As practitioner who enjoys doing yoga in the morning, before getting ready for the day but after the rest of the house has left to start theirs, I have a limited time slot available.
Thirty minutes is the longest I can do without anxiety, and the shortest I can do with results.
Many people are similar – morning yoga prepares us for the day mentally and physically. Precious time must be dedicated and we must step on our mats and do a practice.
Raise your hand if you’ve dedicated the time, not practiced, and beat yourself up the rest of the day because of it.
So I was excited to see that the results for 15 – 30 minutes practices on My Yoga Online was six pages long.
I started higgledy-piggledy. And as the wonky Kiwi internet would allow.
‘All levels’ classes were a favourite; I imagined them to be the best fit for an early, pre-breakfast practice intended to bring awareness to my body that could be carried forward through the day.
I did some moderate and intermediate as well. On days where I had a later start I even branched out into some 45 minute classes.
…but here I am writing after a week of no morning online practices. I have done two morning practices with a mp3 file to restabilize my right ilio-sacral joint, the biggest issue I’ve been having for months and something I’m seeing the chiropractor for.
And yet, last night I realized that since ceasing my morning online practices I’ve had no sharp pulls or twinges in my right shoulder when I put on my bathrobe or make the bed. I’ve done fewer Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) poses in the back room and on break during work to release my spine. Additionally I’ve not been woken from my sleep by painful dumbness in my arms.
Surely yoga would make my aches and pains better, not worse?
We could suppose that at 33 years of age I’m showing extreme signs of disintegration. That I’m doing things with my arms in horrendously bad alignment. That 10 years and hundreds of classes and numerous trainings haven’t educated me at all about how to practice.
However: I think what I’ve been practicing simply hasn’t been the best for me. At this time in my life. As well as at the time in my day I’m doing them.
One problem might be that in 30 minutes, most of the classes seemed to be trying to fit as much in as possible.
Gentle classes are available, yet that isn’t what I need – any yoga can be done gently, or with vigor for that matter. What I need is a yoga approach that thinks about movements in a similar fashion to modern exercise theory.
Since we use muscles in yoga why not attend to them with current scientific understandings of the body?
The lineage that does do this best for me doesn’t put it that way; I can recall nothing from my Viniyoga training that took that angle. Since then however, through my practice, my teaching, and my continued anatomy studies I’ve found that Viniyoga ‘gets’ muscles better than most styles. Which makes it effective for dealing with muscular issues and pain, making it therapeutic.
However Viniyoga is furthest thing from flashy yoga, because it’s not attached to including Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), or new-fangled (and fun) asana offerings like Wild Thing, aka Rockstar…
I get that. I do. I have ego too, and it likes its yoga flashy.
Still, in my body, early morning flashy isn’t helping. More likely than not, taking instructions from others first thing in the day isn’t either. Especially when they can’t see the energy in my body as I move and then assist me in finding an optimal practice based on their sequence.
Now, this is not to say these are bad sequences. Not in the least!
The modeling is beautiful – the teachers move with attention, grace and strength and aren’t at the farthest end of the pose possible.
I rarely felt like I was being rushed in and out of a pose, generally feeling like I was able to take an easy full breath of enjoyment.
The instructions are, on the whole, intelligent and easy to follow. Sure, sometimes the fact that they are recorded after the video meant things weren’t fantastically synchronized, but that’s a minimal thing.
Of those that I didn’t resonate with…well, that is more a style thing – the way they sequenced or the language they used didn’t make sense to me or in my body. But I could see where for others it would be just the ticket to a wonderful experience.
I felt like, were I in a live class with the teachers, I would have been attended to with kindness and care. And that was a great thing – to have that level of trust come across online is no small feat!
So, as of next week, it’ll be morning self-guided practice (the reason so many of my classmates in trainings took yoga teacher trainings, not to be teachers) and My Yoga Online in the afternoons. When I’m warmed up already and when I have a head start on what needs modifications and adaptations to accommodate my body. When the good teaching on My Yoga Online will have a better prepared space – my body – in which to be experienced.
Here are my top rated My Yoga Online short sequences that will surely be revisited in the coming months:
Morning Yoga Flow Balance Integrity with Kreg Weiss – 19 minutes of balance fun. I think he’s got a fantastically relaxing voice – nothing cheesy in the language, thankfully – and the pace and tone of the instructions gives a sense of Kreg having a good yoga education behind him and his teaching.
Sun Salutation Vitality Yoga Flow with Michelle Trantina– calm instruction, good verbal cues, and effective pacing. An excellent add-in to home practice if you, like me, lose your Surya Namaskar mojo on your own. Only 16 minutes.
Releasing Neck & Shoulder Tension with Jane Ellison – incorporates self massage, breath attention, and small movements using the body’s own weight to leverage the release of often tight muscles. 17 minutes of anytime neck rescue brilliance.
Standing Balance Workshop with Marla Waal – true vinyasa! Breath-guided movement in a dynamic, creative sequence. Beautiful pose demonstration with wonderful cues throughout the 23 minutes.
And here are the lessons I learned this time around:
Lesson #4: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then injure thy body’s temple.
Lesson #5: Plan the practice, practice the plan – review weekly so that your yoga practice benefits you as a whole person – body and mind – and make adjustments as necessary. This includes knowing why you practice and what you enjoy about yoga.
Lesson #6: ‘Flow Yoga’ often equates to the mini-vinyasa of Plank–Upward Facing Dog–Downward Facing Dog being thrown into the oddest things (like seated pose sequences) and it’s alright to never want to view classes by such instructors again, much less do them.