Living Room Yoga

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This morning, I awoke wanting to practice yoga.

(…what?)

Let me emphasize the practice part, because I am no yogi. I bought a beginner’s yoga book several years ago when my roommate was taking a yoga P.E. class at Longwood and promised to teach me her ways (she was incredibly flexible and very good at poise). Well, we never got around to it–surprise, surprise–so my poor yoga book has been collecting dust, and my interest in learning the art of yoga waned.

In training for my half-marathon, though, I have a renewed interest in slowing my thoughts, decreasing my mind “clutter,” and increasing my flexibility. Perhaps most of all, I want to work on the mental aspect of yoga. When I run, my mind races right along with my feet. I’m constantly calculating, counting down, making predictions, anticipating… I would like to be able to shut this off and enjoy the run.

When I say I have a renewed interest, I don’t know how far this interest will carry me. While I’ve participated in a number of seminars that offered mini yoga sessions, I’ve never attended an official yoga class. I plan to attend yoga at the Y when I’m home in Richmond for the summer, but let’s be honest — 6 a.m. classes and a bitchy sleepy A.K. won’t make for a great combination…

So! Living room yoga:

Tree Pose

Okay, so it’s possible that I found these poses by Googling “easy yoga poses” and then accidentally/on purpose selecting an AARP website that also catered to beginners…

Downward Dog

If you want, we can pretend that my heels are flat on the floor, my legs aren’t hairy, my yoga pants are of even lengths, and I’m not milliseconds away from falling on my head as I attempt a picture on my phone. Your call.

I tried to transition between poses as smoothly as possible, but my session went about as smoothly as expected for trying to scroll through poses on my laptop and ignore my clock app timing me. #Fail

I found some poses incredibly easy to focus on, such as Child’s Pose, Lotus Pose, Cow Pose, and Warrior I Pose. I mindfully tried to clear my head and focus on my breathing and the tautness in my muscles. I found that closing my eyes helped with this on some poses, but hindered my balance on others (e.g. Lunge Pose, Tree Pose). For the most part, slowing my thoughts wasn’t a problem; clearing my mind of clutter and focusing only on my yoga will take time and effort. I guess that’s why they call it practicing yoga.

Before I knew it, 21 minutes had flown by. My muscles felt more limber and relaxed, and I felt fairly stretched out. My mind immediately began “going” again, planning this post, creating mental to-do lists, contemplating what to have for lunch…

Ah, well. I didn’t expect to become a certified yoga instructor after one gawky living room session in my hole-iest yoga pants 😉

Question: Do you practice yoga? If so, do you recommend attending classes or practicing on one’s own time? Are there any materials you have found to be helpful, such as a CD or a book?

[Edited to add: For the month of April, I “traveled” 61.41 miles! In keeping with my goal of traveling 2,013 miles in the year 2013, I “should have” traveled 661.8 miles by April 30. I have traveled 199.64 miles thus far this year, which is just shy of the 399.45 of miles I traveled in 2012 — in 4 months alone! Keepin’ on keepin’ on ;-)]

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2 responses »

  1. When I first started practicing, I was way too intimidated (and too cheap!) to attend an actual class. I looked up podcasts and found Yogamazing, which I did pretty much everyday for a year and built somewhat of a foundation. When I started grad school, the school offered free group fitness classes, so I started going there once a week. Since it wasn’t at an actual yoga studio, there were a lot of first-timers and my teacher took the time to explain the poses really well. The yoga studio that I go to now sometimes just names poses instead of describing them, so I don’t think that I would have been comfortable going when I first began. But I am a baby when it comes to trying new things because I think that everyone is judging me (which I know is not the case), so take this statement with a grain of salt! There are usually a yoga-for-beginners classes offered, so that might be an option. I am glad that I did the podcasts for awhile, but I will say that having a good teacher can really make a difference, especially since they are able to “correct” your poses. Sometimes after I would think “So THIS is what this is supposed to feel like!”

    • Thanks, Sarah! I specifically looked into beginner yoga classes at my local Y that will explain the poses and offer “corrections” — exactly because I’m no yogi haha! I’m really looking forward to learning more about it instead of teaching myself 😉

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