Yoga — in da HOUSE!

Few would argue that home yoga practice is less legitimate than studio practice. In fact, part of a well-disciplined yoga practice includes personal home

"Yoga Girl" rap by David Wittman

“Yoga Girl” rap by David Wittman


But what if personal home practice was your entire practice?

Does yoga need to be shared and witnessed to be legitimized?

I’m asking these weighty questions because I’m going into my second week of home practice. My first experience with yoga at the tender age of five years was a home practice and it created the foundation for my adult practice. Sometimes it’s simply more practical to practice at home, and sometimes — at least for me — it’s a preference.

I may head to the studio next week, but if it’s anything like this past week, I’ll be building my yoga — in da house.

Doing it everywhere!

It’s true — you can practice yoga everywhere. After enjoying an unofficial long weekend, I’m behind in house maintenancey-type things, like

grocery shopping, laundry, CLEANING… Sadly, there’s no time to hit the yoga studio today, but this image (from Tamara Dorris’ blog) has inspired me. Since I can’t get to my yoga, I’m going to take my practice with me today!

Did you get to the studio today?

Hair color & getting real

I’m told by my yoga teacher that the Yamas in yoga are — loosely translated — disciplines of yoga living. One of  the five Yamas is Satya — truthfulness and honesty in living. In Hinduism, truth is defined as “that which has no distortion”, and “that which is unchangeable”. As you can see from the image to the

Satya practice: being real

Satya practice: being real

right, I haven’t been practicing good Satya — my hair has been anything but unchangeable and undistorted for the past 18 years.

I started hennaing my hair in the nineties, when red was super-rad. Henna for me was the gateway hair color, and it didn’t take long before I’d moved into semi-permanent, and then permanent colors. Coloring didn’t start as an effort to cover grey — though I had my first white hairs in my teens. But by the time I’d hit my mid-thirties, there was a significant amount of grey & white, and I didn’t want to see them.

Fast forward to the present. I’m learning more about my yoga practice, and trying to apply yoga to my life off the mat. As I brushed my hair this morning it occurred to me that I could grow my dyed color out. Simplify my life, and save some money while I’m at it.

This post feels like a vanity post, and maybe it is a little, but it’s also more than that. If I blog about my white and grey hair, and my plan to let it grow free, I’ll have to stick to the Satya. I’m a little nervous about this — I love my black hair — but that too is a good reason to let it go. It’s a distorted reality. And after today, things are about to get real!

J.P. Morgan, Wonder Woman, & Hot Yoga

Day one of hot yoga month and I’m happy to report that I made it through the hour-long class without crying. Admittedly, it was touch and go at one point.

I think the instructor was a little worried about me part way in. I’m fair-skinned and I have rosacea, so it doesn’t take much for me to get tomato-faced. The rosacea is one of the reasons I left hot yoga a few years ago. I didn’t like being red-faced for the remainder of the day. Also, according to my dermatologist, heat is a no-no.

Self-conscious about his rosacea, J. P. Morgan...

Self-conscious about his rosacea, J. P. Morgan hated being photographed. I wonder how he’d feel about a hot yoga studio with mirrors? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why return?

In part, I have practical reasons for returning: the studio is close to the gym that my son trains at a few times a week (so I can drop him off and hit a yoga class, instead of swilling coffee in the gallery — another rosacea no-no). Also, the studio is offering a month at $40 — so it’s the least expensive option.

Though the heat started getting to me about 40 minutes into the practice, I loved all the sweating (mine, that is). It made me feel so athletic! And now, three hours after class, I’m noticing that I’m less puffy — my rings are rattling around on my fingers, like they used to about 10 years ago.  Ahh age and hormonal shifts…experiences in humility.

And speaking of humility, Maya Georg’s post, “Fear and Loathing on the Yoga Mat” (YOGANONYMOUS)  couldn’t have been more timely. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that today’s practice was my first big class practice in years — I’ve been doing private & semi private practice. In today’s class my plan was to avoid the mirrors — take a spot in the back and be less conspicuous. The problem: back row was already full. So I got a spot smack in front of the mirror.

Georg’s YOGANONYMOUS post talked about, among other things, the ways we sabotage our own and others’ yoga practices by projecting our insecurities onto them. It resonated with me because throughout the class I was distracted by my image in the mirror, making it difficult to stay with my practice.

“Is this a ‘fat mirror’ or are my hips actually this big?”

“Tomorrow I’m coming earlier so that I don’t have to be so close to the mirror!”

“I’ll bet all those young yoga beauties in the back row — positioned on either side of my reflection — picked the back because the perspective gives them a thinner reflection.”

Distracting and damaging to my practice.

Fortunately, I wear glasses and I’m nearly blind without them, so I took them off and was back in the game.

Whatever works, right?

Wonder Woman didn't wear glasses. When I do yoga, I don't either.
Wonder Woman didn’t wear glasses. When I do yoga, I don’t either.

Hot yoga — too hot?

Right or wrong, I’ve always thought hot yoga was the domain of the young and beautiful. My first impression of hot yoga was formed about four years ago when I tried a three-month membership at local hot yoga studio. The students and the instructors were minimally clothed and super-bendy. They were amazing.

Oh, and there were mirrors everywhere. When I studied dance and aerobics a few moons ago, mirrors didn’t faze me.  In this class though, I found myself very mirror-shy. I would position myself strategically among the crew so that I wasn’t right next to the most youthful beauty, and guaranteeing  that people around me blocked my view of the mirror.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been working with a teacher and a small class in a boutique yoga studio. That’s not changing, but I’ve decided to diversify my practice. A friend of mine from the morning private practice has been raving about hot yoga, so I thought I’d try it. The studio is very close to one of the gyms my son trains at during the week, so I can slip practice in while he’s training (instead of sitting the gallery swilling coffee). As in real estate, location sells in yoga practice.

My first hot yoga class is tomorrow. If I don’t melt — and even if I do — I’ll let you know how it goes!