Exploring Yoga Classes in Vancouver, B.C.

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    Sundays are rest and research days. Lately, I have been venturing to Vancouver, B.C. to try some Yoga Studios. I try to make it to a new studio every week. Last week I tried out Yoga on 7th. I took Eve Johnson’s class, Ivengar with Ropes for spine care.

There are always a lot of props used in spine care classes. Pillowing up to create a decompressed supported spinal column takes time.  Once in the pose it is relaxing, rejuvenating and worth the time.

This class was amazing, and as it turned out my spine needed some care.

         

I have always loved the use of Iyengar ropes. So simple on the eye, utilitarian and ageless. The place from which TRX suspension training was inspired? Holding on to ropes, hanging in poses with rope support – improves hand strength and grip. This is an important thing to be aware of as we age.  Iyevengar is a nice place to start if you are working on improving grip strength and shoulder girdle integration with the core.

My favorite pose from this class was a simple hang from the ropes in a chair pose. Facing the wall, one rope in each hand, sitting back with the nutral spine, and allowing the upper thoracic rib cage to extend through the sternum while keeping the bottom of the rib cage connected, engaging the obliques.

I modified the pose for more support at my studio. From the Trapeze table, grabbing on to the cotton foot loops and sitting back lightly on the box. Trying to extend though the upper rib cage while keeping the lower rib cage stable and blended with the oblique support.  Nice stretch through the shoulder girdle, good traction on the spine from a semi hanging position, good for grip strength building, good for creating extension and mobility throughout the upper thoracic spine.  The spinous process, the bony landmarks of the back of the spine,  start to layer over each other like shingles at the rib cage. Sometimes we get into the habit of moving the rib cage as one unified piece and burden the  vertbre that are easiest to bend with all of the flexion and extension action. It’s fabulous to give the client the opportunity to feel the articulation of the upper thoracic vertebrae. It helps with Pilates exercises such as roll down with the bar – and it helps with Yoga poses such as chair and twist.  Use this pose to create awareness of the thoracic spine.

This photo is of a different pose, however still with the grip to shoulder girdle benefit.            I love the use of the Pilates Spine Corrector. Perfect seated support and also can be recreated on the Trapeze table with much ease.

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A correlating pose in Thai Yoga, Pulling Arms.  Even here in Thai Yoga, the client can be reminded to counter point the bottom ribs with the opening of the chest.

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It has been an amazing few weeks for me at my Pilates studio in little ol’ B’ham. I’ve been researching working on programs to bring my clients out of a locked out joint, into a more supported neutral space. As Pilates Instructors we say ” don’t lock out your knees and etc about 100 x a day, but actually finding techniques that will stick with the client while walking and standing is another story. 

The solution came to me when I was at the rock climbing gym. In climbing they teach you to lock out your arms when you’d like to rest. You’re hanging from an orange porous rock forearms and shoulders burning..and within that dynamic position the only rest in sight is a locked out joint. Because the muscles don’t flex when the joints are locked –  voila!  Make the Pilates clients hyper aware of a resting muscle atop a locked joint by sustaining a stress position. 

However, I do not want to loose all of my clientele over  this point, so I decided instead of forcing them to hang from a wall, I’d just have them balance on two balls; one under each foot. 

More to come.. 

I haven’t been updating my blog as often as I’d like but, I am so thankful for the new experiences, people and places that have been keeping me busy. 

Hot Out of The Gate!

This year got started in a fever. I have been sweating it out at yoga, running, getting breakthroughs in my professional life; I even tried tango. A womans issue march, a snow storm. It’s been fun, challenging and exciting start to the year. Life is good, I’m pushing forward at full capacity. Even if I’m snowed in..

Today I’m up in Vancouver

Today, I’m up in Vancouver again. I made a new friend, Torr. He’s at his Brazilian jujitsu class -and I’m trying out a new yoga class that starts in 40 minutes. 

I stopped in at this gorgeous little gluten free bakery called, The Gluten Free Epicurean.

Adorable. Who would think to put rought iron and lace together. It makes such perfect sense!

Le Grande Purge

I’ve always thought our traditional habit of acquiring in December and purging in January to be a little confusing – nay, a little psychotic.

We buy buy buy, eat eat eat, then go into this weird energetic remorse. 

Dieting and giving away objects. This year, I’m right there with everyone else. Turning over the perverbrial leaf. Although, to be fair, I did jog everyday through Christmas break – but only because I heard Matthew McConaughey lived in the neighborhood in which I was staying. 

This is the book I love to read this time of year. I’ve been living small – meaning small space and few superfluous objects. Books are my weak spot. I read them and keep them around like a sweet memory of an old lover. In my small space, they take over my bed, and I mean inside my bed some weeks, they are stacked on stackes of stacks. They are on my fridge, where my shoes should be upon entering my space..they need to go. My babies need to move along now.

Sweet sweet babies..set you free to be loved again.

Bike ride in Austin

Today, on my last day in the city, I took another yoga class and also rented one of the city bikes.

The bikes are provided by the city of Austin. $8 for fist 1/2 hour and $4 an hour after. I downloaded a promo code and got 1/2 off. It made for a very pleasant way to explorethe city.

I rode down 6th street and had a bite at Sandra Bullock’s restaurant called, Walton’s. Delightful!


People watching is my favorite thing.

This cowboy was taking a break from being a bad ass in snake skin boots. He was sitting there as I snapped this photo. He turned around and caught me in the act. He said,

 ” You takin my picture darlin?”

I said, “yea, I am. I like your boots, is that o.k.?”

He replied, ” you know whaaat, if you want to get a real good picture, point that camera in the mirror and get a picture of that smile! My momma said you can tell if someone’s got a good heart from their smile.”

“Awwe thank you”-I say

“God Bless you” – he says.

I went on my way. This is just normal stranger to stranger banter.. 

So lighthearted.

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Downtown Austin.. on my Own

I left my friend’s house at the country club complex a little early and came downtown. To be perfectly honest, I had my feelings hurt pretty badly. One of their judgy snooty friends said a few rude things to me the night before, and instead of standing up for me, or pulling me aside and saying “oy sorry about my friend, she’s a handfull etc” they just went along with the bad behavior…even laughed at me a little themselves. They thought they were “keeping the peace” by allowing the bad behavior of their friend to continue- and I thought it was well, just wrong. I had my feelers hurt, felt a bit humiliated so I jumped in an Uber to downtown. 

After pouring my guts out to a very sweet Eastern Indian Uber driver, who assured me that “those actions of my friends were not the true pathway to happiness”.. (thank you Asad) 

I checked into a hotel, took a walk, lost myself in a sketch book drawing and also found a yoga studio. By 12:00 today I was feeling right as rain. Delighted by the city of downtown Austin at every turn. Great conversations and easy warm breeze.

Wanderlust is the name of the yoga studio I discovered. It was next to a church I was headed towards for fellowship, but my cellphone still was on Seattle time, and I missed the service.  I found  Wanderlust and came back to take a class. The teacher’s name was Jerrie. He played country music through the speakers and chanted “outch..” instead of “ommm” funny and a damn good instructor. I will be taking a bit of his concepts, cues and imagery back to my studio in Bellingham. What a  Lil’ Sweetheart. 

Check out the driftwood light fixtures! 

The attention to detail in this space was spot on. 

Anticipating the needs of the clients, and doing so with a bit of charm and creativity. A+ (notice the towel receptacle is lined with vintage yoga book pages)

The warmth in  comunicating the rules sets the tone for a positive experience. 

Amen sister.

New Years Eve! 

Willie Nelson came out on the stage a few moments before midnight and did the official count down. Then at the begining of his first song the big Texas flag dropped down behind him in one even drop. It was quite a scene.

Here you can see his son, Luke behind him ( one of 7 children) another one of his sons on the bongos and purcussion.

A closer look at Willie. The theater was on a street named after him – however ol’ Willie lives in Hawaii. His black t-shirt featured a subtle silhouette of the Hawaiian Islands. I have a feeling Hawaii is kinder to his certain taste in self care remedies 

A girl we came with, well a woman (actually a 65 year old woman) made a snarky remark about my dress. I thought my dress looked great. I dressed in the spirit of Dolly Parton: “…a small town girl’s idea of beauty”. 

Jeeze it’s like I have to teach these Texan women about country music! Lol.

I learned 2 great life lesson to start off 2017:

#1 Don’t let negative people kill your buzz with their bullying  comments. You have the right to stand up for yourself against bullies.

#2 Write about what you know. Willie Nelson wrote about what he knew. He made simple heartfelt songs that told one little story – nothing more.

..And that’s precisely what I like about country music. It’s simple, it tells a little story that doesn’t try to take on the world’s problems all in one bite. Only one problem at a time, one little love story at a time, one little woman at a time, one little little hearbreak one little car problem at a time. And in doing so becomes incredibly personable and incredibly universal.

The Oldest Dancehall in Texas

I had to stop and get a photo next to this wall. Dolly Parton, one of my favorites. She is so beautifully put together for the stage. As a female performer I do agree with her philosophy of style: you’ve got to put some effort into it and create something to behold with yourself – inside and out.

Above me is a picture of a young 1969 Willie Nelson.  It’s been fun reading his autobiography this trip and seeing an early venue of his. 

I danced with Marsh and learned the 2 step “right-quick”. He lead so well, I had no choice but to be amazing at it by the end of the night. He told me to make sure I don’t fall in love with him because he is an incredible dancer. He asked me if I was single and if I lived in Austin. I said I lived in Washington State near Seattle. He replied, 

” Where the hell is that?!”

Here I am with Dale Watson. When I met him I could tell he was a real artist. His demeanor had this sadness and sensitivity that I immediately recognized. As a singer, I appreciated  his use of the mic, and am going to steal a few things from this blue eyed outlaw.

Ameripolitan is a genre of contemporary original music encompassing four promineint subcategories: Western swinghonky-tonkrockabilly and outlaw. Championed by Austin-based singer Dale Watson, the ameripolitan genre was established for contemporary artists upholding traditional roots-influenced musical formats to distinguish themselves from the formats produced by the mainstream country pop music industry

Andy Warhol’s Early Illustrations Exhibit 

I went to the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Blanton museum in Austin, TX.

I was very inspired by his collection of early work. The drawings are so sweet and free. I love the way the line drawing jestures give me a feeling of the freedom of childhood. 

He even had created an adult coloring book, and held adult coloring parties.

I love this spirited celebration of taking a crayon to paper. 

This poem about being smart is especially joyous.

Being smart

Could make you depressed

Certainly 

If you weren’t smart

About what you were smart about

It’s viewpoint

That’s important


 Dolly Parton commissioned this portrait for her manager, and he didnt appreciate the artwork at the time. This was one of my favorites. I love Dolly Parton- I thought it was cool that she chose Warhol to recreate her likeness.