A Yoga-lution

January 5, 2011

I spent a lot of time reading a few books about yoga this weekend. Specifically, Myths of the Asanas and the Sivananda Companion to Yoga. They really got me thinking…

I first found yoga when I was injured and couldn’t run for months after my last marathon. At first it was a way for me to exercise when I couldn’t run (Vinyasa Power Yoga was my go-to class) but it quickly became something much more than that. As I learned more and more about the stories and the history behind the poses I realized how important is had become to employ yogic philosophies in my own life, to keep myself centered and balanced and always striving to reach my true self. The real change in the way I viewed yoga (a workout vs. a lifestyle) came when a new yoga teacher walked into my yoga studio. Deirdre swept in and took us through the story of Shiva and the origins of the warrior poses (Virabhadrasana I, II and III, the poses for Virabhadra, an incarnation of the Hindu deity, Shiva). She opened the class with chants invoking the spirit of Shiva and ended with 3 long “Oms” that filled the room with energy that I had not previous felt in any yoga practice. In one class I learned more about yoga than in all my previous classes combined. She had my interest piqued.

For the last few months I’ve been longing to get back to that time in my life when I practiced yoga almost everyday, but I always find myself getting consumed in my running and my need to break a sweat. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in my day for both. Then, there is a part of me that wants my yoga practice to always be an exercise, like running is, but I know it’s much more than that and I shouldn’t always expect to break a sweat…because I will still reap the benefits. The Sivananda book reinforced just that. One of the biggest point that hit home for me was that it is more beneficial to have a short practice every day than one or two long practices a few times a week.

Well, that’s easy enough.

So, I’m really glad Brandon made the suggestion to get up half an hour earlier to have a short practice in the mornings. Not necessarily everyday, but on most days. It’s only half an hour, and we don’t have to spend 20 minutes getting dressed only to go out in the cold, dark air (like we would for a morning run). I’m happy to report we’ve practiced for the past three days! Even though it has been a little tough to get through the morning “humbugs”, our morning practice has been an incredible blessing for me. It has helped center and ground me before my 45 minute commute and 8+ hour workday (which has been increasingly tough to deal with) and it gives me a special time and space every morning that Brandon and I can share.

It doesn’t take long, and it isn’t hard. It’s just yoga.

and it looks something like this (enjoy the pictures, each one is a link to the original source):

Start in savasana
then, spend a few minutes doing a pranayama breathing exercise (we do anuloma viloma, a.k.a. the “yogi ganster sign”)
a few sun salutations (surya namaskar)
an inversion
followed by child’s pose (balasana)
then a small flow through shoulderstand, plough and bridge
cobra, locust and bow (only bow is shown)
a seated forward fold
a twist on each side
one last standing forward fold
triangle pose (trikonasana) on both sides
then, coming full circle and soaking it all in for the final resting pose, savansana
Do you have a go-to home yoga practice? How often do you practice yoga? What is your favorite pose?

Peace, Love & Bagels,

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