Sundays off

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); … Continue reading

Before … after … and now

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 … Continue reading

I’m a yoga teacher, not a doctor

In my teacher training, we were reminded that students would ask us all kinds of questions, including us being asked to diagnose something in a student’s body.

I love talking with my students before, during and after class.

Most classes I teach a student tells me it was exactly what they needed. Usually someone tells me they feel so much better after class.

Since I go with themes someone will tell me they are in the service industry and the feet sequence was helpful or they hurt their back earlier in the week and the low back practice made them feel better or the neck sequence felt so good for their strained neck.

Sometimes I have people telling me about an issue in their body that may or may not have anything to do with the sequence I just taught and they want advice.

I can give them advice on poses they can try to help with the issue(s) in the body or poses they might want to avoid. But that’s all I can do. I am a yoga teacher, not a doctor.

But if I don’t know I am honest about that. If it’s something I think I can do … Continue reading

Here’s to another year of reinvention

At the end of my yoga teacher training in May 2014 we did an exercise in class where we pretended like we were all getting together a year later for a reunion.

We talked about what we did. The idea was if we said it as if it did actually happen it would make it more real. We were advised to write a letter to ourselves to read in a year, which I did.

I wrote to myself on May 9, 2014 with instructions on the envelope that I could open the letter on May 8, 2015 or later. I opened that letter May 8, 2015.

I read the letter a year ago (and wrote about it here) and wrote myself a second letter to be read on May 8, 2016 or later.

I opened that letter last night and am posting today (May 9, 2016).

I stated intentions in my second letter (with some edits) to the following:

Dear Ann–now a yoga teacher with almost two years of teaching. DONE

The not so perfect yoga pose

Every week on social media I post a picture of me in a yoga pose and let my friends and followers know what my yoga theme is for the week.

Every week I have a theme in my classes. The theme is a focus of the class. It’s a full well-rounded practice with a point.

Sometimes I teach a type of pose (standing poses, twists, etc.) or a part of the body (neck, feet, hips, etc.) or it could be something I have noticed in my students’ bodies (recently I noticed a lot of hyperextension in elbows during Adho Mukha Svanasana [Downward Facing Dog]) or something in my own body (tight side body muscles) or what’s going on in the outside world: time change, changing of seasons, super moon, etc.

I teach the same sequence for a week. It’s also the sequence I practice at home on my own mat.

A recent theme was the neck, which was brought back by popular demand and will be coming back again soon.

The pictured yoga pose I used was Garudasana (Eagle Pose), one of my least favorite balance poses.

A friend on Facebook said he was liking the picture “’cause … Continue reading

Recognizing exhaustion

When I was still living in Oakland I had a therapist. We talked about a lot of things. A big focus was the stress coming from my work life. It was taking over other parts of my life.

My therapist and I discovered that I put too much of myself into my job/career/workplace. It never deserved what I gave it. And at a certain point I didn’t owe it anything.

It took so much out of me … emotionally, mentally, physiologically …

In January 2014 I hit exhaustion (adrenal fatigue). My body was telling me everything was too much and I needed to take care of myself. My yoga teacher training was ramping up, work stress was increasing, getting up at 5 a.m. regularly was taking its toll, long commute, transitioning at work after layoffs …

Currently I teach five cycle classes and nine public yoga classes, two office yoga classes and some private sessions sprinkled in.

I was warned in my yoga teacher training and by friends who are yoga teachers to be careful to not over do it with teaching and to make sure to take care of myself as a teacher.

I am someone who tends to commit … Continue reading

I have so much gratitude

I have many things to show gratitude for. I am grateful and thankful for so many things.

And I am not just thankful today but every day.

I have amazing people in my life, my family, my friends, my husband and my students (cycle and yoga).

I feel very fortunate that a little more than a year ago I was able to quit my corporate job and dedicate myself to teaching. It doesn’t pay well, but the other benefits are so rewarding.

In my short time of teaching I have developed some amazing connections with my students.

I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to have someone confide in you or share something very personal. Or tell you how much better they feel after a yoga practice. Or I that’s exactly what I needed (a practice for the low back, shoulders, digestion, etc.). Or thanks for a fun class after a cycle class. Or how I allowed for them to experience and honor their own body. Or how I allowed them to feel whatever emotions they were feeling. … etc.

This morning I taught a special class at Turtles Yoga & Wellness called Celebrate Being Grateful. I had a … Continue reading

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.!

Being mindful of me

I practice a lot of yoga. And I cycle (while teaching indoor cycling) five times a week.

I teach 11 yoga classes a week (and sometimes a private session) along with my cycle classes every week.

As a teacher I give to my students physically, emotionally and mentally.

All teachers need to take care of themselves.

On Wednesday night while teaching my evening yoga class I started to notice my low back aching (not an uncommon thing).

Once class was over I noticed it more. And by the time I got home it was quite bothersome.

I had my dinner and got ready for bed. I then practiced a couple of Restorative Yoga backbends: heart opener over a rolled blanket and supported bridge with a bolster.

I have Kyphosis (upper hunch back) and Lordosis (lower sway back). Low back discomfort or pain happens at times for me.

I took it easy the next couple of days while teaching. Cycle I didn’t ride as hard. I was mindful with my modifications with students in yoga. I like to be helpful with props and getting what students need. I made sure to be careful and not bend over as much as I usually do.

I … Continue reading

The whole body benefits from Downward Facing Dog

At some point in my yoga practice I assumed I had mastered Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog).

The great thing about yoga is that we keep practicing and learning and deepening.

When my teacher Richard starting working with me on my Downward Facing Dog in December 2013 he helped me to stop pushing too deep into the pose in an unhealthy way in my upper body. He also helped me to feel more length in my spine.

Richard took the middle photo of me after some adjustments were made in class one evening. The pose started to feel differently in my body.

The bottom photo shows me pushing too far in my arms, pressing my chest toward the floor and my head is hanging. My back is rounded and not as long as it could be.

The top photo I have a long spine, length and space in my back.

I’ve been teaching yoga a little more than a year now. I tell my students that I want them to have a nice long Dog.

It is not necessary to get your heels to the mat, especially if it means you shorten your Dog to get your heels on the mat.

In … Continue reading