Saying Yes to Yoga: My Learning Project Summary

Yoga Mat

Photo Credit: Kejohnson0319 via Compfight cc

It’s so hard to believe that this semester is already coming to a close! I know it is said all too often, but the time really did seem to fly by. The end of the semester also marks the end of my formal yoga learning project. It feels like I have barely begun my journey, even as I am finishing it. If you take a look at my first learning project post, you will see that I chose to learn yoga for my learning project for a multitude of reasons. Yoga has always been something that I have been interested in, but I never seem to stick with it long enough to see the effects. I felt that if I chose to learn yoga for my project, the project and subsequent required documentation would hold me accountable and lead me on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, I am really interested in incorporating yoga into the classroom someday, as I think there are so many physical and emotional benefits to it.

At the beginning of my learning project, I felt nervous and uncomfortable, and put off actually starting my project as a result of these feelings. I think as a society, especially one where technology is so accessible, we put so much pressure on ourselves and others to be perfect. I worried that the pictures and videos I took of myself practicing yoga would look silly and others would judge my abilities. While these feelings didn’t totally disappear by the end of the semester (this post is evidence of that), they did start to lessen. I learned to (somewhat) let go of my anxieties and just focus on the yoga. I also learned that my worries about facing judgement from others were unwarranted. Yes, maybe people were sitting in front of their computer screens laughing at my attempts, but I seriously doubt it! The comments that I received throughout my yoga journey were all positive ones. They uplifted my spirits and pushed me to continue with my project.

Throughout my learning project, I feel like I truly discovered the numerous benefits that yoga has to offer. When I started yoga, all I hoped to gain was flexibility and an outlet for final semester stress. Looking back, I realize that yoga has benefitted me both physically and mentally, however I think that the mental benefits may just hold more importance than the physical ones. While there is no doubt that I made progress in my flexibility, I am much more proud in the growth in mindset that I gained. As mentioned before, when I started I had low self-confidence and had a hard time just “letting go.” Now, I feel confident in myself and my abilities, and am able to use yoga as a time to decompress and self reflect. Practicing yoga brings a sense of calmness that I did not think possible before starting my learning project. This may be the end of my learning project journey, but it is not the end of my yoga journey. I’m really grateful for this class for allowing me to learn a new skill. I have learned to love yoga, and hope to continue practicing it regularly.

My Learning Project Posts:

  1. My Learning Project: Becoming Stretched and De-Stressed
  2. Sun Salutations
  3. I Bend So I Don’t Break
  4. That “Aha” Moment
  5. Put Your Back Into It
  6. SWORKIT Yoga
  7. After Work Revitalizer
  8. Pushing Past The Need for Perfection
  9. Saying Yes to Yoga: My Learning Project Summary

 

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Pushing Past The Need For Perfection

For this week’s learning post, I didn’t want to just find another yoga resource, review the resource, and add some pictures or videos. While this way of learning and posting has been working for me in the past, I am finding that there really aren’t that many beginner/intermediate hatha yoga poses out there! I didn’t want to just keep posting about the same old poses over and over. So instead, after trying intermediate yoga for the past few weeks and finding that many of the resources use the same poses, I decided I would compile a list of the poses that I seem to be trying over and over, no matter the resource. However, after researching a little more, I realized that an article on Greatist had already done the work for me!  The Greatist article has a write up for each of the following poses including how to do them and their benefits, so I wont take the time to list those again. However, here are my own personal opinions on each of the poses!

Plank

Plank

I LOVE plank pose. It’s fairly simple, but can be adapted to every body type. It’s one pose where you can definitely feel the effects and benefits as you’re doing it, and it’s so beneficial for strengthening abdominal and arm muscles.

 

Chaturanga Dandasana

Chaturanga Dandasana

This pose was much more difficult for me. If you look at the Greatist article, I look nothing like the woman doing the pose. However, it’s a pose I will continue to work on as it seems like it will really help strengthen the arms.

 

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog

I found upward facing dog to be fairly simple and liked that it gave a nice stretch for my back. It seems pretty similar to the cobra pose often used in sun salutations.

 

 

Half Moon

Half Moon

If you look at the Greatist article, you will see I only included a picture of the first part of this pose. The first is one that I have done many times and feel comfortable doing. The second part was incredibly difficult for me though! I don’t know if it’s a lack of balance or flexibility, but I just could not keep my front leg straightened while also trying to have my arm touch the ground and keep myself standing up. I think a good adaptation for this pose would be just bending the front leg, but for some reason this idea did not actually cross my mind when attempting the pose.

Warrior 1

Warrior 1

Warrior 1 is a pose that I am actually very familiar with from my beginner yoga resources, so it was interesting to notice that my warrior looks absolutely nothing like the girl in the article’s. I think next time I will try a deeper lunge with my legs further apart. I like this pose because it allows me to practice my balance and is not particularly strenuous!

 

 

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Warrior 3

Yes, I’m aware that this picture is super blurry, but that’s because I could not hold still for it! I found warrior 3 to be incredibly challenging. I just could not get my body to stay horizontal. The article suggests modifying the pose by placing hands on the ground or a block, and I think this would help with balance, and would help me get my leg straighter and closer to being 90 degrees.

 

Intense Side Stretch

Intense Side Stretch

When doing this pose I was really surprised that it was considered an intermediate pose, as it seemed so simple. However, after looking at this picture I realize that my back was not as flat as it should have been. I think this would have helped stretch me more and therefore would’ve made the pose more difficult.

 

 

Dolphin

Dolphin

Dolphin was a new pose for me, but is one that I really enjoyed. It was very calming and relaxing, and seemed like an extension of Downward Dog.

 

 

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Bow

Oh wow was I awful at this pose! If you look on the article you’ll see that the point of the pose is to have your thighs off the ground. Well, that was not happening for me. However, if you look at the picture in the article the woman seems to really be struggling, so it must not just be me! This is one I will keep practicing. My goal is to have my thighs lift at least somewhat from the ground!

Camel

Camel

Again, a super tough pose.It looked easy in the picture but it turns out I am just not super flexible. My goal for this one is to eventually touch my feet. Any tips from fellow yogis?

 

 

 

Sorry this post is so picture heavy, but I think they’re really important in order to monitor progress! I’ll admit I was pretty disheartened after comparing my own pictures to the one from the article. For lots of them, I thought I was doing the pose correctly and then looked at my pictures and felt like there was something wrong with me. It made me question whether I have really made progress at all, and whether I am “good enough” to consider myself an intermediate. I was in kind of a slump, until I found another article on Greatist about why our yoga poses will never look like the instructor’s, and why that’s a good thing. The article discusses how muscular constraints and skeletal limitations mean that all people look different doing yoga. There was one quote in the article that really hit home for me:

“It is better to strive in one’s own dharma [your essential nature] than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma, but competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity.” -Bhagavad Gita

The article and this quote in particular really made me question why I was questioning myself! No, I do not look anything like the woman in the photographs. But why should I? I have been practicing yoga for a few months, she probably has been for years. While I am struggling through many of the intermediate poses, that does not mean that I should go back to the beginning. The poses are challenging me and I am still getting all the benefits of practicing yoga, so why not just keep practicing and modifying them to fit my needs and abilities instead of giving up? Overall, I am back to feeling confident about my progress and abilities.

After Work Revitalizer

You know the saying, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?” That’s kind of how I’m feeling about my learning project right now. As mentioned in my last post, I love that this project is allowing me to step outside my comfort zone and explore the multitude of yoga resources that are out there. However, after not loving the last few resources that I have used, I decided to go back to my favourite tried and true resource, Do Yoga With Me. Don’t get me wrong, I will definitely continue to seek out new yoga resources for my learning project, and I definitely see the value in trying new ways of learning even if they don’t turn out to be my thing, but today I just wanted to use a resource that I already know works for me!

I’ve definitely seen progress since the beginning of my learning project (I couldn’t even touch my toes before starting yoga), so this time instead of searching for beginner videos on Do Yoga With Me, I decided to try out intermediate. To my surprise, on my search I came across a video called “After Work Revitalizer.” You may recall that in my “That Aha Moment” post,  I tried and reviewed a video called “After Work Revitalizer 2.” It was during this video that I finally understood why so many people are so crazy about yoga, and I have been faithfully using it ever since. I always kind of wondered where the first “After Work Revitalizer” video was located, but just never bothered to look into it. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find the first video in the intermediate section! At first I thought maybe they put it in the wrong section because I assumed that there was no way part 1 of a video would be more difficult than part 2, but once I started the video I quickly realized why it was placed in the intermediate section!

I enjoyed this video immensely, but it was definitely more challenging than “After Work Revitalizer 2.” Maybe it was all in my head, but it seemed like the instructor went through the poses much more quickly, and they were much harder. I know that I am becoming stronger because even though the poses were challenging and at times I was shaking and tired, I was still able to complete all of them! I found that this video had all the same benefits as the first. It helped my neck and back pain, cleared my mind, and kept me focused. I am looking forward to adding this video to my regular lineup!

This video also introduced me to the concept of restorative inversion. At first it just seemed like a fancy name for laying down, putting your arms and legs in the air, and letting the blood flow, but after some research I have found that there are many benefits to practicing restorative inversion. You can find a definition and some of the benefits of the practice here. While I had never heard of the practice before, I now realize that quite a few of the poses I have learned are deemed restorative inversion poses. I also came across this article on master inversions. All of the poses are definitely way above my skill level, but they’re all poses I would love to someday achieve with a lot of time and effort!

 

Sworkit Yoga

As you may remember from my first learning project post, I chose to learn yoga because I wanted to start living a healthier lifestyle. Part of living a healthier lifestyle included becoming more active and eating healthier foods more often. While I have been practicing yoga often, I have been feeling lately like I need to include more physical activity in my life. I was telling this to a friend, and she recommended trying an app called Sworkit. Sworkit is a free fitness app that allows users to follow along with customized workout videos. I have been using it for about a week and am loving it! I have been using it for all different types of workouts, but the other day I decided to try the yoga portion of the app. Read on to learn what I believe are the benefits and drawbacks to this app.

A screenshot from Sworkit's website

A screenshot from Sworkit’s website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits: 

  • The app is customizable. Users can choose between four types of workouts: strength, cardio, yoga, and stretching.They can then either create their own workouts, or choose from premade workouts, and from there can customize how long they want to work out for. I love that I can create a workout that fits my lifestyle and ability level.
  • The videos are fairly easy to follow. I have tried just printing out workout plans and taking them to the gym with me, but a lot of the time I worry that I am not following the exercises correctly. By following along with a video, I am able to see exactly what I should be doing. This has made my workouts much more effective, as previously I would often give up or spend a lot of time just trying to figure out what I was doing. There are transitions between each exercise, and during transition time the screen shows what exercise to do next. I really like this feature, as it keeps me feeling prepared and motivated.
  • It’s free. I considered trying the Beach Body program or something similar, but honestly I’m just not willing to spend the money right now. Sworkit allows me to work out anywhere, at any time, in a way that works best for me.
A screen shot of Sworkit's "Light Warm Up Cardio" video. This particular picture shows what transitioning between each exercise looks like.

A screen shot of Sworkit’s “Light Warm Up Cardio” video. This particular picture shows what transitioning between each exercise looks like.

A screenshot of Sworkit's "Light Warm Up Cardio" video.

A screenshot of Sworkit’s “Light Warm Up Cardio” video.

While I am loving using Sworkit for MOST of my workouts, I did not love the yoga portion of the app. Here are the drawbacks I found.

Drawbacks:

  • The yoga video felt very disjointed. What I love about yoga is the flow from one pose to the next. This seems to make the poses easier and allows me to relax. I used Sworkit’s “Yoga Full Sequence” as part of my learning project, and it just seemed like they thought of as many yoga poses as they could and put them together. It’s hard to follow a yoga video where the videos are recorded by pose, not sequence. So for example, one pose would have me laying down and the next I would be standing up, without any flow from laying to standing.
  • There was no natural progression. I like when poses build on each other and progress from basic to more difficult. With this video, I never knew what would happen next. I found a lot of the poses to be very basic and below my ability level, but then they would randomly throw in a super challenging pose without any buildup to it… I’m embarrassed to admit that I hurt myself trying to follow some of the poses!
  • It was not soothing. As my learning project progresses, it has become less about getting in shape and flexible, and more about using yoga as a relaxation tool. It’s tough to relax when there isn’t a calm, reassuring voice explaining each pose, which brings me to my next point…
  • It was hard to follow. My favourite yoga videos that I have used throughout this project are partially my favourite because of the instructors. I have learned that I enjoy having someone explain the poses to me in a calm, quiet voice. This sets the tone for my yoga sessions. Sworkit does not have someone explaining each move.

The Verdict/General Musings

What I love about this project is that it is allowing me to try out a variety of resources that I otherwise would not have. It’s pushing me outside of my comfort zone. In the past when I worked out or practiced yoga, I would find one resource and just stick to it, whether I thought it was very effective or not. This project has made me see the multitude of resources that exist for practicing yoga, and I am loving finding new ones!

While I enjoy Sworkit for my cardio and strength workouts, I was not impressed with the yoga feature. I will continue to use it regularly, but hope to find better yoga resources. Besides the drawbacks I listed, I just wasn’t challenged enough. I love that I can feel myself getting stronger, and also love that I am continuing to enjoy yoga and all of the benefits it has to offer!

While using Sworkit,  I also discovered that playing music greatly benefitted my yoga session. I am constantly practicing yoga in different rooms and places (I don’t stay in one house or city for too long before going somewhere else), but wanted to see how I could make the environment more calming. I didn’t want dim lights because I wanted to take video, but decided to try playing some slow music and was pleased with the results!

Does anyone have any tried and true yoga apps, videos, resources, etc. that they can recommend? I am always willing to try something new!

Put Your Back Into It

I am happy to say that the “aha” moment that I wrote about in my last post has since left me feeling much more positive towards my learning project. I have been practicing yoga regularly, using the videos featured in my previous posts. I can feel my body getting stronger, and it’s been a great outlet for when I am feeling stressed! Today, after a long day at work where it felt like I was on my feet or hunched over all day, my back was pretty sore. I’ve struggled with lower back issues in the past, and wondered if there were yoga poses that would help ease the pain. I quickly jumped onto Pinterest and came across this article about the benefits of yoga for back pain, complete with poses to help relieve back pain. However, while I liked reading about the benefits for pain that yoga can have, some of the poses definitely seemed a little too challenging (ahem, plow pose  and reclining single leg twist ). So, I continued on my search!

Eventually, I found this article from Yogiapproved.com. Success! While I’ve stuck to videos thus far in my learning project, I thought it might be nice to use pictures of poses and written out instructions, to see which way helps me learn more effectively. Some of the 12 poses were ones I had already learned and posted before, but many were new. Here are examples of some of the poses that I tried today:

 

 

Conclusion:

  • I did not end up relaxed. I thought the descriptions of each pose  were kind of confusing, and was constantly stopping to consult my iPad throughout to see how I was supposed to start the pose, how long I should hold it for, etc. It was difficult to just try to clear my mind and relax.
  • It is easier for me to learn a new sequence when I am able to see the natural flow from one pose to the next. This helps me see how they all connect and helps with that “disjointed” feeling.
  • The poses themselves were pretty effective. They challenged me and stretched me, however, I am not sure that they helped ease my pain, but this could definitely be something that you need to do often and then feel the effects over time.
  • I am really happy that I opted to post pictures this week, as the video footage of me trying to just get my legs aligned with the wall during the last pose is pretty comical!
  • I will probably stick to videos over just pictures and descriptions. So far, the videos have helped me get in the moment and have helped me learn poses more successfully.

My favourite pose from this session: Thread the Needle. You can find a description on the pose and its benefits here. I liked this pose because the way that the arms and body are positioned, there is a lot of stretching happening, and it helped release some of the pain in my back. The way that the head is positioned makes it a more calming pose than some of the others.

My least favourite pose from this session: Leg up the Wall. You can find a description on the pose and its benefits here. Okay, when I was finally in the pose it felt good. But when I was trying to actually get into the pose, there was a lot of flailing. So much flailing.

Have you ever used yoga or other forms of physical activity to help with pain or an injury? Did you find that physical activity lessened the pain or made it worse? I would love to hear personal experiences! 

 

That “Aha” Moment

As reading week comes to a close, I have started sleeping poorly and stressing myself out over what is to come in the next few months (assignments, interviews, etc.). So, after a particularly short night of sleep, I decided that this morning was the perfect opportunity to try out some yoga to both wake myself up and calm myself down. I wanted to leave this yoga session feeling relaxed yet energized and ready for the day. I visited the “Do Yoga With Me” website hoping to find a beginner hatha yoga video that would fit my needs for the day. While on the site, I found a video called “After Work Revitalizer 2”. The website describes the video, led by an instructor named Rachel Scott, as being fun and lively, with a focus on the neck, spine, and hips. While I wasn’t sure that this video was exactly what I was looking for, I decided to give it a shot because of the description, and because it was around 20 minutes.

I am so glad that I gave this video a chance! It turned out to be exactly what I needed. Upon completing my yoga session, I feel calm and in control. While following the video, I finally had that “aha” moment I have been waiting for, where the point of doing yoga finally started to make sense. I believe that this was my most successful yoga session for a multitude of reasons:

I focused solely on myself and the yoga that I was doing. When documenting my yoga sessions for my learning project in the past, I couldn’t seem to just “let go.” As much as I tried to focus on just being in the moment, I was constantly pausing the videos that I was doing to check and see if my laptop was still filming, whether the camera was pointed exactly where it needed to be, and whether I looked ridiculous. Today, I just let all of that go. I made sure prior to starting filming that my laptop was set up exactly the way it needed to be in order to include my full body, and then just didn’t care after that. I knew that even if not all of the footage turned out blog worthy, I would still at least find something to work with. As for worrying about whether I looked ridiculous? I just decided that I don’t care! I am not a yoga instructor or someone who has been practicing for years, so it’s natural that I wont look exactly like the instructors in the video. I am learning to accept and embrace that. By just letting myself focus on the yoga, I found that I felt calmer and was able to benefit from it more than usual.

I am getting stronger. Even though this is only my third post since starting yoga, I have been starting to practice more often without documenting it. Since finding the Flexibility and Range of Motion video that I reviewed in my last post, I have been making a point of doing the 9 minute video every day. As a result, I am starting to feel more flexible and finding it easier to hold more challenging poses for long periods of time. It helps that all of the videos that I have used incorporate some variation of a sun salutation, so I have been able to practice the same basic poses multiple times.

The video itself is amazing. I know that I have liked every video I have written about so far, but this one is excellent! The instructor, Rachel Scott, is energetic and moves through the poses at the perfect pace. I loved the poses used because they are a mixture of fast, high energy sequences, and slow, relaxing ones. I did find many of the poses very challenging, but they were not impossible. Whenever a pose did seem especially challenging, it was usually followed by an easier, slower one. I left my session feeling decompressed and energized for the day.

I used the savasana pose to end off my session. After my last few sessions of yoga, I have found myself feeling like something is missing. The videos would just abruptly finish and that would be the end of my session. The video that I used today made me realize that what my yoga sessions have been lacking so far is the savasana pose! The savasana pose, or corpse pose, comes at the end of a yoga session. During savasana, you basically just lay on your back on the floor with your arms and legs relaxed and your eyes closed. While it is definitely a simple pose, it has so many benefits, as stated in this article. Savasana has always been my favourite part of yoga, because it allows your whole body to relax, and makes you feel incredible. Even if the videos that I find in the future do not include the pose, I plan to start doing it at the end of every yoga session no matter what.

 

Overall, this morning’s session of yoga has left me feeling revitalized and excited to continue my learning project! For the first time since starting, I can confidently say that I am looking forward to my next yoga session and making more progress.

Have you ever started learning a new hobby and skill and had that “aha” moment where it all finally starts to feel worth it?

 

I Bend So I Don’t Break

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While scrolling through Pinterest this morning, I came across a yoga related quote that stated: “I bend so I don’t break.” Since starting my learning project, I have let procrastination get the best of me (as usual). Since my first post, I convinced myself of many reasons not to take the time to do yoga. My inner thoughts prior to today went something like this:

“It’s super embarrassing posting pictures and videos of myself practicing yoga. Why didn’t I choose a learning project that did not involve me documenting myself twisting my body into all sorts of weird positions for the whole internet to see?” 

“I don’t have time to do yoga. Between homework, work, job applications, house hunting, and portfolio-making, yoga is the last thing on my mind.” 

“Why would I do yoga when I can sit here and eat junk food and spend all my free time on social media?” 

As you can tell, I am obviously a naturally optimistic person (haha). It wasn’t until I found the quote “I bend so I don’t break,” that I finally decided to get moving again. The quote is simple, but effective. Yes, I am still young and healthy(ish), however,  I chose yoga as my learning project because it will benefit me and hopefully have an impact on my lifestyle. So, with a refreshed mindset, I continued to search through Pinterest for a new yoga related resource. I really like the site that I have been using, but wanted to try something new. While on Pinterest, I found this article, which gave a few great yoga related youtube channels. Because of that article, I decided to try out Livestrong Woman’s  Youtube channel, specifically, Tara Stiles’ video titled Flexibility and Range of Motion.  Even though I have practiced yoga sporadically and took dance classes from the ages of 3-17, I am an incredibly un-flexible person. I wanted to try out this video in particular because I believe that increased flexibility will help me become better at every other aspect of yoga. Here are (in my opinion) the pros and cons of the Flexibility and Range of Motion video:

Pros:

  • It’s free and easy to locate.
  • It’s short. The video is only around 10 minutes long. While this may be too short depending on what you are looking for, I think it’s the perfect length for those who are looking to incorporate yoga into their daily routine.
  • It gets down to the basics. I’m almost wishing that I would have done this video before using the sun salutations video from my last post, as it uses some of the same poses but at a more basic level.
  • It’s HARD. Because I have done yoga before, I assumed that this video would be a breeze. I was incredibly wrong. Maybe it was because I have not done any sort of physical activity in a while, or maybe because I am just an un-flexible person, but either way this video was definitely a challenge for me! The poses stretched me much more than I thought they would, and I was actually sweating by the end of the video.

Cons: 

  • It’s HARD (Okay, this is just me complaining. The difficulty was really a pro for me, but still, I can’t say I enjoyed it the whole way through).
  • The instructor goes through the poses quite quickly. While I felt really stretched, sometimes I didn’t have enough time to really get into one before moving onto the next.

Overall, I am looking forward to continuing my learning project and trying more of Tara Stiles’ yoga videos. I think that the flexibility video is one that I will continue to use as often as possible in addition to other resources.

Now for the technology side of my learning project: I have been using my iPad to watch the yoga videos on, and my MacBook and iMovie to record myself practicing yoga. For pictures, I have just been screenshotting stills from the videos I make. I am finding it difficult to stay focused on letting my thoughts drift and practicing yoga while making sure my computer is tilted at the right angle and still filming. What is everyone else using to document their own learning project? Do you find it hard to just let go when you still want to be focused on the tech aspect of the project?

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Sun Salutations

After much procrastination, I have officially kicked off the “learning” portion of my learning project. To be honest, most of the reason I procrastinated so long was because I was nervous. When I chose yoga for my learning project, I was just excited to do something good for myself. However, I did not give a lot of thought to what the process would actually look and feel like. As the days went by, I kept putting off my learning project. I knew that I wanted to film myself doing yoga, but was terrified about how a video would turn out. Would I look awkward and incapable? Would people see the video and laugh at me? Would I even be able to figure out how to film myself? Today I finally decided to face my fears and just go for it.

For my first day of yoga, I used this website that I discovered last week. “Do Yoga With Me” requires users to create an account, but is free of charge. It has a variety of options for every yoga learner. Today, I went under the “Yoga Classes” section, and searched for 0-20 minute, beginner Hatha yoga classes. While searching, I found a 20 minute video called “Sun Salutations 1.” I first tried sun salutations in the yoga class that I attended in the fall, and always enjoyed the simplicity and repetition of them. As it’s been months since I completed a sun salutation, I thought it would be a great way to ease back into yoga. You can find the benefits of sun salutations listed here, and a chart showing the poses used in a sun salutation here.

I really enjoyed the video that I used, as the instructor talks participants through each pose step by step. While this would probably be annoying for anyone more experienced, it was perfect for beginners or people like me who have not done yoga in months.  I found the sun salutations to be very relaxing, and enjoyed that there was a progression. The poses started out fairly basic, and then more challenging poses were added after each salutation. By the end of the video, I was definitely feeling challenged and tired. Next time, I think that I will use this video again so that I gain more practice and can monitor if any progress has been made. The below clip is how I looked about halfway through the sun salutations practice video. While I am pretty apprehensive about sharing this video, and kind of embarrassed by how it turned out, I am excited to document my progress throughout my learning project!

Has anyone else felt apprehensive or self conscious throughout the learning project process? Does anyone dislike watching themselves on video? I would love to hear from you!

 

My Learning Project: Becoming Stretched and De-stressed

After reading a fellow blogger’s post about starting to write for himself instead of others, I have set myself the goal of writing more informal blog posts that sound more like me and less like essays. So naturally, I tried to come up with a witty title for my first learning project post. I then quickly realized that coming up with witty titles is a challenge! So, forgive me for my first attempt. Anyways, after much deliberation over what I should choose for my learning project, I finally decided on yoga. At first I was unsure because I noticed that there were quite a few people thinking about doing yoga, but the more I thought about it the more it just seemed like a good fit for me. This semester I am focused on becoming a healthier version of myself (better food choices, more exercise, etc.), so yoga fits right into my focus. Doing yoga for my learning project will (hopefully) improve my overall health, and because it is for a class, the idea is that I will feel more accountable than I would if I were just trying to do yoga on my own time. I get anxious and stressed out easily, so I am also hoping that yoga will be an outlet that I can use to relax in high stress situations.

I have unsuccessfully attempted to make doing yoga a habit a few different times. In my first year of university, I signed up for a weekly yoga class with full intentions of having it become part of my lifestyle. Even though it was on campus and I also lived on campus, I think I showed up to two classes. Then, this past fall while living in Kenaston for my internship, I signed up with two friends for another weekly yoga class. This time, the class was actually a pretty positive experience. The yoga itself left me feeling relaxed, I really enjoyed the instructor, and I liked going with my two closest friends. However, as internship started to become more and more stressful, I started to show up to yoga less and less. I think I went to the class maybe four times total. While I do have some experience, I believe that it’s limited enough that I do not have a very high baseline.

In order to decide what type of yoga I should focus on (I have briefly tried both vinyasa and hatha), I read this article  so that I could learn more about each type. I found the article to be very helpful, as it was written in a simple, enjoyable to read way. After reading the article, I also took a fun quiz (located at the bottom of this post). The quiz and the article helped me see that hatha yoga is probably the best choice for me. Hatha yoga is a type of beginner yoga that is slower paced, and focuses on breathing.

Now that I have decided what type of yoga I will be doing, I will be spending time each week practicing various poses and sequences. I’m still a little unsure about how I will go about this, but am hoping to figure out the details this week! I hope to use Youtube, Pinterest, and Twitter to research techniques, tips, and poses. To start, I found an awesome website with tons of different instructional yoga videos. I haven’t explored it extensively, but I love that I can zero in on exactly what I’m looking for, as the site allows you to choose the teacher, level, style, length, wellness focus, body part, practice focus, and pose focus. I’m looking forward to trying it out this week!

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A screenshot from greatist.com