WW Podcast 13 – Watershed Wellness yoga, peak poses & doing yoga without injury

We're up to episode 13 in our podcast – if you've missed any of the previous episodes just click this link to be taken to the archive.

We decided to do this episode after talking about the upcoming schedule change for the movement studio. In particular, we had been discussing the way the classes are actually named, and what those names convey. So many people have difficulty knowing where to start with yoga, and we wondered if changing the way we refer to the courses might help that process.

This led Amanda to create a whole new type of yoga class at Watershed Wellness – centered on the investigation of “peak poses,” which we discuss extensively on this episode. That led us to discuss the whole matter of yoga, especially for people new to it, and how we hope to help people establish a practice with integrity that helps them avoid injury.

As always with podcast episodes, never hesitate to reach out and let us know what's working and what's not. We're aware that the audio on this episode wasn't great – and will be seeking to fix that in future episodes. Thanks so much for listening!

To listen to the episode:

A little tour of our new yoga and natural medicine space in Astoria, Oregon

Today was such a beautiful spring day, after such a relentless winter, that I couldn't help but walk around our new place in amazement. One thing I can say about Amanda and I – the owners of Watershed Wellness – is that we tend to find beautiful spaces to live and work in. Our space nestled into the elm avenues of Ladd's Addition in Portland is resplendent – and this newest space equals it in beauty, energy and enjoyment.

Instead of describe all the great spaces in our clinic, I thought I'd shoot you a quick video with a mildly silly voiceover. I'm no videographer, and our spaces probably deserve a more professional presentation – but I hope you will feel the enthusiasm and wonder in my voice as I show you around.

I hope we'll be shooting more videos around our new home – Astoria, Oregon – to show you all the myriad ways your own local environment, and the nature you see all around, can be a free source of healing and relaxation. In the meantime, check out the page we're building to introduce you to our favorite spots in and around this remarkable town.

Check it out, share it, and by all means – come in for a yoga class, an acupuncture appointment or an ultra stress busting massage. We're ready to help you on your next steps to wellness.

Why did we create a Watershed Wellness yoga studio in Astoria?

Watershed Wellness has been a center for high quality natural medicine in Oregon since 2009. For many years, we had no overt movement practices integrated into our clinic – it wasn't our focus or expertise. However, Amanda Barp has been a practitioner of yoga for many years. To deepen this practice, she decided to undergo rigorous yoga teacher training in Portland – which opened her eyes to the fun & power of teaching yoga. So, it was natural to include a yoga studio in Astoria when we opened our second clinic.

But it's not simply interest and opportunity that led us to open a yoga studio in Astoria

In our clinical practice, we so often see that massage and acupuncture patients need to gain strength, flexibility and relearn patterns of movement so they can heal more quickly and avoid future injury. This preventative focus is very important to us at Watershed Wellness. Yes, we can help you once you’ve already been injured – but what’s even better is to avoid the problem in the first place. Yoga can be a tremendous boon in this regard.

While there are excellent options for yoga in Astoria, we felt that we could offer something new to complement what people are already doing well here.

Our focus is to help all kinds of people ease their way into a healthy, long lived yoga practice. Yoga is individual – there's no one way to be a person doing yoga. The most important thing is that you practice in a way that honors your anatomy, your history, and your goals for your body in the future.

Too often eager new yoga students charge into positions that aren't right for them – get injured – and end up abandoning yoga altogether to avoid future injury. This is a shame, since careful, intentful and physiologically customized yoga can relieve pain and prevent injury – the opposite shouldn't be the case.

Some people don't get there at all – instead they avoid yoga altogether thinking it is too difficult, embarrassing or woo-woo for them. Nothing could be further from the truth! This is a time tested, physiologically helpful way of maintaining healthy flexibility and strength through your entire lifespan. There are levels of yoga, and approaches to yoga, for everyone.

At Watershed Wellness, Amanda combines many years of experience studying anatomy and physiology as a massage therapist, with her excellent yoga teacher training from the Bhaktishop in Portland, OR, to create yoga classes that are just the right combination of challenge, relaxation, quiet & fun. She adapts to what each class needs, and includes information about yoga philosophy & her own lessons in practice as appropriate.

You'll find a complete class that is just right for you at Watershed Wellness' yoga studio in Astoria. And you really cannot beat the view looking out over the mighty Columbia River.

To encourage you to come try out our yoga classes we're offering an ongoing intro special

Try all our classes with the intro special – 2 weeks of unlimited classes for only $20. This will allow you to experience all the teachers' unique styles as well as experimenting with different days and times to ensure that your yoga practice gets off on the right foot.
yoga studio in astoria oregon spring

Check out our schedule of classes today!

Beginning Yoga in Astoria : Is it for You?

“Oh! I want to try yoga, but I can barely touch my toes!”

Just yesterday I was talking to someone about yoga in Astoria, and what we do at Watershed Wellness. When he learned that we teach yoga and pilates classes, he was interested – and uttered the phrase above almost immediately.

yoga in astoria for everyone

Does this sound familiar? In my experience, many people don’t think that they are ready to take a yoga class because they:

  • Aren't flexible enough
  • Don't know enough to attend a class without making a fool of themselvces
  • Believe they aren't the right type of person to go to a yoga class (isn’t it weird that most folks in yoga advertisements are super fit 20-somethings?)

I told my friend that he’s exactly the kind of person who will benefit greatly from yoga practice.

Here's why:

  • He's over 50
  • He has been working a desk job for 20+ years
  • For one reason or another, he doesn’t move his body very much
  • He HURTS! He hurts from sitting, from injuries, from living life. He hurts in ways that yoga could help. But not necessarily the kind of yoga that you see on the cover of magazines, or on social media.

When you go online, or use a yoga video, you often see nothing but younger, fitter people bending themselves in impossible ways on distant mountaintops. If that’s what my friend thinks that yoga has to look like, I understand why he's not coming to yoga classes!

The truth is he needs the kind of yoga that may not look like much from the outside.

  • His kind of yoga is going to look simple, but will be deceptively hard. Re-patterning and reeducating the body can look subtle, but feel earth-shaking. The strides that he will make are few and far between, but the long arc of the way that he moves his body will change. The results will be more energy & less pain.
  • He hurts in a way that touching your toes isn’t going to help. Back bends, hand balancing and even downward dog are poses that must be worked towards – not assumed. His pain is going to get better with slow, conscious movement.

In other words – the pretzel twist poses aren't the only thing to yoga, and may not be best for everyone.

Simply by bringing awareness to postural habits, learning how to make simple movements with intention, and loosening up gently, you can find freedom and strength in your body!

watershed wellness yoga in astoria cat pose
Cat Pose
watershed yoga in astoria cow pose
Cow Pose


This is why we teach beginners yoga classes at Watershed Wellness. This class is great for those who think that they “should” be doing yoga in Astoria, but are not quite sure how to get started.

Maybe you're not 20 years old anymore! Maybe you're one of the many 20 year olds who is “just not flexible!” You want to enter a relationship with yoga that is focused on help you gently, safely and permanently relax and unwind your body. By learning things step by step, you will build foundations that may get you into those pretzel poses one day – you never know!

We all start somewhere, and the Yoga Beginners classes at Watershed Wellness Astoria starts… at the beginning!

In our Level 1 coursess, you'll learn:

  • How to sit comfortably
  • Basic yoga poses that focus on bringing awareness to, opening and creating more mobility in your body
  • How your breathing can affect your whole body
  • How to be more comfortable in your own body
  • How to prepare for more advanced postures, if that's where you are interested in taking your practice
  • A great way to consistently check in with your body through gentle movements
  • How to make the most out of opportunities to do yoga in Astoria, including at home

If you've ever thought or said, “I want to try yoga!” we hope that you'll give it a go and sign up for your first class in yoga in Astoria

If you are feeling nervous about your first yoga class, this article might be helpful. If you would like to see the full yoga and pilates schedule – you can do so online. And, as always, we love your questions! Just head over to our contact page – or call (503) 974-0914 to let us know how we can help.

Nervous about your first yoga class Astoria?

yoga class astoria


Believe us – we understand that entering into a yoga studio as a student for the first time can be overwhelming!

Far from feeling relaxed and de-stressed, you might have a hundred questions swirling around in your mind:

  • What if you don’t have the right equipment?
  • What will everyone else be wearing?
  • What if you mess up and everybody sees?
  • What if you don’t know what you’re doing?
  • What if you're worried about how your body will look as you move around?
  • What if you can’t keep up, or if you don’t understand what’s happening?
  • What if you have this injury, and that might keep you from doing what everyone else is doing?

That's just the beginning, of course, our personal insecurities and past experience with yoga will both influence the anxieties that crop up.

What it takes for you to get to your first class is a willingness to be vulnerable. To put aside the “what ifs” and have the courage to try something new. One of our hopes in offering yoga in Astoria is to help you

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

Brené Brown

Whatever your reasons for wanting give yoga a try, if you can approach your first yoga class in Astoria without trying to be perfect, chances are the class will go a lot better for you than anticipated. You see, we all start somewhere. And not knowing how to do something doesn’t mean that you are a bad person or that something is wrong with you.

What it means is that you don’t know how to do something. And it’s our job to teach you!

Our beginning level class happens weekly so you can come on a consistent basis, for as long as you like, and learn the ropes of what it’s like to move your body in the context of yoga. You WON’T know what you are doing at first, and that’s GREAT! We hope to teach you in a manner that is safe for your body, informative and that allows for lots of questions and self exploration along the way.

Our beginning level classes all include:

  • Help on how to sit comfortably – more difficult than it sounds!
  • Some introduction to breath work and linking movement with breath – one of the foundations to healthy, lifelong yoga practice.
  • Basic yoga postures (called asanas) that will help you gain strength, balance and flexibility – all with plenty of instructions to help you adapt each exercise to your particular body state.
  • A solid introduction to yoga movement for those who want to continue on to more advanced classes. We want you will grow as a yoga student for many years with Watershed Wellness!

If you’d like this class to be offered at a different time, let us know what works for you! We’ll do our best to accommodate schedules as we figure out what works for most people in our new community.

Watershed Wellness has a new home for healthcare in Astoria Oregon

As we've discussed on our Portland website, on our Facebook account and via our new Watershed Astoria newsletter, we're opening a new clinic here in Astoria! We will be inviting the first appointments and classes in starting January 17 – assuming everything goes more or less according to plan.

But how did we end up opening a second clinic focused on health and wellness in Astoria?

Good question! We'll hope to tell more of the story of how the clinic opening has been here on the blog and on the newsletter in the coming months. But the shortest possible story is simple. In March of 2016, we (Eric and Amanda) manifested our vision of moving our home base to Astoria, OR from Portland. But, instead of closing up shop in Portland – a place we still dearly love – we decided to expand! Thus you have Watershed Astoria.

The two locations will have different modalities, different foci, and yet maintain the same commitment to customer service, quality work done by intentful experts and a spirit of joy and fun in everything we do.

One of the most notable differences between the two clinics is in what we're offering. In Portland, of course, we offer Chinese medicine, Naturopathic medicine, skin therapy and massage therapy. In Astoria, we will be focusing on Acupuncture, Chinese herbs and massage therapy as far as medical modalities are concerned. While we may expand from those initial healthcare offerings, we are hoping to first focus on providing the best possible acupuncture, Chinese herbs and massage as we can.

One of the most exciting things about the new location is that we will be offering Watershed Yoga to the Astoria community

Amanda Barp, co-founder and chief massage therapist at Watershed, completed yoga training at the Bhaktishop in Portand. While she started school at her favorite studio mostly to enhance her own practice, as she went, she discovered how what she was learning about yoga meshed with what she already knew about the human body through her 10+ year long massage career.

This sparked further study and a deep immersion in her studies which resulted in her being asked to teach a class at her alma mater studio! This honor has allowed her to learn so much about yoga in a short period of time – particularly how she can help new practitioners to do yoga safely, no matter their age or mobility impairments. This passion drives her today.

We will be writing a lot about Watershed Yoga on the blog and through expanding the main Yoga page on this site. To give us a chance to make sure the studio is perfect for you, we'll be delaying the start of classes until February 1. Those first classes are already available for you to register if you're excited to get started.

To help jumpstart a vibrant yoga community at Watershed, we're offering 50% single classes and 5 class packs through the entire month of February 2017.

To take advantage, just use the code ASTORIAOPEN if you pay for your class online, or mention the discount if you pay in person.

Sign up for your class by clicking this link

We'll be sharing more about what's new at Watershed over the next several days. Stay tuned – and if you would like to have the latest articles sent direct to your email – sign up here.