Monday, September 30, 2013


Hello Youthful Yogis!
I hope you have your thinking caps on because today we are going to use our brains. You guessed's time for another awesome, amazing, out-of-this-world round of....

                                     Yoga Jeopardy!!!

Yoga Jeopardy, as you may remember, is a question and answer game that tests your knowledge of all things yoga-related. Today's theme of the body! You may be wondering why in the world I picked the body part theme....

"Yes, I am wondering that. And I'm also wondering why no one talks to me at the mall...!"

Youthful Yogis know that if you go to a yoga class, chances are you'll be hearing the teacher talk about body parts: hamstrings, forearms, shins and "quads"'s all most yoga instructors can do to keep from jumping for joy over the word "core"!

"Core, y'all!"

Let's make sure we don't let those chatty yoga instructors confuse us! Play today's Yoga Jeopardy alone or with a friend, and by the end you will feel confident to step into most any yoga class...even if the instructor is jumping for joy!
"Call me crazy, but I think I know exactly what that yoga teacher is talking about!"

There's a chance you'll already know some of what I'm introducing today. But don't worry...we'll do another Yoga Jeopardy: body parts edition soon and things will definitely get more challenging!

Ready to start?  Just read the questions below and pick the answer you think is right. The answers, along with some crazy pictures, are at the end. Have fun!!!

                                             Yoga Jeopardy: Body Parts Edition I

1) Hamstrings are:  A) the part of your leg just above your ankle   B) something great Auntie Bess serves at Easter dinner   C) three large muscles that run along the back of your upper leg  D) special guitar strings that make everything sound amazing!

2) Sternum is:  A) When your mom is really crabby cuz you didn't clean up your room  B) the funny round bone in your knee that the doctor likes to tap   C) another name for the belly button  D) the bony spot in the center of your chest where the rib bones of the upper body connect.

3) Shins are: A) the part of your arm between the elbow and the wrist B) an American indie rock band from Albuquerque, New Mexico C) the front part of the leg, below the knee and above the ankle       D) none of the above  E) B and C only

4) Forearms are: A) special golf clubs that you use when you really want to win  B) the part of your arm between the elbow and the wrist C) the part of your arm between your elbow and your shoulder  D) none of the above

5) Thighs are:  A) something you will never, ever, in a hundred years hear mentioned in a yoga class B) the deeps breaths you take when you are kind of tired and sometimes a little sad C) the tough tendons that help create the arches of your feet  D) your legs from the knees up

6) the Core is: A) what's left over after you eat an apple...duh!  B) your belly, back and hips
C) the indentation where your skull and spine meet  D) a science fiction story

"Sci Fi rocks!!"

7) Quads are: A) short for quadriceps B) a new brand of sneaker, way cooler than Vans  C) the muscles in the back part of your lower leg D) the muscles in the front of your upper leg
E) A and D only  F ) B and D only

OK, I admit, that last question was tough. But guess what? It's time to check your answers!  Here they are, let's see how you did! 
                                     Yoga Jeopardy answers:

1)  C:  There may be some kind of guitar strings out there that make every kind of music sound great, but I am pretty sure they are not called hamstrings! The word hamstrings actually refers to a group of large muscles that run along the back of your upper leg.

Hamstring muscles

The hamstrings work really hard, helping us to walk and run around everyday. For a lot of people, they can get pretty tight! Here are two stretches to help keep the hamstrings happy:

"My hamstrings could not be happier!"

Be sure to bend your knees a little the first time you do a forward fold

2)  D:  When your mom gets crabby, it's called being crabby. When your yoga teacher mentions the bony part of your upper chest where the upper rib bones connect, it's called the sternum. Here's what it looks like; it's the very top part of the red line on Mr. Bone's chest:
"I make look stern, but at least I have a sternum!"
3) E...yes, I said E!! I know, it was kind of a trick question...but not really because the Shins really are a rock group from New Mexico! Here's a picture of them:

These people look very cool!

The answer to question # 3 is E because not only are the Shins a cool rock band, they are also the front part of your leg between the knee and ankle:

4) B: The part of your arm between the elbow and the wrist is called the forearm.


It's pretty likely that if you go to a yoga class, you'll hear the teacher mention the forearms. Here are two poses that involve the forearms:
Forearm plank pose: Dude, don't forget to breathe!

Scorpion pose: please get a yoga teacher to help you with this one.

5) D:  The part of your legs from the knees up are called the thighs, and you definitely will hear them mentioned in a yoga class. Here are two pictures of thigh muscles:
Yikes! I told you I had some crazy pictures.

Yikes times one hundred!

6) B: We all know that what's left after you chomp on an apple is it's core...but since we are talking about body parts, the correct answer to this question is actually B: your belly, back and hips.

Core muscles: Yikes times infinity!

Some people think of the core as just the belly, but as you can see from the picture above it's a larger area. Here is another view:

Core muscles are super important. They help to support the spine and they also give us the strength and stability we need for tricky yoga poses...and for other daily activities, too:

"I'm feeling pretty good right now thanks to my strong core!"

Most yoga practices involve exercises to strengthen the core. Here are three examples:

Boat pose

Forearm plank


Bridge pose variation

7) E: Quadriceps are the muscles in the front part of your upper leg. They are also sometimes called "quads."  Here is what they look like:
Meaty to the max!

There are different ways to stretch the quads if they are feeling tight:

serious quad stretch

Many yoga poses are great for strengthening the quads too. Chair pose is one example:

Chair pose

Just to be clear, almost anyone can practice chair pose....

"Don't judge me!"

Wow, Youthful Yogis, we have covered a lot of ground today. I hope this round of Yoga Jeopardy has helped you to better understand some of the body parts that are key to any yoga practice. Have fun sharing this round of Jeopardy with your friends. And the next time you're in a class with a yoga teacher who just can't stop talking about the core, you can smile and say "Belly, back and hips, y'all!"
"Belly, back and hips, y'all!!!!!"

Have a great day, Youthful Yogis. See you again soon!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Hello Youthful Yogis!                
It's been a lovely, long summer and I hope everyone has had fun swimming, hiking, sleeping late and practicing yoga...of course!  

Lots of my Youthful Yogis friends are back in school, and that means I get the chance to see them every week...

My kids' yoga classes are up and running and it's really a lot of fun. Every fall I meet people who are brand new to yoga and a few of them usually ask me the question: "What is Yoga?!"

"I feel like I should know the answer to that question...but it's hard to put into words!"

It definitely is hard to find words to describe what yoga is. In fact, a one word answer is really impossible... so that's why I wrote a book.

You heard that right, Youthful Yogis: I wrote a short book and it's called Yoga Is...  I think you'll really like it!

"Best book, ever!"

Just to keep things fun and exciting, I set a version of my book to music. You can read along with me or simply listen, relax and enjoy. Here it is!!

That's all the time we have today, Youthful Yogis. I hope you enjoyed my book. And remember you can  share it with friends...that way the next time someone asks you "What is Yoga?" you'll know just exactly what to say!

Have a great day, see you again soon!