I have lived in a yoga closet. The thing is, it’s pretty hard to bend in that small little space, so it’s time to come out. I am a certified yoga instructor. That doesn’t mean I know all the “om” and “yom” differences, every single Sanskrit name for a pose, or every single pose for that matter. All I know is some basic history, the fact it makes me feel fantastic, and that I want to share this love with all of you.
I began yoga as a Saturday bonding hour with my dad (yep, my dad is a yogi freaking master) and found it kind of nice. Most people like things they are good at, and since dance had given me an edge in flexibility, I only 75% sucked my way through my first few classes.
Yoga is a physical exercise that involves a pose or series of poses. It is a huge and general term for several different types of yoga. The practice I generally follow is called
Ashtanga Vinyasana Yoga, and focuses more on the physical side of a practice and involves a series of certain poses.
Here’s the best part though: Instagram. Yoga, although being rooted as deep in history as 500 BCE, has moved into a new realm of awesome in the age of social media. Ashtanga yoga took root in 1927 when K. Pattabhi Jois created it, and exploded in 2010 when Instagram Yogis started hashtagging their practices as well as aspiring practitioners.
A search on Instagram (#yogalove, #yogapractice, #yogaeveryday, etc.) will pull up hundreds of amazing yogis, aspiring yogis, and “almost a potential yogi” photos to pour your eyes over.
The poses that look the easiest are often actually the hardest. A combination of extreme finite strength, unique flexibility, and supreme mental control are necessary to bend the body into various twists, knots, and “openers,” which is why I love it.
The best part about yoga isn’t nailing the Pincha Mayurasana (Google it) or holding a handstand for forty five seconds, it’s knowing there isn’t an end to the awesome. When people say they can’t go to yoga because, “I’m not good at yoga,” I want to just slap them a little. No one is good at yoga if they don’t go. It’s called a yoga practice.
No matter how advanced you are, or how many poses you know, you’re forever in practice. There is always more to learn, a deeper version of the stretch, or a more difficult balance.
It doesn’t have to last 90 minutes, and sometimes (even though I love yoga) a 20 minute session can seem maximally long. Oppositely, sometimes 90 minutes doesn’t seem long enough.
I may have lied though, because the best part of yoga is the very end. The official pose is called Savasana, but it’s basically lying on the floor. It’s the relaxation part of the practice when you get to reflect on the poses and shapes you created, and the really beautiful part of being alive. The more practice you get, the more you’ll realize the power your brain has. Yoga teaches how to harness all the incredible force your mind has and use it to think clearer, find balance (both physically and in life), and become aware of the beauty of being a person.
I try yoga challenges on Instagram because I’m becoming part of a community of yoga, and sharing my love with the world. Even if you can’t bend more than a board, try a little at a time, and maybe love it too.
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