Practicing heart opener

Recently my yoga theme was for the desk jockey, a person who sits at a desk.

One of the poses we practiced in the sequence was the heart opener over the blocks, aka supported fish pose (pictured to the left).

So many of my students love this pose. They love how it makes them feel. I love it as well.

This pose reverses the negative effects of our poor posture when we sit at a desk, pound away on a keyboard, sit in the car or on public transportation during our long commutes, look at our smart phone or tablet, etc.

The heart opener is a baby backbend and puts our body into extension (we are usually in flexion–think hunched over computer back).

We open our chest, spread shoulder blades, open the collarbones and take stress out of the low back. Having the block behind our shoulder blades reminds us where backbends should come from, behind our heart center, not the low back or the neck.

The muscles, ligaments, veins, etc. are tight in the neck, chest, shoulders, upper back because of our sitting culture. This pose helps to stretch these tight/overactive muscles, making them longer and more supple.

Many people have … Continue reading

Doin’ yoga in the closet

Normally my daily yoga home practice happens in my yoga room, which also happens to be the spare room and the guest bedroom when guests are staying over.

Last week my dad and Hilda were visiting.

While they were visiting my home practice moved to my closet.

Yes, I’m bragging a little that I have a big enough closet to comfortably fit my yoga mat.

But really this post is about how you only need enough space for a yoga mat and you have enough space to practice yoga.

I have been in packed yoga classes where each student’s mat is just an inch or two away from each other. It’s not ideal, but it’s doable.

And at home you really only need the space of a mat and you’re good to go.

In my yoga teacher training we discussed how important a home practice is and how much of a struggle it can be at times.

There was a story we were told of a now teacher who would practice at home with his mat right next to his twin bed where he pretty much only had enough space for a mat in his tiny apartment.

I know creating a … Continue reading

Being a gym yoga teacher sub

At the end of October I will be taking over yoga classes at a gym in Alameda where the regular teacher will be going on maternity leave.

She recently went on vacation, which gave me an opportunity to be the yoga sub for four classes at Alameda Athletic Club.

I taught a Thursday evening, a Sunday late morning, a Tuesday evening and another Thursday evening while the regular teacher was on vacation.

My first class I felt a little unprepared for things that were out of my control. But I reminded myself to breathe and it would be OK. I felt the class went well and the students were responsive.

Sunday late morning I had about 10 students. I had time to chat with a few of them before class and after class as well.

Two students who were there for my first class came back on Sunday. My Sunday students were very receptive and complimented me. Many told me that they really enjoyed the class. Some told me they planned to tell the front desk and general manager about me.

Someone else said I was one of the best teachers they have ever had. I’m flattered. They were impressed with … 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.

Review Wednesday debuts with Hugger Mugger yoga mat bag

As promised, one of Go Fit Girl’s new features, Review Wednesday debuts today. This post launches the first official review for Review Wednesday.

In honor of September being National Yoga Month I thought I would review an item related to yoga.

Today I am reviewing the Hugger Mugger Recycled Paper Mat Bag.

I was excited to find this yoga mat bag. It’s a little different than most of the bags I see other yogis carry their mats in. (And I wanted something fun looking and different since I seem to have the same purple Jade Yoga Mat that about half the other Namaste yogis have. So much so that I almost stole a fellow yogis yoga mat in class one day.)

The hand-woven mat bag is environmentally friendly as it is made from recycled paper. And it costs about $23.

It holds a mat and a few other supplies, including up to two yoga blocks.

Here is a link the mat in Go Fit Girl’s Amazon store.

According to the product description on the Hugger Mugger site: Looking for a mat bag that’s strong … The bag’s tight weave makes it strong enough to carry even … Continue reading

Using the right exercise equipment

Having the right equipment makes all the difference.

When I got to the gym this morning I realized I forgot my clip shoes. Ah, bummer. I probably had time to go home and get them. But I decided to just deal with regular shoes.

I had to use my regular tennies on the spin bike a couple of months ago when I had a broken clip and couldn’t get my shoe into the pedal.

It is such a different feeling in regular tennis shoes than clip shoes. I can feel the pedal under my feet, my control is different, I get foot cramps more often, my feet sometimes fall asleep, I don’t feel as sturdy.

I also feel that way the my newer yoga mat. For years I used a Gaiam yoga mat I got at Target. It got the job done.

But as I started practicing yoga more and going to a studio regularly I knew I needed a better mat. The Gaiam mat is quite slippery. And my hands never stuck very well the to “sticky” mat.

So I invested in a nice Jade yoga mat. Yes, it is expensive. But it is sturdy and high … Continue reading

Cleaning my yoga mat

Last year I wrote about cleaning my yoga mat. I had a fairly inexpensive yoga mat and took a chance by throwing it into the washer. It dried rather quickly and seemed like a successful cleaning of the mat.

I now have a Jade Yoga mat, which is rather expensive. And the material is different.

According to the Jade Yoga website you can throw the mat into a front load washer (which we don’t have) or wipe down or soak in the bathtub. It mentions that oils, solvents or harsh abrasives should not be used.

The Yoga Journal website also gives some tips on how to clean a yoga mat.

Last week while I was leaving Namaste I asked the woman working the front desk what she recommended to clean my mat. She told me the studio uses witch hazel and water, 25% and 75%. Spray the mat liberally, but don’t soak. Then rub down with wet hot towel. She said a little tea tree oil could also be added as it is an antibacterial.

I added very little oil to my mixture. I only cleaned one side of my mat in case the oil made … Continue reading

This and that

When I ended my cleanse a week ago I was a little worried that I would gain weight. Well, with food tasting so good. And I had some good meals the past week. Such as delicious welcome lunch on Tuesday at work; lasagna Curt got me at Market Hall the day I called in sick; the fritata he also got me, which I ate the next night for dinner; the amazing brunch, bacon and sangria I had Saturday before the Arizona/Stanford basketball game; and the munchies I had yesterday. I did gain weight, but only 1.2 pounds.

Today I started back with the exercise again by taking Hatha yoga with Baxter.

I packed my work meals for today (and tomorrow) with breakfast, lunch and a snack.

Baxter mentioned something they did in class last week and if we wanted to know about it we could get in a time machine and go back. I mentioned I was sick. Baxter called me out and said that was good. I did the best thing for myself and others in class.

Today in class I almost stole someone else’s purple Jade yoga mat. And after using her mat for class (we realized as … Continue reading

Health and wellness birthday gifts

For my birthday my in-laws gave me an REI gift card. I plan to use it toward a new yoga mat.I think Curt and I are going to go shopping this weekend.

I also got some cash from Grandma so that will go toward the yoga mat or a yoga block/brick. (Before each yoga class I take a little time for me. My back has been bothering me lately. So I do a supported bridge pose before each class starts.)

My Dad and Hilda got me a subscription to Yoga Journal. I am looking forward to start getting the magazine.

I also got a Nordstrom gift card from my Mom. I am debating if I should use it toward my health and wellness or just something super cute and super fun: like some awesome boots.

When I went on to the Nordstrom web site and searched “exercise” I found some good stuff and this. What the hell? Maybe if I was a wife on The Sopranos.

It’s my birthday … not really … party anyway

Years ago I was doing a puzzle with my youngest nephew. He was and is awesome at puzzles especially at the age he was, which I think was 4 or 5. He got a difficult piece in an adult puzzle and I kinda sang, Go, Jackson. It’s your birthday. He looked at me and said, no, it’s not. So then he created his own version: It’s my birthday … not really … party anyway.

Yes, there is a point to my post. My birthday is next month. And I want to get a new yoga mat. The one I have is kinda cheap and frankly, a little slippery, which isn’t so great when in certain poses, like Downward Facing Dog.

With family we don’t exchange Christmas presents as we focus on charity instead. But we still do birthday gifts, especially since it is a “special day.” There are only a few friends I exchange gifts with for birthdays these days.

My mom probably already bought my gift … (and it probably has a cat on it.) 🙂 But for anyone who is actually gonna get me a gift I am asking for REI gift cards, where I plan to purchase … Continue reading