I've been asked about yoga several times since mentioning it being such a huge part of my 2013. :-) I lovelovelove going to class and practicing with a teacher who can guide me, encourage different adjustments based on what they see, what's going on today, etc.; but I also know that's not feasible for some, and for others, it's a potentially scary investment at first, if you aren't sure what the deal is. ;-) Here's my (not a yoga teacher! only practiced a year! newbie) take:
First off & most importantly, please know that yoga is NOT ABOUT "what you can do" - not how flexible you are, not how long you can hold some crazy pose, nor how good your form is. That stuff just doesn't really matter. Honest. Yoga is about learning to love & appreciate who you are & where you are right now in the present moment, letting go of outside stuff, breathing deeply, acknowledging how God has put your body together, and finding balance. ♥ Don't think, "I can't do yoga. I can't even touch my toes." I promise you it doesn't matter; that's so not the point. There are also MANY different types of yoga. It's not all handstands, backbends, and dramatic balancing poses. If you want that, you can do it; in yoga, you can work up to anything! (Ashtanga!) :-) But I've developed a passion for Yin/restorative. These classes are almost all lying down on the floor the whole time, stretching, softening joints, slowly letting gravity extend your flexibility, staying in one pose for several minutes, and learning to relax. Not only do I feel like these classes put my body back right after Zumba, ;-) but I personally feel balanced & blessed afterwards. There really *is* something to be said for actively pursuing "mind/body bliss". I feel like it's a form of praise & worship that truly honors God & his creation.
When I can't go to my usual classes, (on vacay or esp. when I have volunteering at the kids' school,) I feel comfortable now searching YouTube for practice videos that speak to me. I'll share some of my favorites. :-)
This first lady was the first YouTube yogi I "clicked" with: Esther Ekhart. Maybe it's her calm, sweet, intelligent European accent? :-P I don't know, but her video "60 minutes Yin Yoga for the Spine" was the first one I really enjoyed. It's very stripped down - no background music, no fancy mood enhancing :-D - but she's quality:
Esther has become a major YouTube yoga guru with additional subscriptions, etc. I'm not into the extras, but all of her stuff is wonderful. Here's her main page, (scroll down to Yoga Beginners, or search her almost *500* videos for whatever you want to explore: neck pain, yoga for runners, depression & anxiety, TMJ, digestion, morning flow, etc.) or if that page is too overwhelming, check out her old page that just has 12 videos.
I didn't want to just do that one video over & over with no variety, so I looked for more in the same vein. This one [note: the verbal cues are hard to hear under the music] stands alone (there's no free Lesson 2, 3, etc. ;-)) by Peaceflow Yoga: "Yin Yoga - Lesson 1"
DoYogaWithMe is a great channel with clear, sleek videos. I've only done two, but they were both lovely:
"A Deep Release for the Hips, Hamstrings and Lower Back" is a fantastic stretching practice!
"Oceanside Restorative Yoga" is pure relaxation. This one has actually helped me to fall asleep a few times:
Two I haven't tried, yet, that are on my list: "Yin Yoga Presentation" (more active stretching) and "Mindful Yin Yoga" (more relaxation).
Do any of you have video recommendations you enjoy when you can't be in class in person? And if anyone tries yoga for the first time, let me know what you think! Actively be full of God's light and love! ♥