Living Yoga Yogathon

I am participating in fundraising for Living Yoga’s Yogathon in the month of April.

Living Yoga is a nonprofit in Portland, which is changing lives by fostering healing and resilience in vulnerable and marginalized communities through trauma-informed yoga.

Living Yoga brings trauma-informed yoga classes to prisons, youth centers, addiction facilities and to people in the community who would not otherwise have access to yoga.

You can find my fundraising page here.

I am teaching a benefit class at Turtles Yoga & Wellness this month. All proceeds will be donated to Living Yoga.

What: All levels Hatha benefit class
When: Saturday, April 22
Time: noon-1 p.m.
Where: Turtles Yoga & Wellness in Beaverton
Suggested donation: $5-10 (all proceeds will go to Living Yoga)

My donation-based Hatha benefit class will have an emphasis on anatomy and alignment with a focus on celebrating Earth Day. The class will incorporate yoga poses, regulated breathing and meditation with a little fun and humor thrown in. All levels are supported and welcome.

You can come to class and donate and/or you can go to my fundraising page, link above. You can also donate to Turtles’ fundraising … Continue reading

Chair online yoga with Ann

During Portland’s last snowstorm I knew I would have many classes canceled.

We’ve had several snowstorms/ice storms since December that it’s difficult to keep track.

But one of the more major ones in December had me going stir crazy. I knew I couldn’t just binge watch TV during another–and yes there was another and another …

In mid-January I decided that each day I was snowed in I would film a different online yoga class.

I did a basics yoga class, which you can find here. Then I got sick and didn’t tape any more.

I had some time on Friday to experiment with a chair yoga online class, which can be found here.

Both online classes can also be found if you click My Classes tab.

I don’t teach gentle or chair yoga classes. But I have enough knowledge to experiment. My students range from beginner to injured to in their 20s to their 70s (sometimes I even teach kids) to very flexible to very inflexible to practicing once a week to practicing almost every day to being a yoga teacher to someone who has a regular home practice to someone who is intermediate or advanced.

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My Triangle continues to transform

Over the past three years I have been observing Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) in my body.

To the left you can see the variations and changes over the past three years.

When I applied for Piedmont’s Yoga Teacher Training in May/June 2013 an optional part of the application was to include a picture of myself in Triangle Pose.

Once in the teacher training our long-term anatomy project was to pick three yoga

poses that we were able to do but found challenging.

My three poses were Utthita Trikonasa (pictured); Dolphin; and Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby).

The top middle photo is the first photo I submitted for my long-term anatomy project.

We took the first set of photos of our three poses and did a write-up on the poses.

Over several months we explored our three poses and learned about our bodies in the poses in terms of alignment and feeling, whether emotional and/or physical.

There is a vast improvement between the first and second pose. I learned to eliminate hyperextension in the front leg without losing strength in the pose. I found a better spot for my head and neck. And I found more extension in my side body.

(If you want to … Continue reading

Going bone deep

Every week in my yoga classes I have a theme.

Last week and today we went bone deep.

My theme idea came from an article a student shared with me. It was originally in the New York Times and was reprinted in The Oregonian.

Click here for a link to the article.

Weight-bearing exercises, which includes many yoga poses, can actually reverse some of the negative effects of osteopenia (loss of bone density) and osteoporosis (bone loss).

The article that spurred last week’s sequence and today’s post is about a doctor at Columbia who did a study with 11 practitioners who practiced yoga and had results of increased bone density in their spine and hips.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has also done studies on the effects of yoga and osteoporosis and found that weight-bearing yoga training had a positive effect on bone by slowing down bone resorption (break down of bone).

The 12 poses the doctor gave his yogis to practice are:

Albany yoga basics workshop

Over the weekend Curt and I were in his hometown.

Curt is from a small Missouri town. So small that they don’t have yoga among other things.

I held a yoga workshop for members of the community.

I love finding ways to bring yoga to anyone who wants to experience the practice.

It was my first workshop, which I called Albany Yoga Basics Workshop.

I taught the ladies basic yoga poses while also focusing on alignment and our breath. I also taught them some basic Restorative Yoga poses.

I was able to work on my language and really focus on teaching true beginners, which I feel is my specialty right now as a yoga teacher.

I really do enjoy teaching.

This was extra fun as all the women were familiar with each other and many are close friends.

They laughed and made jokes and enjoyed themselves.

They all got to take home a copy of the sequence we practiced so they can practice at home or even with each other.

I plan to try to get inventive and continue to bring yoga to a community that enjoys it and wants it. Stay tuned Albany, Mo.!

My Turtles update

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 … Continue reading

Using props in yoga practice

Most weeks I teach yoga I have a theme. It could be feet, twists, low back, balancing poses, groins, etc.

Whatever sequence I teach my classes for the week I am also practicing at home.

Many of the places I teach currently don’t have props. Which has been a good challenge for me as a teacher.

Last week I taught what I called props vs. no props.

I travel with a few blocks and straps and remind my students that they are welcome to use the blocks or straps during class. A couple of students have said to me over time that they don’t know how to use the props.

Huh, OK, that hadn’t occurred to me. This prompted a sequence for me to show my students how props can be used in various poses.

I don’t have enough props for everyone nor can I travel with 30 blocks and straps to every class I teach (sometimes I have more than 30 students and I have 22 blocks and 23 straps). But for last week I made it a priority to carry around 22 blocks and 23 straps, which aren’t heavy, just bulky. (I asked my students to bring any blocks … Continue reading

Taking care of our feet with yoga

As a yoga teacher I teach and practice the same sequence for a week (as many of my yoga teachers do).

The sequence I teach my students is the sequence I practice at home over the same week.

And I usually like to have a theme each week, whether it is an anatomical focus or types of poses, such as twists, low back, balancing poses, feet …

This week my focus is feet. Feet are the roots of our body.

As one of my yoga teachers says, you have to go down to go up. To me that means we have to feel strong and grounded in our feet and legs to grow in our standing poses, such as Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

We treat our feet so badly. We shove them into shoes that are too small, too narrow, too high, too flat, too pointy … We stand on them too long and not properly. We wear the wrong shoes while exercising. We wear shoes that don’t give us enough support or the right support.

About 77% of Americans have experienced some sort of foot pain, according to a survey done by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

In a Continue reading

Yup, I wear tight yoga pants

Last month a woman wrote a blog post about why she decided to stop wearing tight yoga pants in public, which Yoganonymous reposted.

Now she has clearly stated that this is just about herself and she is not telling anyone else that they shouldn’t wear tight yoga pants in public.

During a conversation with her friends they talked about “leggings and how when women wear them it creates a stronger attraction for a man to look at a woman’s body and may cause them to think lustful thoughts.”

Yes, tight yoga pants can entice men. But so can a woman’s voice. And a woman’s laugh. Her boots. Her glasses. Should we stop speaking, laughing, wearing shoes, seeing …

Yes, all of my yoga pants are tight. They were designed that way. And I believe the main reason was so you can see your body. It enables you to be able to check appropriate alignment of yourself. Knees are a big concern and must be in proper alignment so you don’t hurt yourself.

Tight pants also helps your teacher be able to easily check your alignment and make sure you are safe in poses.

(There was even one day in … Continue reading

My style as a yoga teacher

After I graduated from yoga teacher training a good friend gave me a beautiful journal. I decided to use it as my class teaching sequence book.

I have a notebook for my own home practice and one with sequences I teach. (A yoga sequence is an order of the poses I am teaching or practicing or being taught.)

Lately the teaching notebook is also doubling as my home practice notebook as I practice the sequence at home the whole week I teach it.

Before utilizing my new notebook I was writing my sequences out on white paper. I recently transferred all my teaching sequences into my journal. As I was doing this I realized in just a few short months I have already come a long way in my teaching.

I think my later sequences are better planned and thought out. Many are starting to have themes, a goal, an anatomical focus. My personality and style and just me are coming through much more clearly.

Recently one friend who went through the teacher training with me and another friend who is one of my yoga teachers and also taught me how to be a yoga teacher gave me some advice with my teaching.

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