Your 15

Can you believe it? It’s December! This year flew by.

My morning routine is usually the same. I wake up somewhere between 6:30 and 7 a.m.

I practice my home yoga practice for about an hour. I head downstairs for my coffee and breakfast. Then back upstairs to get ready for my day.

The majority of my days I have a morning class. (Four days a week I have a 9:15 a.m. cycle class, one day a week an 8:30 a.m. yoga class, four days a week a noon yoga class …)

When I head downstairs for my coffee and breakfast I usually sit and enjoy my quiet time. Depending on the day and when I actually get downstairs I have anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to have my breakfast.

My goal is to sit and enjoy my meal and coffee. I open the blinds of the patio doors and watch the rain, the birds, the same guy running for the bus or whatever is going on outside and I sip my coffee.

When I was working 40+ hours a week with a usual 2-hour total a day commute finding 15 minutes to just be was tough. I drank … 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

I took on the Savasana challenge

For the month of December I took part in a 31-day Savasana challenge.

My teacher Vickie who was my first Restorative Yoga teacher (and one of my regular yoga teachers) challenged her students to do a 31-day Savasana challenge.

Savasana is a relaxed and restorative pose where you can be supported by blankets and bolsters (as you see in the picture to the left) and where your head and heart are on the same level. This is a time to quiet the body and the mind.

The month of December is stressful with the holidays, food, alcohol, family, parties, friends, end of year …

When we don’t think we have time for ourselves, whether that’s yoga, Savasana, time reading a good book, taking a bath, just sitting down for 10-15 minutes to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, etc. is when we need it most.

For the most part the challenge was fairly easy for me since I am not working full time.

But there were still times when I had to try to squeeze that 15 minutes in. Like the day I had an all-day training to become a SPINNING® teacher. And then almost immediately after that went … Continue reading

Observing & Assisting yoga teachers

Part of my yoga teacher training is to do 25 hours of observing and assisting various yoga teachers.

I have set up dates and times with four yoga teachers in the Deep Yoga program, essentially working with one teacher each week for one class over the next four months.

I observed my first class last Thursday with Vickie.

Vickie and I met briefly before class so she could let me know what she wanted me to look for and observe. Essentially my first observation was an open observation.

Many times in a class there will be a theme. The practice may also be gearing up to a particular pose, such as an inversion, like, Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) or a backbend, such as Ustrasana (Camel Pose).

As I observed for the hour and a half I was slightly jealous that they were all getting a practice in and I wasn’t. I so much wanted to join when the class started in a heart opener. I felt peace and tranquility when the class was in Savasana (Corpse Pose).

I took pages and pages of notes. I jotted down the sequence Vickie taught and practiced it later on my … Continue reading

Regular Restorative practice helps keep me balanced

The December Monthly Challenge was nicknamed 5 for 5.

A challenge I made for myself was to attend the Sunday night Restorative Yoga class at my yoga studio every Sunday in December (as long as I was in town). (I won’t be attending this coming Sunday as I will be out of town.)

The first four Sundays in December I attended the class. And actually I attended the last Sunday in November and the Sunday before that I attended a 2-hour Restorative workshop.

This past week I have been off work with little planned. I have incorporated more and longer Restorative poses in my home practice. At the end of every home practice I have a Savasana.

Vickie reminds her students as we are getting into a Restorative pose that we should be warm, comfortable and even (body should be symmetrical). And it should be dark and quiet.

There are times when I don’t feel like doing an active home practice. Those days I do an all Restorative practice with just a couple of poses. I am now well-equipped with props, such as bolsters and blankets, which really support me in particular poses.

I feel like having a … Continue reading

Thankful for yoga

Today is Thanksgiving. Many of us take today to reflect on what we are thankful for. I try to reflect on what I am grateful for on a regular basis.

I also try to remember that today can be very hard for some for a variety of circumstances and reasons. If that is the case for you, I hope that you can find some peace.

I feel very lucky and grateful for the life I do have.

There are so many things I am thankful for.

Such as: my health; my husband; my family; my friends; my job (there was a chance I could have been laid off this year); my amazing co-workers/friends; the supportive people in my life; my amazing readers/friends/supporters of Go Fit Girl! …

The list goes on and on.

But what I really want to reflect on today is yoga, my practice, my teachers, my teacher training, the discovery I am continually making and my growth in my practice.

Yoga is such a big part of my life. It touches so many aspects of each day in my life.

Here are some things on my what I am grateful for when it comes to my yoga … Continue reading

Home (hotel) yoga practice

Curt and I stayed in Santa Cruz over the weekend.

I didn’t check to see if the hotel had a gym. I am about 50/50 on that. Sometimes I am a rockstar with the hotel gym. And other times my exercise clothes never even leave the suitcase.

This time around I brought my yoga mat with me. And not my travel mat. I brought the full real deal. We drove, which meant I could pretty much bring whatever I wanted.

I practiced yoga yesterday and today in the hotel.

I have struggled in the past to practice what I call hotel yoga. I believe it was easier this time around as I have had a home practice for about six weeks.

My practice over the weekend had to be one I could do without props and not super active because The Husband was snoozing while I practiced.

Some time last year I had written up a short Yin Yoga practice to try out with a friend.

I don’t have a ton of experience with a Yin practice. You hold the poses longer. According to the Yin Yoga website, Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and … Continue reading

My home practice

In my first Saturday yoga teacher training class we focused on home practice and I, of course, wrote about it.

To be a good and effective yoga teacher I must have a regular home practice. Five times a week for about 45 minutes is what is recommended.

I couldn’t commit to that at first so I have started with 20-25 minutes five times a week.

The first week that I committed to a yoga home practice I practiced five times (Monday through Friday) for 20-25 minutes.

The second week I tried a different variety of poses to practice and did it five times (Monday through Friday) for 20-25 minutes.

On the days I work from home I am able to make my practice a little longer. But on the days I have to go into the office I do a shorter practice as I am now getting up on those days at 5 a.m. (30 minutes early) to get my practice in.

I wanted to share with you the first week of practice I did. As the first week went on I adjusted my practice. I ended up holding each pose for six breaths.

And depending on how much … Continue reading

Home practice while in Missouri

I am in Missouri this weekend visiting my in-laws.

Being married to a hunter makes it an annual tradition to come out for the opening of deer season. My brother-in-law and his sons are here for the weekend as well.

I brought my travel yoga mat with me in the hopes of practicing a few times.

Marilyn, my mother-in-law, asked if we could practice yoga together today.

I was happy to oblige.

The two of us took a break from the hustle and bustle of the house and went down to the basement with our yoga mats, some of my yoga music and a few ideas I had.

We were probably down there an hour. We worked on stretching out our lower backs, a little balancing and some stretching. Before getting into savasana, we stretched out in banana, which is a great stretching pose.

It was a great home practice for the both of us. I taught Marilyn a few things and I got to have a buddy while practicing.

I look forward to another practice or two with Marilyn this weekend.

Let’s celebrate National Yoga Month

September is National Yoga Month. I know that. But the weird thing is I am having a hard time finding a lot of current information on this.

In honor of of this month I thought I would FINALLY respond to a request from my friend Rosie.

Months ago she asked me for advice for someone who wanted to start practicing yoga.

When I started regularly practicing yoga a little more than five years ago I first started practicing at the gym. For me I was lucky, those classes were good beginner classes. And the instructors were well-experienced teachers as well.

When I started at Namaste I felt lucky then as well, too. All the teachers are pretty amazing and experienced and versatile. I have practiced with many yoga instructors, personalities, styles, types of yoga, class sizes, etc.

So here is my advice to Rosie and anyone else who wants it:

I suggest finding a yoga studio in your area and doing a little research on the instructors who teach at the studio. (You could do the same research on the yoga instructors at your gym.) The yoga studio website should have bios on the teachers and subs. And … Continue reading