Happy one full week of yoga! I’m a third of the way through the 21 Day Yoga Challenge and I am feeling good 🙂 Mentally, I feel very accomplished and not as frantic as I sometimes feel. Physically, I can feel that I am getting better at the poses–I’m learning to pay attention to each pose and make adjustments where needed–yoga is not for the passive! I realized I used to do a very lazy down and upward facing dog–my hips weren’t back far enough and my shoulders weren’t pushed back and down enough, respecitvely. You should always feel something in the poses, even if they’re “easy.” I’m finally starting to get what the instructors mean when they say things like “open the heart” or “bring the energy through the crown.”
Day Six featured a new teacher that I really enjoyed. She reminded me a lot of some teachers I’ve had (in person) in the past. She was very direct with her instructions and had an attitude I respond to very well–I can’t explain it very well, unfortunately. She was very calm but not in that stereotypical hippie-child kind of way and she was encouraging but she didn’t baby you. Eh, just watch the video for yourself I guess! It was really great. This session was all about back bends and featured lots of moves I and any one else who does Power or Vinyasa Flow yoga will be familiar with.
This was the first video that I really felt like I got a workout in. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed all of the past episodes and I love any kind of yoga, but sometimes I get this complex that it’s not a workout unless you’re sweating or can feel your heart pumping. That’s why the majority of classes I take are intense hot yoga classes–LOVE IT!
There were a couple sun salutations and lots of chair poses that gave my legs a workout, too! The sun salutations she took us through seemed to be deeper than I’m used to, which was a nice change. She also incorporated the use of your arms to create more of a stretch in the back, which was interesting and new for me. I’m not very good with balance, but if I’m very focused and calm, I can pull off a pretty nice tree pose. Yesterday was not one of those days. I was wobbling all over the place and with the added side bend she asks you to do, it was a lost cause. Better luck next time, I guess. There were a lot of floor poses like bow and locust that really made my back feel great. There’s also a great pose that I had never done before that I really enjoyed called rock star. (What an awesome name! :)) Well, that’s not entirely true–the rock star pose is the same pose as “flipping the dog,” when you flip over one leg from your down dog, but I had never gone into it from seated, so it felt new to me. I really enjoyed this video and will be revisiting it in the future.
Random thought: I have total respect for anyone committing to any kind of “me time” activity who has children. I do yoga in our computer room because my boyfriend’s cat (my step-cat, as I like to call her–it really freaks him out ;-)), Tali, lays all over my mat and demands attention and gets in the way if I don’t have a door to close. She’ll slide her paw under the door and meow and scratch trying to get in but she usually leaves after a minute or so to go find something more interesting to do. Yesterday, she was not having it. She was being so loud and was not giving up, so I gave in and let her hang around. She was totally in the way and she was not happy that she didn’t have my full attention. UGH! I can’t even imagine how hard it must be with kids if I can’t even manage a cat! Props to all of you mothers/fathers/caretakers!
She does try her best to keep up though:
I have come to love starting the morning with yoga, so I did a podcast when I woke up because the video for today is a nighttime relaxation sequence–not how I want to start a Wednesday! The Yoga Download channel has so many episodes it’s ridiculous! Most of their episodes can be downloaded as audio or as a full video and many also come with a pose guide for download as well if you need it and they’re all about 20 minutes long, so you can do as many or as little as you’d like to make your own routine. This morning, I did “Episode 11: Morning Flow #1”. When the audio started, the woman said that this episode would focus on back bends, as they were a great way to wake up in the morning. Back bends back to back! (da-dun-CHH!) Doing all these back bends really has been improving the discomfort I always have in my back. Although this morning I did have to spend a little more time than usual in the counter stretches for my lower back–it just would not cooperate! It totally tightened up 😦 I was really worried I’d have an awful day because of it, but by the time I left for work it worked itself out. Yay!
The Day Seven episode was taught by the same woman who did Day One. She has avery calming and soothing way of teaching–my best guess is that this is her specialty. Like the morning yoga, this episode featured basic, easy stretches that were executed slowly: rocking from table top to child’s pose, hugging one leg into your chest, etc. You are encouraged to go at your own pace as with any other class and rest your mind while you relax your body. It was a really nice way to end the day.
Well, that’s one week down. I’m looking forward to the next two weeks and I am excited to see my progress in the poses as well as the execution. Until next time…