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Internet Yoga

Yoga has gone high tech.

In the last few weeks I’ve come across three different websites offering “online” yoga classes.

Core Power Yoga (click “yoga on demand”)

Yoga Today (offering “outdoor” yoga classes)

&

Jiva Diva (scroll down to “live classes”)

All three sites give free classes or trial runs. I’m seriously considering trying one out because I’m about to head to Colorado for a mountain retreat for two weeks. The last time I was on retreat I found a gem of a yoga teacher who gave 90 minute private lessons out of her home for $25 (talk about a deal!). But she’s now home-schooling her kids and doesn’t have time for another student (me).

So…I’m thinking of logging on to my computer for Downward-Facing Dog time. But after debating which site to try, I actually decided that instead of Internet classes, I am going to take this time to better develop my own home practice. Tune-in next week to see if I can recall the sequence for Sun Salutations and figure out how to move into Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) without my yoga teacher prodding me to firm my thighs. I’m looking forward to rolling out my mat by my bedside and trusting myself and my practice (okay, I might bring a book of poses for a little cheat sheet, but mostly I’ll be on my own).Š

Poetry

It’s not often I’m in a yoga class where the teacher gives a reading during closing. But those rare times when that has been the case — well, I’ve adored it. I love words. Language. Poetry. Here’s the quote my yoga teacher read the other day:

Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth
you owe me.
Look what happens to a love
like that – it lights the whole sky.
– Hafiz

Basic Equipment

I enjoy the beginning of yoga class because the opening is generally “easy” – well, at least physically (the meditating part can bring up its own set of challenges).

But before we practice some of the more difficult poses, we usually we open by sitting in Sukhasana for a few minutes. And then maybe move onto our hands and knees to practice Dog Tilt and Cat Pose. It’s a place for gentle movements. A time to bring awareness to our breath.

The other day at the beginning of class, we were on our hands and knees with a neutral spine (tabletop). The teacher asked us to lift our right arm off the ground and straighten it so it pointed forward. Both of our arms were engaged. The left one pushing the floor away, and the right one reaching for the wall in front of us (in a way where we weren’t scrunching our shoulder blade up to our neck). She had us hold that position. For a long, long time. It was hard. (Don’t believe me? Try it.)

“Some poses can be deceptive,” the teacher said. “Not as easy as they seem.”

I love that about yoga. I love that I don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment or special shoes to build flexibility and strength. I just need my body, my mind, and my spirit.Š

Drishti

“Find a point on the ground about a foot in front of your mat and softly fix your gaze on it.”

I’ve heard that instruction tons of times in various yoga classes (depending on the pose, the point of focus changes). It helps me with balance poses, like Tree pose. The other day in class, the teacher was giving that same instruction. Softly is the key word. It’s not an intense stare. “It’s almost like you’re looking behind your eyes,” she said. “It’s called Drishti.”

I never knew it had a name before.

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