I've often shared on my blog that I love to practice kundalini yoga and also think it's totally weird. You can read all about it...Read More
September Is National Yoga Month
For the next month, instead of saying “um…” you could say, “ohm.” It’s National Yoga Month!
In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services designated September as National Yoga Month, so if you’ve been thinking you want to give yoga a try, now is the best time. And if you’ve been thinking you don’t want to give yoga try, now is an excellent time to change your mind.
Longtime readers know that I did not approach my first yoga practice with an open heart. I was pretty much ordered to attend yoga by some smart people who were trying to help me wrangle my stress levels. I bitched and cursed while I researched possible classes, and I signed up for the first one that fit into my “workout before I head to my office job” schedule. I literally walked into the room with my arms crossed and a scowl on my face.
That was almost two years ago, and now, I can’t fathom the idea of returning to my yoga-less ways. Kundalini, hatha, and meditation have become as essential to my health and happiness as clean eating and lifting barbells.
No one is more surprised by that than I am!
So if the idea of yoga leaves you feeling meh, I encourage you to use September as a way to explore the possibilities. You might not learn to love it the way that I did, but learning new things about yourself is always beneficial.
My “Ohm” Home
Before I get to the stuff you can do online, I want to mention where I go in the real world. I’m a devoted member of Yoga Yoga here in Austin. There are many reasons to be a fan:
- the instructors are excellent
- there are multiple studios all over town and members can attend any class at any location
- there’s wide variety in the styles and levels of classes
- there are dedicated classes for beginners so newbies can get foundational instruction that keeps yoga safe and effective
- there are tons of special events, workshops, and classes to supplement the regular schedule
- there’s spicy yoga tea after every class
If you’re totally new to yoga, you might be able to get a month of yoga free from the Yoga Health Foundation. You can find the details at the Yoga Health Foundation site, along with a list of special events throughout the month, and details about A Time For Yoga, a global yoga event on September 30.
Yoga at Home
If you’re not ready to tackle a class at a yoga studio, you can enjoy excellent instruction at home, instead. I 100% recommend Yoga With Adriene, an online yoga show with top-notch instruction. Adriene covers topics including yoga for weight loss, foundations of yoga, yoga tips, and more — with classes that offer guidance for both rookies and experienced yoga practitioners.
I really like this gentle morning sequence – perfect for a lazy weekend morning, or before you head off to work for the day.
You can watch all the episodes of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube – or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or her web site.
Yoga & Me: A Rom-Com
My relationship with yoga really is like a romantic comedy. We started out suspicious of each other and it seemed like we’d never let down our barriers, but then, we fell in love. You can read all of my posts about yoga and meditation on this page, but they’re listed in reverse chronological order. Below are some of my favorite posts about adventures in breathing and postures, in the order that they happened, so you can trace the romance from first meeting to deep commitment.
Downward What Now?! — May 12, 2011
My first yoga class ever. This post highlights five things I (surprisingly) really liked about the class. I intended to make yoga a new habit. But after that first class, I went one more time and stopped until 6 months later…
A Healing Experiment — November 11, 2011
The start of yet another version of me: the (hopefully) less stressed, still badass but more centered, yoga-running-lifting, superhero me. I decided to try yoga again, and my attitude was pretty sucky. The only yoga class that fit into my work scheduled was kundalini, and I went with worse than zero expectations. I had negative 1000 expectations. But then I realized how wonderful it felt to lie on the floor and breathe. It was such a relief to be still. Quiet. Focused on healing. I accidentally went to the least punk rock type of yoga there is — and fell totally in love with how freaking crazy-beautiful-strange-effective it is. So I embraced meditation, too…
It’s Gold and Pink and I Got a Feather — November 16, 2011
They say that our minds can help heal our bodies with meditation, and I am testing that theory with a full and open heart. If you’re at all curious about starting meditation, this post includes some tips and resources for easier ways to give it a go.
The Gong Show — November 18, 2011
At this point, I was a full-blown kundalini junkie. I imprinted on my teacher Robin like a baby duck, and I decided that twice a week, I was going to get my groovy on — even if I was also mentally teasing about it along the way. Best quote from this post: WHAT THE F*CK, YOU GUYS?! I’m getting soft.
Let Yourself Be — December 15, 2011
After a 15-minute meditation, our instructor Robin said to let ourselves be. And then I waited for the rest of the sentence. Be what?! The answer, naturally, was just to be. “My dad gives excellent advice. The words I’ve heard from him most often: It’s good to be alive. Just enjoy yourself, honey.” and at kundalini, it’s satnam. I am. Just be.
My New Vocabulary — January 18, 2012
I’ve learned a lot of yoga lingo and etiquette in the last few months, and I’ve learned a lot about myself… much of which is explained in this post. But to me, this will always be the “flaming shoulder” post. Read it to see why.
Wonder and Camels — January 25, 2012
In which I draw parallels between yoga, comedian Louis C.K., Jane Eyre, and camels. It makes sense if you read it. Kinda.
Ohm Ma Goodness — March 30, 2012
The post in which I confess I thought of both Krispy Kreme and the Stay Puft Marshmallow man during meditation. There’s a reason it’s called a yoga or meditation practice. I will never be perfect at it — and that makes me perfect.
Kundalini Continues To Be Weird – November 30, 2012
This post explores the various emotions and physical experiences of sticking out one’s tongue and drool. Very sexy.
So where am I with yoga and meditation now? I get my butt to at least two – but often four – kundalini classes each week, and on Saturday mornings, I attend Hatha Star to work out the kinks I put in my body with barbells at the gym. It’s restorative, challenging, and fun! Our Saturday morning class usually involved a lot of laughter – in between “breathing into the pose” and telling my “I can’t do it” brain to shut up. I also meditate almost every day on my own… anywhere from 11 to 21 minutes. For me it’s analagous to brushing my teeth or Q-tipping my ears: refreshing, soothing, comforting, and an essential cleanup.
Are you yoga curious? Are you a yoga devotee? Tell us about it in comments.
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My first impression of yoga was not a great one. It was in a chilly, cramped office boardroom at work and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was probably a few years before I tried it again, and it was only because my massage therapist gave me a free pass to the studio she went to. The pass expired on December 31, so there I was on New Year’s Eve, determined to make use of the freebie. I was the only one who showed up to class that night, so I had the full attention of the teacher. WOW! It was a beautiful room, warmed to a (hypothyroid) comfortable temperature, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing sun salutations and learning how to do a good downward dog. I’ve loved yoga ever since. I now do it at home to save some money, but I do yearn for the tranquility of a studio occasionally.
I’m SO HAPPY you found yoga and fell in love. The two of you make a fantastic couple. Really. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy every time I hear about your happy relationship.
I haven’t done any yoga since I broke my arm in April. National Yoga Month sounds like the perfect time to reintroduce it!
I’ve been dabbling in Yoga for about a year. I’m still kind of a n00b. I go once a week because the style I like is only offered that day. It’s less “Om Shanti Shanti” and more excercise with awareness.. I like to Ohm by myself. Thanks for the video link.. I’m going to check her out.
My first shivasana, I had not idea how tense I was, until I wasn’t..
I don’t really get into yoga as exercise, but I LOVE yin yoga. I got into it while I was still running and basically beating my body into submission. I think it’s great for mobility – lengthening muscles and ligaments. I haven’t been going to a studio since I started my pricey CrossFit habit, but this is a great reminder to find podcasts and vlogs to get back into it – thanks!
Yoga is awesome, gets the blood flowing and makes me feel relaxed. I havn’t done it in a while, but since is National Yoga Month, I guess now is the time to bust out the mat!