DISCLAIMER: I know that these poses are not perfect and I do not claim to be proficient in yoga. ;)
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.
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.
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: