1 Year of Yoga Classes
276 Classes - Yin, Flow, Slow Flow, Aroma Flow, Fusion, Core. One year and I have learned a lot. I've done a lot of things since actively joining the yoga community;
- Joined my local yoga studio, Dragonfly.
- Joined the Journey Junkie Facebook group.
- Downloaded and filled out Journey Junkies Yoga Posture & Practice Journal.
- Bought and read some good books; Namaslay by Candace Moore, Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley, The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele.
- Accomplished a 90 day challenge. From September 29 to December 27. Yoga class everyday.
I have so many swirling thoughts about yoga it's hard for me to know where to begin. So I'm going to break down those points.
I have a lot of issues with the studio, from the lack of positive body image to weird music and disrespectful students. But after a year of being with them, I find that my practice has deepened so much and it's because of the studio. I have ladies that I see weekly, favorite teachers whose classes I'll do almost anything to attend and the music has grown on me. While I do still miss my traditional yoga studio I find that because this environment has such a Western outlook on yoga I have become more open to the spiritual side. Yoga use to be all about the physical for me. I am having a hard time explaining how this makes me feel and I think I'll be spending sometime delving further into this on my own before I'll be able to find the words.
Finding that facebook group was one of the best things for me! If you are even thinking about starting to do yoga or looking to deepen your practice but don't have access to a studio or books. I highly recommend joining. Every question possible is open to be asked on there and the response is great. It is a beautiful, positive group and that is not an easy thing to create and maintain. But Allie has somehow been able to foster that and continue it. It's a testament to the type of person she is.
Her Yoga Posture & Practice Journal was fantastic for me to read through and follow. Though I am still not comfortable creating my own sequences I can do my thing at home and it feels great. The biggest thing, for me was the 5 posture goals. Last year I choose Sirsasana - Forearm Stand, Hanumanasana - Splits, Natarajasama - King Dancer, Parsa Bakasana - Crow, and Ustrasana - Camel.
Sirsasana - Forearm Stand
I decided relatively early on that forearm stand was not for me. I have a huge fear of going upside down. One day I will get over this fear. For the moment though I decided to work on my core strength. When I do eventually take a class to teach me proper form for getting into this pose, I know core will be the biggest thing needed. There will be no jumping into this pose, there will be a slow and steady raise of a leg followed by the second.
Hanumanasana - Splits
Ironically I see very little change in my splits in regards to how close I am getting to the floor. But my form has greatly improved. My hips are level, I can straight up and lean forward. Overall it feels better.
Natarajasama - King Dancer
This is one pose where I feel like I have gotten worse at it. To be honest my stability has been off causing me to arch wrong. This needs more conscious practice for sure.
Parsa Bakasana - Crow
My favorite to be fully honest! I love crow and I probably always will. I no longer have to use a block and I am working on coming into the pose from different positions, like malasana. This fun little video brings me so much joy as well. It was the first time I had ever fallen forward and that has always been a huge fear of mine. Doing it made me realize it really isn't that bad. I have also begun working on my side crows, now those are so much harder! I definitely need to build more upper body strength!
Ustrasana - Camel
3 out of 5 poses I call a huge success. One of the "failures" isn't even a true failure because I learned my boundaries and I learned that I needed to do more work before attempting it further. I have grown so much in all the poses, it's really nice to see.
Namaslay by Candace Moore - I read this book at a time when I needed it. There is no spiritual side of yoga within it. It's concise and written very much for the author.
Every Body Yoga by Jassamyn Stanley - this book is everything. It's about body positivity, inclusivity, culture appropriation, the "yoga cult", and so much more. Her words are to the point and covered everything I have been thinking on lately. I so wish I had been able to go to Chicago to met her when she was doing her book tour. I hope to one day. For now I religiously follow her and will definitely be reading this book a few times over. (I've already read it twice).
The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele - my favorite yoga teacher, Sabrina, read through this book over a period of 8 weeks. Every Sunday during yin she would go through a chapter, discussing it with us even though we weren't really responding. I honestly wish she would do it again, because I feel like I fully opened up to what she was talking about on week 6 and that I missed a lot of the first chapters. I cried silent tears tons throughout her classes. This tweet is about her. I bought this book because I am finally ready to hear more and I want more. But I am totally scared of opening the book and have it sitting on my desk everyday staring at me yelling "Chicken!". Spiritual things aren't easy for me. It's going to be a slow journey.
Finally, the 90 Day Challenge
I wrote about my experience on instagram. I know I'll never do it again. Yet at the same time yoga means more to me than ever before. I'm stronger than I ever was, mentally and physically.
What's my thoughts for this next year ahead!
Maybe 300 classes in the year
Maybe I'll work on chin stand and king dancer.
Maybe I'll just continue to do the basics and love where I am. That's the great thing about yoga. It's about doing what's best for your body and I plan to listen to mine. What you can bet though, is that I'll keep posting about it on Instagram.
Articles of note:
- Who owns Yoga?
- London Chocolate Yoga
- I'm a Yoga Teacher Who Isn't "Good" at Yoga, and That's OK
- 5 Ways to Be Inclusive When Teaching or Practicing Yoga
- Dolphin Pose comic by Danielle Corsetto