January 21st, 2021



I hope I can go back to the YMCA again someday for a real life yoga class. They were awesome. I had never been to a yoga class before 2020. I picked a heck of a year to start, didn't I? I got to join up for two months.

I can't remember when I started doing home yoga. Maybe I bought the DVDs when I worked at the Discovery Channel Store? I had Power Yoga with Rodney Yee. He was super hot and strong and did weird arm balances that I could never do, and it was awesome. That would have been 20 years ago.

Then I got netflix, and would rent other yoga videos. When I was pregnant I had prenatal yoga videos that absolutely saved me. Pregnancy required movement for circulation, and a connection to my alien body for mental health. Yoga did it.

In 2018 or 2019 I discovered youtube yoga. Yoga with Adriene is the most popular channel. She's happy and relaxed, has a soothing voice, best friend demeanor, and pleasant dog who sleeps beside her. But I don't like her videos anymore. It took me a while to figure out she's not actually the best but now I am certain. Those were the years I developed back pain. I don't know if it's from doing unsafe yoga things, but it coincided. She also likes to get into some breathing exercises that I am not interested in... I'm here to work out, and I'd accidentally pick a video that's ten minutes of breathing through one nostril together or something.

So I stopped youtube yoga for safety and did two things - first, real live yoga class at the Y. second, physical therapy. I told my physical therapist that yoga hurt my back, especially stuff like planks, but they actually wanted me to do planks... just engage my core and glutes some more I'd never heard that.

I mean, yoga with adriene has an "abs" video where she literally just does a bunch of crunch reps. That's stupid. There are SO many yoga poses that build abs and core muscles, that fit into actual yoga sequences. She just doesn't incorporate that much and when she does, there's not a lot of mention of what muscles you're supposed to be using, or warning flags that you're using the wrong ones. She's too casual about it, and talks about your mental state or breathing or life's stresses when she should be talking about your actual body.

Warrior 3 is a pose where you stand on one leg, lean forward like an airplane, back leg straight out behind you. it killed my back! then I took a livestream class with my cousin where she reminded everybody that you're using your glute to hold up that back leg, and it totally changed how I do the pose, and now I do it all the time.

The YMCA classes were so much faster and intense with different modifications and a room full of people I could watch - but then everything shut down for COVID and I'm back to youtube yoga.

thanks to physical therapy I am much more aware of my core engagement to save my back, and I am feeling stronger.

I'm also trying lots of other channels.

sarah beth yoga is better. she's not as relatable, she wears makeup and sounds corporate and tries to upsell other programs, but her sequences focus a lot more on strength building and learning. as in, we are going to do this core pose and be very mindful about how it will feel and where we are building strength.

and more often these days I just do my own sequences. I get to put on whatever music I want. I start a timer on my phone so I can glance at it for some poses and set a target for how long to hold them. 30 seconds for planks, 1 minute for bridge pose... I guess a good yogi can measure time in breaths but I am not a good yogi. I learn from every teacher I've had though. That's a good reason to change youtube channels a lot. Yoga takes a village.