Saturday, January 23, 2016

Home Yoga

With a wicked snow storm assailing our eastern coast in the U.S. and the ground in the Midwest converted to a frozen tundra, not to mention the air that turns boogers to icicles, the urge to leave one's home for anything has dwindled away to not very great at all. It is the time of private yoga once again. 

My favorite online, free resource for yoga video workouts of all levels:     Do Yoga With Me

See below for how to use a yoga video.

You don't necessarily need a season for a yoga home practice, but for me, this is when it all begins again each year. 
Thoughts of how smart it was to have a YMCA membership were of great comfort and encouragement as late as last week. I would dash out the door at 5:20 am, thinking of how fun (and heroic) this whole thing was. It was especially pleasant when my daughter joined me for class, and we left the rest of the lazy household in bed. Didn't we feel proud of ourselves?  Weren't we lucky to have a place to workout despite the cold?

Cate is back in college and my husband is enjoying his winter bike rides too much, so it was down to just me this week. I made it to the gym Monday. That's it. On Tuesday, I did a power yoga workout that I like very much: It is a busy day favorite, as the whole thing takes 35 minutes, but it is hard! I could feel it in my shoulders and back all day. Wednesday, I resolved to do a longer workout, but in the end, I had only time to jump on the mini-trampoline for 15 minutes before running out the door. Court in Illinois in the morning, another work appointment in Iowa 30 miles away in the afternoon. On the upside, I listened to chapters and chapters of a Philippa Gregory novel in the car that day; "The Taming of the Queen," which was excellent, much better than the "White, Red Queen" series. 

Thursday, I did only a beginner, stretching workout, which was just what I needed, but on Friday, I finally had some morning time and I made my (interrupted) way through an hour and a half of yoga. It got the day off to a marvelous start. Your level or experience is immaterial for reaping the benefits of exercise, in particular for yoga, but the more you practice, the more you will get from it.

How to use a yoga video:

1) Watch through it first before doing it. (Yes, this is like knitting a swatch for knitters, some will follow the advice, some will jump right in. If you fall in the latter, less patient category, at least be careful on the first time through a new workout.) 

2) Try it without watching, but just listening, once you have seen it. You can keep the computer near you, but focusing on the words is more like a class and it allows you to concentrate on your own body and breath. 

3) If you are home and it is not the middle of the blasted night, expect interruptions. Make this acceptance part of your practice and try to breathe through the requests; for a signature on a permission form that could have been done last night, last week, last year, or the sweater that really IS hanging on the drying rack in the basement, as only you can demonstrate by running your bare feet down the freezing cold steps to snatch it and bring the blessed thing back up the steps. or: "Yes, I will call the eye doctor to see if your glasses are in." Treat these as you would thoughts that you acknowledge and let go of. 

4) Try one, and if it is not for you, try another. Don't give up. Sometimes there will be poses or sequences that are not possible for you today. This may change over time. You will become more flexible day by day and month by month. Try to go through the whole workout anyway, the rest of it may be just what you needed. 

5) Remember, yoga is really a way to focus your breathing by getting into a pose that allows for meditation. This, in turn, promotes a healthy mind and body. Breathe. Let go of thoughts, anxieties and external necessities during your session. Treat it as a time devoted to nothing but yoga, nothing but breathing into a better you. 

6) If you are looking for simplest of simple, spend half an hour going from down dog to child's pose. You will glean the same rewards as a complicated series of poses without thinking about new positions. Those are the basics, the rest are ways of mixing it up, like "Do, a Deer," medley in the Sound of Music. (Sorry, I made the family watch it with me for my birthday, but I promise no more references to it in my writing. Adieu, auf wiedersehen.

And...Namaste, friend. 


  1. Thanks for sharing! I used to do yoga when I was still in high school with a group and did it while I was pregnant, but recently, there is no time for any exercise anymore. Maybe that program will encourage me to get back to it.

  2. Hello Eva; I started yoga when expecting my second baby, I think I knew about poses before that, because I remember trying them and my overly flexible body found them easy. Ah; how age changes that! This is my favorite simple yoga class, 35 minutes, with an instructor who knows how to describe every movement and sensation that indicates you are doing it correctly. I still use it almost every day, post-workout or to recover from weight-lifting class: I have not ever signed in to this website, btw, which does not give you the search option, but you can scroll through classes and choose easily enough. Thanks for stopping by!


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