About the Yoga Instructor

Chrissy has been practicing yoga off and on for the past 12+ years, and has been practicing steadily since 2009.

In May of 2012 she completed her yogaworksYogaWorks Teacher Training at Shanti Yoga Studio in Edmonton, AB under the guidance of Catherine Munro. Chrissy is also a certified group fitness instructor with AFLCA (Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association), and a Junior/Senior high school English Language Arts teacher in Marwayne, AB.

Chrissy is Yoga Alliance certified as a RYT200 teacher, and in January of 2016 she completed her RYT500 certification hours with Michele Theoret at Empowered Yoga.  She has also completed her RPYT (Pre-natal) certification with Clare Newman at Mamata Yoga.

RYT200 logo

Chrissy lives in Kitscoty with her husband, Reuben, and their daughter, Malin, where they all share their home with two lovable rescue dogs.  In addition to practicing and teaching yoga, Chrissy enjoys running and playing Slo-pitch, as well as reading and viewing all types of literature.  Sign up for a class to get to know her better!

What to Bring to Yoga:

What do you need to bring to Yoga class?

1. A positive attitude – if you have this, you have everything…no matter what physical limitations you might carry with you!

2. A yoga mat – any mat will do to start, though the better quality of mat you practice with, the safer and more effective your practice will be.  I know many yogis who practice happily with a Jade yoga mat, and I use a Manduka Pro Lite myself.  For students in my area, Home Hardware in Lloydminster carries a decent selection of mats.

3. A water bottle – I teach Vinyasa Flow style classes where you can expect to sweat; it’s important to stay hydrated.

  • You DO NOT need to wear shoes – we practice yoga in bare feet!
  • You need to wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move in a variety of directions.
  • Expect to sweat, so you may want to bring a small towel.
  • There will be a relaxation component at the end of each class – you may want socks, a sweater, or a small blanket for this portion.
  • Like with any fitness activity, it is best NOT to eat a large meal right before coming to yoga class, but please ensure you aren’t famished when you arrive!

One Hour Outdoor Track Circuit Workout

Good Morning dear readers!

I’ve been under the weather with a sinus infection (my 4th in the last 5 months – what is up with that?!) since the wee hours of the morn on Monday, and my antibiotics have finally started to kick in, so I’m in a pretty good mood this lovely summer morning.  Oh, and it is officially summer now too, since the solstice was yesterday!  I’m loving the long days (even though I was cooped up inside for the last few), and it makes me a little sad that they will start to shorten now.  Oh well…I’ll take advantage of the sunlight while I can!

I took the workout outside with my sunrise sweat class this morning.  I teach my fitness classes in the high school where I also teach kids, and we usually use one of the gyms, but it’s final exam time, so the gym is full of desks.  I didn’t really know how the outdoor workout was going to go, since even though it’s summer it can be a little chilly at 6am…but it was actually pretty perfect – I’m glad we’ve been displaced from our regular indoor location!

This is the workout I lead this morning – a simple One Hour Track Circuit:

I took out some mini pylons that I got at Fitness Depot.  I spaced out 16 of the pylons around the track as we did a brisk walk to warm up; they were about 25m apart, but I didn’t actually measure (I only know that now because I just divided 400m x 16 and got 25 on my calculator!).

After the quick warm up, we got right down to business with some walking lunges to the first pylon.  At the pylon we did 10 jumping jacks, and then carried on with that pattern until we got half way around the track – 8 pylons in.  At that point, we switched to a side shuffle, followed by 10 squats at each pylon.  Because it’s important to keep balance in the body, we switched our lead leg for the side shuffles at each pylon, so that we did 4 with the left and 4 with the right leg leading.  That brought us back to our starting point, where we had placed our mats on the ground.

We brought in some ab work here with what I call “Star Abs:”  lying on your back, spread arms and legs out wide as though you are making a snow angel – your body looks kind of like a star, and maybe you feel like one too*!  From there, gather your hands and feet in toward the centre of your body, like the star is puckering up, and then spread them back out to the original star position.  We did 10 reps.  This was followed by 10 pushups (either from knees or from toes) for a bit of arm and chest work.  Because “Three is the Magic Number” (Oh, Shannon Hoon how I miss you…LOVE Blind Melon!), we did 3 sets of the Star Abs/Push ups combo.

From there, we got back up and headed around the track again…this time doing running leaps.  If you’re not sure what those are, picture leaping forward from one foot to the next as though you’re trying to jump over a big puddle while exaggerating the swing of your arms.  At each pylon we did 10 butt kicks, until we got to the halfway point.  Then we switched to backwards jogging between pylons with 10 high knees at each stopping point.

This brought us back to the start, where we did some more abs:

1. Reverse Crunch: Cross your ankles and raise your legs upward. Place your hands palms down, and engage your core muscles. Use your abs to lift your legs straight up until your hips lift off the ground. Lower back down and repeat 10x.

2. Bicycle Crunches: with your elbows bent and finger tips at your ears, and legs lifted and bent at a 90 degree angle, gather your right elbow and your left knee together as you extend your right leg outward. With a slow, controlled movement, change your legs and gather your left elbow and right knee together as your left leg extends. Repeat 10x.

3. Vertical Crunch: With ankles crossed and legs straight up in the air, engage your abs and crunch upwards until your shoulder blades lift off the ground. Lower back down and repeat 10x.
Thanks About.com for the photos!

Again, three is the magic number, so we repeated this ab set (10x Reverse Crunch – 10x Bicycle Crunch – 10 x Vertical Crunch) three times.

We stayed at our starting point for the next set:  10x Mountain Climbers and 10x Sumo Squat Jumps (there is a great video for Sumo Squat Jumps here; however, I usually bring my hands lower to the ground – like a Sumo wrestler – and then clap my hands overhead with the jump).  We repeated this 10x Mountain Climber/10x Sumo Squat Jump combo three times.

Our last set was a bit more cardio:  we ran from pylon 1 to pylon 2, then walked to pylon 3, repeating that sequence twice around the track.  If you’re trying this sequence using pylons, remeber to pick them up on your last trip around the track!

We finished up with a cool down of walking to about the 1/4 mark of the track, and then turning around to come back to our starting point.  We did various arm stretches as we did this cool down walk, and then returned to our mats for some leg stretches.  All in all it was a fabulous workout…crisp, fresh air and lovely morning sun on our backs.  Even though I’m still feeling pretty weak and foggy from the sinus infection, it was clearing and centering to get things moving in my body again after 3 days of illness induced lounging.  Do you find that a work out is good when you’re sick?

*I picture Molly Shannon in the 90’s SNL film Superstar, but don’t get nervous and put your fingers in your arm pits then smell them…you’ve been working out, remember?  You’re probably a little sweaty!

Random Stuff

Hello my lovelies!  In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted much lately.  It’s the middle of June and I’m a high school English teacher…that’s just the way it goes, I’m afraid.  Since it’s already after 9 and I teach a 6am fitness class tomorrow, this will be a “random things” type of post….here goes….

1. My husband went back to work today – I was spoiled and got to spend an extra 2 days with him, since he had a specialist appointment today and therefore didn’t go back to work on Monday when the rest of his shift started.  It was lovely to have those two extra days.

2. I wish he was home every night.

3. I only have one week of classes left before exams.  That is both exhilarating (because it means the end is VERY near), and terrifying (because I have A LOT of marking and other work to accomplish in the next week).

4. One of my closest work friends resigned from her teaching position and will be moving; it’s a bit of a ridiculous story and I can’t really get into it here since airing any sort of gripes about colleagues, administration or my school division is against the Teacher’s Code of Conduct and could get me into a lot of trouble.  I feel incredibly sad because the students are losing an amazing teacher, and I am losing a wonderful colleague and a great friend.  It sucks.  We had an assembly today, so the kids said their goodbyes and presented her with a gift.  I cried.

5. There are a lot of things about my career that are making me very unhappy lately.  Those things have absolutely nothing to do with my students.

6. I love my students, and if it were just about the teaching, I would be in my glory.

7. My husband told me to quit last week – not to give my notice, but to actually quit – because he is so fed up with seeing my frustration and tears.  Sometimes I think he’s right:  no amount of money is worth my sanity and self-worth.  On the other hand, it makes zero sense for me to actually quit at this point in my life.

8.  We have a plan.  That plan does not include quitting my job.  It does include making some changes to how I do things so that I can reduce my workload.  That should help a bit.  It won’t eliminate the other issues (the ones I can’t talk about online without risk of breaking the Teacher Code of Conduct!), but it’s a start.

9.  My fitness classes are going well.  My students want me to run Summer classes, and I had fully intended to do so…but now it looks as though there might be an issue with the venue I use being unavailable to me over the Summer, so I’m not entirely sure what is going to happen on that front.

10.  Maybe that’s the Universe trying to tell me that I need to take the Summer off of teaching and just focus on my own fitness, running and yoga practice….

11.  Today is Day 22 of my 30 Day Yoga Challenge.

12.  I kind of cheated on the Yoga Challenge on the weekend:   I played in a Slo-Pitch Tournament, so I didn’t do any Yoga on Saturday or Sunday.  I think I can just double up and do two 2 practice days to make up for it, but I don’t really know how that works.  It’s my own damn challenge, though, so I’m saying it’s totally cool!

13.  I am getting sleepy, and I really want to get to read a little bit of my book club reading selection before bed, so this will be close to the end of my post.

14.  I wrote “book club reading selection” to make it sound fancy, but I’m really reading smut – Fifty Shades of Grey is what we chose for this time.  I’ve only read the first few pages, but I’ve heard from some of the other ladies in my club (and virtually everyone else) that it is pretty raunchy.  Whatever….my husband is away for 3 weeks, so I need something to keep myself occupied! Ha!

Yogi, Yogi, Yogi

Hello lovely readers – I know I’ve been neglecting you, and for that, I apologize.  I’ve decided to just go with the flow in life right now, and not stress about things that are out of my control…including being busy.  I just couldn’t get to the blog, but I’m not going to feel badly about that – I’m just going to let it go.  Que Sera Sera.

On the upside, a huge chunk of me being too busy to blog in the last little while is actually WONDERFUL news:  I was away from home for six days in a row, and part of that was my very last weekend of Yoga Teacher Training.  That’s right, my LAST weekend.  I did my teaching practicum on Saturday, and it went very well…so I’m actually a yoga teacher now!  Do you know how exciting that is for me?  I still have to do my written exam, but I’m not worried about that, especially since the practical part is out of the way.  Huge sigh of relief!

A lovely group of people to take Yoga Teacher Training with – I am so blessed to know each and every single one of them!

Completing the Yoga Teacher Training over the last 5 months has been one of the best things that has ever happened in my life.  I learned a lot about myself, improved my yoga practice in leaps and bounds, and made some wonderful friends.  There is talk of a 500 hour certification (another 300 hours on top of the 200 I’ve already done, with a lot of specialty training and master teacher shadowing) with the same group next year, and I’m pretty sure I’ll take the training if I can make it work within the context of my life.  It was honestly such a beautiful journey with an incredibly beautiful group of people.

In other yoga news, I have completed Day 6 of a 30 day yoga challenge.  Today wasn’t a full on practice, but I did manage about 25 minutes of Sun Salutations followed by some seated postures and a brief Savasana, so it still counts.  It will be tough for me to fit in a yoga practice each day, but I think it’s a committment worth making time for, especially since every other facet of my life has been spinning so wildly out of control lately.  Yoga and running are the only things keeping me sane and grounded lately, so I plan to make time for them amidst the chaos – I deserve that!

Anyway, it’s midnight and I have to teach an early morning circuit class in 6 hours, so I guess it’s bed time!  I guess it’s a good thing I’m getting in the yoga, since I’m definitely NOT getting in the sleep…

Stability Ball Workout

*Apparently I accidentally posted this earlier when I first started writing the post – whoops!  Sorry, dear readers…

Despite having another busy week, I was able to fit in quite a few workouts:

Monday – 5k run with the dogs
Tuesday – Sunrise Sweat early am fitness class
– evening 5 k run/walk with the dogs
Wednesday – Mix It Up Circuit class
– 3 k run with dogs
Thursday – Sunrise Sweat early am fitness class
Friday – day off
Saturday – 3 k run with dogs
Sunday – 5 k run with dogs, followed by a brief pack walk with the other Dog Park volunteers to see the park space
– I haven’t done it yet, but I’m planning a yoga practice this evening (which I desperately need, since I haven’t practiced since Teacher Training last weekend!)

That’s 9 workouts in 7 days – not bad for someone who works around 55-60 hours per week!

As the title of this post suggests, I thought I would tell you about some of the moves I do on one of my favourite pieces of equipment – the Stability Ball (a.k.a. Swiss Ball or Balance Ball).  I used these moves for one of my class workouts this past week; we workedhardusing only stability balls…so it’s a workout many of you could do at home.

Back Extension – thanks Oprah for the photo!

Back Extension:  Place your hips and abs on the ball, and plant your feet firmly (about hip width apart).  Contract your belly button toward your spine, raise your hands in front of your forehead, and use your core to lift your upper body toward the ceiling.

This is a very small, controlled movement; you are only aiming to lift your torso a couple of inches off the ball, but because you are working to keep your balance while lifting your upper body off of the ball, it is avery effective move.  This exercise targets yourentire core, including both your upper and lower back muscles.  Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
To make this move harder, lengthen your arms until they are straight, or add a small weight in each hand.

Step 1

Stability Ball Lunge:  Begin with one foot behind you on the ball, and the other foot planted, pointing forward – far enough ahead that when you lunge into the front leg your knee DOES NOT come forward of your ankle.  I sometimes find it difficult to get into the correct position; some people like to hop the front foot forward, but it’s helpful for me to place both hands on the ground, plant the front foot between my hands, and then reach back with the back foot to place it on the ball.

Step 2

Keep your torso upright, and keep your arms outstretched for balance, or place your hands on your hips.  To complete the move, lunge forward into the front leg (remember to keep the knee above the ankle!), and allow the ball to roll backward behind you. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps (on each leg).  If you have difficulty getting into position for this move, try using a bench or chair instead of the ball – those stability balls can be a real pain in the butt!  Once you’ve mastered the move and feel more confident with your balance, try again using the ball.

Hamstring Curl

Hamstring Curls:  Lay on your back, hands beside your hips with palms down.  Place your heels on the ball, engage your belly button toward your spine, and lift your hips up toward the ceiling.  Use your legs to pull the ball toward your butt, and then push it back to the starting position.  That’s one rep.Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps, or challenge yourself to do as many as you can in 60-90 seconds.

If at any point you need to take a breather, you can drop your butt to the ground when your legs are extended all the way out, but you will get more out of the move if you can keep your hips raised the entire time.

During our workout Thursday, we did many other moves besides these three, but I’ve still got a pile of marking to finish for school tomorrow and a yoga practice to fit in, so three is all you get for today.  I hope your Sunday has been lovely, and your upcoming week is lovely too – happy sweating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlikely Friendships for which I am Forever Grateful

I completed another weekend of Yoga Teacher Training this past weekend, and it really leaves me with so much to say…but the “so much” is so very difficult to articulate.  The physical part is exhausting, but wonderful, and I honestly wish that my teacher, Catherine lived in my town so that I could take her class multiple times each week.  She is so friggin’ good at what she does that I am literally in awe of her.  And I mean literally, literally – not “a lot” or “quite a bit,” like so many of my students actually mean when they have been misusing the word lately.  Catherine is amazing.  One day she led us through an intense Ashtanga sequence which left me drenched in sweat and wobbling on spent quads, and then to finish off the weekend she led a beginner class as an example for us.  It was spectacular.  She is funny, and kind, and knowledgeable, and everything a great teacher should be.  Plus she makes you work your ass off.  Seriously – in a beginner class, she had a studio full of aspiring yoga teachers working so hard that our muscles were shaking and we were sweating profusely.  At the same time, however, it was totally a class that a true, brand-new-to-yoga-never-taken-a-class-or-even-watched-a-yoga-video-before student would have found accessible.  I can only hope that I can bring a fraction of her skill and grace to my classes once I start teaching.

On top of the physical high I get from practicing on the teacher training weekends, I am also really beginning to connect with the more though-provoking side of my yoga practice.  My training is making me contemplate both yoga and life in new ways…good ways, which can only have a positive impact on my health and well-being, not to mention doing wonderful things for my family and our future.  It’s a win-win situation, really!

So different, yet so good together

The last thing I want to mention about my teacher training is the camaraderie I feel with many of my fellow students.  A few short months ago these were people who I knew nothing about, and a few of them were people who I never would have pictured myself getting to know, since they are so completely different from me.  All of that has gone completely out the window, though, as now many of them have become friends.  I really believe that my teacher training group is an eclectic mix of fabulous people, who each have amazing things to offer the world of yoga, and the world in general.  Getting to know these people has taught me things about myself, and about the world I inhabit, and I am blessed to have had the privilege to get to know each and every single one of my classmates.  Some of us have shared fears and secrets with each other; all of us have laughed, learned and sweated together, and the entire experience has been wonderful.  I cannot say where life will take any of us, but I am quite confident that I have made some lifelong friends through this experience, and for that, I am forever grateful.