up or just flatten. Whether full or empty the reusable, foldable wine bottle is light weight.
The bottle and Flask2Go were designed right here in Portland. And the packaging and information online claim to be BPA free and that the “containers” are recyclable.
According to the FAQ, Wine2Go makes you funnier and better looking. Ha!
The bottle doesn’t just hold wine. It can hold various beverages.
You can easily buy Wine2Go or Flask2Go online as well. One wine “bottle” online is $12.99. (I got mine for $9.99 in the store.) The Flask2Go is $9.99. (I can’t be certain, but it looks like from the pictures you get two flasks per package.)
There seemed to be no issues with any leaking of the bottle. And from the reviews online many commented on how it was great that it didn’t leak.
Wine2Go is a pretty awesome invention. It is right up there with the sippy cup wine glass.
It’s been a journey. But it’s finally here, the opening of Turtles Yoga & Wellness is today!
I am so excited to be part of the Turtles team.
My current teaching schedule at Turtles is:
- Mondays, 5:45-7 p.m. (Gentle)
- Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. (Hatha alignment)
The monthly pass is still at a great low rate as are the drop-in class passes. Check out the prices and sign up here.
Turtles is a beautiful space. Come by for a class (yoga, Zumba, Pilates, etc.) or take a tour of the gorgeous site.
Right now in my life I am the healthiest I have ever been in my whole entire life.
And I’m 40.
I’m at a healthy weight. I eat pretty healthy. I drink alcohol in moderation. I rarely have soda. I exercise regularly. My stress levels are fairly low. I drink a lot of water. I practice yoga almost every day.
I teach five cycle classes a week. That means I do about an hour of cardio five times a week. I have a home yoga practice where I practice the sequence I teach four to six times a week. (I squeeze in a yoga class as a student myself occasionally. Wish it was more often.)
I am not the lightest weight ever in my adult life. (I am about 35 pounds lighter than when I first started my quest to lose weight in October 2006.)
But just because you are skinny or thin doesn’t mean you are healthy. Ever heard of skinny fat? I believe I could have been skinny fat, when I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and not gain weight.
I wrote about skinny fat in the past titled, Skinny doesn’t mean healthy.
Skinny fat means a person looks thin but has a high body fat percentage. That can be dangerous.
Someone who ingests a lot of fat and calories and carbohydrates can have health issues. Someone who eats too much fat can be at risk for heart disease. Too many carbs can contribute to conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, according to Livestrong.
I feel good about how I look and feel. I know it shouldn’t be about looks. But let’s be honest, when we look good it makes us feel good. And I work hard to be healthy. It’s a lifestyle for me. It can be easy but sometimes it can also be challenging.
Did you see those guns in one of my “Now” pictures above? That’s all yoga, my friends.
I think working with weights is important. But currently I am not working with weights. Between my cycle classes and yoga classes there isn’t room for weights right now, which I am OK with. (And weight-baring exercises are easily taken care of with a yoga practice.)
I think variety is good. And cycle and yoga work for me right now.
I’m never going to have a six-pack, which I am also OK with. I like food. I like beer and wine and other adult beverages. I like to enjoy life. And as long as my exercise and life are in moderation I am good with it.
I am really happy in my life right now. And I am the best me I can be. Of course, life will always have challenges. But I enjoy teaching cycle and yoga and getting to know my students. I feel it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle for myself but also as a representative to my students.
Here’s to many more years of healthy living!
On Saturday I volunteered at the Girl Power Summit at a middle school near where I live. I taught the girls yoga.
The girls were second to seventh graders. The girls were in or will be in programs designed to keep girls active and healthy with mentorship and leadership.
I taught five groups of girls. (There were probably between 40-50 girls per group.)
They participated in all kinds of activities that day: yoga, dodgeball, Zumba, hip hop dance, crafts, gymnastics and an obstacle course.
The idea for Saturday’s event was to motivate and inspire girls in their ability to make healthy lifestyle choices, and create positive change in their lives and others with encouraging positive self-esteem and cultural and community pride.
It was fun, challenging and exhausting working with the girls. I don’t have a lot of experience teaching kids yoga. So this was definitely a learning experience for me.
Before yoga they played dodgeball. That was a wild game. Then I had to calm them down for yoga.
I found that the girls were very receptive to breath work and were quite good at it. And it was a great transition from the ball game to our yoga practice.
There were no yoga mats. So my first challenge was to come up with a sequence with all standing poses for about 15 minutes, which was appropriate for kids. I also realized that we would likely be wearing shoes.
Many of my alignment cues for adults I knew wouldn’t work for kids. When I wanted them to stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose) I asked them to make a fist and put that between their feet to measure. Many times I reminded them to stand feet fist distance apart I would notice many of the girls measuring with their fists between their feet. It made me smile and know that they were listening.
We did Utkatasana (Chair pose). I asked one group if they wanted to do it a second time. And I received a lot of Nooooos. It made me laugh. Well, at least they were honest.
The girls loved Vrksasana (Tree Pose).
The more I taught the poses to the girls the more creative I got with the poses and my language. In Tree, once our branches were up we let our leaves (fingers) move in the wind.
There was a least one girl (usually more) in every group who stopped to chat with me a bit or say thank you.
I was wiped out when we were done at 3:15. But I really enjoyed working with the girls. And I made a new connection while there so that’s always a good thing.
As the yoga teacher for the day I was representing The Xtreme Edge gym, where I occasionally sub yoga classes.
I was thrilled to be part of the first Girl Power Summit. And I look forward to participating in the future with this awesome idea and group of volunteers.
I was perusing Twitter recently and came upon a recipe from SELF magazine called Make Ahead Chia Pudding Breakfast.
It was a simple recipe to follow. So I decided to try it.
I mixed the almond milk, chia seeds, honey and vanilla extract. I let it sit in the fridge overnight.
I ate half of the recipe along with some blueberries and blackberries atop as a snack between teaching cycle and heading off to teach a yoga class.
I’ve written about the benefits of chia seeds before.
I decided to do some more exploring about these edible seeds, which come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica.
According to Authority Nutrition, chia seeds:
- Deliver a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories
- Are loaded with antioxidants
- Almost all the carbohydrates in them are fiber
- Are high in quality protein
- Should be able to help you lose weight (but there is not enough information to prove this), because of the high fiber and protein content, the seeds
- Are high in Omega-3 fatty acids
- May improve certain blood markers, which should lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 Diabetes
- Are high in many important bone nutrients
- Can cause major improvements in type 2 Diabetes
- Can improve exercise performance as much as a sports drink
- Are easy to incorporate into your diet
The recipe calls for 2 ounces of chia seeds and one cup of almond milk. I ate half the recipe for a snack. I made it a second time and doubled the recipe.
According to Authority Nutrition, a 1 ounce serving of chia seeds contains:
- Fiber: 11 grams.
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
- Calcium: 18% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDA).
- Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
- They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
The recipe was super simple to make. And it was pretty tasty and filling. After teaching cycle class I usually need something to eat with a little substance. The snack held me over while I taught yoga and until I was able to get home and make a late lunch.
I have had this snack a few times in between teaching one class when I didn’t have time to eat a whole meal before teaching another.
Fresh berries make it even better. And it’s one, two, three, four ingredients to mix together and then toss in the fridge overnight. This could even be breakfast instead of a snack.
Two Sundays ago as I was rolling and carrying all of my props into my Restorative Yoga class (I teach Restorative at the fitness center in my community complex and bring my own props) a woman came up to chat with me.
She said her daughter and her Girl Scout friends were learning about breathing and she was wondering if it would be OK for them to come to class the following week.
On Sunday I had three girls come to class, one was 14 and the other two were 13.
I told them about conscious breath. We worked on inhaling on a two count and exhaling on a three count. I told them that a longer exhale can help us support the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). (The sympathetic nervous system is the fight, flight or freeze.)
We started our practice in a seated mediation to work on the two count inhale and the three count exhale.
I asked all of my students to start in a comfortable seat where we would stay for a few minutes. They had blocks, bolsters and blankets and could use whatever they wanted to be comfortable.
I was impressed with the little “altar” one of the girls built to sit on. She had a little yoga experience, but no Restorative Yoga experience. She sat on a bolster and set up two blankets in what looked pretty comfortable. (See picture above.)
We practiced a variety of Restorative Yoga poses. I got a good response from the girls. I could tell they were relaxed and enjoying the class as were my other regular students.
I would check in with them after each pose and see how they were feeling. They were willing to share how they felt, relaxed, yawning, ready to sleep …
All three girls were great students and I really enjoyed having them in my class. But one of the girls was super special and so sweet. I felt an extra special connection with her.
I am glad I was able to share yoga with these young women but especially Restorative. I hope they learned something from their experience with me.
I definitely learned a lot.
It was the first time I ever worked with teaching yoga to children. I throughly enjoyed the experience and it will help me with a volunteer gig I have coming up this weekend, which I will write about sometime next week.
My home address is in Portland. But my community is Beaverton, a suburb of Portland.
I recently joined a group through the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce called 100 Strong in Beaverton.
The group is still fairly new.
The idea of the group is women in business focus on giving back through charity donations and community involvement and while also creating a mentorship program within the group.
If 1oo women give $100 once a quarter then the group can raise $40,000 a year. Every quarter a different beneficiary receives the $10,000 raised.
This quarter the funds will go to the Tualatin Hills Park Foundation Champions Too.
Champions Too is an outdoor field, which will be constructed for athletes (of all ages) with physical or development disabilities.
According to the Tualatin Hills Park Foundation website, the multipurpose athletic field complex will feature side-by-side synthetic turf fields with lights, an adjoining field made of natural grass, and an overlapping baseball diamond with 90-foot basepaths.
I love this idea, reaching out to a community that has a need. And the great thing is, everyone can use it.
I attended a fundraising breakfast on Thursday. Amy Roloff, from TLC’s Little People Big World, spoke at the event.
I have watched Little People Big World for years. And I was surprised when Amy told me the show was still on. For some reason I thought it had ended.
I liked her honesty. And really, the Amy you see on TV is the same one you meet in person. She is open, honest, frank and funny.
The Amy Roloff Charity Foundation helps non-profit organizations raise funds for children and youth who face social, emotional, mental and physical challenges.
She was the perfect speaker for Thursday morning’s event.
I’m really excited to be part of an awesome organization and community working to help others. I also hope to benefit from the mentorship part of it as well as I continue on my quest as a yoga teacher and cycling instructor and continue to grow and expand in that roll.