Yoga seems to be having a very big moment right now. It seems to be cropping up all over the place these days. I have been doing yoga on and off for the last 15 years or so. But it wasn't until the last couple of years that I truly began to understand and appreciate all that yoga has to offer. Because of my deep respect and appreciation of yoga I could not be happier that so many people are now discovering yoga too!
I have some concerns though about this widespread pop culture embracing of yoga. While I do think that wherever one starts their journey with yoga is a good starting point, I am concerned that popular culture may be stripping away some of the deeper elements of yoga that make it such an amazing body and mind experience. My hope is for everyone who is discovering yoga now that they are able to come to fully appreciate all that it has to offer, and hopefully at a faster rate than I did myself! :)
My other concern with the widespread popularity of yoga is safety issues. I guess you can take the nurse out of the hospital but can't take the nurse out of the girl...er...something like that. ;) Fortunately for all of today's new practitioners there is an abundance of knowledge available on the subject and right at our fingertips via the internet! No longer does one have to go to a studio for proper instruction; but through careful selection, a knowledgeable yoga teacher can be found online. Nothing wrong with going to a studio either if that is your cup of tea and you have access to one.
My favorite teacher is Adriene from Yoga with Adriene. This kind, gentle, quirky and funny soul hails from Austin, Texas. She teaches in a way that makes yoga accessible to anyone. You can find her videos on her YouTube channel here or via her Yoga with Adriene website. She offers so many high quality and informative yoga videos for free. She has also began creating special yoga programs and offers those classes for a price through her website. I have bought all three of her programs to date: Reboot, Empower and Rise. I think highly of these programs that she has created. One of the great things about Adriene and her producer Chris is that they put the same care and consideration into their free videos as they do for their pay videos. They are two very awesome people!
On Adriene's YouTube channel, she has a wide variety of videos. She has one selection of videos which she calls "Foundations of Yoga". I have done a few of these videos and they are short videos that breakdown one pose at a time and give instruction based on that one pose. I have been meaning to go back to these Foundation videos and work my way through them, taking the time to attend to my own foundation of yoga. However, there always seemed to be something that got in the way of this plan. That is until recently.
I have some ongoing joint issues due to being very hypermobile in most of my joints. This causes some issues with pain and such, and causes injuries from time to time. One such injury occurred at the beginning of October. Initially it required me to go on light duty at work but then as it became evident that my recovery with physical therapy was going to be far slower than expected, it was decided that I needed to go out on medical leave to protect myself, my patients and my employer. My physical therapy revolves around careful movement of the injured areas and rebuilding muscle around those areas to support those joints. My weight lifting restrictions have finally been increased from 5 lbs to 10-15 lbs. Yay, me!
In addition to doing my PT exercises I was given to do at home in between appointments, I have decided to slowly and gently add yoga back into my routine. What better time could there be to take my yoga slow and focus on doing each pose correctly? Yoga is so beneficial for building muscle and strength by using one's own bodyweight. And with the movement, bloodflow is increased to the area being moved which helps the body heal the damage. Also, yoga relieves stress and helps me sleep better too; and by doing so, this helps my body heal too. So many benefits! But no matter how good it is for me I still have to use care and caution with my practice so that I do not injure myself, just like new yoga practitioners need to do.
This is where the Foundation of Yoga comes in. I decided this is the perfect time to work on building my yoga foundation. With that end in mind, I have created a calendar for the month of November utilizing Adriene's Foundation videos, as well as her breathing videos. I arranged the videos in an order of sequence that makes sense to me as a progression of advancing. There will be poses that I won't be able to do with my injury or that a new practitioner may not be ready to try. And that's okay! Adriene is the biggest proponent of modifying, listening to our bodies, and "Find(ing) what feels good."
So if you are nursing an injury like myself, new to yoga, been away from your mat for a while, or just want to focus on your foundation too, please join me this month and build your yoga foundation with me and others from the Yoga with Adriene community. Post your progress and/or pictures on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #ywanovemberchallenge. Look for other YWA community members using this hashtag too and be motivated to continue this journey all month! In addition to this Foundation challenge, I will be following along with YWA's newest program RISE, a morning yoga routine which is kicking off today for 21 days! I am excited about incorporating both of these challenges into my life this month and strengthening my body and mind.
I will be posting full updates with pictures on this website of my own practice and will be posting a picture or two daily on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page was well too. Follow me there, share your own journey and we will keep each other going.