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I hate the word blog

But everyone uses it. Sounds like blob to me. Until I find a better descriptor this is my blob.

  • Writer's picturerebmendez23

Be patient.

Allow for fidgets, for awkwardness, for squirming, for uneasiness.

Be available.

Let it be…unfamiliar, novel, unknown.

Observe. No judgement. No self-judgement.

Always have options.

Keep yourself primary, not your teacher, not others.

Own self.

Own trying.

Own exploration, discovery, resolve.



I like beginnings. All different sorts of beginnings. I like to learn. I like the beginning of projects (and also the finishing.) I like to teach beginners. I am also a beginning yoga student, as I learn from every teacher I practice with. Every day, every class, whether I am a student or a teacher, is a beginning, a starting point and an exploration.

In my Chair Yoga classes many beginners are in their later years and trying something new is both a legitimate boost and a challenge: mood boost, energy boost, attitude challenge, physical body challenge. Many come back to practice more yoga but some don’t enjoy the challenge or the practice and no harm/no foul if they don’t return.

I get that. It’s hard to be a beginning student, in a foreign situation. Me? As I mentioned, I love learning. I’ve been a beginner in many activities: painting, gardening, knitting, photography, baking, life. And anytime I pause in the doing of it and later return to the doing of it, it is new again. Not just in that moment but new again each time I pick it up and practice it.

You may have heard it particularly about yoga, that every time you come to a practice space (aka step on your mat), you start fresh, a unique experience. Maybe you’ll find a new understanding of yourself, just in that moment. Your particular mood, what’s on your mind, how your body feels, your attention (lack of?) and focus, maybe an injury or illness pops up, everything changes as you move and breathe and practice. Definitely true for me as a student and guess what, really true for me as a teacher.

Learning in any class is a chance to experience, observe, and perhaps absorb something fresh. When I teach yoga – especially to beginners – my hope is that students appreciate what they discover and find delight in the experience. No promise of a transformation or that the discovery will be life-changing. Just a small satisfaction from stepping on your mat.


If you are curious about beginning a yoga practice I am teaching a 3 week workshop at Sellwood Yoga in September, November and again in January. Visit for details and to register.

Photo is from a painting session with one of my private yoga students. She was so earnest about learning yoga despite her dementia diagnosis and the difficulty she had remembering how to move. But her passion was watercolor painting and memory issues had made it harder for her to paint. I wish we had painted more because it did bring her so much joy. Hers is on the left and mine is on the right.

  • Writer's picturerebmendez23

Have you been staring at your phone or laptop all day? Feeling that “tech neck” ache? Is your “online spine” hunched over and sore? “Brain fog” rolling in and losing your focus?

Take a yoga break. Right now. Stop reading this and move for just 30 seconds. No mat, no studio, no teacher. You don’t even have to stand up! Wiggle, stretch, sway, turn your head side-to-side, roll those shoulders up, back and down, broaden your collarbones, perhaps a gentle cat/cow or spinal rotation.

How did that feel? Maybe you think it was just movement and not really yoga. Let’s try again. This time could you also take a deep full breath? For one full minute, slow down, inhale/exhale breath through your nose 6 times and then let it go slowly as you move. Is it yoga yet?

Not sure? How about this: for 90 seconds repeat the movement with the breath AND also close your eyes. Repeat any combination of movement, breath, pausing, and closed eyes for one-and-a-half minutes. Perhaps that felt like more of a yoga break?

Funny thing is that they are all yoga breaks if you want them to be. Paying attention to how you feel and pausing whatever it is you are doing – especially pausing your tech use – is beneficial and it can be yoga if you choose it to be.

Combat your “tech neck,” “online spine” and “brain fog” regularly – with yoga or breath or wiggles. Don’t need a mat or a studio or a teacher. Just that little 2-5 minute break from whatever it is you are doing. Whatever you call it or however you do it, let me know how it feels and if you would call it yoga.

Now back to that crossword puzzle.

  • Writer's picturerebmendez23

Yoga for Beginners: 3 Week Workshop Series

Your First Step Towards Mindful Movement

Whatever your age, experience with exercise, or level of fitness, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. When you’re brand new to yoga it can feel intimidating and be difficult to know exactly where and how to get started. Anyone can do yoga and yoga is for everyone.

The best way to know if yoga is for you is to give it a try!

3 Thursday evenings

Sept 28, Oct 5 and Oct 12


Limited to 10 students, in studio only.

Registration and more details @SellwoodYoga

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