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In This Issue
Yoga Tip: Chest Opening, Heart Opening
Adventures of a Traveling Yoga Teacher
Teacher Fun Factoid Revealed
Summer Term begins June 3rd


Join us for our Summer  classes. We use a simplified punch card system for the summer because we know you all have busy schedules in the summer. This way you can come as your schedule allows and not worry about missing classes because you are busy or out of town.


Anatomy Awareness in Asana

August 5th - 9th, 2013
Portland, OR

For more info about this week-long workshop and to download a registration form click here 


YouTube video of Julie Gudmestad


We have recently posted a video on YouTube of Julie teaching about the Psoas. Check it out. We hope to post more soon!


Julie's Summer Adventures


This summer Julie will go on 2 teaching trips to Europe and 1 to Canada.

In June she will be teaching in Paris, France; Dublin, Ireland and London, England.

In July she will be in Calgary, Alberta and Courtney, BC both in Canada.

September takes her to Helsinki, Finland; Goteborg, Sweden and Manchester, England


Teacher Fun Factoid Revealed

Anna Van Tyne - you are the winner!
You guessed correctly and had your name pulled out of a hat. You've won $25 yoga credit. Learn who our mystery teacher is in the body of this newsletter.


Laila Raises $620 for the American Lung Association

Laila rode in the Reach the Beach Century Ride on May 18th.
It was a wet ride! 
In the News

New Oregon Legislation eliminates the 60-day time restriction tied to treatment for services provided by a Physical Therapist without a physician referral, granting unrestricted patient access to the services of a physical therapist.

Governor John Kitzhaber signed the bill May 9, 2013. 
Truth about 10 Reasons for Yoga
according to Yoga Day USA

Yoga Day USA lists "Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga for Life" on their website

Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.

Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions. Some practitioners report that even emotional pain can be eased through the practice of yoga.

Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function, trigger the body's relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to the body.

Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains. Many people can't touch their toes during their first yoga class. Gradually they begin to use the correct muscles. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making more poses possible. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.

Yoga asanas (postures) use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength literally from head to toe. And, while these postures strengthen the body, they also provide an additional benefit of helping to relieve muscular tension.

Yoga (even less vigorous styles) can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well being and self esteem.

Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body's cells.

Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardio-vascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.

Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind-body health. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory.

The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more spiritual and more satisfying place in their lives. Many who begin to practice for other reasons have reported this to be a key reason that yoga has become an essential part of their daily lives. 
Gudmestad Yoga

Summer Quarterly Newsletter


I've noticed that our recent sunny, warm days of late spring are bringing out people's smiles, with the promise of summer's fun activities and restful vacations. If winter's darkness symbolizes turning inward, quietness, and recharging our batteries, then summer represents a time of energy, activity, and productivity. Just like the seasons, hopefully we each have times of productivity and replenishment in our lifestyles. This balance of action and rest is also expressed in the yoga word HATHA. HA stands for the sun, symbolizing energy and action, while THA stands for the moon, symbolizing stillness, receptivity and introspection.

You can also establish this balance in your overall practice sequencing. Ideally, you have strong, active practices on some days, including standing poses and whatever level of back bend practice is appropriate for you. On other days, schedule a quieter practice, including long relaxing stretches and restorative poses. For intermediate students, inversions and sitting forward bends fall into this restorative category. Or, if you'd prefer, you can schedule active and restful poses within the same practice day, rather than dividing them into separate days.

When you find the balance of action and rest in your practice and in your life, you'll be rewarded with the energy to do the things you love, and you'll also be able to slow down and savor the relaxing times with family and friends.


As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact us.



Julie Gudmestad


Yoga Tip: Chest Opening, Heart Opening

Winter's rest and introspection is well represented by child's pose, while the energy and spaciousness of summer is represented by back bends of all sorts. During back bends, we open not only the chest and abdomen, making room for the heart and lungs, but we also open and "remove roadblocks" from our own inner energy channels. Yoga and other eastern healing disciplines teach that these energy channels flow right up the middle of our torsos, and carry the vital healing energies that help us to thrive. However, these channels can be blocked by prolonged shortness in the front body, and a collapsed chest, which are often associated with sitting or standing in a slumped position.

To help keep your channels open, you can practice easy, gentle chest opening positions or big challenging back bends. There are many easy chest opening positions to choose from, and some of them don't even require much in the way of props. For example, you can simply clasp your hands behind your back, near your tailbone, with your knuckles pointing down as you form a cup with your palms. Roll your shoulders back and down to broaden your chest: if bones could lengthen, your collarbones would elongate from breastbone to shoulder.

If you have a yoga belt handy, do this stretch with your palms through a belt loop. The belt should be big enough that your arms are by your sides, not behind you, and the palms face forward. Using the belt in this way is a nice option for people who have broad or tight shoulders.

Whether you use a belt or simply clasp your hands, you can increase the chest opening stretch by moving your hands back away from your tailbone. Just make sure you don't over arch your low back or bring your head forward (do use your abdominal muscles). Stand tall, and expand your chest, all the way up to those collarbones, as you breathe deeply.

Simple yet effective, this stretch can be done anytime, anywhere, even without props or yoga clothes. It's especially nice if you're feeling low energy, or catch yourself sitting slumped. As you bring air and light and space into your chest, visualize a little bit of summer filling your heart.  


If you found this yoga tip informative and yearn for more in depth articles about anatomy and yoga written by Julie, click here 

Adventures of a Traveling Yoga Teacher

Have you ever dreamed of touring in Europe? Tasting exotic foods, hiking in ancient forests, or soaking up the silence in a medieval cathedral? Now, how about adding to the dream by teaching some yoga, arriving every weekend in a different city to present classes to European students in their home studios.

While I've been blessed to live this dream during recent years, it hasn't been all romantic cobblestone streets and Sanskrit pose names pronounced with charming accents. While the students and local teachers have been wonderful---I've made some dear, lifelong friends---there have been some challenging travel moments. From the distance of time gone by, I can look back now with humor on some of these events, though it wasn't so funny at the time.

My travels usually start by packing an assortment of full-size plastic bones into my bag, as my workshops often present an anatomical or therapeutic focus within the asana practice. Whether I check my bag or carry it on, the airline security personnel are unwaveringly fascinated with the contents. Usually I check the suspicious bag and, when I claim it at my destination, I find a nice note from the TSA telling me that they've given my bag a special inspection. I just wish I could be a fly on the wall watching their faces when they spot the bones on their x-rays and speculate about the contents of my bag.

After a long international flight and a few days of rest to adjust to the time change, I'm ready for my first class. Usually the classes go well, in lovely light-filled studios. However, I sometimes encounter unexpected challenges. One time I arrived to teach at a new-to-me studio in northern Europe during the fall, when darkness comes early. My class was billed as an asana session for strong practitioners, with great attention to structure and alignment details. I arrived to find a crowded class of eager students waiting for me in a large, dim room lit only by a few candles. I was well-prepared with many inspiring cues for the students but could barely make out the shapes of bodies in the darkened room, much less subtle alignment details.

At another studio, another year, my workshop advertising promised a morning asana class and an afternoon restorative class. I arrived the first morning to find virtually no props at the studio, just a few blocks and inch-thick fluffy exercise mats. I honestly don't remember how I fashioned a restorative class under the circumstances. I think the class focused on breathing and relaxation techniques rather than complicated arrangements of props. But I will say that these challenging situations force a teacher to dig deep and draw on inner resources she may not know she has. And, I've also learned to ask questions about the studio and props and student experience before I plan workshops.

While some locations sounded ominous during the planning stages, they turned out to be lovely. I taught an Anatomy Awareness in Asana workshop in the hayloft of an old barn in Sweden. After classes were over for the day, I enjoyed dinner at picnic tables during the lingering Swedish daylight: the sun was up, casting a golden glow over the farmers' fields until almost midnight. I also taught in an old English barn in the farm country of Kent. The half-timbered walls of rough, black wood, with white plaster work between the curving beams, were too coarse for wall work. But the high arched and timbered ceiling helped our spirits soar.

Of course Europe doesn't have a corner on the market of interesting class locations. For several years, my staff and I taught yoga on Cycle Oregon, a week-long cycling tour of Oregon held every September. On more than one occasion, our assigned space was a pasture. The joy of practicing outdoors almost made up for the rough ground and cold wind in one location, and we had to remove dried cow patties from our practice space in another town.

But one of my favorite Cycle Oregon teaching adventures happened in a small eastern Oregon town's community hall. It had probably been built during the 1930s, with lovely old wood paneling and hand-painted murals on the walls. I was teaching Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and encouraging the students to visualize a tall, straight tree. They started laughing and I turned around to see that the mural behind me depicted loggers cutting down a big evergreen, which was painted as it split from its stump and was falling to the ground.

In spite of the challenges of odd locations and lighting, difficult translations into Finnish or German or Swedish, and having to start teaching when my body was telling me it was time to start sleeping, the rewards have been numerous. Probably the biggest joy is the students' enthusiasm: They are hungry for knowledge about how the body works in the poses, how to work with problem areas, and how to safely deepen their asana practices. We laugh about the funny translations and cultural improprieties into which I sometimes mistakenly stumble. I do believe a bit of humor helps make a difficult subject such as anatomy a little easier to grasp.

While students from many different yoga backgrounds attend my workshops, it is a pleasure to see the continuity and wisdom of the Iyengar traditions across the various languages and cultures. The Iyengar students seem well-trained and attentive, no matter what their country of origin, and are used to being "coached". Even within the Iyengar system though, there are some interesting differences in alignment cues from country to country and these make for stimulating discussions around the dinner table.

All things together, I continue to enjoy traveling to teach, meeting new yoga communities, and seeing how yoga is making a difference in people's lives all over the world. I feel I am doubly blessed by the yoga and the travel, and I hope to continue teaching for many years to come.



Fun Factoid Revealed

From high school science nerd to motorcycle racing mama...yup, she's had quite a ride...

While attending Seattle's Mt. Ranier High School, our future physical therapist/yoga teacher was named one of ten winners in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search in Washington state. Her winning research project was all about the effects of going on a macrobiotic diet. She stuck with the basic Japanese diet of brown rice, vegetable and miso (no meat nor dairy) for a month and admits to some big time cravings, losing a "bunch" of weight, and feeling quite ill at one point as her body cleansed itself of toxins.  

After attending Reed College, and not too serious about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, she got a job sanding cars. And while she found the work interesting, it also wasn't all that fulfilling and soon realized that she didn't want to devote herself to a life of manual labor. So she got busy and finished up the science classes required for admission to Pacific University's Physical Therapy program. It was quite competitive to gain entrance - there were 10 applicants for each opening. But she was accepted as one of the 16 who went on to become the first graduating class in 1977.

With her career underway as a physical therapist and yoga teacher, she wasn't all work and no play. Back in the early 80s, she fondly remembers having lots of fun out at Portland International Raceway. Vroom, vroom on her Ducati or Yamaha, she participated in the amateur class and insists she was "just playing."

But that racing also got her into a bit of trouble, off the track one weekend when she headed up north. As she was enjoying herself tearing up the back roads near Olympia, her speed did not go unnoticed. By the time the officer caught up with her, he was pretty darn mad and had convinced himself that she was "eluding arrest" and so booked her into jail. But she talked fast and within an hour, was set free, as she assured the powers that be that she didn't know anyone was in pursuit.

Even though her jail stay was short, she wasn't quite out of trouble. She received "a big fat ticket" for her joy ride and needed to hire an attorney so she wouldn't lose her license. And, sheepishly admits that this has not been her last speeding ticket.

Julie Gudmestad excelled in science in high school, raced motorcycles on and off the track, worked in an auto body shop, became Iyengar certified and gained her PT license along the way, and 30 years ago established the dual businesses of Gudmestad Yoga Studio and Gudmestad & Associates Physical Therapy Clinic. And now you know a little bit about her journey. And you may ask what lies ahead?  Just ask her about those tango classes!

Above: In her full leathers circa early 80's



It's almost Summer!

It's that time of year when everyone is scattering, and talking about their plans for the summer. For me it's my garden and walking in nature that pulls me out of doors. I'm looking forward to the long, warm days of summer. Hope to see you all this summer when you pop in for classes!



Yoga Coordinator  

Gudmestad Yoga Studio    3903 SW Kelly Avenue, Suite 210    Portland, OR  97239 

phone: 503 223 8157

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