Yoga with a toddler…

I thought it was funny that there were all these signs posted in the front and side of the yoga studio! Guess the restaurant next door REALLY doesn’t want people parking there…

This week I started some Hot Yoga classes. I was convinced with the 10 classes for $10 deal that the studio was offering, though the whole idea of hot yoga made me…nervous…to say the least. I used to joke that in India we didn’t call it hot yoga, we just called it yoga, because it was HOT already, but not because of some artificial heaters blowing air at us! Ha!

But, I am really pleased with how much I love this new yoga class. Maybe it’s because I haven’t really practiced much in the past 2 years, or the fact that the teacher is an awesome mix of zen and kick-butt-encourager, that I am pretty hooked. Sadly, after the 10 sessions I won’t be able to continue at this studio, but there is a Bikram studio about 10 blocks from my house, so I’ll probably do that one, even though I know that it’ll be even more different than I’m used to (only doing the same 26 poses every time), but I think I need something within a close distance to entice me…that I won’t be up for driving 30 minutes each way to workout!

I’ve noticed, though, just in this week, of going to a few classes, that I’ve already started doing some asanas at home when I get the chance. I’ve given up on the idea of having a flowing 90 minute home practice, but I can do a warrior or two in between poopy diapers! And today, Potamus thought my doing yoga was some GREAT ADVENTURE TO BE HAD! In downward dog he liked climbing over me, in sphinx pose he climbed on my back, and there I was…doing full locust, bow, and child’s pose…with a toddler on my back! I wish I would have gotten a picture of it! It felt good to incorporate Potamus into my budding yoga practice…hopefully one day maybe he’ll join in!

What’s your favorite style of yoga? How has your yoga practiced changed over the years?


My First Sun Salute

Sun Salutations

My first sun salute happened at age 16. Obsessed with all things India, I checked out this yoga book from my school library, because I had this desire to do yoga, but was super freaked out because of my fundamentalist Christian parents and the upbringing that equated yoga with devil-worship. But I felt called to do yoga. I can’t explain it, other than something in my heart and body said, ‘try this,’ and I had to follow that calling.

So I fumbled through a sun salutations, in secret, at night, in my bedroom. It was hard, looking at pictures from a book and trying to figure out how to link the sequence or figure out the right alignment without any verbal directions or hands-on tweaking. I fumbled on until the book had to be returned, and I smuggled it back into my library to not be checked out again, by me.

Not willing to risk delving deeper into yoga, I gave it a break, for about a year, until a summer or two later when I came across an excellently marketed product called iFit yoga, that had stripped the Indian spiritual and philosophy, from the asanas and made it appealing as a form of exercise. I snapped up the packaged mat/block/strap/bag and audio CD, and began practicing for 45-60 minutes every night (again, in my bedroom, in semi-secret). I felt more open about my practice, but focused on the exercise benefits.

My practice has waxed and waned for years. Whole years have gone by where I haven’t actively practiced asana, and simply focused on breathwork, or philosophy, or at the very least, simply reading yoga magazines and wearing yoga pants to the grocery store.

But I miss it.

The asana practice, that is.

So, today, while Potamus was sleeping, I did some asthanga yoga to a youtube video. It felt hard, and good, and right. And it also felt a little bit scary. Because I’ve been on this journey for years, and I love it, and it feels different than running, because it feels like it hits my soul in a different way. I avoid because it’s hard to go inside myself and feel things I don’t want to feel and be exposed to the big picture of suffering and complexity that seems overwhelming. Why this happens during yoga and not other exercise (yet) is a mystery to me, but there it is. In some ways I am still both drawn and frightened by yoga, as that teenager fundamentalist was drawn and frightened. For different reasons.

The ebb has come back to flow, and I think I might do asanas more regularly. And I want to expose Potamus to yoga, but that’s a whole other post for another day…