Yoga for Beginners 101: New Year for Weeks 12-14
A New Warmth
Since my last hub I posted last month, through the winter holiday season, I kept on practicing yoga with home practice on my own. Through I didn't go to my trio of yoga classes for the past two weeks this month, due to winter weather, I've progressed on doing my yoga with trying two new yoga poses to motivate me all day. I've logged in my progress reports after I do it on the same day, or the next morning, instead of falling behind and doing it on the weekends. I mostly do my practice in afternoons and during the night, and some mornings, to keep up with the same yogic routines.
I've also recently discovered, that I do feel a warmth, when I do them, during this brutal winter season. Within a short amount of time and practice, I'm improving and getting warm just a tiny bit. I've also planned to fit in my home practice within an hour before I leave to to the gym for yoga class. If I don't have time, I do it when I come back home. But sometimes I do feel the cold.
Doing the yoga crow pose is hard to do for beginner yogis and a bit more advanced, unless you practice it a few times
Doing yoga in 2015 poll?
Will you be trying yoga this year?
Earlier this year, I've learned a new yoga pose: the crescent lunge to add to a sequence for both sides.
New challenges to look forward to
Step by step, I've been trying new motivational poses in my inbox, courtesy of About.com, that were a bit more advanced for my level. I've attempted to try to do the Crow poses, the Headstands, the Forearm stand, and the Shoulderstand. And knowing about my ever-present back pain, I didn't get too far, since it looked too hard on screen for me to do. I've written it off as a pass, until I advance to the next level of Advanced Beginners or Intermediate in the near future... maybe in a few years.
After a month off, I've returned to my trio of yoga classes this week, expecting to learn new challenges to improve my yoga practice. I'll tell you this much, I'm getting there, since I can do the classic Tree Pose much better at home than in the gym. When I returned to my Wednesday Yoga class, I did notice that it was jam-packed of students, say about 10% were new yogis who wanted to do it for their New Year's Resolution. There wasn't much room on the floor for us to stretch out and do the balances. Some of them didn't have their own yoga mat from the cat or their own! I've heard it was the same way the past two weeks I weren't there, when it went over-capacity at 40+ students in the class. Wow! The only thing we've learned new in class was a new breathing technique and how to do the kneeling dancer, which wasn't hard to do, in my own opinion, too.
Meanwhile, remember I've mentioned about the new Gentle Yoga class in previous hubs. Man, I was impressed on how new and improved it was. I've heard from three fellow yogis in my Wednesday class the night before, that I would like it, and it was a bit harder. That piqued my interest. Besides a new instructor, (that I informed her on my back pain), and a new class, no one from my former old Gentle Yoga class was there that I know of. Besides a difference in class size as well, the routine was different as well. We started out with the corpse pose and the back stretches and worked on learning different routines.
From what I can tell you, it was a little bit reminiscent of when she subbed in for my Friday class, last month. This week, we focused on hip openers. Next week, we'll do reclining poses. It's helpful to know what to learn and expect every week in class. After we stretched and relaxed our spine, we did a yogic sequence a few times of the swan dive, followed by the crescent lunge, then the knee-chest-chin pose, the cobra, another crescent lunge, the down dog, and a reverse swan dive. The crescent lunge is something new I'll learn with About.com as a motivational daily yoga pose real soon. I believe that's how we've done it. If you know the sequence that I'm referring to, please let me know if I'm close on it. Then we've worked on the plank, the sun salutations, the garland pose, (a pose I did on my own last fall), and other poses that have had slipped my mind. I noticed there was no corpse pose in the end, after we rocked back and forth on our spine. But we did a few oms as well. If I had to grade both gentle yoga classes, I would give this new one thumbs up, while the other one would be half up and half down. No question about it, I would be sticking to this one as well. This piqued my interest, twofold.
As for my Friday class I had last night, besides a substitute instructor for the evening, the class size was a bit more than my usual class. Although she was taught from a different yoga style, she showed us how to do the down dog and other various poses her way. She also corrected us, if we were wrong. No music in the background, I guess, for a more focused experience with the students. The new highlights were learning the Buddha pose, I believe it was called, and how to do the half moon pose. I had a Aha! moment on how I was doing it and fixed it. It's a lot harder, if you don't have a foam brink to hold onto it, when I reach the floor. I noticed some students had straps to do the stretching poses. That's something I want to get in the future.
To support your back, neck and head, you can get comfortable with a bolster in your practice at home and/or at the gym
Yoga bricks are perfect to support you, when you're doing the half moon and revolved half moon poses against the wall or on the mat
Relax and meditate with a yoga bolster to support your neck
Consider buying a yoga bolster when you meditate during your yoga practice. Bolsters are the perfect partner for a yogi with any range of experience. If you don't own one, you'll be surprised about the numerous uses and benefits a bolster can have. They're perfect for helping your body open up in a relaxed pose. They can actually help you stretch, because you're able to hold the pose much longer, although they support your body while you're holding a stretch. They can provide various stretches that can improve circulation to key organs and different body parts, provide assistance and comfort in restorative poses, and even aid in minimizing stress and fatigue in the body. The benefit you receive form your bolster depends on how you lay or relax your body on it. Bolsters comes in different qualities, sizes and shapes, in order to fit any routine or stretch involved in your practice. Don't be surprised, if you find yourself using this awesome yoga prop numerous times a day, in and out of the yoga studio.
Yoga bricks opinion poll?
Do you use yoga foam bricks for your routine?
Final thoughts on my yoga experience
Since I didn't hear back from the gym on my questions of Gentle Yoga, and since I've tried out the newest and better version of it, I think it's a bit moot point as well.
I would suggest all fellow yogis to stick with the program until you get a feel for things. Keep breathing and stretch before you do the poses, and relax in a reclining pose in the end. Stay warm this winter, before you brave the outdoors like I do. Until next time, don't give up!