Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So... Do You Want to Learn Yoga?

DISCLAIMER: I know that these poses are not perfect and I do not claim to be proficient in yoga. ;)
Yoga has been a love of mine for over ten years. That said, I will go months without practicing, which hinders my progress in advancement. I actually don't strive to advance the way that many do, but rather to maintain. I began yoga as a way to tone my muscles and keep fit. The reasons I do it now are to keep my body from deteriorating now that I'm getting older.

My family has a history of really nasty joint diseases and I also have patella femoral syndrome. After the birth of my fourth child, I began experiencing excruciating hip pain, especially in winter. I know that I am becoming arthritic, and when I am not practicing my yoga my joints suffer terribly. Yoga also can help lose or maintain weight, though that is not a reason for me.

However. If you read this blog with any regularity, you will know that I am a self-teacher and self-proclaimed cheapskate. I don' need no stinkin' yoga classes!

I started out with Wai Lana yoga dvd's (actually, I think I started back when VHS was still being used with regularity. I love Wai Lana, and have the Little Yogi's Dvd for my little ones though I dare say they love to practice their stretches whenever they see me do it.

Yoga with Wai Lana makes me so happy. She is so calm and peaceful and her smile brightens my mood whenever I see it. Her voice is also soothing, but I admit it presents a challenge near the end when she does the relaxation to not fall asleep. I have done this a few times and woke up on the floor completely startled that it had happened.

After a while, I felt the need for something a little more custom.

I began researching the different yoga postures. I went to websites such as Yoga Journal, Mind Body Green, and especially Yoga.About.Com to learn everything I could about the more basic poses.

Mostly, I wanted to know what effect each posture was known to have, to maximize my benefits and purpose. I asked myself, "what do I want Yoga to do for me, physically?"

The answer was of course, help alleviate my joint pain and prevent my muscles from deteriorating from lack of use. So I made a list of those postures that suited my needs the most. I grouped the postures together and came up with 3 different routines that I would alternate, taking care to give attention to all of my muscle groups so none would be neglected.

Youtube searches helped me to see the proper way to get into each position without harming myself and making sure that I understood how to do the postures correctly. Poses such as downward facing dog, the warrior poses, or extended side angle would actually damage my joints further if I did them improperly. I used mirrors and had my kids take my photo while practicing so that I could tell how I was doing. It was very humbling to see myself at first.

I also wanted to know about the history and philosophy of Yoga. It's not enough for me to simply know how to do some of it for my own benefit. Yoga, I perceived, is not simply a manner of exercise. It is a life style, even so much as a religion. While I do not practice all aspects of yoga, I do honor and recognize them. I meditate and reflect and focus on my breathing.

I went to the library and checked out books on Yogis and Gurus and studied them. Among my favorite by far is "B.K.S. Iyengar, The Path To Holistic Health." I have found this man to be a complete inspiration and the book is a treasure trove of information.

I am still learning and improving and striving to be in sync with the rhythms of my body that yoga teaches.

If you need anymore inspiration to try yoga, for whatever your personal reason, take a look at this:


  1. Hi there. I follow your blog and read it from time to time. I would like to say, awesome, beautiful pose pictures. We do yoga at home, but not regularly. It would be nice, if I made a goal to. Do you have any youtube videos that you suggest for mom and toddlers. From time to time I will put on a video for my kiddoes and join them, or not and they will have a yoga lesson. It really aids them in resting their busy little minds and spreading energy around smotohly.

  2. Thank you for reading! I have to tell you, I quite enjoy your blog as well. UmIm always excited when I see a new post.

    I don't know of any mamma-toddker YouTube videos, but I will keep an eye out. I agree that it can be calming for little ones and I love the way you put it. :)