Yoga on the Cheap

Summer is in full swing and it’s been tough keeping up my regularly scheduled fitness. Between work, travel and occupying a constantly bored teen, my yoga practice has been slippin’. It’s difficult to make my favorite class on Saturdays and I can’t rationalize shelling out cash for drop-ins at local studios. I’m forced to get creative.

Enter: my quest for free yoga on YouTube.

I have been mining YouTube for fitness gems for years. DVDs get repetitive and I prefer to mix up workouts. YouTube is perfect for this. Here are some of my favorites for an inexpensive yoga fix:

Yoga with Adriene: She’s a good mix of crunchy but not too granola. Whether aim to feel energized, relieve stress, or focus on specific parts of the body, beginning and advanced yogis have many options with Adriene.

 

Tara Stiles: Tara Stiles is pretty amazing to watch. She’s tall, thin and ultra flexible — but don’t be intimidated. She has a lot of short videos for varying levels. She’s my go-to if I only have time for a 10 minute routine in the morning or before bed. She moves quickly so having some yoga knowledge under your belt helps.

Shiva Rea: These videos aren’t the highest quality but they get the job done. I like the Shiva Rea approach; it’s challenging, a little intense and well paced. She makes me feel all spiritual and s**t.

Yoga House: If you want to learn or perfect specific poses, check out Yoga House. They have a variety of short videos showing you how to get in and out out of various asanas. The video quality is good, just ignore the random passersby in the background.

 

Last but not least, my favorite cheap yoga find is at Lululemon. They offer complimentary community classes on most Sunday mornings before they open for business. It may seem odd to practice in a retail space but it’s surprisingly serene. Classes are led by different local teachers each week. It’s a great way to check out new instructors without paying for a class. I follow Lululemon on Facebook to keep track of weekly in-store events.

Also, free classes take the sting out of buying $100 yoga pants.

Namaste.

 

 

Controversy, parody, G.O.B–it’s just one of those days

Day 19. Life has me kind of wiped out today so I’m going to stay on the lighter side of things. No revelatory postings. No goals or extra challenges within the challenge. I’m all about chillaxin’ with YouTube this afternoon.

Here are some funny and/or interesting things I found while perusing the yoga and wellness site, MindBodyGreen.

Jason Bateman is funny. I enjoy his dry, pessimistic spirit. I saw him in an interview openly talking about being typecast and playing the same guy in most of his roles. He’s got a point thereĀ (See: Horrible Bosses, The Switch, Arrested Development). He didn’t seem to mind and I don’t either.

He had me at Michael Bluth.

I found this clip of Bateman talking to David Letterman about, you guessed it, Bikram yoga! He did not enjoy it. I like to believe he was just playing his usual contrarian role. As a child, he actually practiced with Bikram himself. Check it out:

I’m always trying to clear my head during savasana but I usually end up thinking about food. Warning: there may be an F-bomb or two.

Take a look at this awesome yogini. There was some controversy about her lack of clothing in this video but her poses and strength (not to mention her body) are amazing. Now the fellas are interested!

Here’s what you’re more likely to see in class:

Just for good measure, I had to include G.O.B.

I see some Arrested Development viewing in tonight’s future.

My left foot

Oh, how I love the days when the 90 minutes fly by! I’m happy to report that Day 4 was one of them. It was a pretty average class except that I was practicing right next to the studio director, so I was on my best behavior.

She’s tough, humorous and intense; she can spot someone breathing wrong from a mile away. I like her.

Standing next to her pushed me to concentrate harder. I found myself holding poses longer and stretching deeper. It’s fun to be around someone who can encourage you by their mere presence. Note: I have perfectionist tendencies and I’m pretty hard on myself. The desire to impress my instructors is not surprising.

If I’m going to get picky, I have to talk about my balancing troubles. Bikram contains four standing poses that require you to balance on your right and then on your left leg. I can stand for days on my right leg, not a problem. But my left? Well, that is a whole ‘nother story. I’ll give you the Cliff’s notes version:

In 2003, while 8 1/2 months pregnant with my daughter, I was in a very bad car accident. I suffered a severe compound fracture and doctors feared my left leg needed amputation. After eight surgeries, two infections, hospitalizations, child birth, tons of hardware, a big ol’ scar, nerve damage, etc. I still have my left leg. My daughter was unharmed and perfect, born four weeks after the initial accident.

One of the frightful four: Standing head to knee pose

I live with chronic pain and work daily to make my left leg as strong as my right. It’s never going to happen but a girl can try. Bikram yoga challenges my entire body but most of all, my left leg. The fact that I even wear shorts that expose my scar and flawed foot is something I would’ve NEVER done a few years back. I love that I don’t care anymore. I now realize that other people don’t care either. Everyone has their issues.

My goal is to find stability and peace with this part of my body that I have resented for so long. I would be happy to gain even a little balance on my left side in those dreaded standing poses. I’m going to make that my physical focus; a challenge within the challenge. I only have 60 days and it may take years. I figure I’ve been living with it for eight already, what’s another few?

*Image from 365toawesome.com

Commence the challenge!

The Bikram Yoga annual 60-day-challenge began today. This means 60 consecutive days of intense, sweaty, 90-minute yoga classes. There’s also a corresponding “on the path” challenge, which requires that you practice four days a week for 60 days. I was sure I could accomplish the “on the path” goal pretty easily but was hesitant about signing up to be there everyday for 60 days.

I admit I was weary because I don’t want to fail and the chances of that happening are pretty good. I mean, some days you just don’t want to go!

I decided at the last minute that I would push myself and commit to the 60-day challenge. I realize that it’s going to get ugly along the way and there will be days when I’ll struggle to get to class.

I welcome that challenge to make it past those hard days. I want to push myself. I’ve felt so motivated and excited all week about the endless possibilities this new year has to offer. I know that showing up to yoga has a lot to do with that. During those determined 90 minutes of practice, I tend to feel more focused, confident and centered. I feel inspired to make positive changes in my life.

I want this challenge to propel me into 2012. This is the year of forward motion.

*Image from bikramyoga.com.sg