Happy Martin Luther King Day! Hope everyone is enjoying their day off. I, on the other hand, am at work. Guess I don’t mind too much. It’s nice and quiet, the bus was practically empty and the gym in my office building will probably be empty as well.
I wanted to share some exciting news with everyone. Last November, I noticed that my favorite yoga studio was hiring for their work/study program. Basically, you clean for one night a week and get paid in unlimited yoga classes. I immediately applied. And got in! The only problem was, the cleaning would have to be at 9pm on Thursday nights. By the time I got home, it would be close to 11pm and with a full-time job, that just wasn’t going to work.
Well this past week, I got a call from the studio owner. She said the Sunday night spot opened up and I could have it if I was still free. Sunday classes end earlier so I would be home well before my bedtime. So I said yes! Yoga classes can be so expensive ($15/class or $150/month unlimited). So getting them for free just for one hour a week is a steal.
I did my first day yesterday and I can already tell it’s going to be so much fun. The cleaning is easy (sweeping, mopping, cleaning the mirrors in the studio, doing the laundry and taking out the trash). Plus I figured I could take that time to listen to music, a book on tape or even just call up one of my old friends to talk.
Anyway, while I was being introduced around to all the teachers, they asked me if I had been practicing yoga. And I told them yes, just at home along with their podcasts. They had no idea what I was talking about. So then I wondered, do you guys know what I’m talking about?
Back in October, when my doctor told me I really needed to practice yoga every day for my fibromyalgia, I did a quick search on itunes for yoga podcasts. There are 100s to choose from. And found a ton of really great ones! Here are my two favorites so far:
- Om on the Range, the studio here in Chicago – They range from quick 10 minute meditations to a long 90 minute yoga practice. Basically the teachers just audio recorded themselves during the class.
- Vinyasa Yoga with Nathan Johnson – Nathan is a yoga instructor from LA who recorded over 25 of his classes. Most of them are longer, about 45 – 60 minutes and he covers a wide range of skills included a number of basic/foundational. My favorite one is his Mixed Level, 60 minute one he recorded on April 3, 2012 . This one is really fast paced and will have you working up a sweat.
The only downside to podcasts for yoga is it’s all audio. So if you’re a complete beginner, you might have some trouble following along. I’ve been practicing since my sophomore year in college and even I pause a few times because I can’t remember all of the names for each pose.
Also both of these are Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. This is the style that I was trained in originally and it’s my favorite. This is not the gentle stretching and meditation that you probably think of when you think about yoga. Power yoga is a more intense, flowing style of yoga. After you go through each pose one by one, you string them together and flow through them quickly to the pace of your breath. You’ll still get a good stretch in, but you’ll also get an awesome cardio workout that will get your heart pumping. And you’ll still be able to get the meditation in because you’re concentrating on matching your movements to your breath.
If you’re a complete beginner but this sounds interesting, download the podcasts and then sit down with your friend Google. There are tons of websites that will show you each pose/flow you will need to know.
Best of all, this is all FREE! Podcasts are free; the websites are free. Plus since you’re doing it at home, you don’t even need a mat. You can just grab a towel and you’re good to go.
However, if you do feel like spending some money. Things I recommend:
- Yoga Mat. Don’t buy this at a gym store or a yoga studio! They are way over priced. Instead head over to your local TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. You will find tons of them for less than half of what you’ll pay elsewhere
- Also at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s, keep your eyes open for a yoga block. I bought mine for $4 there. These are great for some poses where you can’t quite reach the ground and need a little help.
- If you’re going to practice in a studio, like the one I work at that has the heat turned up high, invest in a yogitoes skidless mat. These are expensive so shop around for a bit. But they are worth every penny. When you’re in a hot Vinyasa class, you’ll be dripping sweat all over your mat. And when you’re flowing from pose to pose, this can be dangerous. Regular towels can slip and slide around so these are great because they stay put. This is the one I bought
- Journey Into Power by Baron Baptiste is the book that my first yoga instructor told me to buy. It’s written by Baptiste himself and is great for those who are just starting out. Like I said before, you can also find all the information you need online, but if you want to buy a book, this is the one I recommend. Plus it’s only $10.
So what are you waiting for? You have the day off today, right? And you’re probably in your PJs still? Well download a postcast, put a towel on the floor and get Oming.