Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ask L, pt. 1

Today I made it to yoga class at the gym and had a major accomplishment.  I did the tripod pose!

This is one of those poses that is difficult for me simply because I'm scared.  Scared of falling over and hitting someone, so I just skip it. Today I went for it and rocked it! I could have chilled there all day with my knees on my elbows. Actually, it was sort of easy to tumble over, so I focused on my jacket which was on the floor. The next step is to straighten your legs into a full headstand. I’ll get there!

A lot of poses in yoga are positions you used to get yourself into as a child, but now as an adult feel very uncomfortable or scary. I love that as a 28 year old I'm re-teaching myself how to stand on my head.

Now today in class there was a woman who was struggling. Majorly. She definitely had no balance, and it was clear she wasn't familiar with a lot of the names of the poses or how they were supposed to look/feel. There was a lot of moaning, sighing, and falling over going on over there. The good thing is she didn't bail. Sometimes she needed to take a timeout and laid down on her mat, but she didn't pack it up and leave.

I wanted to go over and offer some suggestions, but I was in a selfish mood this morning and didn't feel like it. I know. I'm not feeling selfish now, so I'll share with you what I would have told her:

1. "Honor any feelings of restraint." I true wanted to run over and just say this to her. When I first started doing yoga I followed a Gaiam video, and the instructor would put you into a pose and then say, "Honor any feelings of restraint." She was reminding you not to overdo it. If it hurt, stop. If you're cramping up, stop. It's so easy to hurt yourself in yoga---and you'll be hurting for days. This is one of my life mantras now. Eating, drinking, gossip, anger—“honor any feeling of restraint.” If you know you should stop, stop.

2. "If you're just starting yoga, you should really check out this video." One of the first yoga videos I bought is still my absolute favorite. I have about five different videos and none of them compare. Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss is a fantastic video that not only teaches you all of the basic poses (and their names), but also provides you with four variations of each pose, depending on your level of difficulty. I'm not really sure why it has weight loss in its name. It's a very calm, slow video, and difficult only because she stays in each pose for so long. There aren't sun salutations in it, so you don't get your heart rate going. It will definitely increase your flexibility though!

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