September Newsletter 2013

Dear Members,

imgWAC is proud to announce that we will begin offering Yoga and Pilate’s classes starting September 16th. Based on your responses from our group exercise survey we will initially offer classes Monday to Thursday at 6pm, Tuesday and Thursday at 9am and Saturday at 8:30am. Please see the schedule below for class type and description. These classes will be offered to members at no additional charge. Group exercisers find the classes motivating and a perfect way to add variety to their exercise program. The open and airy feel of the backroom is the perfect setting to conduct the classes. Classes will accommodate only 8 students so be sure to come early to hold your spot.

Group exercise classes offer participants the opportunity to work under the guidance of educated instructors that emphasize proper technique, safety and fun. Participation in group exercise classes improves endurance, strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Group exercise classes also increase self-confidence and reduce stress and anxiety levels. We are very excited to be adding these new programs to the club and hope you take advantage of the opportunity to enhance your fitness program. For our tennis members the physical benefits of Yoga – increased strength, stamina, balance and flexibility – will help you meet the rigors of the game. It might even improve the winning percentage!!

When classes are not being conducted in the Fitness Studio members are encouraged to use the room for core exercise work. We will be posting exercise charts with examples of different exercises to help educate members on what types of exercises can be done. The charts will be posted by the 16th of September. If you already have exercise routines which incorporate core exercises feel free to begin using the room immediately.

We will not begin construction of our new clubhouse in September as previously announced. We have not yet received revisions of the engineering drawings that were submitted to the City of Westlake in July. We expect the permitting process to take 3 to 4 more months and hope to break ground by the end of the year. We will continue to look at other options to enhance the value of your membership as we wait for the new clubhouse to be completed.

We will be including another round of guest passes in the billing being sent out in September. Please bring the passes in when you have a guest visiting the club.

Have a Healthy Day

John Sutcliffe
General Manager

Member of the Month

imgWestlake Athletic Club has selected Gary Berner, pictured on the right, as our Member of the Month. Gary competed in the 19th Maccabiah Games, which were held in Tel Aviv, Israel in July. This year there were nearly 1200 Americans competing in what is sometimes referred to as the “Jewish Olympics”.

Gary faced tough tryouts before earning a place on the tennis roster in the masters division. He hired a trainer early this year to design workouts that would improve his cardiovascular conditioning and strengthen his upper and lower body. In the process, Gary dropped 20 pounds and lowered his cholesterol count 30 points.

Gary competed in both singles and doubles and went 3-1 in both. All of the hard work leading up to the games paid off as Gary and his partner, Neil Schecter, earned a Bronze medal in doubles. Join me in congratulating Gary for earning a trip to Tel Aviv and capturing the Bronze medal.

Congratulations Blue Ladies


WAC Women’s 3.5 team have an awesome season, culminating in the Ventura County Championship. The team went on to the So Cal Sectionals where they lost in the finals (2-3) to the Queen Anne Recreation Center from West LA. Congrats on a terrific season and good luck in the fall. Team members: Nina Elo-Piacquad(Co Captain), Selina Cheng, Romona Brandes, Rebecca Dorosk, Maria Goldberg, Michelle Haykel, Marilyn Hewitson, Devery Elizabeth, Holmes, Laksamee Weilage(Co Captain), Deva May, Valerie Brecker, Angie Bentz, Jill Ann Feiler, Cindy Campbell, Sharon Heintz.

Fitness Stuff 

WAC Group Exercise Classes to begin Sept. 16th


imgYoga is an ancient physical and spiritual discipline and branch of philosophy that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and currently, close to 11 million Americans are enjoying its health benefits. Yoga classes focus on learning physical poses, which are called asanas. They also include some form of breathing technique and possibly a meditation technique as well. Different styles teach you how to move your body in new ways and enable you to develop your flexibility, strength, and balance. WAC will initially offer classes geared for the beginner and intermediate level students. Flexibility, balance, and core strength are important aspects of a well rounded fitness routine and we look forward to helping our members improve those areas of their exercise regime. Please see the attached schedule for days and times.


imgTennis player, golfer or runner we can all benefit from Pilates. Pilates is a system of movement and strengthening that promotes full breath, healthy joint articulation and stability in the important core muscles of the body. Generally, Pilates helps you to condition your body by building flexibility, strength, endurance, and leanness in the muscles of the arms, abdomen, hips and back. WAC will initially offer Pilates-Yoga Fusion classes where Pilates meets Yoga. The classes will involve 30 minutes of mat Pilates (focused on increasing abdominal strength) followed by a half hour of Yoga. You’ll gain strength, flexibility and learn how to relax. Breath work and meditations will be involved. All levels are welcome. See the attached schedule for days and times.

Group Exercise Schedule:
(introductory Yoga class 9/7 @ 8:30am)

 Class Day(s)             Time Teacher Description
 9am        Zabrina Beginner/Intermediate
 Yoga                  Mon/Wed 6pm Beth Beginner/Intermediate
 Fusion               Tue/Thurs 6pm Katie               Pilates/Yoga
 Sat  8:30am Katie Beginner/Intermediate

Tennis and Yoga Hit It off

John McEnroe and Jeff Tarango, two of the most fiery characters to ever smash a tennis racquet, as poster boys for yoga? That's what the December 2000 issue of Tennis magazine claims. According to Tennis, a number of tennis players are turning to yoga and meditation to pick them up when their backhand lets them down. But is this another gimmick to pacify desperate tennis players?

it's a head game

imgAs a tennis player who has struggled with the green fuzzy ball for more than 15 years, I can attest to the fact that tennis is as much a mental sport as a physical one. There is no other explanation for why top tennis professionals -- who have all the strokes, power, speed, and finesse -- crash and burn on the red clay of Roland Garros or the green grass of Wimbledon. Every one of us -- whether we are scrambling to get a racquet on a serve at the U.S. Open or running down drop shots at the local public courts -- play tennis to experience one emotion: to play "in the zone."

Playing in the zone can be pure bliss. Impossible shots go in. The small tennis ball seems as big as a basketball. Each hit is solid and smooth and blessed, it seems. When you are in the zone, your focus is laser sharp. Since yoga and meditation help refine our focusing skills, it makes sense that they can help us enter "the zone" more frequently. In yogic terms, we call it living "in the moment." I personally use breath control -- slow, deep breaths before serving or between points -- to center myself, relax, and bring myself back to the moment. Breath control is part of every yoga asana or posture. Arthur Ashe used this technique in the 1975 Wimbledon final, in which he upset the legendary Jimmy Connors. During changeovers, Ashe covered his head with a towel and calmed himself with controlled breathing.

The mind-body stretch

The physical benefits of yoga -- increased strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility -- help tennis players meet the rigors of the game. Tennis is a game that is always throwing your body physically out of balance. The elbow and wrist in your dominant arm take a beating as do your knees, calves, and ankles (depending on the type of surface you play on). Backs get jerked and twisted during the serve and as you lunge for passing shots.

I discovered yoga while recovering from plantar fasciitis in both arches. This is a common injury among tennis players, who will hobble through match after match if you let them. I finally gave into the pain, went to a doctor, and started the treatment for repairing my arches: anti-inflammatory drugs, orthotics, and rest -- months of boring rest. Being banned from the tennis court for months is an invitation to madness for most tennis players. I saw yoga as a temporary measure to save my sanity; instead, it changed my life. When I returned to the tennis courts after months of practicing yoga, I felt stronger -- both physically and mentally. I felt greater flexibility in my back and shoulders, especially on the rotation during my serve, and in injury-prone joints.
But best of all, I learned there is a tremendous world off the court. Yoga unfurled my tunnel vision and showed me there are other paths to personal growth and development.

Which poses are helpful for tennis players?

Tennis magazine suggests four asanas for tennis players:

  • Tree pose (vrksasana) to strengthen the legs, open the hips, and improve balance and coordination.
  • Triangle pose (trikonasana) to strengthen and stretch the hamstrings, open the chest, and promote balance.
  • Warrior II pose (virabhadrasana II) to strengthen quads, calves, and Achilles' tendons; expand range of motion; and teach you to move from the hips.
  • Spinal twist pose (ardha matsyendransana) to limber hips and shoulder joints and tone and stretch the lumbar spine.

In its May/June 2000 issue, Yoga Journal noted that yoga silences the "inner chatter" and helps tennis players strengthen injury-prone joints. It highlighted these asanas for courtside yogis:

  • Warrior II pose (virabhadrasana II) to develop strength and balance.
  • Chair pose (utkatasana) to create space throughout the ankle and knee joint; lengthen the Achilles' tendons, calves, and spinal column; and firm the abdomen.
  • Bridge pose (setu bandha) to develop a supple back and torso.
  • Handstand (adho mukha vrksana) to build mental and physical focus and agility.

Some of these poses, such as the handstand, are quite difficult and should not be attempted without a qualified teacher. We recommend attending a yoga class regularly to have a real impact on your tennis game and also incorporating some poses you have learned in class in your pre-match stretching ritual.

the dance of tennis

Some tennis pros have begun including yoga and meditation techniques in their classes and lessons. Before you sign up for a tennis camp, ask the instructor if yoga is part of the program. One facility that uses yoga to create focus is the Dance of Tennis Center in Richmond, Massachusetts. Owner and former tennis pro Jena Marcovicci says, "Research shows the discipline required for yoga can take you to a state of meditation. It releases endorphins, calms your pulse, and slows your nervous system. That's the zone you want to be in as you walk on the court."

Let yoga put you "in the zone" -- both on and off the court.

Meet your Yoga & Pilates Instructors

Fitness Biography: Katie Whittaker

imgKatie has been an avid practitioner of Yoga for over 30 years. She realized at an early age that she was drawn to exercise to maintain her health and believes everyone can learn some form of exercise that will be enjoyable and comfortable. She is well versed in Yoga, Pilates, Water Aerobics and Tai Chi style exercises. As a fitness teacher, she guides her students to their abilities to self-heal, tuning into their bodies and connect body, mind and spirit. Creator of AquaYoga, certified by the Yoga Alliance, ACE, AEA, and others.

Katie will be teaching Pila Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6pm beginning Sept. 17th. These sessions will include 30 minutes of mat Pilates (focusing on abdominal strength) followed by ½ hour of Yoga. All levels are welcome to attend. Katie will also be instructing Yoga on Saturday mornings at 8:30 beginning Sept. 21st. These sessions are appropriate for beginners to intermediate level practitioners. Gain strength, flexibility and learn how to relax. Breath work & meditations included. All levels welcome.

Beth Jenkins

imgAs a physician, I have always had a desire to help others feel better. While completing my residency, I found that what made me feel better – physically, emotionally, and spiritually, is practicing Yoga. I was inspired to combine these passions as a Yoga instructor. I am a big believer in preventative medicine as well as an anti-aging specialist; Yoga can play an integral role in both of these. Along with continuing to practice medicine, I continue to deepen my own Yoga practice and am honored to introduce this amazing gift to others.

My classes are fun, invigorating and restorative. I aim to tailor my classes to my students needs so they may be challenging, focused, or relaxing. No matter what the theme, they should always make you feel better after taking the class than you did before you began.

Swim Tip: Freestyle Breathing Technique

Developing a good breathing technique is perhaps the biggest challenge for beginner and intermediate swimmers. Problems with breathing can easily affect other parts of your stroke. For instance, breathing can cause scissor kicks, poor body position, crossovers and top sided strokes. Here are 7 tips to improve your breathing, try them even if you don’t think you have a breathing problem – you may be surprised.

1) Focus on exhaling not inhaling. The most common problem swimmers have with their breathing is not exhaling under the water. If you exhale under the water between breaths you only have to inhale when you go to breathe. This relaxes you and helps greatly with bilateral breathing.
2) When you’re not breathing, keep your head still. In between breaths, hold your head still. Don’t roll it around as your body rotates – this will make you dizzy and will hurt your co-ordination. Concentrate on looking at one point on the bottom of the pool. Only turn your head to breathe. You’ll also find you feel much more coordinated with the rest of your stroke.
3) Breathe into the trough. When you move through the water you create a “bow wave” with your head and your body, just like a boat. This creates a trough on either side of your head that is beneath the surface level of the pool. Breathe into this trough and you do not have to lift your head to inhale.
4) Don’t lift your head. The problem with lifting your head to breathe is that your body acts like a see-saw and your legs sink. This adds a lot of drag.
5) Don’t over rotate your head. This is bad technique because it causes you to over-rotate onto your side and cause a loss of balance. To support yourself you tend to crossover with your lead hand creating a banana shape with your body. To correct this, try keeping your lower goggle in the water while breathing.
6) Lack of body rotation could be hurting your breathing. Good body rotation is a massive help to your breathing. That’s because once you have rotated you don’t have to turn your head much further to breathe.
7) Learn to breathe bilaterally. Bilateral breathing helps develop a symmetrical stroke technique which will make you cut straighter through the water. If you only breathe to one side it’s very likely your rotation is poor to your non-breathing side and you won’t swim in a straight line. Stay tuned next month for more on bilateral breathing.

Tennis Clinics

Ladies Inter. Mondays 9:30-10:30 a.m. Lorene
Ladies Begin.
Mondays 10:30-11:30 a.m. Lorene
Begin. Mondays 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Serious Tennis. Tuesdays6:00-7:30 p.m.
Begin./Inter. Wednesdays 7:00-8:30 p.m. Reggie
Men’s Live Ball Wednesdays 6:30-8:00 p.m. Calle
Cardio Tennis Thursdays 9:00-10:30 a.m. Reggie
Ladies Inter. Thursdays 10:30-12:00 a.m.
Social Tennis Fridays 6:30-8:00 p.m. Reggie or Larry
Live Ball Saturdays 10:30-11:30 a.m. Calle, Larry
Begin./Inter. Sundays 9:00-10.30 a.m. Larry