April-2020 update. To cope with the covid crisis, like many of you, I've been forced to create a 'shelter-at-home yoga practice' (it's actually something I've been wanting to do for a long time). But I'm finding it's hard to stay focused for an hour-long class, so I'm starting with shorter sessions and trying to work up to longer durations over time. The good news is that today more than ever, the opportunities to find a class online are truly endless. My own studio is offering live streaming as well as access to an ever growing library on Vimeo with their awesome instructors, but there's also an abundance of free classes on youtube.
"When you start to feel more confident, it’s time to explore another layer: a fully intuitive practice." (This is my goal!)
Each session of yoga can be compared to the cycle of life. We begin in the womb, live actively, and end in the tomb (corpse pose). After which, we return to the fetal position and are born again! The payoff of the practice is shivasina and a body & mind that is prepared for meditation.
The payoff of living each day to the fullest is a peaceful night rest.
Few things in life bring me as much love and peace as yoga and mediation. Meditation is like the icing on the cake of yoga. The two for me go hand in hand.
I began practicing yoga in 2007 in an effort to address my persistent back pain which had been getting progressively worse since completing an Ironman in 2002. Within a year of doing yoga on a weekly basis (1-2x/week), I awoke for the first time without any back pain. Any back pain that has returned since has been minor and short lived.
However, I've received far more from Yoga than simply relief from chronic back pain. It has made me a kinder person. My teachers would not likely recognize who I once was. All of my teachers are rock stars to me and I'll never be able to truly express my gratitude for what they do. I'm living proof that Yoga cultivates kindness. If the whole world did yoga, I know the world would be a kinder place.
How to start.
Find a yoga studio that offers beginning classes. Most offer a 30-day promo. Go to as many classes as you can. The key is to find a teacher that clicks.
Start slow. I went to beginner level classes for year before I stepped up to a more advanced class.
Breath through the challenging postures.
I am grateful that my first teacher, Carrie Martello, drilled the importance of breath. It's served me for over 10 years.
If yoga is the cake, meditation is the icing. Yoga prepares the body for mediation. For me personally, my meditations are deeper when they correlate with my yoga days.
The music plays a key role for me. Thanks to Spotify, I am able to follow many of my favorite yogis and add my favorite songs to my own playlists. If you listen to spotify, you see a list of my own playlists for yoga at https://play.spotify.com/user/50interviews and clicking on the 'Following' tab.
Here are direct links to many of my teachers playlists:
This also happens to be a list of people who matter so much to me! Because they give so much to me through their devotion to yoga. Then there's the Forever Yogi playlist with nearly 800 songs - equivalent to several days of nonstop yoga music!
What has yoga done for you?