Youtube yoga!

I have a love-hate relationship with Youtube.

On the one hand, Youtube is the internet. It’s this swirling chaos of cat videos and art and creation in which anyone can put anything out there for others to see and enjoy.

On the other hand, Youtube is the internet, which means there’s an extraordinary amount of yelling and I’m-right-you’re-wrong pissing contests. You guys already know how I feel about the comments section, so I won’t go through that here.

But one thing I especially love about the internet–and Youtube specifically–is that it affords us an amazing number of ways to learn. Recently, I’ve been leaning particularly on Youtube to learn something new: yoga.

You guys, I am a Youtube yoga junkie. I do morning yoga. And bedtime yoga. I try to learn a new pose everyday. And I get to do it completely at my pace on my patio or in my living room or sometimes even on my bed.

I’ve always been kind of interested in yoga but I wasn’t really sure how to get into it without shelling out some serious cash. Youtube, I have to say, is a great introduction.

Of course, you need to shop around a little for videos that appeal to you, which is not really a problem–apparently Youtube videos teaching yoga are pretty prevalent. Mostly, I dig Yoga with Adrienne.

I think one of the reasons yoga appeals to me–aside from the opportunity to do it independently–is that it works with the body. It uses gradualism. You’re not just jumping from one pose to another or piling on more weights, you’re using breath and movement to get you from one position to the next. There might be some tension while you’re doing it, there is a serious amount of wobbling sometimes, and you absolutely will feel it the next day. But it’s not designed to hurt. The whole “no pain, no gain” mentality seems largely absent, at least in the yogis I’ve encountered so far.

Which goes back to my thoughts about self-care, too. A lot of exercise programs today seem sort of inherently self-punishing. Which works for some people–it energizes them (I’m thinking of runners). But I prefer something that has some range–you can use it to strengthen your muscles and relax and relieve your pain when you’re sick. The point isn’t to ignore the body’s pain; it’s to get in touch with every feeling, every breath, and invest energy in them. One of the reasons it’s easy for me to do yoga every day is that it’s not just about the exercise, it’s about physical and mental engagement. Which has benefits beyond toning your thighs.*

But the important part of all this is that we find physical activity that works for us individually. I had a great conversation with a friend lately about how nutritional advice works much better when tailored to the individual. Because no two bodies are the same, so why would we ever assume that the same care would work for both of them?

So I hope you guys take care of yourselves in a way that works for you. And if you don’t, there’s so much out there. Never hurts to look.

But if you are interested in Youtube yoga, I recommend the following videos to get started:

*There is nothing, nothing wrong with toning your thighs, especially if you’re doing it for yourself, but I hope you care about more than that. I do.

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