Mind & Body

Streeeeeetch!

Yoga Elephant
Photo Credit: Roberto Blizzard @VeganYogaDude

I used to believe yoga had to be calm, stoic, and intentional. Now I think differently.

The word yoga means “discipline” so the act of practicing yoga is in itself yoga. It is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines (ones that I do not adhere to very well. In a sense, I lack yoga.)

I do know enough positions and stretches so that I may perform without injury to myself, and I have a basic understanding of muscle tension, warm ups, and muscular functions.

One night, after spending nearly the entire day reading, blogging, Twittering, and otherwise sitting in my rocking chair with a cup of tea and only getting up to refill said tea or to use the bathroom, I became very stiff and sore. To the floor mat I went, humming to myself because I was thoroughly enjoying my day off, and set about on a relaxed, but motivated yoga routine.

It was invigorating to loosen up my muscles, breathing oxygen and blood through them after sitting so long. I immediately felt alert, awake, and energized.

I did not spend much time on the mat, but soon after took the dog on a brisk walk down the street and back. It wasn’t much – maybe five minutes of stretching and five minutes of walking, but the effort was quickly rewarded with a realignment of mind, body, and spirit.


Take some time today to get on the floor and stretch. Unable to get down without fear of getting back up? Stay close to a couch or sturdy chair which you can use to climb back to your feet, or remain standing while stretching your arms, back, and neck.

There’s no need to push perfection or hurry through this time. You’re not out to become the next world renown yogi. Just take care of yourself and your body once in awhile. I promise, it will feel good.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

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Yoga – or the Lack Thereof

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Last year I had determined to take up yoga seriously after realizing I had exercise-induced asthma. Discovered that golden nugget while taking kickboxing classes. I loved it and the strength I gained…until I couldn’t breathe after a short jog. Week by week, it progressively got worse, so that every time my heartrate increased, my body would overheat and my throat closed up. I opted to get out of kickboxing, at least for the time being.

I did a little YouTube research. There weren’t many yoga studios close to home, and the ones that were did not fit into my busy schedule. But YouTube is a plethora (apparently plethora is my word of the month) of free information. I came across a Yogi who called herself YogiNora. She has hour long videos of her yoga regiment and a few broken-down classes, and if you want to be amazed, you can watch her full workout. Can you say “flexible”? I fell in love with her because–obviously–she knows what she’s doing. She practices up to five hours a day and also teaches yoga classes. She’s pretty legit.

I started out really strong. I practiced five times a week and had worked myself up to an hour. I felt amazing! I was stronger, more flexible, calmer, more positive, but then I petered out. Typical of me. I continued on and off all year. It’s frustrating how swiftly you lose everything you had built up. That’s what gets me. You work and work and sweat and put the time in, and in a month, it fades. So frustrating.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to practice more. It truly helps, and even if I only do 20 minutes at a time, I notice the difference. Yesterday, I was feeling really good and did a whole hour.

MISTAKE

I think I pulled….every muscle….in my body. So today I’m paying for it. I’m going to lie low for a few days, then work myself up from 20 minutes again. But if you’re looking for a relaxing, steady workout without cardio, check out YogiNora. She’s amazing.