Yoga at home

I used to take yoga classes at Fitness First, but due to schedule and expense I canceled my gym membership almost a year ago. Since then, I’ve been finding other ways to amuse myself, such as running or doing crunches. I missed doing yoga with a class – I didn’t really talk to anybody then, but having a teacher around to help explain (or correct) your poses, and having a quiet, supportive environment, really made the class more fulfilling.

Over the holidays I have been overeating (just like any Pinoy!), so I decided to go back to yoga. Armed with an old yoga DVD, I unrolled my mat and started doing the video again. The problem is, I’ve had this DVD for so long that I’ve memorized it! And though I still enjoy the flow and the peace it gives me, I was, quite frankly, bored.

Shoulderstand - from YogaJournalSo this morning I decided to try yoga podcasting. I found a site called Yogamazing that offers instructional video podcasts based on a certain theme: e.g. Yoga for Strength, Yoga for Colds, Yoga for Runners, etc. The host, Chaz Rough, is a bit peppy; he makes lively conversation at the start of each video, which I’m not a big fan of (I like my yoga quiet) – but once he got into the actual asanas, I found myself enjoying it. He was doing poses that I hadn’t done in a loooong time! In fact I was quite embarrassed, because the podcast I tried asked for a Shoulderstand pose, which I had had no trouble doing last year in class – but I just COULDN’T lift myself up now. (No, not because of my weight 😐 I’m out of practice, is all!) By the end of the 20 minutes I was sweating profusely. It was fun trying to keep up with Chaz as he went from pose to pose, and also hearing his suggestions for correct alignment.

People make New Year’s resolutions for exercise all the time, but my return to yoga isn’t a resolution, just more of an alignment with my current needs. The focus, introspection, and challenge that yoga gives me offsets the stressors I’ve had of late, and it really feels like coming home to a good place – something that running, which is all about escape, doesn’t give me. All I have to do now is to figure out the logistics of doing yoga at home: clear out bigger floor space, set up speakers so I can hear the podcast better, find a good angle for my LCD monitor so I can see the poses even from the floor, buy tea light candle holders to surround my mat with candles, etc. I’ll be staying tuned to Yogamazing, and also look for other video podcasts on the Web. Here’s to a healthier and more peaceful new year!


Fitness First yoga upgrade by the end of the year!

This morning, our yoga teacher gave us awesome news – Fitness First is developing its yoga program into three new types of classes. By the end of the year, *all* FF branches will have Bikram Yoga (where the room is heated), Ashtanga Yoga, and yoga for relaxation.

I’m so happy I never canceled my FF membership. Their Athletic Yoga and Body Balance classes are the only things I attend. I don’t even use their machines anymore, hahaha.

Now I just have to pray that the new office we move into has a FF branch nearby; otherwise I will be very, very sad.

The Sunday morning Athletic Yoga class is turning out to be my favorite. I’m always genuinely tired but happy afterwards. Our teacher is a strong, cheerful woman who seems to genuinely care about yoga and her students.

Being an achiever, it’s pretty hard for me to be in a room full of advanced yogis who can convolute their bodies any which way. Several times in the past, I’ve tried to do more advanced poses only to hurt myself. But recently I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just not as good. So today, when our teacher reminded us to respect our own levels, I comfortably sat it out through a few poses. I still make it a point to go beyond my comfort zone, though if I go too far I feel genuine fear and then step back. Fear is something I still need to conquer.

As for today, I was able to do Shoulderstand, but was too afraid to let go into Plow Pose. Maybe next week.

Yoga Hardcore

My goal this week was to attend three yoga* classes at the gym, no excuses. This goal is monumental because I’ve only done that once in my life. I usually attend yoga twice a week, partly because that’s what my work sched permits, and partly because I can be a lazy ass.A full Half Moon pose

I did it, though! Three yoga classes, three days in a row. I’m sure I’m supposed to pace myself, but the Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday classes are the only ones I can feasibly attend. So at 6:40 am today, I took my third class, and it went surprisingly well. I’d been having difficulty with some poses this entire week. I don’t know, my alignment just wasn’t right. Plus, it’s hard for me to do a full Half Moon Pose from the prepatory pose that the class dictates (facing the floor with one leg up) as opposed to doing it the way I do at home (standing up and diving down). Today, I was able to do something like it without falling over, so that’s something. And I didn’t feel pain doing the typically-painful standing strength poses at all. (Maybe the pain will come tomorrow when my body realizes what it’s done.) Continue reading