These last two weeks of Yoga Month have flown by as if life were merely a good fiction novel that I didn’t want to end.
As I continued to explore the world of yoga on physical level, I found my body feeling leaner, stronger and more flexible.
On an emotional level, I felt more relaxed and focused during the day. And on an intellectual level, my desire to learn more about yoga was deepened.
But, let me step-back for a moment and share with you what I did that allowed me to have such notable results.
Two Weeks in Review: Finding My Flow
First, I discovered in Week Three that I was able to do most of the poses from the Yoga Workout for Dummies YouTube videos on my own. I no longer needed the videos to help guide me.
In fact, I developed my own series of yoga poses that I enjoyed doing several times per week while listening to relaxing music. Needless to say, my confidence really started to soar once I was able to start doing the asanas (just another term for yoga postures) without additional direction.
Although, I have to admit, that I still struggled with Child Pose and the Lunge due to having sensitive knees. Ugh!
I also dived into the Yoga for a Healthy Body book I had purchased during Week One and added some poses from the book to my routine. Plus, it was fun to mix things up a bit!
Lastly, during Week Four I gave the Crunch: Candlelight Yoga video a try (currently streaming on Netflix).
The instructor is Sara Ivanhoe, who also did the Basic Yoga for Dummies videos. I really like her teaching style; it is down-to-earth and encouraging. No judgments here! She encourages her viewers not to be too hard on themselves. Rather, she recommends focusing on the moment.
Overall, I enjoyed the Candlelight Yoga video; it is definitely relaxing. But, don’t be fooled by the name; this is a solid yoga workout!
Sara starts by concentrating on breathing exercises while sitting on the mat. Then she moves gently into the yoga postures. Before you know it, you’re standing-up and doing some challenging poses, including the dreaded Lunge! Yet, this is all done in a tranquil, peaceful way that makes the whole experience seem more like a retreat than an exercise class.
This 45-minute video also has someone doing the poses with modifications, making the instruction fairly easy to follow for even the inflexible. I would recommend this video for someone who wants a relaxing yoga experience with a touch of physical effort.
Discovering Types of Yoga
As the end of Yoga Month approached, I found myself wanting to know more about this thing called yoga.
After a little research, I discovered that the two types of yoga I had been practicing this past month were Hatha and Vinyasa.
I seriously, I had no idea that there were different types of yoga when I first started this journey a month ago. Of course, I guess I really didn’t care at that time because I had just wanted to jump into action.
Anyway, here is a little of what I learned about Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga.
Hatha yoga, according to my Yoga for a Healthy Body book, should be practiced slowly and mindfully, focusing on each breath. The aim of Hatha Yoga is to stop the inner chitter chatter of our mind so that we may see our true selves more clearly.
I also discovered that Hatha Yoga is considered the building block to all other forms of yoga because of its focus on the breath.
After learning about this, I felt grateful that I had somehow started my yoga practice on the right path without even knowing it. I had blindly approached yoga with a beginner’s mind and was miraculously led in the right direction.
As for Vinyasa Yoga, it is a combination of Hatha Yoga (breathing) and flowing, dance-like movements that can provide a solid aerobic and toning workout. This type of yoga focuses on breath-synchronized movement. The emphasis is on concentration and attitude (like laughing at yourself when you topple over from Tree Pose!).
Next Steps: Continuing the Journey
There are a variety of types of yoga to explore, from Bikram (hot yoga) to Raja Yoga, but I am pleased with where I am right now. I plan to continue to practice a combination of both Hatha and Vinyasa yoga.
In addition, I hope to explore and study Hatha Yoga more thoroughly to feed my intellectual and spiritual curiosity.
I also want to become more familiar with the muscles that are used for each pose. I’ve already begun to study my new Yoga Anatomy book and learned that there is a lot more to breathing than I had originally thought!
Plus, I am already considering yoga training. I can totally see myself teaching others yoga. But, I am jumping ahead by at least a few years!
Yoga Month Wrap-Up:
Originally, I had started Yoga Month with the simple wish of learning a few yoga poses that would help me to become a little more flexible and toned. But, as my body began to ease into each pose a little more gracefully and my monkey mind started to relax, I discovered the awesomeness of yoga.
I don’t think anyone could have explained the benefits of yoga to me a month ago, I would have been quite skeptical.
Now that I have explored yoga for myself these past four weeks, I can see the power yoga can have to transform lives.
It is quite fascinating how taking time to do a few soothing and dynamic poses each day can open up a different world. In other words, yoga gave me the ability to see life from a different perspective. Not only can I see new possibilities, but I also feel focused enough to make positive changes.
I can’t wait to see what occurs in my life in the next few months by continuing to practice yoga most days of the week. I’ll be sure to let you know!
Well, I am off to sip some tea in my new Yoga Girl Mug and quietly celebrate all that I’ve learned and achieved this month.
Vendor Provided Sample: No
Affiliate Links: Yes
Additional Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea (Yoga Books and Mug)
This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.
Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.
Week Two of Yoga Month: Recovering from Failure
Week One of Yoga Month: Starting from the Beginning
Introduction: Yoga Month: Getting Started with Yoga