Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Om Gal Gets You to Yoga This Week

People talk to me about yoga . . . a lot. Over dinner, at birthday parties, at the gym, in the doctor's office, on airplanes, at Red Sox games, etc. They ask for pointers on poses, inquire about whether I can put my leg around my head, and ask if I can do Pose A that they saw in Movie B. Next, they might request that I teach them to do Pose X that they saw in Magazine Y. They coo that they loooove their yoga teachers or gripe that they can't stand them and, therefore, stopped going to class. I'm questioned, confided in, and entrusted with precious, personal information. Yes, it's perfectly okay to cry during class. Perhaps you should lay off the chili?

Most often, my confidantes- friends and strangers, alike- lament that they simply don't have time to get to a yoga class. They have children and jobs and commutes. Some need to save money; others are intimidated by other challenges and obstacles real or imagined.

Believe me when I say, I hear you. I'll save you the details of how I've recently questioned whether it's possible that I left my brain at the baggage claim in France. I've double and triple-booked myself so many times of late that I'm beginning to wonder if I have multiple personality disorder- except, of all the intriguing things a few alter egos could do, they decide to overlap meetings? C'mon, I'd like to think they'd be more creative than that . . .

For over-programmed, multi-tasking, hereandthereandeverywhere yogis, I often suggest starting small by weaving a few poses, per day, into their lives. Yet, even this can be daunting, if you're not sure where to start. I recommend starting with what you know: child's pose, downward dog, 1/2 pigeon, then, call it a day. Don't get tripped up by fancy sequencing. Just practice a few asanas that feel good.

Here's a quick sequence (about 20-30 minutes) that I created in France, which you might try this week, when getting to yoga class seems unlikely. It's particularly nice if you've been swimming upstream, chasing your tail, or running on fumes lately. It also happens to be an effective post-workout/run/bike stretch, since it focuses primarily on the hips.

Anuloma pranayama

Upavista/Parsva/Pavivrtta Konasana: Essentially, this is a seated straddle-leg stretch with feet flexed. Reach to one side, the center, and then the other side. To access a wonderful stretch along the side of your body, reach overhead, toward one foot).

Prasarita (twisting is optional).

Pivot to your left and lunge deeply. Do your favorite lunging variation, back knee is resting on the floor; hips sink down (hold 5-10 breaths).

Pivot to your right and lunge.

Return to center (prasarita) but interlace your fingers behind your back this time.

Standing 1/2 pigeon.

1 sun salutation A, lowering from chattarunga to lie down, on your belly.

Danurasana (3 repetitions).

Downward dog.

Lie down on your back.

Abdominal sequence of your choice.

Supta baddha konasana.

Reclining half pigeon.

Supine twist.


Have a fail-proof pose or sequence of your own? Post it here.

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