Do You Trust Your Body?

By Renee’ Fulkerson

Do you trust your body?

(Trust) a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

I asked myself this question when my husband and I began discussing a two-week spontaneous trip to Japan. Travel for us has always been more like an adventure race than a vacation. This trip focused on spring snowboarding at several ski resorts. And I knew this would mean not stop action.

Prepping for a trip always means getting a house/pet sitter for my two kitty girls. When I reached out to my girlfriend to house/pet sit, she said what are you doing physically to get ready for the trip? That comment took me by surprise. And I felt confident to say nothing but my usual physical activities. And then I thought, is that enough? And I am happy to report it was enough.

When I met my now husband in my early twenties, a spontaneous trip relied on adrenaline. I knew my youthful body, full of energy, could get me through a fast and furious trip. And recovery time would be minimal, if any. Now I am fifty-three, and youth is not on my side. But that does not stop me.

Teaching yoga and offering manual therapies, I see firsthand the limitations people face with their bodies. Some of it self inflicted, and some situations are out of our control. There is freedom in saying I trust my body! So how do we get there? How I keep my body sustainable my top three:


While walking, I can focus on creating proper posture habits. Good posture means everything when carrying my day pack or something heavier (like a snowboard). During my walk, I can also focus on proper breathing techniques. Full inhales and exhales allow my diaphragm to expand and contract. With efficient breathing, my upper body stays buoyant and lifted. And my feet, knees, and low back thank me. Walking reduces strain on my hips, knee, or ankle joints versus high-intensity workouts. And the best thing about walking is the more I do it, the more energy I have.

  • a cardiovascular physical activity
  • improves blood flow
  • lowers blood pressure
  • increases energy levels
  • low-impact workout


I bike inside on a trainer every other day 45min to an hour. Some days I feel more inspired than others. Biking is another opportunity to create proper posture and breathing habits. Strengthening my legs and lower body muscles will keep knee pain from sneaking up on me. Building endurance helps any activity be more enjoyable, like long days of snowboarding.

  • easy on your joints
  • burns calories
  • builds endurance
  • strengthens legs and lower body
  • improve cardiovascular health


My YogAlign practice keeps me in alignment. Good posture creates comfort in my body with no spinal compression on my low back. Without thinking, I move gracefully and with ease from the core center of my body. Showing up for my YogAlign practice allows me the time and space to get to know and support my body’s needs. I always look forward to creating space in my body.

  • functional breathing
  • strengthens posture muscles
  • builds strong core muscles
  • improves stability, balance & coordination
  • supports real-life movement

Along with the top three I also hike and swim in the ocean regularly to keep fit and healthy. Exercise is not always easy for me. But trusting my body is a freedom I am not giving up. I seek out activities I enjoy and not things I dread. I have been snowboarding with my husband since we were 23 years old (30 years now). And we look forward to many more years. 

Side note: the hot mineral Onsens every night and sake certainly helped. haha

Do you trust your body? 


There Are Similarities To Look For And Learn From In Watching A Yogi And An Endurance Athlete.

By Renee’ Fulkerson

I just returned from attending the 2019 Ironman on Kona, Big Island, Hawaii and, it was epic. The Ironman race is a multi-event sporting contest demanding stamina, in particular in a consecutive triathlon of swimming 2.4-mile (3.86km), cycling 112-mile (180.25km), and running a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20km).

I am familiar with this environment. Before I was a Hatha Yoga teacher, I did many years of pre and post-race massage at Norba Mountain Bike Race events in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. I have also attended many Xterra off-road triathlons and trail running races and, Tough Mudders. I am not the competitive sports women type how but, I enjoy attending these events and gain an incredible amount of knowledge about the human body, training, and recovery. When I first arrive at an endurance sporting event. I feel as though my head might spin off while trying to observe all of this human anatomy in real life. I study these athletes while racing like I approach my YogAlign classes. There are many similarities to look for and learn from in watching a yogi and an endurance athlete.

  • The first point – I observe at an endurance race at the starting line what does the athlete’s body language tell me? What is the expression on their face? At the start of the race, I see if their body reacts with ease to the initial movement? or is it clunky and out of sync? Much like I observe a new or longtime YogAlign student. At first, sight, do they look open and receptive or nervous and guarded, maybe tired from a long day at work or inspired and ready to rumble. When a new student or longtime student begins their YogAlign practice, I notice. Are they moving with ease? or do they appear to be stiff and sticky? Unlike the endurance athlete during a race, I cannot shift anything to create favorable conditions for them. But, in a YogAlign class, I can and will do just that. In keeping my YogAlign class size small and non-competitive, I can see what each student is doing and needing to create favorable conditions and results.

Inner Breath Yoga YogAlign Kauai Hawaii (9)
She is moving with ease, aligned and her feet are light and ready to go.

  • The second point I observe regarding the endurance athlete and yogi or yogini is the transition between events/ postures. Has this transition been thought out? Is there ease about it and, are they showing any signs of pain/ fatigue in the physical body or facial expression? How is their breathing quality? I can tell when the student or athlete is becoming fatigued. Resistant, bored/ given up, or experiencing discomfort when the gaze of their eyes begins to lower. Their Chin starts tucking to the chest (frontline collapsing), shoulders slump, and or roll forward and, feet/ legs look like heavy blocks pounding at the ground. I cannot support the endurance athlete but only cheer them on and shout out, keep going. Keep breathing! You got this! But a YogAlign student, I will immediately attend to realigning the body posture, breath, and hopefully the enthusiasm or bring them out of the posture altogether. If I can see no positive benefits are happening.

Inner Breath Yoga YogAlign Kauai Hawaii (8)
He is ready to transition to the run with his shoes already off.

  • The third point I observe and know the crucial part is the halfway mark. When seeing the athlete/ yogi, I ask myself are they doing more damage than good at this point? Meaning have they sustained an injury or woke up an old one? That is creating a limp or undo pain. Are they pushing beyond the body’s ability to keep their pace or posture? And when is it time to call it? When more negative impacts are wreaking havoc (widespread destruction) on the body and quick recovery will not be enough. For the YogAlign student with observation and possible communication with the student. If I feel the negative is creeping in. I ask the student to stop or come out of a posture. And possibly to not practice said posture at all. For example – if a YogAlign student is practicing full-body recalibration (supported splits,) and I see, hear or feel they are in any pain. They need to come out immediately, but if they are feeling a small discomfort (2 on a scale of 1-10). I can give them a yoga block for more support que engage the core with the SIP breath. And we will both know if the posture has been practice/ supported correctly. Then when the student comes out and up to standing (the discomfort will not linger). Yes, they may feel some sensation (created space or re-setting of the tension) in the groin, thigh, or glutes but not pain. Remember, you never get comfortable by being uncomfortable yoga is not supposed to hurt! When regarding an endurance athlete, that’s their judgment, personal trainer, or a beloved’s call to stop.

Inner Breath Yoga YogAlign Kauai Hawaii (19)
He has lost his stride foot steps close together (fatigue?) and facial expression (pain?)

  • Forth point and last point I observe (regarding this blog) are about 15 minutes before the end of class or the end of the race. That is when the body language and facial expression say it is good or not. This point encapsulates the first, second, and third points. But I do understand an endurance athlete is going to drag themselves over the finish line. When they’re so close to finishing the race? The YogAlign student will be ready for the final resting posture and relaxation in savasana. Or beaming with that feels good face/ body and does not want the class to end by savoring space and time a little longer. I can personally relate to both the endurance athlete and the yogi’s desire for accomplishment and peace.

I consider it an honor to be sharing the last moments of a race or a YogAlign practice with an athlete or student as they have both equally committed their time and energy to this event/ class. I feel as though I also get to share in the joy, pride, and gratitude they feel for themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally after putting themselves out there and being vulnerable (some call that being brave).

Are you are like me and enjoy anatomy in real life, being inspired, and connecting energetically on a heart level with others? I highly recommend these types of events and yoga classes. “once you stop learning, you start dying” -Albert Einstein.