Monday Moment - Independent Exploration

A display of DVD’s at our local food emporium finally roped me in a couple months ago, as per a goal I set well over a year ago to explore yoga.

Until I purchased my first instructional DVD in yoga, I was employing the ‘Think Method’ espoused by Professor Harold Hill in the Music Man. I ‘thought’ about yoga. I even borrowed several issues of the magazine “Yoga Journal” from our library – and read it cover to cover. I thought about hearing a friend – and also Carol Burnett years ago – talking about great results from their yoga experiences, but I didn’t take the step to actually do yoga myself. And the ‘think method’ wasn’t getting me great results.

But you see, I don’t much like schedules. And in order to take a yoga class, one pretty much needs to follow a schedule. At our Y, where I’d be most likely to enroll, their schedule of yoga classes happens to include times when I would nearly always prefer to be doing something else. Saturday mornings at 8 AM? Please.

So, the display of DVD’s, blocks, belts, mats, and all things yoga at our grocery/’if-you-can’t-find-it-at-Wegmans-you-don’t-need-it-store’ drew me closer week by week until something compelled me to put the Yoga for Beginners DVD in the cart. And then once I got it home, it was no problem to stick the disc in my machine – on my own schedule.

Over the next couple of weeks, I played parts of the disc until I had learned enough yoga poses to complete the 16 minute workout included on the DVD – at least more or less. In many of the poses – side and triangle stretches, and lunges to be specific – I was shaky and unstable, but I was doing them as the disc instructed. And then my short attention span kicked in and I was bored with the same old routine. Besides, would 16 minutes at a crack do what I hoped it might do for me?

So on our next shopping trip, I scanned through the multitude of DVDs again until I found one that seemed like it might work. This one had five different variations of the same routine – 45 minutes this time – based on one’s ability level. Hmm… I liked that idea. And I liked the routine. I also liked that I now had options – 16 minutes for when time was tight (or I just didn’t want to do that much) and 45 minutes for days when I could devote that much energy to this new practice.

I’ve never been a person who does anything – except eat and sleep – every single day. That short attention span again. So I used my yoga workouts a few times a week on days when I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) swim, walk, kayak, hoop, or garden – my other summer workout options. I liked having a new alternative – something different so exercise needn’t feel like a boring chore.

I’ve always been flexible so I felt successful in some yoga poses right away – and could handle the ‘expert’ version of the workout. And I was also challenged in poses that required both strength and balance, relying on less expert options presented in the DVD.

Now it’s only been a short while, I’m only using my new DVDs a few times a week, and we know that changes in our bodies can take an interminably long time. Blast it all! But I can see some progress. My legs shake less, I don’t wobble as much, and I find myself able to manage some of the more difficult variations (without throwing quite so many exasperated looks at the screen when the instructor says, “Your breath should be soft and even,” and mine would better be described as ragged and gasping!) I freely admit that my favorite is the relaxation pose, but I’m also enjoying the sensations of bending, twisting, stretching, and balancing – on my own schedule.

I fully anticipate that some among you – those of you who adhere to schedules more willingly than I – will write to tell me how much more I might get from taking an actual class with a live instructor. You’re undoubtedly right. I can absolutely see the advantages – except of course that said class would take place at a specified time! I actually do see the possibility of such classes somewhere in my future when my short attention span kicks in yet again. For now, though, I’m enjoying a more independent introduction to yoga. And feeling grateful for the technology that allows me such exploration in the comfort of my home and on my own schedule!

What have you been wanting to explore but haven’t yet built into your schedule? What alternatives might you find at your local library, you-can-find-anything-there-store, or even on the internet? What’s stopping you from at least dipping in your toes?

Here’s hoping you’ll find some way to dive right in – to whatever pursuit may have been nagging at you – and this very week!


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