Spring Quarterly Newsletter
The 8-week spring term begins the week of April 1, 2019. Call to sign up now. 503.223.8157

We are offering some familiar and some brand new topics this spring. Familiar topics are: Foam Rollers, Healthy Breathing and Yoga for Gardeners with Betsy and Home Practice for Beginners with Beth. The new offerings are: Staying Out of the Skilled Nursing Facility, Negotiating Transitions, and Managing Osteoporosis with Yoga with Hope. Check them out.

March 23 - 24, 2019
Clemmons, NC

March 30 - 31, 2019
Herndon, VA

May 4 - 5, 2019
Portland, OR
Upper Back, Neck & Shoulders
May 4 - 5, 2019 
Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders is the topic for this weekend workshop with Julie Gudmestad. This is a piece of the weeklong workshop that happens each August. 
Call to sign up now. 503.223.8157

200-hour, 300-hour, and medical professional tracks. 
Join Rachel in this training that begins April 12, 2019 and takes place over weekend modules. Contact Rachel at www.lundbergyoga.com for more details.

Stuart is hosting his 12th annual Tuscan Retreat June 4 - 11, 2019 outside the town of Castelfiorentino. Check out this cool video of the location. Spaces are filling quickly. Don't delay.
Julie Gudmestad
A Note from Julie Gudmestad
As we are all celebrating the return of the sun this spring, I'd like to take a moment to appreciate the wonderful, talented teachers here at Gudmestad Yoga. In this newsletter, we are showcasing the special interests of a few of our teachers. Betsy Allen and DeeAnn Dougherty have written a piece highlighting their knowledge in orthopedic physical therapy, which they have applied to yoga poses. And Lori Raydo's article illustrates her artistic perspective on yoga. While these articles are very different, I trust you will find that they stimulate your thinking about yoga and our yoga teachers!
As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact us.

Julie Gudmestad 
From Lori Raydo

How Nature's Geometry Springs Forth in Your Yoga Practice 
By Lori Raydo

Nature's Geometry expresses itself like a fundamental storyteller in our yoga practice. Nature, which develops out of, and into itself springs forth patterns of proportions to find space within its environment. We are composed of nature both in the microcosm of our individual space and macrocosm of the universe. Because we are nature, we naturally follow a pattern of form in how we move. Throughout our practice we learn how to discern and appreciate the differences between the two spaces, the one that contains us and the one that surrounds us.

Asana postures express this systematic symmetry in movement with different bases of support, or foundations. The bases can be the soles of the feet, the hands, the pelvis, knees or shins, and the back and front surface of the body. Like the bilateral symmetry of a leaf structure a human body in a yoga pose can be flipped or tipped in orientation to gravity. Due to human anatomical uniqueness, there are multiple similarities and differences that physically and energetically are revealed to us in each posture of movement. Each creates the inner distribution of space within our form. With space there is a communication between our inner and outer body. The communication can be a feeling of lightness, density, dullness, clarity, and so on: This allows us to discern a deeper layer of the elements of our nature.

As we continuously practice, this same energetic relationship exists as a thread to a deeper understanding of life. Throughout the geometry of nature, the exploration of forms creates the feeling of "Oneness," much as a well-balanced personal yoga practice cultivates a feeling of union between the individual self and the universal self.

Betsy & DeeAnn Article

Another Good Reason to Practice Plank
By Betsy Allen and DeeAnn Dougherty

"Engage your quads". This is a common cue used by yoga teachers, but what does it mean? It refers to actively tightening the large quadriceps (quad) muscle on the front of your thigh. Your kneecap (patella) moves upwards toward your hip and your knee straightens as the quad contracts and becomes firm. Why is this important? Because it protects the knee from injury by making it more stable. The quads are also active when the knee is bent, keeping the knee from collapsing (think of bending the knees while lowering yourself into a chair, or walking downhill), but in yoga we often focus on the quads when the knee is straight.

First, a little anatomy. The quad is made up of four parts: vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris. Part of the vastus medialis is referred to as the obliquus, or VMO for short. The VMO is important because the other parts of the quad tend to pull the patella outward; the VMO resists that pull, assisting the patella to stay in its groove in the center of the femur (thigh) bone. The patella moving outward is a common cause of knee pain. The VMO is especially active at the end range of straightening.

move the patella side to side
When the knee is straight and the quadriceps is relaxed, you should be able to manually move the patella freely up and down, and side to side.  When the quad is active, the patella should stay put. Contracting the quad and stabilizing that patella is especially important in many of our standing poses: trikonasana, prasarita, uttanasana, and even tadasana. You do need to be careful to not hyperextend the knee though, which is straightening the knee too far back past straight. This is sometimes referred to as "locking" your knee joint.  But that's a subject for another article!

biofeedback electrodes
Biofeedback using electrodes on the skin over the VMO can be used to measure the relative level of contraction of the muscle. Surprisingly, straightening the knees in plank pose while pressing the thighs up and pushing out through the heels is one of the best ways to activate the VMO. It's often that last little push into straightening the knee that gets the strongest contraction in plank and other active poses.

plank pose
Keeping your quads strong is yet another way that yoga practice can help us stay healthy and active for a lifetime. Not only will they help you avoid knee pain and injury, but they also allow you to remain independent as you climb stairs, get into and up from chairs, and balance on one leg. We at Gudmestad Yoga recommend yoga for every phase of your life.

Yoga Tip

Engage Your Quads
legs into the wall
legs into the wall

As DeeAnn and Betsy have noted in their article above, it is important but difficult to activate your quadriceps muscles in yoga standing poses. Especially if your quads are weak, students don't know what it feels like when they contract, or how to send them a message to engage when you need them.

For most people, it works best to give a muscle a job to do rather than just say "contract please." Here's a simple trick to try with your quads. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Shake your legs a few times to get the muscles to relax, and then put your fingers and thumb on the sides of each kneecap. With the quads relaxed, you should be able to move the kneecap side-to-side and up and down. Now, try pushing out through your feet: you won't be able to wiggle the kneecap around as the contracting quads have fixed it in place.

Move your sitting position near a wall so that your feet are flat on the wall with your legs straight. As above, push your feet into the wall and feel the quads contract and stabilize the kneecap. Now stand up, with your legs straight, and do the same action, except now you are pushing your feet into the floor just as you pushed them into the wall. This is the quad-contracting action we need in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) to stabilize our knees and kneecaps. 

We can apply this same action to Trikonasana (Triangle), in which it is notoriously difficult to engage the quads. Step your feet wide and turn your right foot out and left foot in a little. Just as you pressed your feet into the wall, imagine that you are pushing the mat away with your right foot. Hold that quad action while tipping to the side into the pose. You can even try to wiggle the right kneecap with your right hand: if the quads are active, the kneecap won't move.

Sometimes a little knowledge of  anatomy can really help improve a pose!

Anatomy Week

Anatomy Awareness in Asana
August 5 - 9, 2019
Cost: $650

Join Julie Gudmestad PT, a certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and E-RYT 500 for this weeklong Workshop at our studio in Portland, Oregon. Inspire and deepen your yoga practice. During this series we will learn to "see" muscles in action and correctly describe the movement. We will use and practice anatomical language to help deepen your understanding of human movement patterns. We will study how muscle imbalances can contribute to pain and disrupt the injury healing process. And we'll learn which poses and sequences can help you make progress with challenging poses.

Continuing Education for Spring

Continuing Education for Yoga Teachers & Teachers in Training

We are excited to be offering four Continuing Education classes for Yoga Teachers and Teachers in Training this spring! Each class is worth 3 CE credits with Yoga Alliance.

Sunday, March 17, 2019 from 3:00 - 6:00pm
Body Mechanics for Teachers with Julie Gudmestad, PT, E-RYT 500

Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 3:00 - 6:00pm
Teaching Vinyasana to Beginners with Laila Deardorff, MSPT

Sunday, May 19, 2019 from 3:00 - 6:00pm
Teaching from the Heart with Rachel Lundberg, E-RYT 500

Sunday, June, 23, 2019 from 3:00 - 6:00pm
Restorative for Beginners with Hope Fyfield, PT

We look forward to seeing you at the studio.

Our Newest Teacher

Welcome Caroline Klug!

Caroline Klug
Please join us in welcoming our newest teacher, Caroline Klug. She is a long time student at Gudmestad Yoga, a Physical Therapy Assistant and a recent graduate of Rachel Lundberg's teacher training.

Caroline will be teaching a level 1 class this spring on Thursdays from 6:30pm - 8:00pm.

Closing Thoughts

Let this spring be a celebration. It is time to shed the often comforting layers of winter and bravely welcome in new intentions. Observe how nature welcomes the return of the sun and drinks in its warmth. The light is changing, and you are allowed to change with it. Offer yourself time to celebrate hope, growth, and new possibilities.

Amelia Michaels
Gudmestad Yoga