Coming Back to Yoga: Negotiating with Myself

DavesPhoto

 

On International Yoga Day (June 21st) – while taking a free outdoor yoga class here in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle – which is adjacent to Barefoot Yoga Headquarters – I made a commitment to do yoga for at least a half hour, 6 days a week. Today is day 6.

I’m happy to report I have stuck to my commitment. Not sure I would have if not for announcing this. Life has been extra busy.

I had envisioned waking up early and getting my yoga in, but the snooze button won all week. Here at work, I rolled my yoga mat out in my office. The first day it was completely flat, making it hard not to step on when walking from my desk to anywhere. I got in 5 minutes of yoga. I have since folded it in half, and then I folded it again. I have not returned to it since “day 3″.

So, each evening I have found myself hungry for dinner, home with my freshly-out-of-school-for-the-year almost 8 year-old daughter, and with the prospect of not doing yoga at all. That first night I decided my yoga would happen after eating, but it would be in the form of sitting meditation. There was a time I would have said, “Well, that doesn’t really count.” That was before I tried sitting upright and silent for 30 minutes years ago. In my experience, it ain’t no walk in the park.

The other night, as I drove home from the grocery store at 11 PM, I considered making that day my day of rest for the week. But then it occurred to me I had already inadvertently taken a day of rest on day 2. I went home and did my 30 minutes. This time I played some meditative music (which seems to make it easier – but I wonder if it takes away some of the purity).

The last three nights – between 10 and 11 PM, I have done 30 minutes of sitting meditation. All were different, but had things in common. In each case, I felt more comfortable than I anticipated – with my daughter’s zafu (pictured above) supporting my seat, and my legs bent underneath me (Virasana-hero pose). In each case, I felt proud of myself when the clock started, and I settled in. In all 3 meditations, my mind floated in and out of thoughts, and occasionally stopped thinking altogether, my closed-eyed gaze a deeper black, and just the sound of my breath. In each meditation, my mind wondered impatiently whether I had 15 minutes left, or 3, or 20? In each meditation my skin crawled, and I stirred uncomfortably – wondering if I could keep going. It got intense, and I thought about the folks who do Vipasana meditations for hours and hours. This helped.

Last night I stuck a Barefoot Yoga zabuton (pictured above) underneath my daughter’s zafu. Sometimes to motivate ourselves for a disciplined action, we need help. The zabuton definitely improved my comfort, and will be used as often as possible from here on in. Also, this new meditation throne which resides conveniently under my bed is beckoning me to sit on it. Reminds me of the phrase from Field of Dreams – “build it, and they will come.”

I will have to return that zafu to my daughter, and grab another one for myself.  In the meanwhile – meditation definitely counts, although I’m looking forward to yoga movement too in my near future. For now, it’s all about “getting it in.”  I believe this flow will grow.

 

Posted under Health and Fitness, Meditation, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Mats, Yoga Supplies

This post was written by David on June 26, 2015

Coming Back to Yoga: A New Commitment

010B

Mysore, India circa 1996. Barefoot Yoga co-founder Dave with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath in front of the Yoga Shala after practice.

 

Sometimes we all need a spark to get going on something we know will do us a world of good.  And sometimes we need to proclaim our commitment to this discipline-requiring activity to help muster up that regular discipline.

 

Fre Sols Yoga 15

 

The picture above is from this past weekend’s free yoga class hosted by Laura Yon Yoga & Bodywork at the Fremont Fair nearby Barefoot Yoga here in Seattle.  I had set my sights on this class from weeks before, when Barefoot Yoga Co. donated a Silk sari scented eye pillow (Brindavan Teal) that was a prize raffled off to a lucky participant.

Laura Yon teaches a beautiful class. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t hot. A perfect Seattle morning. 130 or so of us – mostly in unison.

For the rest of the day, I felt the lift of that yoga class. I moved more fluidly. I felt more even keeled in all ways.

 

010A

Dave in “leaning tower of Pisa” pose

 

I came to yoga to strengthen my body after a back injury in my twenties. My yoga dedication peaked in Mysore, India 1996 – practicing almost daily with Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath for two months. Since that time, I have felt in my heart yoga would be a big part of my life. And it has – with Barefoot Yoga – that started after that experience, and continues today.

But my own feet – bare or otherwise, have not gotten back into a regular yoga practice since shortly after Mysore.

Meanwhile, I have been asked to write blogs here, but have had a hard time figuring out what to write about. During that wonderful free outdoor class on the first official International Yoga Day in our history (as decreed by the United Nations last December) – a light bulb went off. I will write about my own re-entry into a regular practice. I will periodically write updates about my efforts to squeeze yoga into my life regularly.

In the picture above from Sunday’s class here in Seattle, I see one yogi who has both legs pulled to his chest, while all others have one leg extended. That’s okay, we don’t always move at the exact pace of the class. But I’ll admit, I’m slightly embarrassed to be the one person not holding the correct pose.

Perhaps over time, my ego will melt away in favor of higher yogic consciousness. For now I will simply add that my Barefoot Yoga Performance Grip mat (pictured below) was perfect for this class held in a parking lot. Its density not only felt comfortable and padded when on our knees, its firmness kept me totally grounded for the balancing poses.

Also, our UPS man’s girlfriend spotted my Lotus pattern yoga mat bag, and he came in the next day and requested one for her.

 

photo (3)

Office yoga at BFY

Most importantly, I am motivated to squeeze yoga into my busy life regularly. My mat is now open in my office, (pictured above) – and although I have only squeezed in about five minutes worth today, it was enough for a new concept to emerge – “the yoga five.” My goals are modest now – at least a half hour of yoga 6 days a week. That’s how I got hooked in the first place – more than two decades ago. But I’m hoping this time it lasts – for a lifetime, (or three). Time, and I  – will tell.

 

Posted under Barefoot Yoga News, Eco-Friendly Yoga Products, Health and Fitness, Styles of Yoga, Yoga Events, Yoga Mats

This post was written by David on June 25, 2015

5 New Things to Try this Summer

It’s that time of year again – summer has officially begun! Time to break out your practice rugs, your sunscreen, and – particularly if you’re in the Pacific NW like we are – a comfy pair of sandals for trekking from yoga class, work, and all around town!

Summer is a beautiful time of year, and a great time to try out new things. With the warm weather and long hours of daylight, it’s the perfect time for both outdoor adventures, and taking time for some top notch relaxation.

Below are some of our favorite ways to get active, have fun, and nourish the body, mind, and soul during this gorgeous time of year.

1. Get planting

 

gardening-001-640x320

Gardening outdoors is a lovely way to soak up the sunshine and put time and effort into planting produce for a bounty of delicious fall crops. Not to mention that if you’re lucky enough to have a large backyard, planting trees and soft grass can be an amazing way to create your very own secluded yoga oasis!

 

2. Try a new style of yoga

 

yogafeature_innerbig

It’s wonderful to find a style of yoga that speaks to you, and if you’ve been going to that same hot yoga class every week for the past six months, that’s awesome! But, if you’re looking to change up your routine with a new class, summer is a time of year ripe with outdoor yoga classes – which makes it easy to try out a spur of the moment class. Or, even try sampling a style of yoga that’s always caught your eye but you’ve never explored, such as newly-on-the-scene aqua yoga, or a Kundalini class!

 

3. See the world (or at least a little of it)

 

Summer-Drive

Get out of town, and see some new sights! If you’re able, catch a quick weekend getaway to your local state park for some camping and outdoor poses, or even explore one of many upcoming summer yoga festivals! Yoga festivals, which run all year round but are especially popular during the summer months, are a great way to explore your practice, listen to amazing live music, and connect with fellow yogis.

 

4. Invest in a sustainable, healthy food plan

 

cooking

Have you found yourself ordering veggie Thai takeout one too many times, or eating a whole thing of hummus and some carrots instead of cooking a real meal? If this sounds like you, think about trying out a body and budget friendly meal plan this summer! A healthy diet filled with fruits, veggies, nutritious whole grains, and lean proteins is essential for any yogi, and can help tremendously with energy levels, mental clarity, and feeling fresh all day long. Not to mention that planning your meals for the week and cooking from home is a great way to save a buck that could go towards that yoga festival! Check out this refreshing and delicious tomato and cucumber salad to get started.

 

5. Try something new

 

PatrickBike2

 

This one is pretty straightforward – simply try something new! Whether it’s starting a journal, biking to yoga class instead of driving, or taking a photography course, try something new (big or small) that serves body and mind. Learning and exploring new things can be a fulfilling and valuable way to discover new passions, connect with others, and get to know yourself better.

 

Whether you’re just beginning your yogic journey, or if you’re simply looking for an awesome new practice rug or pair of leggings to spruce up your practice, Barefoot Yoga has got you covered! Come visit us today at barefootyoga.com, where we offer the freshest styles and a wide selection of truly authentic props.

 

Posted under Food and Cooking, Health and Fitness, Styles of Yoga

This post was written by Carolina on June 24, 2015