Fall Quarterly Newsletter
Fall term begins the week of September 17, 2018 Call to register for the term. Many classes are full, so please have a second or third choice that will work for you. 

Oct. 27 - 28, 2018
St. Paul, MN
St. Paul Yoga Center

Nov. 17 - 18, 2018
Berkeley, CA
The Yoga Room

Feb. 8 - 10
Bellingham, WA
Yoga Northwest

A Note from Julie Gudmestad
Neck pain and tension are among the most common complaints we hear in both our physical therapy offices and yoga classrooms. While there may be serious medical conditions causing the problems, many cases of neck pain are caused by simple misalignments that are easily corrected with a little attention to head and neck posture.

Consider that human heads weigh an average of 12 pounds: when your head sits directly over your shoulders, that weight is centered over your neck. But if your head is forward, as it is when we look down at books, electronic devices or keyboards, your head effectively weighs more, and neck muscles have to chronically contract to hold up that weight against the pull of gravity. 

Not only that, but looking down flattens the normal curve of the neck, which should be in a little extension, or "back bend" position. Flattening the curve exerts a pull, or strain, on the soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue) in the back of the neck. Between the strenuous position, and constantly contracting muscles, we might feel pain, tension, and even headaches as the contracting muscles pull on their attachments on the base of the skull.

To help ease this situation, take a fresh look at your commonly-used positions, including your work station and reading position. Try elevating the object of your attention so that while you're sitting, you look straight ahead at it. Prop up your book or magazine instead of resting it in your lap. Place your laptop on a computer stand or stack of books, so that you look straight ahead at the screen, and use a plug-in or bluetooth keyboard with your laptop or desktop computer.

You can also try the simple neck awareness exercise described below, to help break the flat-neck habit. If you're spending hours every day looking down, with your head hanging forward, you can be sure that your neck will be grumpy. On the other hand, a few simple changes can bring much relief from nagging neck discomfort.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact us.

Julie Gudmestad 
Yoga Tip

Neck Alignment

neutral neck
Here's an easy exercise you can use daily to check your neck alignment and help re-establish the normal curve. Simply place the fingers of one hand flat across the back of your neck, so that you can feel the shape of the curve. Try dropping your chin, as you'd do if you were looking down, and feel that your neck has flattened and the tissues have become hard. Now try looking up, as though studying the stars, and feel the base of the skull dropping down, compressing the back of the neck. Our normal alignment should be in between these two extremes, with the neck curving forward and the muscles and ligaments soft to the touch.

flat neck
flat neck
We should spend most of our hours with our necks in this normal alignment, while you're working, reading, or doing yoga. It's easy to put a hand on the back of your neck during the day to check whether you're maintaining the curve, to help you break the flat-neck habit. You can also use this image: if you were at the beach, imagine you're looking at the line between the water and the sky. If you're looking only at sand, your neck is likely too flat. If all you see is sky, the back of the neck will be compressed. The "happy neck" position is with your head over your shoulders, and chin and your gaze level. Then, your neck muscles can let go of the heavy load they've been carrying, and finally relax.
extended neck
extended neck

Continuing Education

For Fall term, we are offering a series of 4 workshops all focused on sequencing. The workshops are $65 each or you can purchase all 4 for $240. You can sign up online then email us to make sure we get you in the correct class and there is room for you. Alternatively, you can call us to sign up and pay, or send in registration form along with your payment along through the mail.

Introduction to Alignment Based Sequencing
with Hope Fyfield, PT
Sunday, September 23, 2018 
10:00am to 1:00am

Sequencing for Warrior Poses
with Rachel Lundberg, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Sunday, October 14, 2018 
3:00pm to 6:00pm

Sequencing for Handstands
with Laila Deardorff, MSPT
Sunday, November 4, 2018 
3:00pm to 6:00pm

Sequencing for Arm Balances
with Julie Gudmestad, PT, E-RYT 500, Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor
Sunday, December 2, 2018 
3:00pm to 6:00pm

Note from Hope

Avoiding Falls by Hope Fyfield

Hope Fyfield
Did you know that falls are one of the most common causes of a stay in a skilled nursing facility, or SNF? Especially if a bone was broken, which causes not only the expected short-term difficulties, but also long-term challenges that may require ongoing therapies to return to a normal lifestyle and activities. Luckily for us, practicing yoga is an excellent way to help prevent falls!

Practicing balance poses is a great way to improve the strength of the leg and hip muscles that help prevent falls. Uttitha hasta padangustasana, or "Foot on Chair" pose is one pose that just about everyone can do. Besides the expected hamstring stretch, this pose strengthens not only big muscles like the hip abductors and hip extensors, but also smaller muscles in the foot and ankle. Like any balance pose, it conditions our balance reflexes, accustoming your body to the challenges of balance. This way, when a challenge unexpectedly arises, your body is ready for it.

foot on chair pose
Place your foot on a high-enough surface so that you feel some back-of-the-leg stretch, but not so high that you're thrown off center and your pelvis isn't level. If you're already feeling balance-challenged, stand near a wall or counter and put your hand there to steady yourself. Press down into the standing leg, lengthen your head toward the ceiling, and slightly lengthen the belly. Make sure all knees are straight. Breathe and let go into the leg stretch, holding for a minute or more. Stand in Tadasana briefly to center yourself between sides.

Yoga has a wonderful variety of balance poses, and all will help prevent falls. This pose is a great option because it's easy to fit into your day, and it requires no special props or even yoga clothes. Remember, a little UHP helps us avoid the SNF!

Good-bye and Hello

It is time for me to return to my true love of graphic design work, so from the perspective of sitting behind the desk, I am saying good bye to all of the lovely students and patients at Gudmestad Yoga and Physical Therapy. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you all. I will continue to see many of you in yoga class (my other true love!). It has been a pleasure to work with all of you over the past 5 and a half years. Boy, has the time flown by!

On that note, I would like to introduce you to Amelia Michaels, who will be taking the spot behind the desk to support you in your quest for yoga and physical therapy. I predict you will enjoy interacting with her as well. Please take the time to introduce yourself to her, and be patient with her as you were with me when I started behind the desk.

Janice Gega
Gudmestad Yoga