Diet, health and fitness tips for average women. Site created and maintained by Ann Chihak Poff.

Christmas Day yoga

1-xmas-dayI will be teaching a special yoga class Christmas morning at OmBase in Hillsdale.

My Christmas Hatha Blend! class will be from 10-11:30 a.m.buffalo-soldier

Suggested donation: $10-$20. All proceeds will be donated to Standing Rock.

Spots are filling up, but there are still some openings available. Space is limited. Sign up ahead of time to secure your spot.

You can sign up by calling 503-922-3100 or going online.

We will have fun with our holiday-themed sequence as we will stretch, strengthen, open and relax the body and mind. We will end in a long and lovely savasana.

‘Buffalo Soldier’

Portland, Ore. artist, Ryan McAbery, has created “Buffalo Soldier” Standing Rock Bison Fundraiser (pictured at the right).

You can purchase an 11×14 signed print for $25. To order online, go here. You can also purchase the print at OmBase.

Ryan will donate 100% of the purchases to help pay for Standing Rock medical expenses and legal fees.

Happy, Merry Everything!

Make sure to take care of yourself during what can be a stressful, happy, exciting, sad and lonely time.

Stay tuned for information on my special New Year’s Day yoga class.

Happy, Merry Everything!

Reflective/self-care sequence

reflective_self-care-sequence-2My theme over the past week was about being reflective and showing self-care.

The sequence was more about being in the pose than getting into it. Reminding ourselves of peace, love, compassion, kindness and acceptance for ourselves.

I was really excited to teach this and share it.

But then Snowpocalypse part deux happened in Portland. My classes from Wednesday evening through Saturday were canceled.

This sequence was basically my Christmas (or whatever you celebrate or don’t) gift to my students.

So many didn’t get to practice the sequence with me. Those who did seemed to enjoy it and I received some good feedback.

So, I decided to whip up (well, work diligently–I’m no artist) some stick figures of the sequence for my students and readers and friends to use and enjoy.

If you would like me to e-mail you a full-sized PDF, send me an e-mail at and I will send one your way.

If you’re one of my regular Portland-area students I will have some copies of the sequence with me.

As we move through the holidays, the end of the year and the new year, please take time for yourself. You can’t take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself.

That might mean taking a yoga class, curling up with a good book, taking a bath, watching a movie, getting a massage, having a private yoga session/class … my rates are going up in January. If you want lower rates, reserve them now before 2016 is over. Contact me at for rates.

Whatever you do or don’t do (remember sometimes the best thing for you is to say no) just remember to take care of you.

Take Time for You

ultimate savasana

Practicing restorative yoga, such as ultimate savasana, we can help heal the effects of chronic stress.

As we get ready to enter what I call the Crazy Time Season we have to remember to take care of ourselves.

Self-care is so important but we tend to neglect taking care of No. 1.

I truly believe you can’t take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself.

Self-care comes in many forms. For me it can be a yoga class (where I am a student), my monthly massage, an occasional mani/pedi, vegging on the couch binge watching my favorite shows, knitting, restorative yoga, enjoying good cup of coffee or tea while just sipping and enjoying …

Maybe for you it’s any of the things I listed above or it could be a bubble bath, a hike, a bike ride … or something else.

Stress is a big part of our everyday lives.

When restorative yoga is practiced regularly and even as little as five minutes a day, it can help to heal the effects of chronic stress. Adrenal fatigue is a common and growing problem in modern life. Restorative yoga kicks in the parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest.

On Sunday, Dec. 4 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. I am teaching a restorative yoga workshop.

In my two-hour workshop I will offer some tips and ideas on how to start or enhance a home restorative practice. We will practice lovely and yummy restorative yoga poses.

Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on digestion. Some of the restorative poses we will practice will help to aid in digestion. You will be supported with bolsters, blankets and blocks to relax into poses while soothing, quieting and calming the nervous system, the body and the mind.

We will practice “not doing” and just being with a more still, quiet and passive practice. In this workshop we will prepare our bodies and minds with quiet and stillness, which will help us to balance our energy during this busy time.

You sign up for the workshop here. The Early Bird discount for the workshop is $35 if purchased by Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving the price goes up to $45.

This can be a birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah or just because present for yourself or maybe you can hint to someone else to foot the bill.

I would love for my students and new and longtime friends to attend this workshop with me. But whether or not you take the workshop with me, please remember to take care of yourself and take time for you.

Celebrate Being Grateful

celebrate-being-grateful-social-mediaI am teaching a special yoga class called Celebrate Being Grateful on Thanksgiving morning at Turtles Yoga & Wellness in Beaverton.

Join me from 9:30-11 a.m. for a morning of yoga with a focus on gratitude and self care.

We will practice gratitude while recognizing how blessed we are in this life.

Extend your deepest gratitude for this moment and for all of the many blessings that bring you joy in your life.

We will come together for a Hatha alignment-based practice as we move mindfully while breathing deeply.

We will explore yoga poses that aid in digestion, detoxing naturally and cleansing.

We will also open our hearts with some supportive Restorative Yoga poses to end our class.

All levels are supported and welcome.

Suggested donation of $5. If you can afford $5, you pay $5. If you can’t, you don’t, which allows yoga to be accessible to all.

Sign up ahead of time to ensure you secure a spot in this special class. You can also call: 503-574-4711. Facebook invite can be found here.

Other special things coming up with me at this year:

  • Give yourself a gift with Time for You Restorative yoga workshop on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Turtles Yoga & Wellness. Early bird discount: $35. After Thanksgiving the price goes up to $45.
  • Christmas Day morning yoga class at OmBase in Hillsdale. Check out My Classes tab for more details. Sign up for Christmas Hatha Blend! here.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

We can be strong and support each other

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. The come together and they fall apart. They they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

~Excerpt from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”


We are stronger together. I truly believe that.

I have been taking the past few days to reflect and think about the election, the results and what it all means and how I feel about it. I’ve been collecting and gathering my thoughts and feelings.


In my yoga classes this week I’m sharing love, kindness, compassion, comfort, acceptance and hugs.

I cried a lot on Wednesday. I am still so very sad, heartbroken, in shock and disbelief, angry …

As a woman I feel as I do; as a Mexican American I feel as I do; as a feminist I feel as I do; as a human being I feel as I do; as someone who was raised to love everyone I feel as I do …

As I’ve been teaching my yoga classes this week, while wearing my pearls as a sign of support and silent and peaceful protest and since Friday wearing a safety pin, I am giving love, compassion, kindness, acceptance, love and hugs. I am allowing my students to feel what they feel and, as always, honoring their bodies.

I believe that one of the greatest things about America is our melting pot. Our melting pot of colors, cultures, beliefs, religions, differences and ideas.

This isn’t about politics. This is about human decency.

So many people are afraid about differences. Someone being strong doesn’t make someone else weak.

We can all be strong and support each other.

I do believe we should mourn Hillary Rodham Clinton’s loss as she stood for so many. And we all mourn in different ways.

But whenever we are ready we need to take the opportunity to show our strength and use our energy in positive ways. Because we are stronger together!

Those of us who believe in equality we are not backing down. I plan to be more involved and active.

I have very strong feelings toward Donald Trump. This isn’t about Trump bashing. What I will state is the truth. Donald Trump is not a true Republican or conservative. He made hate speech mainstream and acceptable. He incited violence. He said ugly things about women, Muslims, people with disabilities, people who questioned him, Mexicans, the press, immigrants, LGBTQIA, etc.

Hate speech is not OK. It’s never OK. Violence is not OK, especially in the passion of hate. But this is most especially not OK if you are the president of the United States.

I will continue to be the person I am by showing love, compassion, understanding, acceptance, safety and comfort to all. As long as you show respect to me I’ll show respect to you.

For every woman who has been passed over for a promotion because she is a woman, not taken seriously because she is a woman, been groped or talked to inappropriately because she is a woman, made less money because she is a woman, been mansplained to because she is a women, been interrupted because she is a woman …

I truly believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton was the most qualified candidate to ever run for president. And let’s face it, Trump was the least qualified ever. That is a major reason this hurts so much for me.

Women have been fighting for so long. Doing our best, working our hardest, giving our all and not being taken seriously … it’s real and painful and happens regularly, which is a real shame.

I truly thought HRC was going to win and be the next president of the United States.

This just means we have more fighting to do, more work to do, the battle isn’t over … yet.

I end my yoga classes by saying: Keep peace in the mind … Strength in the body … And love in the heart. Namaste.

Preparing for Fall Back 2016

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

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

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.

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 going to two yoga classes on Sunday–one active and one Restorative. If I have time I will also sneak in my own home practice.) Even going for a walk will 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 I like are: Legs Up the WallInstant Maui; and Savasana are just a few you can do. Hold these poses for at least 10 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.

    legs up the wall

    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.

When we Sprang Forward in March I really listened to my own advice and followed it. And I really think it helped. Time change can be difficult for many of us whether we “gain” or “lose” an hour. Since following my own advice worked so well, I wrote about it. You can read about that here.

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!


ombase-class-coming-soonToday was my last Thursday teaching two classes. Two super fun classes. Two classes with amazing students.

About a month or so ago I gave notice for my Sunday classes. I realized I needed another day off. One day off a week (where I was still quite busy and sometimes subbing) was just not enough.

My students were so understanding and supportive. I wrote about it in a post.

And again, I feel (and know) that I have the best students in the world.

Today was bittersweet as I bid farewell to two of my classes. One a morning cycle class and a noon yoga class.

Starting next Thursday, Nov. 3, I will be teaching Thursdays at OmBase in Hillsdale. I feel so lucky to have found this space owned by two amazing people.

At the end of August I started subbing at OmBase. After just my second class the owners got some great feedback on me, my class and teaching. So much so that they offered me a class.

This is a great opportunity for me as a teacher. Something I can’t pass up.

I am so excited to be part of the OmBase family.

The space is cozy, welcoming, warm and beautiful.

Again my students were supportive and understanding. Many of my yoga students let me know they were thankful to have me as a teacher for the time they did.

I will miss them terribly. But our yogic paths may cross again at some point.

To keep up with me, my classes, special classes and workshops, check out Go Fit Girl! For listing of my classes, both yoga and cycling and when I sub check out My Classes tab.

Sundays off

yoga in the park

I love teaching. I seriously have the best students. Events like Yoga in the Park are innovative ways for me to share my love of teaching and yoga.

Today was my last day regularly teaching on Sundays.

I made a decision for me. I needed another day off. I needed to be able to spend more time with The Husband. I needed to be able to sleep in on Sundays. I needed to be able to make a brunch on Sundays with out-of-town friends.

I am exhausted and tired and can’t be the best teacher I can teaching so much and not having more time off for me.

When I told my students I was giving up my classes it was so hard to do. I got teary. But I told them this is not about them, it’s about me.

It has to be about me.

I am considered a full-time teacher with five weekly cycle classes and 10 (some private) weekly yoga classes. (Even with the adjustment in my schedule I am considered full time.)

I only had Tuesdays off. And even though I don’t normally teach Tuesdays (I try to reserve that date for me) I still have a lot to do in order to teach: writing up/finalizing and practicing a yoga sequence for the coming week (after likely doing hours of research/reading/planning over the weekend); practicing yoga sequence for the week; writing up and posting weekly theme for social media; working on playlist(s) for indoor cycling classes; working on blog posts and newsletters; and sometimes subbing or teaching Yoga in the Park (one more on Tuesday 6-7 p.m. at Evelyn M. Schiffler Memorial Park. More information here.)

And I have all that other domestic and not fun stuff to do: errands, cleaning house, laundry, paying bills, etc.

I realized recently that I was doing too much. I feel tired a lot of the time. Teaching on Sundays started to feel like a chore and no longer fun.

In order to take care of myself and be a good teacher I had to give myself another regular day off.

I have amazing students and I am sad to say goodbye to some of them.

Even though they are bummed about me no longer teaching Sundays they understand and congratulated me on knowing I needed to take care of me.

And this is about me. It’s about taking care of me as a person and a teacher so I can be the best teacher I can be.

It’s hard to explain … but when you teach yoga and other exercise classes it’s takes so much energy. Full time is not 40 hours. Especially when I teach yoga, I am on 100% of the time. While teaching and making sure my language is clear and sometimes modeling pose(s) I remember modifications, injuries, who needs this and that, watching students as they come into a pose seeing what they are capable of and where adjustments might need to be made.

Last Sunday, Sept. 11 was my last day teaching my Sunday 9:15 a.m. cycle class. Today was my last day teaching my Sunday 12:15 p.m. yoga class.

I am now at four cycle classes and nine yoga classes a week. (I will be adding a No. 10 yoga class next month on Friday evenings.)

Changes are inevitable. And sometimes I have a hard time with that.

My schedule will continue to change and modify. Some changes I know of and/or are planning. Others I don’t.

I’ve given a lot of thought to my Sundays. And I realized it was best for me to give up my classes for now.

I can sleep in (probably not), go out to brunch, be lazy all day, stay out/up late on Saturday nights (probably not), sub a yoga or cycle class on that rare occasion, go to a cycle or yoga class as a student, actually head to the coast for part of a weekend or jump in the car and go day trippin’.

One of my students told me last Sunday that my newsletters need to be filled with my regular Sunday cycle class chatter.

While teaching cycle I tend to talk about random things. It may be about what I ate for dinner last night or about something fun/funny that happened in another class or traffic on the 217 or my family … Apparently they like my chatter.

Check out my schedule on my website, Go Fit Girl! Click My Classes tab to see my current schedule, when my classes are canceled (for holidays and such), when I have a special event such as Yoga in the Park, when I have subs for my classes or when I am subbing for both yoga and/or cycle classes.

You can also follow me on Yoga Trial, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also sign up to receive my newsletter, which comes out about once a month.

Before … after … and now


BEFORE: In June 2006 (bottom left) I was standing in front of the Pope Mobile at almost my highest weight. (I started Weight Watchers in October 2006.) AFTER: In July 2007 (bottom right) I had hit my goal weight and displaying the same outfit as June 2006. NOW: I was striking a yoga pose (Virabhdrasana II–Warrior 2) in July 2016 for my photo shoot for Yoga in the Park.

For about the past year to year and a half I have been the healthiest I have ever been. Not the smallest or thinnest, but the healthiest.

I turn 42 in one month and I feel amazing. And I think I look pretty good, too. I know that’s not what it is all about. It’s about being and feeling healthy. But I’ll be honest, it feels good to look good.

I work hard at being healthy. At times it is easy. And other times it’s so so difficult.

But I haven’t always looked the way I look now.

When I was younger I was considered skinny. (I seriously hate that word and all that it implies.)

I could basically eat and drink anything I wanted and not gain weight.

Then I turned 25. I had a sedentary job. I worked second shift and ate a lot of my meals at my desk, which weren’t actually healthy and usually came in some sort of wrapper (as in fast food).

Over a seven year period I gained 30 pounds.

I hated shopping for clothes. I lacked confidence. It was difficult to go on hikes with friends.

One day a friend and co-worker asked me if I wanted to join Weight Watchers with her at work.

Seven months later I had lost the 30 pounds.

I didn’t take official before (losing weight) pictures. But I went through old pictures and found a few that would work. After I lost the weight I took photos in the same outfits as the before. Check out the photos here.

Besides losing the weight and gaining confidence I learned how to eat better and make better choices. I started to exercise regularly. I had to buy pretty much a whole new wardrobe.

Since July 2009 I have pretty much kept the weight off. (It can fluctuate a little.)

I still need to pay attention to what I eat and how much I exercise.

Now that I am a cycling instructor and yoga teacher I keep the weight at a healthy level and I have become stronger, leaner, more toned with definition. I have more muscle mass and I am healthier and happier.

Even though I burn a lot of calories on a regular basis I still have to be mindful of what I eat and drink.

I love to eat (which was probably my initial problem when I started to gain weight). But I try to take everything in moderation with food, alcohol and activity.

Here’s to turning 42 as the best me I can be.

Yoga, a park and cats

Yoga in the Park Aug. 23

Yoga in the Park students practicing Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3) on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 23.

I taught two yoga classes in the park this month.

Practicing yoga under the sky with the cool grass below our feet and a view of trees and children playing was a great and fun experience.

I had students from my various public yoga classes join me for both Yoga in the Park with Ann classes.

Connecting with the earth, the ground, nature, each other under a blue or gray sky (one day was a little cloudy) with a green cool floor and green walls with the sounds of the outside world coming into our yoga class must be done one more time before the skies become gray and cold and wet in Portland.

Which means I’m going to teach one more Yoga in the Park with Ann next month.

little yoginis

Little yoginis practicing Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3) on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

The details are below:

THE WHAT: Yoga in the Park with Ann
THE WHERE: Evelyn M. Schiffler Memorial Park, SW Erickson Ave., Beaverton, Ore.
THE TIME: 6-7 p.m.
THE DAY: Tuesday, Sept. 20
THE PRICE: Suggested donation of $5 (but no one will be turned away)
THE WHAT ELSE: Bring your yoga mat. Be dressed for a yoga class. Clothing should be comfortable.

Bring friends, kids, neighbors. Children are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

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

Purr Yoga

In Portland there is a cat cafe called Purringtons.

purr yoga

Me hanging out with one of the cats after Purr Yoga.

Purringtons is a different way for shelter cats to interact with humans and allow prospective adopters to see a cat in a home like environment. … Visits help with socialization of the cats, which lead to adoptions, according to the website.

You can visit the cats while munching on some light fare and sipping a meowmosa, wine, beer, coffee or tea.

Purringtons also has Purr Yoga.

My friend Karen and I visited Purringtons last year to visit with the cats while sipping meowmosas.

Last Sunday, Aug. 21, we attended our first Purr Yoga class.

We took an hour-long yoga class with the adorable, furry cats as they walked around, meowed, hissed, cuddled and just hung out.

After the yoga class we had a chance to hang out with the cats for a bit.

The cost of the class helps to support the cats and a local yoga teacher. It’s a win-win.