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

Keeping up during my week with snacks

We all need to make sure to take care of ourselves.

I find it even more pertinent as a teacher, especially a teacher of yoga.

I teach at multiple places for yoga and cycle, which means I drive from one class to the next multiple times a day.

My eating schedule depends on my teaching schedule for the day. (Sometimes I have an early lunch or a late lunch. I snack multiple times a day. And sometimes my dinner is early or late.)

In the morning I usually wake up and practice yoga (for myself and to work on the sequence I am teaching for the week). After that is my morning coffee and breakfast, which is usually peanut butter (protein) and banana toast. I get myself ready and I am out the door to teach a morning class (cycle, four mornings a week and yoga one morning a week. I usually have two mornings off during the week.)

After I teach a cycle class I need two things: a shower and protein. After four of my five cycle classes I teach a yoga class following soon after.

I take a shower and have a quick snack and then I am … Continue reading

The Real Go Fit Girl!

As a yoga teacher, an indoor cycling instructor and a health and fitness blogger I try to reach the biggest audience I can.

Besides with actually teaching and blogging I try to keep up with the kids (and the rest of us) with social media. (I can’t possibly understand all the social media out there, such as Snapchat. If you don’t know what that is, you can look it up.)

Go Fit Girl! has been on Facebook for years and Twitter for years as well. I just recently revived my personal Instagram account and changed my username to TheRealGoFitGirl.

There are a lot of Go Fit Girls on Instagram, but I am the only real one.

I first signed up for Instagram before it was cool. The app had cool filters and I was just fooling around with them, back in December 2010.

I decided recently that GFG! should be on Instagram, especially since social media can link up to each other.

After I added a photo and updated my profile I started looking through my contacts and Facebook friends to see who else was on Instagram.

Before reviving my account was I the only one NOT on Instagram?

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Livin’ the dream

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

As I type this I realize our reunion would be about now …

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 today or later. I opened that letter today.

I addressed the letter to: Dear Ann–now a yoga teacher. Check! DONE

I stated intentions in class and in the letter (with some edits) to the following:

Mirroring yoga students

I learned a lot of great things in my yoga teacher training.

Mirroring your students as a yoga teacher was highly advised.

I get why that is a good idea. It makes it easier for your students to follow you in something, especially if the pose or action is complex and/or has a lot of moving parts and language just isn’t enough.

But for the teacher it can be quite challenging.

I already have issues with right and left. Yes, I know they are basic and we all learned that in kindergarten.

The first time I tried mirroring with a student was a home yoga practice with my mom a little more than a year ago when I was still in school.

It was a complete disaster. But it was just the two of us and at least we got a good laugh at it.

When teaching (especially a twist, which is the ultimate challenge) I look at … say my right arm and tell myself it is the right so I should say left. I tell them to bring their left arm and hug the right knee for a seated twist while I bring my right arm to hug my … Continue reading

Getting back to the yoga teaching

For the past week and a half or so I have been making contacts at gyms and yoga studios.

I joined LA Fitness and have chatted it up with a couple of cycle teachers and a yoga teacher. I have been applying at gyms in the area where an application is accessible. I have found smaller gyms and studios near me and contacted them.

Surprisingly I have had a good response.

So I have some possibilities coming up for my teaching. I am just trying to be patient.

At the town house community Curt and I live in there is a fitness center. Three times a week there are free yoga classes for residents.

I went to one of the free classes on Thursday night. It was pretty good.

After class was over I introduced myself to the teacher and asked if she taught all three classes. She told me that she does.

I told her about my trainings. I also told her that if she ever needs a sub I can sub for her.

Sunday nights are Restorative Yoga. I told her I did a separate 20-hour teacher training specifically for Restorative Yoga.

She didn’t teach last night because she … 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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And the winners are …

Thanks again to everyone who gave me their favorite and least favorite yoga poses.

Today I taught the sequence I wrote up of the favorite yoga poses. I will also teach it on Tuesday.

Then next Sunday and Tuesday (my last two yoga classes at Alameda Athletic Club) I will teach the least favorite poses sequence, which I still need to write up.

I received more favorite yoga poses than least favorite, which I take as a good sign.

Some people told me why they loved a pose or why they didn’t and some just gave me the poses.

If you told me why you didn’t like the pose I made suggestions to your comments on what may be going on or ideas on how to make it easier on your body.

This was a Comment Contest Tuesday and there were three winners.

As long as you made a comment on the actual blog post you got your name thrown into the drawing. If you made more than one comment you got your name thrown into the drawing more than once.

The randomly picked winners were Gail, Jen C. and Monica.

All three will receive (one already has) a box … Continue reading

Taking public yoga classes

At some point this summer when I was still working full time the shuttle bus schedule changed. With the change I wouldn’t be able to make my regular 5:45 and 6 p.m. yoga classes that I liked to regularly take during the week.

I was talking to a friend at work about the new schedule and how some days I was going to need to take BART if I wanted to make it to my favorite yoga classes in the evenings.

My friend said something to the effect of why would I need to take yoga classes anymore since I am a yoga teacher.

Recently while waiting to teach an evening yoga class I was chatting it up with a student. I said something about the yoga studio down the street from my house where I take classes.

She said, you take yoga classes?

Yup, I do.

For many reasons I take public yoga classes about four times (sometimes more) a week. (I also have a regular home yoga practice 4-5 times a week.)

Here are the reasons I still take yoga classes (since becoming a yoga teacher):

It’s simple: Know yoga students’ names

I read articles regularly about yoga and about what being a good yoga teacher looks like and means. Some of the articles I agree with and some I don’t.

There are tons of articles out there. Some say what I learned in my teacher training program and other articles completely contradict what I believe to be correct and true.

One thing I recently read talked about how it is important to know your students’ names.

YES!

This was definitely discussed in my teacher training program. And the teachers’ classes I regularly attend know all of their regular students’ names and make an effort to learn new student names.

In the classes I have been subbing at Alameda Athletic Club there are, of course, the regulars. There are new people regularly and the not so quite regulars.

Last week I saw a student who I hadn’t seen in about a month. I said, Hi, Sharon.* How are you?

Sharon kinda stared at me. I got nervous that I got her name wrong. She said, You remembered my name? I said, yea, that’s part of my job.

I ran into a similar situation after I had only subbed one class and a student came … Continue reading