Yay, Yoga!

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Nov 202009

Towards the beginning of the year, Alpha Geek got laid off. It seemed like a good idea to cut back on obvious luxuries, like my membership with the YMCA.

I used to go to the Y two or three times a week for yoga classes. Now and then I’d try aerobics, and once I attempted a “spin” class (the seat on their stationary cycle was uncomfortable enough to leave bruises on my posterior). Mostly, though, it was yoga.

There are lots of reasons to do yoga. The practice encompasses many aspects of a person’s life: the physical, the spiritual, the emotional, et cetera. There are eight principle branches of yoga. One of those branches is hatha yoga, the physical discipline. Hatha yoga is usually what people mean when they talk about “doing yoga,” and it’s the yoga I used to do at the YMCA.

My reason for doing yoga was simple—it made me feel good. Physically good. Sometimes I wouldn’t feel like dragging myself out to the YMCA, but I’d go anyway because I knew how good my body would feel after I was done. Yoga made me feel like everything in my body was aligned, working together, everything pulling in the same direction.

I missed that.

I tried looking for yoga programs on the Fitness channel.

I found a show called Namaste Yoga.* It seemed similar to the classes I took at the Y, in the gentle flow from one pose to another and the patterns they followed. However, the program is only thirty minutes long, and I didn’t feel like I was holding each pose long enough to really explore and experience it.

I found another show called Inhale, an hour-long program billed as “high energy yoga.” I’ll say! That one was more of a calisthenics yoga.

Nothing wrong with either of those shows—everyone does yoga for their own reasons, and that’s why there are so many different types of yoga classes. But neither one of them gave me what I wanted, that feeling that my body had been realigned and was working in harmony with itself again.

I put yoga on the back burner for a while.

Recently, my friend Romilly sent me a link to The Fluent Self, as a blog I might be interested in (I was). While poking around the site, I saw something that brought yoga back to the forefront: a yoga DVD. Havi has taught yoga for many years, in many countries, so she knows whereof she speaks when she promotes this DVD as Yoga That Doesn’t Suck (officially titled Yin Yoga).

And it doesn’t! Yay!

I’m so happy to have yoga again. I’ve been doing the slow, gentle “Yin” series three days a week, after my C25k run. I think next week I’ll start doing the active, energetic “Yang” series on the in-between days when I don’t run on the treadmill. For now, all I know is my back feels so much better.

The two-hour lecture on what Yin Yoga is, and why you’d want to do it, is recommended but optional. I watched the whole thing in one sitting, because I’m a biology geek and I thought his discussion on anatomy was fascinating.

I bought this DVD with some of my birthday money. I think if I get any Christmas money, I’m going to try Shiva Nata. Because it looks weird and interesting, and because I just have to try anything that promises “hot buttered epiphanies.”

*Namaste is often said at the end of a yoga practice, and is also used as a greeting. It is said with a slight bow, palms together at chest height, and the literal meaning is “I bow to you.”

Beyond the literal, the meaning of namaste is (roughly) “The spark of divinity within me acknowledges the one within you.”

I think that’s pretty cool.

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