For my yoga practice this week, I decided to take a page out of Christina Aguilera’s book and do what she did in 2006– get back to the basics.
In case you forgot about this piece of music gold. (Photo from Wikipedia)
For the past month, I have been forcing myself to do intermediate to advanced yoga asanas, because I wasn’t able to let go of my ego and realize that I’m actually pretty terrible at yoga. I don’t have the strength, flexibility, or attention span necessary to perform tricky poses like Headstand or Crow in a manner that will benefit me physically and mentally. The way I was practicing yoga, I was headed for injury, or at least burning out of the practice and having to fudge all of my future blog postings (and being like yeah, I totally did yoga today! That’s what I do, just yoga it up at least two hours a week because it’s a class requirement! When I would really be sitting on my couch eating ramen noodles).
After doing my preliminary research about yoga the first week of the project, and learning the importance of forgetting my ego and developing mindfulness, I decided to peruse basic yoga videos on YouTube, ones with names like “Yoga for Complete and Total Beginners” and “Yoga for Tragically Inflexible People” (the latter is not a real video, but I wish it was. Maybe I’ll make it someday!). I would have to say, the results were positive. By performing basic and less intensive asanas, I was able to focus on my mental game, and use my breath to inhale what is beautiful and good in the world (which are know as niyamas in Sanskrit, the original language of yoga), and exhale what is negative and wrong within myself (aka, yamas). One of the asanas that has helped me be mindful of developing my niyamas and discarding my yamas (lol yamas rhymes with llamas) the most has been Tadasana, or the basic Mountain Pose. This pose is supposed to me tap into the rich energy source that runs through the earth. Tadasana involves standing straight up, lifting my chest, rooting into the earth through all four corners of my feet, and remembering to breathe. Sounds simple, right? Honestly, not really. In Mountain Pose, mindfulness of every tiny aspect of my posture is necessary to make the asana beneficial. My kneecaps must be flexed to draw strength into my thighs, my head must be in line with my heart which must be in line with my pelvis, by tailbone needs to be tucked in (whatever that means), and throughout all of it, I’m expected to maintain rhythmic and cleansing breath. No matter how mentally difficult I may find this pose, it is physically light-years easier than advanced poses that require contortions of the spine or inversions of the body. Anyways, I’m not in yoga for a workout; I’m already in cross country and track, and my coach seems to think that 50 mile weeks are good for us somehow (plus, these simple asanas aren’t as physically easy as I was expecting them to be!)
A couple of ladies, just casually doing Tadasana in jean shorts. (Photo CC by Asha Gupta)
So, you might be asking, “Wow, what are these wonderful basic yoga videos that Maggie has been using this week that have helped her develop herself into such a better person?!” Both of the routines I used this week come from the lovely “Yoga with Adrienne,” a YouTube channel dedicated to the teachings of (you guessed it) Adrienne, a charming and funny Texas lady (who actually manages to make me smile during my practice with her casual “y’alls”). The first video is “Yoga for Complete Beginners,” a good source for people who just want to try out this “yoga” thing without making a commitment. The second video is “Ease Into It,” the first video of a 30-day sequence that I am planning to complete because hey, why not. Maybe by the end of the 30 days I’ll finally be flexible (but doubtful).
Turns out that Christina Aguilera was on to something.