Mini yoga retreat

On January 31 at Turtles Yoga & Wellness I will be participating in Turtles’ Mini Retreat.

The main retreat will be lead by Annie, a lovely yoga teacher.

I will be teaching the Restorative Yoga portion of the day.

The mini retreat is Sunday, Jan. 31 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost for the wonderful, refreshing day is $80.

More details here and where to sign up as well.

If you can’t afford a full-on yoga retreat or don’t have the time to get away then the mini retreat may just be what you need.

You can give this gift to yourself or someone you love. Or maybe you and someone you love share this day together.

This is what Turtles has to say about the mini retreat: Find the time to realize you are simply amazing. And here at Turtles you are truly able to Love your Body, Discover your Strength, Create Self Expression, Enhance Flexibility and Breathe.

The mini retreat will include:

Using strap for Chatarunga Dhandasana

One of the things I learned while in my yoga teacher training was to learn to “steal good.” And I do this pretty regularly.

As a teacher myself I take things my teachers do and make them my own. It’s a great way to learn to teach and to share awesome things I learn along the way with my students.

Near the end of my teaching stint at Alameda Athletic Club I asked my students and GFG! readers what their favorite and least favorite yoga poses were.

With that information I created a sequence for my second to last week teaching favorite poses and my last week of teaching least favorite poses.

One of my students told me that Chatarunga Dhandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) was one of her least favorite poses.

This is a pose where many people hurt themselves. It’s a difficult pose and many people don’t and can’t do it correctly, myself included.

From an article on the Yoga Journal website,  the writer mentioned being at a meeting with other yoga teachers and “almost all of us had a Chaturanga injury to relate: elbow tendonitis or strained muscles in the upper arm, shoulder, or chest. … Since then, … Continue reading

Practicing Sun Salutations

In yoga teacher training class on Thursday night we worked on Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations).

There are a variety of ways to practice Sun Salutations (aka sun salutes). The one linked here is basically what we worked on Thursday night.

We built on the sequence in class. The idea was, how do you teach a beginner student sun salutes? We worked with the idea of starting with Sun Salutations as easy and moving toward difficult.

In class on Thursday we “attacked” sun salutes as a beginner. How would a beginner practice? What modifications need to be made for a beginner?

As we continued with the sun salutes we tried the flow with a little more difficulty each time around.

Ann reminded us that 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.

The original idea behind practicing sun salutes was to salute the bestower of life. The Vinyasa flow is typically done in the morning facing East.

But for many of us life doesn’t allow for yoga practice in the morning and for many of us yogis and yoginis we … Continue reading

Yoga practice for low back pain

In the last all-day Saturday yoga teacher training there was a huge focus on standing poses. The second half we worked on chanting, which meant a lot of sitting.

The next day my low back hurt.

Standing and sitting are both hard on my lower back.

Normally on Sundays I attend a rather active Vinyasa yoga class.  I decided for that day that practice was not appropriate for my body.

I did a little research on yoga for back pain. Baxter, who is one of my yoga teachers and the director and a teacher of my yoga teacher training, specializes in back care. He writes for the Yoga Journal blog. You can find one of his back care posts right here.

Baxter also has a blog where he writes with others called Yoga for Healthy Aging. I decided to search that blog and came upon a sequence Baxter put together for low back care.

I decided to go with a gentle approach for my back care home practice:

Review Wednesday: Be More Yogic

Be More Yogic is a website, which offers yoga video classes for all levels and styles, to use online. The videos are compatible on the iPhone, iPad, Macbooks, Apple TV, Android, tablets, PCs, laptops and HD TVs.

You can sign up for a free trial, which according to the site, lasts as long as you want.

The site offers three teachers; various levels; about 50 videos, videos from 5 minutes to almost 120 minutes; a variety of yoga styles, such as Vinyasa, Yin, meditation, Ashtanga, breathing, etc.

Short tutorials and breakdowns on poses are also offered. There’s even yoga for runners and desk yoga. The site also offers a blog and a bio on each teacher.

There were no full free practices. But the free videos give you a good idea of the site, such as guided meditation, instruction on a few poses and yoga tips for flights.

To use the free classes you have to sign up as a member. But all you have to do is give first and last name, e-mail address and create a password. After that you are good to go.

The site describes Be More Yogic as an online Yoga Community offering yoga video classes … Continue reading

A week in the life of Ann on Weight Watchers

One of my regular readers, Jen, asked if I would be willing to share what I eat to be successful on Weight Watchers®.

So I am going to share my “menus”/tracking/what I have eaten this week.

For those of you not familiar with WW–just a few things I want to mention before I launch into my food intake.

Right now I don’t attend meetings (I do highly recommend finding a meeting that works for you. The support and ideas are amazing.) I track my food daily online.

When on WW you get daily points, weekly points (which can be distributed throughout the week or maybe for one big outing or “frivolous” meal or party) and you can also earn activity points–if you exercise you earn more points for the day (and week).

To be successful in weight loss or maintaining your weight planning is very important. I will admit that lately my planning hasn’t been great. Lucky for me at work we have a salad bar with a good variety of items and usually a lot of protein.

Monday

Sweating with the yogis

I realize my blogging has been minimal lately. I am either too lazy to blog or too busy. One extreme or the other. No fear–I will get back into my flow, soon, I hope.

Because tomorrow is a holiday, today it was a half day at work. So I worked from home.

Because of my early day I was able to attend Sean‘s 4:30 Vinyasa class. I rarely get to take his class because I just can’t be there on time.

His class is always challenging, always sweaty and always pushes me. But at the same time he encourages his class to listen to their body and take a break when needed.

Sean’s class today was probably the sweatiest I have ever gotten in a yoga class. And I have taken many sweaty yoga classes.

I was sweating so much that it was getting in my eyes and up my nose. I told Sean I had trouble breathing because the sweat was going right up my nose. His response, I take that as a compliment.

He did mention to us at the end of class that he wished he could give us the 10-15 minute savasana we earned … Continue reading

Just breathe …

Yoga class was a treat this morning. Even more than normal.

I took a friend with me.

Our friends Stefanie and Aaron are in town along with their teenage son and 4-year-old son. They are on their way to Disneyland. But stopped in the Bay Area for a couple of days.

Anyway, Stefanie and I went to the 9 a.m. Hatha yoga class with Vickie. Normally I take the 10:45 Vinyasa class with Ashley. But on occasion I take Vickie’s Sunday class.

It was nice to take a friend along with me. And Vickie thought we were related.

Today we focused on breathing, especially in our diaphragm. We focused on opening our sides and breathing through the muscles in our ribs, our intercostal muscles. The breathing exercises we worked on helped us open up our kidneys as well.

I love when I learn something new about my body in yoga class.

Over the years of practicing yoga I have learned many breathing techniques. I learn how to breathe when I am nervous or stressed or scared. And it really helps calm me.

Vickie makes us work hard. But we are always rewarded. She likes to throw in a … Continue reading

Happy feet … walking

I decided to take today off and have a four-day weekend.

I accomplished a lot today.

I had a dentist appointment this morning. Then the car had scheduled maintenance. And I started the daunting task of de-cluttering the spare room/office/dumping room.

I took the car in a little after 9. The dealership offers courtesy shuttle service. It was a sunny and cool morning. I decided to walk home. The roughly 1-mile took about 20 minutes to walk and was quite pleasant. I listened to the morning DJs on my Radio.com app.

Once home I had some coffee and breakfast. And then the de-cluttering began.

About 12:15 or so Curt asked me if I wanted to go have lunch. (Curt worked from home today.) After lunch I walked back to the dealership, which was a pleasant and warmer 20-minute walk.

I got in about 2 miles of walking today with a 90-minute Vinyasa yoga class this evening.

Giving love to my lower back

My friend Jen mentioned on Facebook yesterday that her lower back was bothering her after a ski outing. I recommended trying supported Bridge pose with a block.

 

I have recurring low back pain. Probably due to over use, kyphosis and bad posture.

So before every yoga class I do supported Bridge with a block. It is amazing how just a few minutes in this pose makes my back feel so much better.

I was pretty busy today. So when I got to my morning Vinyasa class my back was throbbing. So for about 10 minutes before class started I put myself into supported Bridge pose.

Near the end of class we practice Wheel pose. I skipped it and just did supported Bridge. Oh man, I was in heaven and was melting into it. After that we did savasana. I was ready for a nap when I got home. But there was too much to do.

This evening I attended Restorative yoga class. I debated on if I should go since I wanted to nap. But I figured I could always nap during class. I also did supported Bridge before class started. A lot of the poses we … Continue reading