Monday, March 30, 2020

Online Resources for Yoga: Find.Yoga

We need yoga now more than ever. For the physical and mental health benefits, for boosting the immune system, to stay centered, and for the beautiful lessons in how to sit with discomfort and uncertainty and find the peace and presence in the midst of it.

Many teachers and studios have shifted to online classes; they could also use support right now. They are navigating this new landscape like all of us, and many (like me) have had their regular classes reduced or eliminated and are facing an uncertain future.

There is a new free searchable master schedule for all yoga classes and events happening online, offered by local teachers & studios.

Check it out - I have put my Chair Yoga and Kids Yoga classes on the schedule. Please share if you know anyone who could benefit from yoga & meditation, or if you know a teacher who is trying to reach more people with their offerings. I hope it can be of service.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus: What Older Adults Need to Know to Stay Healthy

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By Nancy Fitzgerald | March 24, 2020

The new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has upended daily life, but there’s a lot you can and should do to protect yourself.

All around the world, the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has grabbed our attention—and for good reason. This respiratory illness can spread easily from person to person, and serious cases can lead to pneumonia and hospitalization.

“Our understanding is evolving day by day,” says Gary LeRoy, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “One thing’s for sure: It’s a serious virus, so we all need to take the necessary precautions.”

If you’re 65 years or older, you should know you’re at higher risk. That’s because the older you get, the less robust your immune system is likely to be. You may have a tougher time shaking off any virus, including coronavirus, than you would at 20.

“Plus, when you get to a certain age, you’re more likely to have accumulated some other health conditions, which can complicate the way the virus acts in your body,” says Dr. LeRoy.

In other words, if you have heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, or any other condition and you get sick from coronavirus, you may have more serious complications than someone who doesn’t have a condition.

Scary? Yes—we’re all human. But experts stress there’s a lot you can and should do to protect yourself. Here’s what to do right now, as well as steps to take should you get sick.

What Everyone 65+ Should Do

Because there’s currently no vaccine for coronavirus and because it spreads easily, prevention should be at the top of everyone’s minds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For older adults, it’s vital—and potentially lifesaving—to put them into practice. Here’s what the CDC recommends.

Avoid Crowds of All Sizes
Even if your community is not experiencing an outbreak at this time, this currently means skipping the mall, the gym, and activities at your local community center. In fact, many of these locations may close temporarily to slow the spread of coronavirus.

If there are cases in your area, your local health officials may have more specific instructions. Check your local news, or with your state or local health department. You can find information for state health departments here.

Worried about missing out on exercise or social opportunities? Good news: If you’re a SilverSneakers member, you can take advantage of free SilverSneakers On-Demand workout and nutrition videos. Plus, check out these ideas to stay socially connected—from afar.

Keep Your Distance
Whether you call it “social distancing” or “physical distancing,” this means putting about six feet
between yourself and others as much as reasonably possible. If you need to pick up groceries, medications, or household essentials, try to go when it’s less crowded, or ask a loved one for help.

Wash Your Hands Often—and Correctly

Lather up with plain soap and water of any temperature, and gently scrub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Finish by drying your hands (Hand Washing Sing-Along video here

Mind the Germ Hot Spots
At home, disinfect “high-touch” surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, counters, tables, faucets, toilets, and remotes. For any “disinfecting” products, follow the instructions for best results. (PSA for "sterile techniques" for grocery shopping and produce/food handling

If it’s necessary to leave the house—say, your doctor says you need to be seen in person—minimize contact with door handles, elevator buttons, and the like. Cover your hands with a tissue, and wash your hands afterward.

Postpone Travel
Whether you were planning to go on a cruise, fly to another country, or hop on a train to another state, you may need to rearrange your plans. Currently, the CDC recommends older adults avoid cruises and nonessential flights.

Ships and ports, planes and airports, and trains and stations tend to be exceptionally crowded places, so there’s a high risk of coming into contact with people and their germs. And if you’re going somewhere remote, it may be harder to get medical care if you get sick.

Check the latest coronavirus and travel guidelines here.

If You Have Heart Problems

High blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) or heart disease can increase your risk of developing serious complications if you get infected with coronavirus, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

In the earliest cases, 31 percent of people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 had high blood pressure, and almost 15 percent had cardiovascular disease, according to JAMA.

“Coronavirus can lead to buildup of fluid in the lungs, and that puts greater strain on the heart,” explains Manish Trivedi, M.D., director of infectious diseases at AtlantiCare, a health system in New Jersey.

What to do: Be sure you’re up to date on your pneumococcal vaccine, and continue taking your prescribed medications. See the AHA coronavirus recommendations for heart problems here.

If You Have Diabetes

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar levels can weaken your immune system and make it harder to treat viral infections, like coronavirus, says Dr. Trivedi.

Viral infections can also increase inflammation in people with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). And a combination of inflammation and high blood sugar can put you at risk for more serious complications.

What to do: Take extra care to manage your blood sugar, and review or ask for your “sick day” plan from your doctor. Have medications and testing strips on hand, as well as simple carbs like soda or hard candies in case your blood sugar gets too low. See the ADA coronavirus recommendations for diabetes here.

If You Have Lung Disease

Coronavirus causes respiratory illness, so it may hit people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or other lung problems especially hard, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

“These people already have impaired breathing,” says Dr. Trivedi.

What to do: Have supplies of any medications on hand, and know how to use your inhaler if you have one. Review or ask for a “COPD action plan” or an “asthma action plan” from your doctor so you know what to do if your lung symptoms flare up. See the ALA coronavirus recommendations for lung disease here.

What to Do If You’re Sick

The CDC recommends watching for three key symptoms of coronavirus:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If these seem familiar, it’s because they unfortunately mirror some of the top signs of cold or flu. Because of the overlap, it’s important that you call your doctor if you begin to experience any of these signs or if your existing symptoms get worse.

Explain your symptoms, and follow any advice you get to a T, says Dr. Trivedi. You will be given instructions that are specific to your health needs, including if you should go to a medical facility and any safety steps you need to take before going.

Because coronavirus spreads easily, do not go to your doctor’s office without calling ahead first. If you have it, you could pass it on to others. If you don’t have it, you could catch it from someone else.

When to Get Emergency Help

The CDC also recommends getting immediate medical care if you have these coronavirus warning signs:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Any other emergency signs your doctor has indicated

Call 911, and be as specific as you can about your symptoms. Follow any instructions they give you.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Chair Yoga Live Streams via ZOOM Weekdays 11:00 -11:45AM

Link and password required to join. Email your name and a little bit about your interest in our class to in advance, then I can send you the free link to our class! 

For all of us living as productively as we can in the confines of our own homes during this health crisis, I've set up via ZOOM a live stream class a Gentle Chair Yoga class, from March 24 through the foreseable future. 

I'll be there about 10:50 to greet people, and will start right away at 11. We will practice for about 40 minutes. You have an option to enable your own video (so others can see you; I have this disabled by default but you can enable it). You will be able to talk (if you have a microphone on your PC, or you are using your phone/tablet), and you will be able to text chat (there will be a chat icon at the bottom of the screen). Once the class starts I will mute everyone else for quiet. 

The app is free, the website is free, the class is free - this is a service to help keep us all a little more sane during our time of self care (quarantine) and healing. 

If you are a Silver Sneakers member (Tivity), please make your presence know before or after class so I can mark your attendance! You can check your membership eligibility here (here's a list of health plans that carry it

Be well, see you this week. Your feedback humbly requested.

For previously recorded classes, click this link:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Kids Yoga Live Stream Restarts July 1 Every Wednesday 10AM PST

I am going to restart our popular all-ages Kids Online Yoga classes starting this Wednesday July 1, at 10AM PST. 

There will be a new link with password required - so be sure to email me me to sign up for this free class!

Classes will be between 30 and 40 minutes, and as always will include favorite music, movement and occasionally crafts! Have a mat, a favorite "snuggle toy" and water nearby, and log on by 9:55AM to make sure everyone is ready to go by 10. I heartily encourage caregivers to hang out with us to learn the moves, model the behaviors and show the children how much fun yoga is for kids of all ages.

Anyone from any part of the world can join; classes have a password and we will use the Zoom waiting rooms to ensure your privacy. As always, they are free of charge; donations are welcome but not required.

Questions? Contact me at or

To view previous class videos follow this link:

    Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    Online Resources (other than Yoga) for Kids UPDATED

    We are on day 10 of being holed up inside, social distancing due to the recent health concerns, as well as having been ill ourselves. Public schools have been cancelled for the next 2.5 weeks, my teaching gigs are postponed for the same, and hubby has to work from home as well. March has proven to be unusually rainy, so we are definitely house-bound.

    So, in lieu of having to be the center my son's entertainment and learning 24/7, the schools have sent a list of resources for home use. They also sent printable worksheets for ELA (language arts) and math, but with these (in picture) it's nice to know that we can harness internet technology for their betterment, not just turning them into Roblox/Minecrafting/Fornite zombies. (ask teachers for invitations) (teachers/parents can get free premium accounts)

    Eli enjoyed playing with Prodigy in particular. He willingly jumps online to this, and asked me to buy the $5/month package so he can achieve higher goals. As a bonus I receive e-mails tracking his progress.

    We've tapped into PBSKids in the past: Peep and Big Wide World, Nature Cat, and the Wild Kratts are three shows that taught not just Eli but spouse and I lessons about our natural world. There's a wealth of info-tainment here to be sure.

    Eli used Epic quite a bit last year, like a mobile device library. It used to be accessible only by students during school hours, but they have a new offer: you can get free remote access through your teacher by asking the instructor to go to the Epic website and sign up. This is a great alternative to paying late fees on library books. To that end, you can also rent online book from the library in the event your local library physically closes.

    If you have experience with any of the other apps, leave a comment below! Other activities we've found fun: 
    • 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles
    • family karaoke
    • cooking lessons
    • olympic-level sock matching
    • cleaning out of the drawers and closets to donate to charity things we don't wear or use
    Stay healthy, wash your hands, and take lots of sanity breaks.

    Update 6/22/20

    A company called Varsity Tutors just reached emailed me with some interesting options for summer. Check them out:
    Varsity Tutors is the largest live learning platform in the United States and we have numerous free resources to help students and parents cope with school and summer camp closures. We’ve had 250,000 registrations for our free, live online classes alone in the last 2 months.

    Virtual School Day: Nearly 200 free, live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are "Intro to Spanish for Kids", “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”. We have received exceptional ratings from thousands of parents and students.

    Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps are a week long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more. These live, interactive camps will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors' platform. We already have 300+ camps scheduled for the summer and 2,000 families per day signing up.

    Adaptive Diagnostic Assessments: Measure a student’s proficiency and identify strengths and weaknesses in hundreds of subjects. Get an effective learning plan along with free tools to improve.

    Varsity Learning Tools: More than 250,000 free practice problems in over 200 subjects. Also available as mobile applications.

    Thursday, March 12, 2020

    Health Update Class Cancellations 1:30 pm 3/17/20

    During this time if you would like to schedule a private video yoga session please email me at and let's discuss your practice needs!
    In an effort to participate with State and Local Agencies and in cooperation with locations that host classes in mitigating further spread of COVID-19, the following community yoga classes are put on hold effective March 13, 2020 until April 6, or further notice:

    Silver Sneakers/Silver&Fit Chair Yoga (updated)
    • El Cajon Monday 1-2 pm
    • La Mesa Tuesday 8:30-9:30 am
    • Tifereth Israel Wednesday 9:30-10:30 am
    • Casa de Oro Wednesday 12-1 pm
    • Lemon Grove Friday 12-1pm
    • La Mesa Saturday 8:30-9:30 am (through the end of April)
    Adaptive Yoga for G.A.M.E.R.S
    • Casa de Oro Tuesday 10am & 11am
    • Casa de Oro Friday 10am
    Kids Yoga (updated)
    • Mission Hill Mondays 9:45 am
    • San Carlos Tuesdays 4:00pm
    • Logan Heights Wednesdays 4:30 pm
    • Lemon Grove Thursdays 10:30am (through the end of April
    Aso on hold are my classes at the YMCA (Yoga, Sunday 9:30-10:45am and Chair Yoga, Monday 11am-12pm). All local YMCAs have cancelled their group programming, child care, child watch, youth programs, social trips, etc., until further notice. Please see this announcement for details:

    As per 
    An advisory was also issued urging senior citizens 65 or older and anyone with underlying chronic illnesses to prioritize staying at home, avoid travel and avoid mass gatherings.
     "We know that this virus is particularly impactful for our senior citizens and those with underlying chronic health conditions, and we are asking those individuals to go above and beyond the establish public health advisories," Fletcher said.
    The risk to healthy young adults remains low, Fletcher said, though they were at risk of spreading the disease to the more vulnerable population.
    If your regularly attended class is not listed please check your local library listed for details, as I am personally unable to lead the classes until further notice.  Learning about and teaching yoga is both my job and my passion and this decision did not come lightly. Your health and safety is of the utmost importance to me.

    Please follow the CDC guidelines to keep yourselves safe, informed, and healthy:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

    Monday, March 9, 2020

    Aparigraha, Avidya, and Dvesha

    Aparigraha is a Sankrit word that literally means "non-taking on all sides." I interpret this to encompass a state of not wanting more, of not constantly searching for stimuli, as well as one of non-possessiveness. It is one of the fundamental yamas, or social-restraints in yoga.

    Part and parcel to this, for me, go two of the kleshas (cloudings, poisons, blockages) from yogic philosophy: Avidya which is (unhealthy) attachment, and Dvesha, which is (equally unhealthy) aversion.

    This week’s life lesson is holding all three concepts front and center for me to inspect in all their ugly truth.

    My teaching schedule of at least one class every day of the week (some days one, some five), serving others to make a living, volunteering in a community play, enrolling in continuing education, socializing, shuttling my son to activities, and attempting to manage a household (is it all truly altruistic?) seems to leave little time for self care.

    I’m attached to my commitments. I’m attached to my habits. I'm attached to my schedule. I’m attached to my traditional self care choices (e.g., studio yoga classes, dining out, hot baths, staying up late doing crossword puzzles).

    I’m adverse to changes in my routine, alternative self-care ideas, and as I've found out, quite adverse to the germs I’ve picked up burning the candle at both ends.

    What started as a "simple" cold, five weeks later was a nagging cough that ended me in the urgent care the last night of rehearsal of a one-night-only community performance. In this battle of kleshas, something had to give, and it was my body. I had to bow out of the play, and nine weeks of rehearsal were all for naught because my body is unable to shake off any more (microbiotic) attachments (and I certainly don’t want to transfer them onto anyone else). I found subs for as many of the classes as I could, and I laid in bed (now going on two days).

    The disappointment I feel is equal to (perhaps greater than) the physical ailment. I am sure my cast mates feel bad but I know they will wow the audience (update: oh, they most certainly did). My part was small, and it’s my ego suffering more than anything. So it’s my attachment to doing the activity, and the thrill of being on a stage that I know is making me feel blue. My aversion is to letting people down, as well as to missing out on the excitement.

    Now on the second day of being homebound, I have to reevaluate my schedule to make sure I’m actually being realistic about the number of tasks I try to accomplish. I look at other busy people and think "Why is it they can do it an I can't? All this time stuck at home, feels like it's being wasted time. But I have little energy to be "productive."

    My adult self says all this self-quarantine and quiet time is a good thing in and of itself, but it is hard. Sitting with disappointment, sadness, and feeling unwell without feeling sorry for myself, or trying to get busy is difficult.

    So I'm face to face with my biggest aversion: stillness. I can't take on (attach to) another activity to avoid feeling bad, and I need to rest. I have playlist full of meditations that waits patiently for my attention, and it seems like now, if not other time, would be a good one to practice what I preach.

    Deep breath. Cough cough. Sigh.