Yoga Journal: Week 1

Black3Dahlia, practically my role model...Click image for her Tumblr.

The awesome Black3Dahlia, practically my role model. Click image for her Tumblr.

I’m starting a yoga journal to encourage others to pursue their interest in yoga! I use to gawk at photos on Instagram and Tumblr, becoming simultaneously encouraged and disheartened. I wanted to get in tune with my body, find inner rest, and get in shape. Yet the level of fitness in the people who posted photos seemed…unattainable. I KNOW there are others who feel like I did.

Well, I won’t achieve my goals if I never start! My poses aren’t perfect but over time I hope to get better and better . I encourage anyone of any ability level to just START! Start your journey and don’t be afraid of your imperfections 🙂 Be patient and you’ll find your strength!

I began my practice with a few VHS and DVD guides that I bought from a local thrift store for $1.50 each. My husband converted the media room in the basement into a mini-gym, clearing a space in front of the TV for me. The thrift store videos were good enough to limber me up for my first race.

After doing videos off and on for two months, I realized that I love yoga! What dissuaded me from practicing every day were the things that videos couldn’t give me: corrections, encouragement, and a sense of community. I wanted all of those things so I decided to start taking classes.

The lovely Rachel Dee, an "OMG But how..." inspiration.

The lovely Rachel Dee, an “OMG but how…?” inspiration. Click image for her Tumblr.

I aim to practice everyday but unlimited class packages at studios can be expensive! So, twice a week I take class at a studio. Once (or twice) a week I take a class at LA Fitness since I already have a membership there anyway. Then the other days I practice at home, either with a video or on my own.

I’ve fallen in love with warm yoga where the room is kept between 85-92 degrees. This is warm enough to provide the benefits of a warm practice but not so hot that it’s uncomfortable. Sonya has been my instructor. She’s the right amount of informative and friendly. It’s easy to feel welcomed to a class and get into the groove. At the same time, the classes are informative and provide a good challenge for practitioners of any level.

Below are a few beginner’s poses that I’m interested in developing. I plan to take the same photos a month from now and compare them to chart my progress. I hope the changes will show how much a little patience and perseverance can pay off for anyone!

Adho Mukha Svanasana/ Downward Facing Dog Goals: Raise hips more and get my legs straight. And then get those heels to the floor!

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Natarajasana/ Dancer’s Pose Goals: My hand should be on the arch side of my foot. Oops! I also aim to lift my chest more and gain the openness needed to also raise my knee. Oh, and trust my left knee to support me! That knee has a story.

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Virabhadrasana III/ Warrior III Goals: Strengthen that back, girl! Those back muscles will give me the lift needed to tilt forward until my chest and leg are parallel to the floor.

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Eka Pada Rajakapotasana/ Mermaid Pose Goals: I felt comfortable in pigeon pose so I wanted more of a challenge. I am to rest onto the floor, doing more of a split. Once flexibility allows, I’ll get the pretty bound arms and twist in place. This is one of those Tumblr/Instagram poses I see a lot. I’m excited to work on it.

W1 Pigeon to Mermaid

Halasana/Plow Pose Goal: I’ve got a decent shoulder stand. (Yay for small victories!) I started from there and lowered my knees towards my face–but then my hips wanted to rest downward. Next: hips up so that they’re parallel to the wall behind me, flatten my arms to the floor, and rest my toes on the ground above my head. Patience! Little by little!

W1 Plow

These are just a few things I’m working on. Absolutely imperfect but I’m loving the journey so far! I’ll post an update on these poses next month. In the meantime, Week 2 will have different posts that I’m working on and things that I’m learning.

Any feedback from more advanced yogis and yoginis?

Share your thoughts or questions!