OPEN HOUSE @ FPFC – Anacortes, WA

Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center in Anacortes, WA will be hosting a FREE community event on Saturday August 27th from 9am to 11am. Instructors at this facility are donating their time so that the community can check out the fitness center, ask questions and try a class for free! Each class will be 30 minutes long and geared for beginners.

Schedule for the Day:

9 am – 9:25 am Gentle Yoga with Celeste Atterberry

9:30 am – 9:55 am Zumba with Elke Macartney

10am – 10:25am TRX with Kyle Ciminski

10:30am – 10:55am Chair Yoga with Brenda Newton

celeste

9am – 9:25 Gentle yoga with Celeste Atterberry

Enjoy exercising, breathing and relaxation. This practice is designed to improve or maintain the health of the individual. Performing gentle yoga on a regular basis can help prevent the onset of some health problems associated with aging. And it can also help build and maintain muscle, flexibility and strength.

you rock!

9:30am – 9:55am Zumba Gold with Elke Mccartney

Zumba Gold is low impact dancing and fitness fun. Elke creates easy to follow choreography, allowing you to confidently build strength and stamina quickly and with a smile.

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10am – 10:25am TRX with Kyle Ciminski

TRX stands for Total Resistance eXercise. It is a fitness tool made of straps that you can take with you everywhere you go. You attach the TRX to a stable point and then use your own body weight as resistance. This type of exercise is kinder and gentler on your body and it’s easier to carry than weights!

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10:30am – 10:55am Chair Yoga with Brenda Newton

Brenda will lead you through a gentle chair practice that will focus on flexibility and ease. We will match the breath to our movements and you will leave feeling more peaceful and centered. No previous yoga experience necessary.

If you have questions about this open house please contact ORGANIZER Dawn Jex at dawnbossypants@gmail.com or call 360-631-0587.

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5 Poses for a Healthy Back

In my opinion, there is nothing worse than having a chronically sore back. Being in pain every day affects everything else I do. Hiking is harder, sitting for very long is a big no, no and teaching my classes leaves me stiff and sore for hours. I heard on the T.V. yesterday that back pain/discomfort is the #1 reason for missed work and/or disability in America! I believe it because I know that when my back hurts I find it difficult to be motivated to do anything!

As a fitness instructor, I am currently teaching 9 classes a week. Some are Strength & Conditioning and some are Yoga so I’m getting plenty of core strengthening and also lots of stretching. So why is my back acting up AGAIN? The only thing I can think of is that I’m overusing it. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’ll be 49 this year! Yikes!

As we age it’s important to be careful with body parts that squeak when we overdo things. We need to stay mobile and flexible but we also need to modify so that we don’t push our bodies over the limit of what they are capable. I would also recommend going to see a Chiropractor if you have chronic issues. I know that helps me immensely but there are also some postures you can do that will help in between doctor visits.

So here are my 5 favorite postures for a sore/tight back. These are the ones that feel good to me. Go slow and take each one easy. See if they help you feel better.

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Uttanasna/Forward Fold

Stand tall in Mountain Pose/Tadasana and then begin to fold forward slowly with the chin and shoulders, be sure to bend your knees and fold forward at the hips. I have had some teachers tell me to fold down with a flat back – but that is uncomfortable for me and puts strain on my lower back – so I roll down through the spine, pulling in my belly as I go down. When I am down as far as my body will fold, I take a deep breath and let it out then roll slowly back up. I repeat this two more times with a big inhale and exhale at the bottom of each one. By the third one I am usually closer to the ground with my hands and feeling looser in my back. Do not be afraid to use props, blocks, a stool – whatever you have handy to help you feel safe and solid in this posture.

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Balasana/Child’s Pose

This is one of my favorite poses as you can probably tell by the smile on my face! My favorite way to do Child’s Pose is to take my knees as wide as my mat and point the toes together. As I lower my abdomen down between my thighs I reach my hands back  and reach for my toes. I am able to get really low this way. I turn my head to one side and take three measured breaths and then I turn my head to the other side and do the same….feel free to stay here as long as you like!

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Malasana/Garland Pose

Modeled by William Billy Knox

This next pose can be challenging especially if my back is really shouting at me. The feet are wide with the toes pointed outward, lowering the pelvis down towards the floor. The goal is to keep the heels in contact with the mat but if that is too much, try using a rolled up blanket under the heels. Hands come to Anjali Mudra (prayer pose) and the elbows come inside the knees. Knees can press into the elbows. I try to hold this for 5 long, slow breaths.You can just tell by the look on Billy’s face that he is enjoying this posture!

 

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Bitilasana/Cow Pose

Modeled by Jamie Lucas Smith

We do cow pose in almost every class I teach. It’s one of the most accessible ways for students to find articulation of the spine. It is usually done in combination with Cat Pose (Marjariasana) but can be done alone. You can see that Jamie has lifted her seat and also her head, allowing the tummy to fall a bit towards the floor. In this position the top/back of the hip bones (the illiac crest) gets closer to the lower ribs and that releases any tension on the muscles that are attached to those two points. This pose feels so good to me that it’s almost impossible for me NOT to wag my tail a bit when doing it!

 

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Supta Jathara Parivartanasana/Supine Spinal Twist

Modeled by Kendal Taylor Scott

And finally we get to come down to the floor and twist! My daughter, Kendal lies on her back and pulls her right knee into her chest. The left leg is straight. The right knee gets invited to cross over her abdomen and stretch to the left side of her body. Her right hip and buttock come up off the floor offering a great stretch through the lower back, ribs, hips and outer thigh of the right leg. It feels delicious! Be careful not to twist too deeply. It is not the goal to get the knee to the floor. Although in this picture you can see that my daughter is flexible enough to do just that! Find a balance between the twist and the extension of the right arm.Work to find a happy medium.

So, there ya go. My 5 favorite yoga poses that help my poor, old, sore back feel better! I hope these help you as well! Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Namaste y’all

 

 

Yoga with Dunja – LaConner, WA

When you take a class from a Master Yogi you know it. There is a divine peace that is palpable in the room. This calm combined with a wealth of knowledge permeates the senses as you move through the guided postures and sit in meditation. Dunja Lingwood is a Guru. I can still feel her presence in my head and my heart after attending practice this week at the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, WA.

Practicing in a museum is new for me. The setting is perfect though. The lighting is low, It’s quiet and you are surrounded by art that evokes emotion, memories and dreams. Much like our practice – we craft, refine, add a bit here, move away from tension there. We put a lot of love and effort into it. Our practice is a work of art!

As we refined our practice I was enchanted by Dunja. I felt as if I was in the presence of one of the Elven Royalty from The Lord of The Rings! I was slightly in awe yet intrigued and drawn in by her lovely smile and embrace. At the same time, I realized that this person holds great power and strength and maybe even a little magic! I tried to guess her heritage. She is tall and lithe with a pixie blonde haircut, sharp eyes that miss nothing, a generous mouth and a flowing accent that sounds Scandinavian(?) – definitely not American. Richer, fuller sounds came from her mouth as she invited us to, “find the circle of the palm” or “widen and freshen your toes.” That one made me giggle!

Her directions became deeper, sensing – no, KNOWING what we felt in our body and how to adjust a hip here or a foot there. THAT is what practicing with a master does for you! Years of practice has taught her how this pose feels, she knows how to let loose of that tense shoulder or how to deepen the stretch….because she’s done this before – many times and she knows how to lovingly guide you through.

As the asana portion came to end we moved into meditation. I’ve meditated before but nothing like this! As I settled in to Sukhasna, I found my mind at ease, my body ready to be still and my heart open. I let my mind drift – not attaching to any thought for long. I felt great! I felt light and relaxed. I felt present. And then after a while I began to feel something else…..I began to notice an irritating tingle in my right leg – dang it! My leg had fallen asleep and I needed to move it to increase the blood flow. Moving my leg brought me out of meditation just before our time ended and I spent a lovely few minutes feeling grateful for the experience.

As practice ended Dunja called out blessings on us as she waved goodbye. It was a great experience – and you will love her too!

If you are interested in taking your practice to another level may I humbly recommend you try a class with a Master Yogi, a Guru, someone who has developed their practice over years. Dunja Lingwood is a good choice and you can find her schedule on her blog: http://peaceishealthy.blogspot.com/

 

Cookie Police!

Do you like cookies? My favorite is a coconut macaroon but I’ll try just about any cookie once. I guess I like cookies as much as the next person. It’s even better when they are free! Even if they aren’t really great cookies – they’re free and that makes them awesome! My local print shop always has a box of cookies sitting out by the coffee maker and everyone is welcome to have one or two.

A few days ago, I was happily munching a chocolate wafer cookie while waiting to pick up some items when the lady in front of me turned and addressed me. I was in my own world at the moment so I didn’t really hear what she said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.” I said to them. Lady A dressed all in white with white hair wrapped up in a french twist said, “I asked if you were eavesdropping on our conversation?” “No” I told her, “I was too busy enjoying my cookie.” Thinking to myself, “Oh boy, what did I miss?”

Lady A continued, “Yes, it’s only skinny people like you who can eat cookies!” she said with a little laugh and a dismissive shrug. First of all I wanted to kiss her for calling me skinny and then my brain got stuck trying to figure out why she thought only skinny people can eat cookies. When I get confused like that I find that going with my gut is usually best.

So I told her thank you and then proceeded to share with her that I wasn’t always this size. That before I became a yoga instructor I was 40 pounds heavier, severely depressed and about ready to get a divorce. I think she was taken aback by my candor. “So you see,” I said with a big smile on my face “I earned this cookie.” I worked hard to get here and I now allow myself to have a cookie now and then. Cookies aren’t just for skinny people.”

At this point, lady B – much more quiet and a little cowed by her friends’ outburst began to ask me where I teach yoga and how she could find out about classes. Lady A left and Lady B and I visited for maybe 10 minutes. She took my contact info and may come to a class.

It’s strange being a public yogi. I get people who think I don’t eat meat – and lots of yogis do abstain from meat. I get people who think I don’t eat bread – OH HELL NO…..I Love bread. I drink coffee with a little cream and sugar and I even eat dessert occasionally. I’m pretty much a middle of the road yogi. I believe that between the two extremes lies the path. I’m not fanatical in any way except for the fact that I believe yoga can change your life. It changed mine.

So……If you want a cookie – eat it dammit. No matter what anyone says.

Xoxo From a Yogi who got called out for eating a cookie in public. And I’d do it again!!!!!

Vishuddha – Speak & Listen

I was that girl in school who was always getting in trouble for talking to her neighbor. My report card showed good grades but there was always that note, “Dawn would do better if she could visit less with her class mates.” I can laugh about it now but it was a big issue when I was a kid. I had something to say and I wanted people to listen!

So when my friend Julie Shepler invited me to attend one of her yoga classes on the chakras I wasn’t surprised when it happened to be the throat chakra – Vishuddha. In yogic teaching this chakra deals with our ability to communicate clearly, honestly and with mindfulness. We learn how to promote balance in this area so that we can speak and listen effectively. And I figured maybe she could teach me how to keep my mouth shut a little more often – LOL.

I love attending classes with other teachers. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But this class was different because Julie is one of my closest friends.  She is the kind of friend who listens when it’s needed and isn’t afraid to question you if she thinks you need help seeing things a bit more clearly. She will speak the truth when needed but I’ve also seen her hold her tongue at very frustrating times. She’s a good one to learn from!

The class was very good. I left feeling relaxed and refreshed. My favorite affirmation from class was “I speak with kindness.” It’s one of the things that I’m working on. I know it’s important to be truthful (Satya) but I want to speak with love. To choose love in all things: words, actions and deeds. It’s not easy but that’s why it’s called a practice.

Julie ended the class with a poem from Hafiz,

How

Do I

Listen to others?

As if everyone were my

Master

Speaking to me

His

Cherished

Last

Words.

…..If we listen like that then how can we fail to hear, understand and communicate with love? Until next time I’ll be working on listening more and talking less. 🙂

You can find more information on the chakras here: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-91/The-7-Chakras-for-Beginners.html