Ann on October 2nd, 2015

Two brothers walking out on the family farm in November 2011.

I grew up in the Wild West … well, Tucson, Ariz. I didn’t grow about around guns. And frankly, I have never been comfortable around them.

I am not a fan of the Second Amendment. And I think a lot of people misread its meaning.

I will be honest. Because of my ignorance I used to think anyone who had a gun was crazy.

Then I married into a midwest family. They hunt. (And this isn’t a debate on eating animals or not, eating organic or not … etc.)

I realized that there are smart and responsible people who own guns and use them appropriately and responsibly.

My family is responsible when it comes to using firearms. My nephews have been taught how to shoot a gun, how to carry a gun and how to hold a gun. The same .22 the nephews learned on so did their dad and their uncle and their grandpa.

There are people out there who should NOT own guns. Guess what? I’m one of them.

There are unstable, mentally ill, angry, crazy people who have easy access to guns and they should NOT, I repeat they should NOT own or have access to guns.

I am not comfortable around guns and feel no need to have them in my home or in my presence.

If you do own a firearm you need to be responsible. You need to know how to use it and be comfortable with it. You also need to realize the power and consequence of owning and firing that gun.

In order to drive a car you start with a permit. You practice driving with your parents or guardian for a certain amount of hours. You then take a written and driving test. Once you pass you are given the privilege of having a driver’s license. (Initially with restrictions.) You have to be responsible. You have to have insurance if you own a car. If you get a ticket you pay a fine and sometimes need more training (aka traffic school). You can lose your privilege of having a driver’s license–temporarily or permanently. The goal of having a car is to get from point A to point B. But it is a huge responsibility and can hurt you or someone else or kill you or someone else.

Even though I will never own a gun and I am not comfortable around them I do believe if you want to own one you should be able to. With a few conditions. You need to pass a background check. You need to show that you are responsible. You need to show that you are stable. You should regularly go to the shooting range and practice your skills. You need to follow the rules and laws of being a gun owner. If you have children they need to educated on gun safety and clear on what the rules are. And you need to realize you could lose this privilege.

What I wrote about above is my opinion, which I believe I share with many.

Below are facts. You can’t deny cold-hard facts.

  • From 1970-2014 there were 3,521 deaths in the U.S. related to terrorism*
  • From Jan. 1, 2015 to Oct. 1, 2015 there were 9,948 homicide deaths in the U.S. related to gun violence.*
  • In 2013, there were 11,208 firearm homicides and 21,175 firearm suicides.*
  • The United States has four times as many gun-related homicides per capita as do Turkey and Switzerland, which are tied for third.**
  • The U.S. gun murder rate is about 20 times the average for all other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes all Western countries plus Turkey, Israel, Chile, Japan, and South Korea. (That means that Americans are 20 times as likely to be killed by a gun than is someone from another developed country.)**

*Information came from a Washington Post article, which attributes the data to Global Terrorism Database and Gun Violence Archive and CDC.

**Information came from a Washington post article, which attributes the data compiled by United Nations.

How many more Columbines, Sandy Hooks, Aurora, Colo. movie theater shootings, Tucson (my hometown) political eventsThurston High Schools,  Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Churches, Umpqua Community Colleges need to happen before we realize what the real issue is here?

When looking for links to various U.S. shootings I came upon this article, In the wake of Oregon massacre, here are 11 of the bloodiest school shootings since Columbine. That headline alone should scare the shit out of us. Wake up, America! This is an epidemic that we have to stop ignoring and hiding behind our rights as gun owners. Bullshit! Something needs to be done.

According to the New York Daily News the 11 bloodiest school shooting since Columbine, which happened on April 20, 1999, are:

  1. Littleton, Colo.: Columbine High School, April 20, 1999
  2. Santee, Calif.: Santana High School, March 5, 2001
  3. Red Lake, Mich.: Red Lake High School, March 21, 2005
  4. Nickel Mines, Penn: West Nickel Mines School, October 2006
  5. Blacksburg, Va.: Virginia Polytechnic Institute, April 16, 2007
  6. DeKalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University, February 14, 2008
  7. Oakland, Calif.: Oikos University, April 2, 2012
  8. Santa Monica, Calif.: Santa Monica College, June 7, 2013
  9. Newtown, Conn: Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dec. 14, 2012
  10. Isla Vista, Calif.: University of California, Santa Barbara, May 2014
  11. Marysville, Wash.: Marysville Pilchuck High School, Oct. 24, 2014

I was working at the Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore., when on May 20, 1998 Kip Kinkel, who was 15 at the time, shot and killed his parents. The following day, May 21, he headed to his school, Thurston High School, in Springfield, Ore. where two students were killed and 25 others wounded. Kinkel was sentenced to more than 111 years in prison without the possibility of parole. (Information from the Statesman Journal.)

I was living in Phoenix when a University of Arizona (my alma mater) nursing student shot and killed three of his professors and then himself on Oct. 28, 2002. (Information from the Arizona Daily Wildcat.)

Back to my opinion …

Is your right to own a firearm more important than innocent lives lost at the hands of someone who had no business having access to any sort of weapon?

Look at that list of school shootings above! Look at the numbers: 9,948 deaths from gun-violent deaths in 2015. We still have three months left of 2015. In 44 years, there have been 3,521 deaths in the U.S. from terrorism. The U.S. gun murder rate is about 20 times the average for all other countries in the OECD.

Fact are facts! As a nation we need to change. NOW.

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Ann on September 23rd, 2015
Athleta weekend

The top photo is of the Fit6 lifestyle pants wearing models I hung out with at Athleta Brewery Blocks on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. The middle photo is me getting “fitted” with The Ponte pants and a Suri Bubble top. The bottom left and bottom right are of me at Athleta Washington Square getting ready to answer those burning questions about yoga.

On Friday and Saturday I had events at the two Athleta stores in Portland.

On Friday I was at Athleta Washington Square for Ask a Yogi with Ann. I was available to answer any questions shoppers had about yoga.

It went OK. It was challenging getting people engaged. I think they thought I was trying to sell them something.

But I had fun and chatted up many women. I even helped some shop and let them know about the great deals going on in the store over the weekend.

On Saturday I was at Athleta Brewery Blocks (in The Pearl) to model a pair of Fit6 pants along with other FitPros (fitness professionals).

I ended up modeling a pair of The Ponte lifestyle pants. I would have never picked these pants out for myself. But I ended up loving them and keeping them.

Ask A Yogi With Ann Athleta flier for the Friday event.

Ask A Yogi With Ann Athleta flier for the Friday event.

It was fun greeting shoppers and letting them know about the sales going on. And we got to show them how the pants looked on real women.

I got to spend a few hours with some amazing women. I made some new friends while networking and having a little fun.

Athleta is not the only brand that I wear while teaching yoga and cycle. (I also wear Lucy, Lululemon, Nike, Beyond Yoga, Prana, REI brands …)

Like many other brands Athleta is high quality clothing while making me look good and lasting through many washings and through my many yoga classes, cycle classes, running errands, lounging, napping, an occasional home practice (but normally I do my home practice in my jammies) …

It’s great to be able to partner with an amazing clothing company while working with the awesome managers. I look forward to future partnerings.

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Ann on September 15th, 2015

When my co-worker (who became a friend and my right-hand person) started working with me in November 2010 she received a welcome basket of various plants. She kept one of the plants growing strong. When she was laid off she gave me the plant. When I left I handed the plant off to a friend but took a clipping. My little clipping has grown and is thriving.

A year ago today I left the corporate world.

(Tomorrow will be the year anniversary of my first day of FUNemployment.)

A lot happened to lead up to my decision. And I won’t go into details here why I did. But it was time for me to go. (I have talked about it somewhat in the past if you want to read undoing with new chapter and pursuing happiness and finding your paradise.)

I am not talking badly about those in the corporate world. I understand it. I lived it for more than 15 years. Because of it I am able to live the life I do now.

There were advantages to working in the corporate world. It afforded lots of amazing travel; ease of living in the Bay Area; lots of three-day weekends; a lifestyle I enjoyed; shopping for clothes, shoes and purses when I wanted; us able to donate a considerable amount of money to charities (and Uncle Sam); not living paycheck to paycheck; me the opportunity to work with many great people and learn a ton; and making some friends for life …

It wasn’t my intention to be a full-time yoga (and cycling) teacher. My plan was to continue my full-time job after my teacher training was complete and maybe sub an occasional yoga class and eventually have one or two regular classes a week.

But because I was prepared to take on something new, that helped me make the decision I did.

Curt and I both had humble upbringings. We both put ourselves through college and struggled to pay rent and buy groceries.

Because of the corporate world and our diligence with saving and investing we were able to make the decision to quit my job a year ago and Curt to quit his about two months later. Then about two months after that we packed our stuff up and drove about 600 miles to Portland to start a new life up here.

Curt decided to go to Portland Code School and learn a new skill. He is currently looking for a job with lots of great leads.

Soon after we arrived in Portland I started contacting gyms and yoga studios. I first started subbing at a local gym in Beaverton and then got on with LA Fitness, followed by 24 Hour Fitness, Turtles Yoga & Wellness and also subbing and now regularly teaching at the fitness center where we live where they offer free yoga classes to residents three times a week.

There are pros and cons to the life I have chosen for myself now.

I am happy. My stress level is extremely low. I am no longer getting up at 5 a.m. (unless I am subbing 6 a.m. sunrise yoga). I am a much healthier person physically, mentally and emotionally.

I really love what I do. I love meeting new students, having regulars keep coming back to my classes (yoga and cycle). My daily schedule is fairly flexible. I love seeing myself grow as a teacher, learning more about yoga, about the body, about my students and about myself.

I make about a fourth of what I made last year. That’s a HUGE pay cut. But I work less (though my teaching hours are considered full time) and have a much more flexible daily schedule.

I don’t get sick days. When I want to go on vacation I don’t get paid for those days off. I also have to request and find subs for classes needing coverage while I’m away. (Believe me, it’s a lot easier to e-mail your boss and ask, can I have a week off in January?)

I believe I found my true calling. When I was younger I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. But once I thought about going back to the school I knew I just couldn’t do it. I’m teaching … just not in the way I originally thought I would.

Here are some of the things students have said to me:

  • Your (teaching) style is unique.
  • I didn’t understand what you were doing … now I love it.
  • You’re a really good teacher.
  • I appreciate your teaching style.
  • We really appreciate the time you take on coming up with a theme for us every week.
  • Thank you (with a hug).
  • I really needed that.
  • I feel so much better.

Those are just some of the highlights above. I connect easily and quickly with most of my students. And I am always happy to receive feedback from them. My students have shared a lot of personal stuff with me. They have told me that things I teach or say have made a huge difference for them in their life, especially when it comes to accepting things or people. That’s pretty amazing.

I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to switch careers and try something new. It’s not always easy and can be exhausting (physically, mentally and emotionally) but I’ve found what I am supposed to be doing.

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Ann on September 9th, 2015

My first attempt at a full Jamberry manicure.

I have talked about my thin, peeling nails before.

For more than a year I have been trying to get them back to healthy with no more peeling.

I started using Nail-Aid after gel rescue, which seemed to help a little. I also started taking calcium every day.

My friend Heather is a Jamberry consultant. I asked her to send me a sample.

I tried the sample on my pinkies. I am hard on any nail polish on my fingers. The sample lasted on my nails until I removed them, which was nine days.

My samples only “chipped” ever so slightly throughout the time I had them on. The nail wraps don’t really chip like regular polish does.

The true test of Jamberry was when I washed my hair. After I washed my hair while wearing them and saw that they were holding strong I went to Heather’s Jamberry site and ordered a sheet of Glacier nail wraps.

One sheet is $15, plus shipping and handling. The cost is a little steep and I think the S&H is too high. What I did find out with my second order was that whether I order one sheet or four the S&H is $3.99. And if you buy three sheets the fourth is free.

But if they last a week or two, especially through multiple hair washings, then the price is definitely worth it. And they do. They last anywhere from 10-15 days.

One sheet can go for at least two manicures (or pedicures) and possibly three. (I recently found out if you divide up the wraps just right you can get two manicures and two pedicures from one sheet.)

The sisters who came up with Jamberry nail wraps say: Gone are the mani/pedis that take all afternoon and most of your cash, too!

The nail wraps are definitely much cheaper than getting a mani/pedi. But for me the important part of the mani/pedi is the pampering, the massaging and the cuticle work. The color is just an added bonus.

jamberry take 2

My second attempt at a Jamberry full manicure went on well. And the right hand looks pretty good.

The other benefit of these nail wraps is that I have a “coat” of polish on my nails that stays (much longer than if I do it myself or get a professional manicure) and will keep my nails protected while they grow out and get passed the peeling.

I think a big appeal is that many of the nail wraps have designs. That is not something I am into. But I know a lot of people who are. I want my wraps to look like actual polish. And they do.

I’ve found that the edges can get a little snaggy from time to time. But a quick filing of the nail does the trick.

I ordered my first set of nail wraps on a Friday afternoon. They arrived the following Thursday. (Second order I put in on a Thursday and they arrived on a Monday!)

The more I use them the better I have gotten at placing them on my fingers.

jamberry nail wraps

The various sheets of Jamberry nail wraps I have purchased in Glacier, Stargazing, Tungsten, Almond Ombre and Daydream.

I have longed for pretty looking nails, hell, I will go with not ugly, gross, peeling, normal-looking nails.

I’ve always had thin, weak, not so pretty nails.

They look so pretty now. And the wraps are easy to apply. It takes longer than applying a couple of coats of polish. But once the wraps are on you don’t have to wait for them to dry.

It takes me about 30 minutes to apply the wraps.

And really, the “polish” hardly “chips” and stays on for about two weeks.

After a week of having the full set on my nails and they still looked pretty good I decided to put in the second order. Like I said earlier, if you buy three sheets you get one sheet free. And the S&H was the same, $3.99.

First set I had on for 12 days and they still looked pretty good when I removed. Second set I took off after 10 days. The second set didn’t do as well as the first. The third set lasted until until I removed them after 15 days. And I have to say the third set were the best and looked great even when I removed them.

After applying my second set, which went much more smoothly than the first, I realized after a couple of hours one was missing from my middle finger. WHA? And then I looked at my other hand and the middle finger on the other hand was missing a wrap. Did I forget to apply on those nails? Nope, the wraps had come off. I did what the directions said and had no issues my first time around.

I reapplied and they remained on for two days and then … again one of the same wraps was missing. I applied a new wrap and it lasted until I removed it the following week. But the day before I removed the second set the first wrap that had fallen off earlier came off again. I was not at home. So I just smashed it back on the nail and hoped it would stay. And it did until I removed it.

By the time I got to applying the third set I was a little more of a pro. The third set lasted for 15 days, until I removed them. They still looked really great when I removed. I even had someone at the nail salon comment on how great they looked a day before I removed them.

My fourth set was good for 15 days and then one fell off. I removed them and decided to give my nails a break for a few days. (First application on my finger nails was May 21).

jamberry toes

My Jamberry pedicure in Stargazing.

I decided to try the Jamberry nail wraps on my toes. The application was a little tougher to do.

Toe nails are smaller, weirder shaped and not as smooth. At least for me anyway. So that made applying them a little more difficult.

Also our feet and toes don’t have as much turn and movement as hands and fingers. So trying to look at the back and trim and file was a little more difficult.

But my toes look pretty good once the application was complete. The wraps on the toes lasted for a whole month.

After about two months of using the wraps I put in a third order.

I get compliments on my nails pretty often.

Jamberry offers lots of colors and designs. Pretty much anything you could think of for your nails, Jamberry has them.

Another friend who is also a Jamberry consultant told me that since you can get two manicures and two pedicures out of a sheet each manicure or pedicure comes out to about 3 bucks each (when you buy three sheets and get one free). The price is right!

If you have the patience and like to have nice color that doesn’t chip I recommend Jamberry nail wraps. For the most part they last 10-14 days (sometimes longer).

I am not a Jamberry consultant and don’t intend on being one. I just like the product and think you might, too.

My nails have recovered nicely and are less peely and are looking pretty good. I have been using the Jamberry nails wraps for almost four months. They are looking and becoming more healthy.

I love my pretty looking nails!


Jamberry nail wraps are reasonably priced (buy three get one free) and for the most part last 10-14 days. I plan to continue wearing them on my nails. Thanks to Heather for introducing me to Jamberry. Jamberry nail wraps get 4 1/2 dumbbells from GFG!

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Ann on September 1st, 2015
triangle prana del mar

A modified version of Utthita Trikonasana on a beach in Cabo near yoga retreat center,  Prana del Mar.

And just like that, it’s September.

The month of September is National Yoga Month.

According to Yoga Health Foundation, September is National Yoga Month (a national observance designated by the Department of Health & Human Services) designed to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle.

I am parterning with Athleta in Washington Square in Portland as a YogiFit Pro. I will be at Athleta on Friday, September 18th from noon to 2 p.m. to answer questions about yoga. (I will likely have a little bit more information to share about this event soon.)

According to the site, Athleta is a retail store, which outfits female athletes with the ultimate performance apparel and gear while: Inspiring an active lifestyle. Motivating others. Tapping into our collective power as a group.

The studio I teach at, Turtles Yoga & Wellness, has some fun stuff planned during this month as well.

Yoga Health Foundation lists 10 reasons to practice yoga (text courtesy of Yoga Alliance):

  1. Stress relief
  2. Pain relief
  3. Better breathing
  4. Flexibility
  5. Increased strength
  6. Weight management
  7. Improved circulation
  8. Cardiovascular conditioning
  9. Focus on the present
  10. Inner peace

If you can’t make it to the Athleta event, feel free to comment below asking me any questions you may have or e-mail me at (It also could inspire a future post.)

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Ann on August 27th, 2015
50 years

Marilyn and Ed on their wedding day 50 years ago today.

Today my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Marilyn and Ed, celebrate 50 years of marriage.

I met Marilyn and Ed a little more than 15 years ago in Missouri (where they live) at a family reunion.

They were warm and kind and made me feel welcome in their home.

Over the years they have continued to make me feel welcome and part of the family. I’m not just their daughter-in-law, I’m their daughter as well.

Marilyn and Ed have two sons, Craig and Curt.

I feel so grateful that they wanted to be in the Pacific Northwest for their anniversary. They are hanging out with Curt and me to celebrate.

Last night was a treat for them as their oldest son, Craig, was in town for work and the four (along with some others) of them went out to dinner. (I was teaching last night.)

Today they head to the coast for a night over in Newport.

On Saturday the four of us will head out to dinner to celebrate (again)!


Craig and Curt in their earlier years.

Lots of celebrating going on. But at 50 years that is definitely something to celebrate over and over.

My stepdad recently mentioned that Marilyn and Ed were of the 6 percent, meaning 6 percent of couples have been married 50 years or longer. So I decided to do some digging on that.

I found various articles quoting the U.S. Census, including this Washington Post article: According to the census statistics, more than half of the nation’s married couples have been together at least 15 years. About a third have marked their 25th anniversaries, and 6 percent have been married more than 50 years.

Happy anniversary, Marilyn and Ed! We love you!

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Ann on August 19th, 2015
pigeon wheel

Here I am in Pigeon Wheel, also known as The Z-Sit.

This week the theme in my yoga classes is the IT band (iliotibial band).

According to Prashamana Yoga, the IT band is a layer of connective tissue extending from the iliac crest to the knee and links the gluteus maximus to the tibia. (This is a good picture of the IT band, gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae.)

We can reduce the pull on the IT band by opening our hips and stretching the quads and hamstrings.

There are many poses we can practice for the IT band, hips, quads and hamstrings.

One pose I discovered while doing research for this week’s sequence is Pigeon Wheel. I can’t find the picture or information on Pigeon Wheel from the other day. As I was scouring the Internets hoping to find what I found the other day I found that this pose can also be called The Z-Sit.

Since I can’t find the information from a few days ago I will refer to Deer Pose (a Yin Yoga pose), which is similar to the Pigeon Wheel I found, which I was able to find a photo portraying what I have been teaching.

Deer and Pigeon Wheel share benefits, such as being a nice counter pose to hip openers or any external rotation of the hips and are a balanced way to rotate hips, both externally (front leg) and internally (back leg).

I think Pigeon Wheel (The Z-Sit) is a great alternative to Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose).

My students have been really receptive to Pigeon Wheel. My knee people have easily been able to practice this pose. Another student who had stopped practicing Pigeon as it was hurting her knees said she would now practice Pigeon Wheel. (Usually the alternative to Pigeon is Figure 4, which is also a great hip opener.)

I love learning new stuff and sharing it with my students.

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Ann on August 15th, 2015

I am in a seated twist called Marichyasana III.

This week the theme in my yoga classes is twists.

My mama is visiting this week and I asked her what she wanted the theme to be. (I already knew what she wanted. But I asked anyway.)

I have gotten a lot of great feedback from my students on this week’s sequence. They tell me they feel great, relaxed, stretched out, etc.

Twists are awesome for the body and do so many good things for us.

As I have been telling my students this week, twists help us with digestion, to detox, to de-stress, release tension and anxiety and help us keep our spine muscles mobile.

Twists compress and release your abdominal region, which can increase circulation to your organs and stimulate your digestive system, according to an article on Yoga Journal about healthy digestion.

When you twist you compress (squeeze) and when you release (soak) there will be a rush of fresh blood that will flood your digestive organs, according to DoYouYoga’s article 5 health benefits of yoga twists.

When you release, you re-introduce fresh blood, which can help cleanse the cells of any built up waste because with increased circulation comes increased cellular detoxification, also according to the DoYouYoga article linked above.

Twists help to de-stress while you open the chest, shoulders and back, all of which can help to decrease feelings of anxiousness while also releasing stored tension in the body, also according to the article from DoYouYoga.

If you are pregnant, doing deep twists is not a good idea as twists cut off circulation and blood flow. And when there’s a baby growing inside your tummy you want to make sure she or he gets constant blood flow.

An article on Pop Sugar says when pregnant one should avoid deep twists as they decrease circulation, so twists should be done in an open position, such as this modified twist. (I recently wrote a post on types of poses that should be avoided when pregnant.)

Because twists help to detox the body drinking plenty of water after a practice is a good idea.

My mom’s review of this week’s sequence: The best part is you do the twist and release it’s like, ahhhh. It’s so yummy. You don’t realize how tight things are in the body until you start the squeeze and soak method.

I’ll take that as a good review.

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Ann on August 7th, 2015

The top photo is my Adho Mukha Svanasana today. The middle photo is a picture my teacher Richard took in a yoga class in December 2013 where he helped me to feel differently in the pose. The bottom photo is my Dog in September 2013.

At some point in my yoga practice I assumed I had mastered Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog).

The great thing about yoga is that we keep practicing and learning and deepening.

When my teacher Richard starting working with me on my Downward Facing Dog in December 2013 he helped me to stop pushing too deep into the pose in an unhealthy way in my upper body. He also helped me to feel more length in my spine.

Richard took the middle photo of me after some adjustments were made in class one evening. The pose started to feel differently in my body.

The bottom photo shows me pushing too far in my arms, pressing my chest toward the floor and my head is hanging. My back is rounded and not as long as it could be.

The top photo I have a long spine, length and space in my back.

I’ve been teaching yoga a little more than a year now. I tell my students that I want them to have a nice long Dog.

It is not necessary to get your heels to the mat, especially if it means you shorten your Dog to get your heels on the mat.

In fact, with a nice long Dog most people won’t get their heels to the mat. I’ve been scouring the Internets to find this fact and I can’t seem to find it. But my teacher Baxter tells his students that only about 25% of people can get their heels to the mat in Downward Facing Dog. It has to do with a tight Achilles tendon.

According to an article on Yoga Journal, … Downward Dog uses the strength of your arms and legs to fully and evenly stretch your spine. It stretches your hips, hamstrings, and calves as it strengthens your quadriceps and ankles. It opens your chest and shoulders and tones your arms and abdominals. It even tones your hands and feet, preparing you for standing poses and arm balances.

The above linked article, Flex your strength in Down Dog, does a really great job of explaining the pose, what you will be working on depending on what is going on in your body and how to work toward the full pose.

About a year ago Richard and Baxter were named by Yoganonymous as two of the top 10 kickass yoga teachers in the Bay Area. (Frankly, I feel that the list isn’t complete without Vickie listed.) I am a good yoga teacher because of my yoga teachers who taught me as a student and they also taught me how to be a teacher, with a few others in the mix.

One of the many benefits of Downward Facing Dog is that it pretty much works the whole body.

Other benefits (listed on Yoga Journal) are that the pose helps to calm the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression; energizes the body; stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands; strengthens the arms and legs; helps relieve the symptoms of menopause; relieves menstrual discomfort when does with head supported; helps prevent osteoporosis; improves digestion; relieves headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue; therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica and sinusitis.

Wow, all of that in one pose!

I do have a regular home yoga practice. I know for many that is difficult to fit in your day. If you only have a few minutes, you can do Adho Mukha Svanasana. Try it for 10-20 breaths. Slowly work to hold it a little longer each time you practice. A yoga mat is great. But if you don’t have one you can still practice this pose.

My sequence each week includes practicing Adho Mukha Svanasana at least a couple of times.

And I will continue to work to have a nice long Dog and how the pose feels throughout my body.

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Ann on August 5th, 2015

This is supposedly the Chihak (Cihak) family crest. The Chihaks or Cihaks come from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). When Curt and I visited Prague we found a phone book and found lots of listings for Cihak.

I am proud of my background and where I come from.

I am grateful to be American and have the freedoms I enjoy.

But I am also saddened and angry by blatant racism we are still plagued with in 2015.

We all should be proud of where we came from. But we should also respect the journeys (good or bad) we encountered to get where we are today.

I am proud to be a native Arizonan and Tucsonan. I am saddened by how my home state has been represented. True Arizonans are not racist. They are loving and open minded. That’s how I was raised.

I know I am late to posting on this subject. But I really wanted to think this out and take my time to really reflect my thoughts on racism, discrimination and the controversial subject of the Confederate flag.

I know what it is like to be a woman and be discriminated against because of that. I know what it is like to be scared and cautious because I am a woman. Girls are taught how to be aware of their surroundings. I know what it is like to catcalled on the street.

(This is a great video about how girls and women are treated, feminism, being pretty, etc. If you are easily offended by the F-bomb, you should NOT watch this.)

I know what it is like to have Mexican heritage (75%) and not look “brown” and be discriminated against. I know what it is like to be Mexican American and be questioned because I don’t speak Spanish. I know what it is like to be mistaken as conservative or a Republican because of my home state.

I don’t know what it is like to be gay. I don’t know what it is like to be a man trapped in a woman’s body or a woman trapped in a man’s body. I don’t know what it is like to be Black. I don’t know what it is like to be driving doing absolutely nothing wrong and be pulled over because of the color of my skin. I don’t know what it is like to walk down the street and have people scared or suspicious of me because of my dark skin. I don’t know what it is like to worry that people will think I am a terrorist when I board a plane.

But because of where I grew up and how I was raised I was taught to love all. And I do. I have friends from all sorts of backgrounds. And I am comfortable asking my friends questions when I don’t understand something.

I think that’s what racism is really about. It first starts with not understanding. And then hatred. We aren’t born to hate.

I have always been proud of who I am, what I am and where I came from. (And a lot of that comes from a family with a sense of pride.) I am 75% Mexican with a little Irish and a little Czech (or Bohemian as my grandpa says) sprinkled in. I have grown up being proud of my multiple backgrounds and from being from Tucson, Ariz.

When you are proud of who you are and where you come from you become a powerful and strong person.

… And I think that is the problem. Some people are afraid of others becoming powerful and strong. So to make sure that doesn’t happen they keep them down.

What is the need to continue to fly the Confederate flag? People claim history and heritage. Not all history is good and something that should be celebrated.

The Confederate flag represents something ugly and hateful.

The swastika also represents something ugly and hateful.

But the swastika used to (and still does in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism) represent something good. It is a Sanskrit word, svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being.” … The swastika has become so widely associated with Nazi Germany that contemporary uses frequently incite controversy. (This information came from History of the Swastika, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.)

In Germany, the criminal code outlaws “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations,” such as the swastika, and Nazi symbolism in particular, according to Wikipedia.

If the swastika can be outlawed in Germany when displayed as part of Nazi symbolism why can’t the Confederate flag be banned?

What value is brought on by flying the Confederate flag?

The United States Declaration of Independence states: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (This has become a well-known statement on human rights.) Information is coming from Wikipedia.

Do we want to live in a country where people don’t feel equal? That they feel undervalued for the color of their skin, for loving the same sex, for the fact that they are a woman, etc.?

If flying the Confederate flag makes people feel less than equal then shouldn’t we address that problem?

On Friday June 10, South Carolina took down the Confederate flag at the Capitol grounds after a 54-year run.

A good friend of mine grew up in Indiana, the Midwest. His family still lives there. He is now in California.

He said the Confederate flag had no negative connotation for him growing up. I do realize Indiana is not the South. But from some research I did I found that the flag does fly in Indiana, which was a Union state.

From an article I found in the Indianapolis Recorder, an Indianapolis pastor, Rev. Fitzhugh Lyons, said: “For one thing Indiana is a very conservative state, politically speaking. And some extreme conservative organizations are here and they think the Confederacy was correct.”

Also from the article, titled, Confederate Indiana?, according to the Indiana Historical Society, African Americans were not allowed to become residents of Indiana without paying a fee and proving they were free before the Civil War. During that war Indiana contributed over 200,000 to the Union, but a significant number of Hoosiers, especially those who moved from the South and still had relatives there, were sympathetic to the Confederacy and wanted Indiana to be neutral.

My friend said the first time he ever noticed the Confederate flag flying, the first time he saw it in person, was in Georgia by the courthouse and only just recently. And it didn’t make him angry.

When my friend was 8 or 9 years old he went with his mom to this new store called Kmart. He was walking behind his mom into the store when a car with several White men in the car with one yelling at him: “Go home, N-word.”

He still remembers what that man’s face looked like, more than 40 years later.

He turned to his mom and asked, “Mom, what’s a N …?” Her response was, “All Ns are not alike and all Ns are not Black.”

My friend really started to experience racism once he started driving.

I did lots of reading on the history of the Confederate flag from various sources, blog, websites, etc. It was difficult to find neutral, basic facts on this controversial issue.

Initially the Confederate flag represented the first seven states to secede from the U.S. and band together as the Confederate States of America: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, according to

Also from, the Confederate battle flag has long since become the pre-eminent symbol of the Confederacy and what it stood for, and across the span of several decades it has been co-opted by segregationist and white supremacist groups such as the Dixiecrats, the KKK, and the Aryan Nation. Certainly one can be a racist or a white supremacist without associating himself with “Southern Pride” or a Confederate battle flag …

I do believe in freedom of speech. I think this is a great quote (and I couldn’t say it better myself.) “It (Confederate flag) is also a really divisive symbol that represents a time when the nation was divided. Freedom of speech should be supported, but not to the extent where it offends and incites people,” Rev. Timothy James, administrative secretary of the National Convocation, said in the Indianapolis Recorder article.

America is a melting pot and that should be celebrated. We should be supportive of each other and our various backgrounds. Being different is good and unique.

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