My Crazy Yoga Practices
As a former trained dancer in many different styles of dance, making the transition to yoga was pretty simple. I’m used to the hour plus classes of stretching, sweating and putting my body is all sorts of crazy positions that a typical person doesn’t do on an average day. (Or, maybe you do find yourself in questionable positions throughout your day…no judgment here.)
I used the word ‘crazy’ when deciding on this blog post title. I want to call out that I’m not meaning the typical overtone of ‘this is bad crazy’. No—this is the good type of crazy. Crazy as in, “Who comes up with this stuff?” and, “This is so not normal. Sign me up!” Occasionally when I’m talking with someone from my small hometown back in southern Illinois about what I do for workout classes they respond with, “You do what?”
Coming to my yoga mat is a great place of solace and release for me. No matter what kind of day I’m having, I know that as long as I keep staying present to my breathe and my body, all will be well. It does wonders for my emotions (hot yoga, particularly) and it’s not uncommon that if I’m internally struggling with something in my life that I’ll actually cry at some point during the class. It’s like this energetic release throughout my body that helps me make sense and find peace with life. There are many ways I achieve this feeling, and yoga is one of them.
Yoga is a great teacher of self acceptance! Maybe I hit a perfect pose, maybe I don’t hit it at all. In each pose, you’re challenged to accept yourself exactly as you are in every moment.
What Differences Have I Noticed?
My yoga class attendance goes up and down as I do other forms of exercise, but there are some prominent differences I notice when I go to yoga class regularly. And when I say ‘regularly’, I mean 1-2 times a week for a month or more.
- I have more energy. Yes, you actually walk out feeling energized, not tired.
- I feel like my body had a deep tissue, internal massage (from all the twisting).
- Any intense emotions I had walking in disappear. I feel more in control and grounded.
- I feel happier, calm and peaceful.
- My quality of sleep increases tenfold.
- I feel like a cat ninja.
Yoga Practices I’ve Tried & Want to Try
I think 2009 was the first year I signed up for a hot yoga class in Phoenix. I attended a handful of Bikram Yoga classes in Scottsdale and got my ass kicked. I had never done that level of intense heat imposed exercise and seen so much sweat in my life. I still had retained a healthy level of flexibility, but the heat added a whole new element. I could stretch way more deeply, practice balance in different ways (not that my ballet training didn’t provide me ample opportunities for balancing in awkward positions), and experience the therapeutic and health benefits of sweating profusely. Sweating purges the body of toxins, is great for your skin and has many other health benefits.
Sumits Yoga – http://sumits-yoga.com/
My very first Yin yoga experience was outdoors near a gorgeous pool at a resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona. I had a breathtaking view of Camelback Mountain, there was a slight breeze in the air and incredible energy from the 50+ people who were in attendance. Yin yoga is a very slow-paced yoga practice where you hold poses longer, for 45 seconds up to 10 minutes in some cases by more advanced yogi’s. The poses work the connective tissues of the body that supports and binds other tissues and organs. If you’re a person who needs some serious stretching work, highly recommend. It’s simple and easy to do from home, or you can find a studio near you to join others.
A book I recommend if you want to read about Yin yoga, the benefits, some sequences and individual poses:
Yes—you read that correctly. Attempting yoga poses on a paddleboard is an unique undertaking. There’s something wonderfully special about being out on water in any form. Swimming, boating, kayaking, or even floating in an epsom salt float pod is so rejuvenating. Now bring a paddleboard and awkward yoga poses together = a challenging good time. Paddleboard yoga is a killer core workout having to balance on water.
Depending on how close you are to your neighbor and their stability (hopefully they aren’t falling off their board much!), or if you’re on a lake with waves to deal with, you’re guaranteed a great yoga workout in a fun environment. I’ve seen places online that hold paddleboard yoga classes indoors, outdoors, on lakes and in pools. So if you’re up for getting wet and having some fun, this is a great place to expand your yoga adventures. Personally, being out on Lake Pleasant in Arizona for a sunset yoga session to me is magical! It’s gorgeous and I love being near boats.
Go Paddle AZ – http://www.gopaddleaz.com/paddle-board-yoga/
I first learned about Acro Yoga through Tim Ferris. He mentioned it in a podcast and I also read about it in his new book, “Tools of Titans” which is fantastic! (Highly recommend.) I haven’t attended an Acro Yoga class yet, but it is most definitely happening in the next 30 days.
A couple days ago I came home from a hot yoga class, rolled my yoga mat on the floor in my house and said to my fiance that I wanted him to try something with me. I proceeded to show him a short video from https://www.acropedia.org/ of what I wanted to do and he conceded to my request for some random entertainment.
In doing just a few simple poses, we were both feeling the strength and balance test of Acro Yoga. His legs were fatigued, and my core was on overdrive holding some suspended plank poses. I loved it! I think Acro Yoga is the next step in my fitness journey. I am so excited and can’t wait to really get the full experience and see what kind of new challenges my body can encounter.
If you’ve tried Acro Yoga, I’d love to hear from you about your experience. What benefits have you received? What do you love or not love about it? Where do you go for classes?
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of these businesses. I’m not receiving kick-backs of any type for mentioning them in my blog. I’m sharing my personal experiences, what interests me and what works for me. Resource links provided are for readers’ interested in learning more and making their own decisions on what’s best for them.