A few months ago my husband took me on a date to Bikram Yoga. He has been doing it for a few years and finally I was free from both pregnancy and lactation and could tag along. Bikram Yoga is a 26 posture sequence that is intended to systematically work the entire body, and involve the organs, ligaments, veins and muscles for optimum health and function. The classes are 90 minutes and always in carpeted room that is heated to 105 degrees (with 40% humidity). It’s an intense experience and I can see why the cult following is so devoted. I left feeling spent, loose, strong, cleansed and strangely rejuvenated.
The instructor asked if anyone was new to Bikram, and I along with three others raised my hand. Throughout the class, he would check in with the newbies by name to correct, encourage, and affirm our postures. About half way through the class, the instructor told me I was strong and asked me what my “practice” was. I wasn’t sure how to respond. While I think Yoga is great for me, my “practice” is sporadic and lacking in discipline. My response was, “kind of whatever” to which he replied, “that’s a great practice for you.” I am going to blame my lame ass response on the fact that I was suffocating and nearly blacking out due to the insane heat.
The benefits of yoga are enough that I integrate it sporadically into my weekly routine. But, I will be honest and say that I have not fallen in love with yoga (yet). I don’t look forward to doing it and certainly don’t feel the same excitement when I finish as I do with other activities (i.e. running). So, in order for me to do it, the barriers to entry (cost, time, location) must be very minimal.
I found a solution that had made integrating yoga into my routine very do-able and really leaves me no excuse not to become a moderate Yogi. Yoga Download is an online yoga studio that offers a variety of donation-based and low cost classes. They have a really well organized site that categorizes the classes by type of yoga, instructor, level, intensity, cost, etc. The classes vary in length and many of the donation-based classes are 25 minutes long. I have found this class length to be my sweet spot as it fits into nap time (and spans the length of an episode of Curious George for those seriously desperate times).
It’s an audio format with an accompanying pdf pose guide. This may not be the ideal format for a complete yoga newbie, but works if you have a general understanding of the names of poses. I have the Yoga Download app on my iPhone and iPad so that I can access the classes away from home too.
Yoga Download makes it easy for me to integrate yoga into my routine. It requires no cost, limited time commitment, and has a completely flexible location. Here are a few ways that I fit the sessions into my weekly routine:
- As a stand-alone workout on an active rest day. In this case, I will string 2 or 3 25-minute sessions together.
- As a component of my workout for the day. For instance, I will run four miles and follow directly with a 25-minute yoga session.
- As a quick double workout later in the day. I will pick one 25-minute session to do in the afternoon for an added bonus to my morning workout.
My top 3 favorite Yoga Download sessions (in order of preference):
Yoga in action:
Post run yoga session (using the Yoga Download App) with my friends.
A desperate (but failed) attempt at doing a yoga download session while Reece is awake. Excuse the booty shot.
Fitting in a bit of yoga at the park while the kids play.
Post-yoga download session headstands.
I hope that my Yoga Practice grows into something more over time. For now, I am grateful for Yoga Download and their 25-minute sessions.
So, that’s me. I want to know about you, Yogi. What is your yoga practice? Do you have a favorite studio (online or physical location) to share?