So, we were talking about yoga and how to get started. I know, it was like 2 weeks ago, but I’ve been busy.
Many people, mostly men, worry about going to a yoga class and looking stupid. Ok…fine…so get a little experience and familiarity at home. A good mat is an investment, but you can wait to make that until you really fall in love with it and want to keep practicing. So go to any local store and pick up an inexpensive one. Marshall’s is generally a great choice for that. Then go buy a DVD at Target or on Amazon (or wherever you can find one) and get started. I was going to review every DVD I have to help but then I decided, nah…no one is paying me for that. But I will give you a couple of recommends and please be clear that this is simply my opinion and take on them, not everyone would likely agree. One of the first I started with is The Biggest Loser, Yoga for Weight Loss with Bob. It’s not the most yoga-ish, but it’s a good introduction. He includes some weights with poses at the end and that’s not something you’ll find at most yoga classes (with the exception of a pump yoga, or sculpt, depending on what the studio calls it), but it is a good introduction to some standard yoga poses, you can also choose to just do a couple of sections and not the whole thing as you’re building your strength. Still one I enjoy doing on occasion. Bob’s Yoga for the Warrior is also a good one and more yoga-ish, and he does have someone showing modifications but I don’t think he shows him often. Honestly, I usually am not looking at the TV, so I can’t say I have ever actually “watched” every minute of it. I really like Ashley Turner. You can find her on Amazon, I did pick up one at a book store once, but there are not so many book stores these days so Amazon might be your best route. I have her Power Yoga and Yoga for Weight Loss. Very nice practices and she’s an actual yoga teacher. Now, most of you probably know someone, or perhaps you yourself have P90X sitting and collecting dust somewhere? (I’m not saying you’re lazy or anything, I swear, but that shit is for people who are already somewhat fit at least, I think there are a lot of newbies who get it and quit because the workouts are soooo damn long and hard so they give up, it’s collecting dust in my house too.) Anyhow, my whole point is that is truly one of the most THOROUGH yoga workouts I have seen on the market. Now, I personally have an attention span of about 60 minutes when I practice at home and that is a 90 minute workout that I feel is a little lengthy with the stretching at the end. I have only ever done the whole thing once though and that was a while ago. I am grudgingly planning to do it all soon, just so I can check it out again. But I generally do about an hour of it, hit my chill time and I am done. You WILL learn a lot of postures. So if you have it, try it, or if you know someone who was suckered into buying it, steal their yoga DVD. All those other DVD’s I mentioned are less than $10, and a mat will maybe cost you $10-20 depending on where you buy. Cheapest therapy ever. (Oh, and just a little side note on someone I don’t like…Rodney Yee has a lot of DVD’s at the local stores, maybe they are good, but I could never get past him saying weird shit like “move your buttocks flesh away from your waist”, I was like, “what the hell does that mean!”, hopefully he doesn’t find this and sue me, but I am not that big so it’s probably not a huge concern).
Studio yoga. I can only honestly let you know what you’ll find at a hot studio because that’s all I do. But there are things you should know, and honestly you should just do it, at least once. Make it like a bucket list things because then you can brag to your friends you did it, they need never know if all you did was lay down, or vomit, or run out screaming. Most studios have different names and stuff for things they do and maybe one studio calls it one thing, and another studio calls it another, but in the end it’s basically the same “style”. So here’s the gist:
Hatha – developed and patented by Bikram Choudhury, but unless you are going to an actual Bikram studio you are not practicing “actual” Bikram. They are very rigid and pretty much stick to a script and it’s always the same class, same words. That said, the Hatha practiced at most hot studios is still based on this. The “original” type is a 90 minute class with 26 postures all but one done twice, practiced in the same sequence (you absolutely SHOULD do a 90 minute one). Non Bikram studios get around his patent by offering 60 or 75 minute versions, or maybe using a slightly different version of a posture here and there in a 90. Some of them pretty much stick to the script, but they’re not as rigid, and each teacher has their own things they say. Therefore, it’s not “Bikram”. He sues people, seriously. But, it’s a great practice. Wonderful choice for a first timer, a little slower.
Power/Vinyasa: This is where you’ll get to get down dog. Pop some warriors. Flow through some sun salutations. Get exposure to a variety of poses. This is what I love most of all! Most of these type classes incorporate some elements of Power which is more holding a pose longer, and Vinyasa, where you flow with your breath. Kind of like a dance. The beauty of these classes is they’re going to be different from teacher to teacher. Yet, there are only so many poses in yoga, and while there are a lot of them, here’s where you’re going to get some exposure to more of them. Don’t even be afraid to start here. You might move a little faster at some, but these are great classes for muscle building. If you’re practicing at home, you’ll find many of those poses in this type of class.
Fusion: A little bit of both of the above. Fused. Make sense? Nuff said.
Again, different studios have different names for their classes. It’s individual. That’s the best part of it. There are a lot of different teaching styles, some teachers are more serious, some keep it light hearted. I don’t dislike more serious teachers, but I gravitate toward ones that keep it a little lighter, and that’s how I teach too. I don’t think I had ever been in a class with a teacher who had a good time with her teaching until the first time I took a class with one of my favorite teachers Mindy, (but I have encountered many more since, Heidi, most unique teacher I have ever met, Cami, her encouragement throughout class is invigorating, Amelia, learn something new from her always, and my Traci, my friend who teaches with love and laughter always, there are more, but this is a long parentheses side step already) and I don’t know if she remembers but I walked out of the class and walked up to her and said, “that was the most fun I have ever had in a yoga class”. She made a fan of me that day and sort of showed me the way for my teaching. That it was okay to make people laugh on occasion during class, play some great music, and really have a little fun with it. I prefer it.
That said, there are some yoga etiquettes you should be aware of for the maybe few of you reading this who aren’t my yoga friends and then I am done because I am tired of typing and I am watching American Idol. Don’t wear shoes into the studio, don’t pack all your shit in there, mat, towel, water bottle, that’s it, and don’t talk once you’re in the studio. It’s a chill place. Let it be that for everyone else. But if you’re paying enough attention, don’t be afraid to laugh at your teachers jokes during class (please!), or if they are encouraging your verbal participation, do it. The beauty of yoga is that it can be whatever you want to make of it. That’s my theory on it anyhow.
I’ll get back to my adventure with other exercise next time. Namaste bitches!