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Showing most liked content on 11/28/2015 in all areas

  1. 8 likes
    I avoided yoga for years (to my own detriment) because I was turned off by what I perceived as the combination of materialism and spirituality-lite that the modern culture of yoga in the west seemed to represent. And I really didn’t like that it seemed to be turning into a status marker, that having the time to devote to yoga and the money to invest in a pricey yoga wardrobe was sort of a class signifier. But I realized that it doesn’t pay to throw out the baby with the bathwater and that yoga has a lot to offer, and what it has to offer is bigger and more powerful than – and will outlast – the contemporary cultural associations that I may not find so tasteful. And anyway, if some people are initially attracted to yoga because of the cute Lululemon leggings, and they find some meaningful benefit from doing yoga, then isn’t that still a good thing? Is it my place to judge anyone’s reason for doing yoga? This is a good question for me, because becoming less judgmental has been one of my major goals as I get older. In a time when ideas can spread across the farthest reaches of the globe, humans looking to tend to their mental and physical well-being can choose from any number of spiritual and religious traditions, psychotherapy, pharmaceuticals, dietary practices, exercise regimens, systems of meditation, and more. In some ways this is overwhelming, and it is bound to lead to a cafeteria approach – picking and choosing what works rather than dedicating oneself fully to a single practice or tradition. I don’t see that as good or bad, it just is. If one person wants to get more into yoga as a full “system” and someone else just wants to do the postures for 90 minutes three times a week, I think that's fine. What is clear is that most of us need something to keep from being tossed about on the waves of modern life filled with constant stressors and intrusions on our mental peace. For many people, that might be sugar, alcohol, drugs, shopping, zoning out in front of the TV, etc. Life is hard, and I myself am not giving up my red wine any time soon. But I believe that yoga helps, and it helps even if “all” you do is the asanas. I’m not in it for spiritual reasons per se, but I know that when you do good for your body, you do good for your mind, and yes my “spirit” benefits from yoga. Even just looking at it as a physical system, I am constantly amazed at how thorough, deep and effective yoga is. I’m not going to renounce such a great practice because I wasn’t born to the culture that came up with it. I count myself lucky to live in a time when I can benefit from the wisdom of people across the ages and across the globe! And as for yoga at the YMCA, etc., I would actually like to see yoga become *more* democratized, and for more men, older people, heavier people, people with unfancy workout clothes, etc., to have access to it and feel that it is for them too. Will it become "watered down" by virtue of becoming more widespread? Is that bad? Interesting questions to think about!
  2. 8 likes
    Great topic. I know of one teacher who turns his nose up at any creative workshop or yoga activity (in his city the new thing is yoga in breweries), says there's no need to have retreats, says we don't need special yoga mats or special yoga clothes, nor music. He says if you don't chant before your practice that you're not really doing yoga. He goes to India regularly and he believes very firmly in maintaining the tradition. And to that I think - man, when you spew negativity even though you're coming from what I think is a good intention (trying to maintain the tradition and heritage of yoga), it doesn't negate the fact that you're going against the true meaning of yoga - union and togetherness - by intending to discredit teachers who lead retreats or come up with various workshops. How do we know that these teachers aren't leading their classes with a deep respect to the tradition yet presenting it in a way that appeals to people in the west? I personally don't drink beer so teaching yoga in a brewery is not for me, but really, who is that yoga instructor hurting? If anything, is he or she not bringing something wonderful to people who might otherwise not be inclined to practice? Sure, maybe the practice for most of the participants is mostly physical, but in my experience that's usually the first step toward moving in a more spiritual direction. And if someone doesn't take that step, then they'll surely just stay with the asana and benefit physically from the movement. What is so wrong with that, provided the instructor really is leading a yoga class rather than a fitness class? We can go around and around with it and if we look at other aspects of our lives, it's like where do we draw the line between appropriation and cultural exchange? Sushi with chopsticks? Chipotle? Dreadlocks? Yoga?
  3. 8 likes
    Man, I have really thought about this a lot in the past. I've found it is good for me to be quiet and stop questioning when I can directly deduce that I'm not hurting anyone. But in the interest of exploring the topic... Personally, I do not ever feel as though I am appropriating a culture because my practice is my full body prayer. My best practice is private. I don't mind saying that it's the only 'prayer' that I have ever executed with entirely good intentions and regular attention. I remain devoted because it served me when I had nothing to give and basically felt like my life was a long catastrophe that I was waiting out. I am humble on my mat, and can now sit with all of the blackness that drove me there. I am never going to India (they don't need me there) and I am not throwing myself completely into something dogmatic because that is against my nature and feeds into the falseness of new-wave American yoga culture that is, yes, driven by money. The number one way to be disrespectful is to be INSINCERE and wear, preach, market something that will fade out of your life as soon as you find Jesus, or Crossfit. Intention matters. In the end, I am so grateful to the good teachers I have known who have traveled and studied (history, anatomy, tradition, language) so as to pass on what they've learned in a respectful way. That- doing things thoroughly, so as to benefit others- is very valuable to humanity. It will never nullify abuse and oppression, but it doesn't feed it.
  4. 6 likes
    I can't say I'm a fan of the Atkins diet. No carbs ever! Seriously?! Everyone I know who has done that diet has fallen off the wagon at some point.I don't think denying yourself food, especially your favourite food, is a healthy lifestyle. Food is one of the greatest joys in life, the body and mind need all types of food. I eat carbs all the time. I just ate a lovely big bowl of porridge. I love pepperoni pizza. I weigh about 70Kg. I am a big fan of a balanced diet - everything in the right proportion. Sure, I limit some foods; High saturated fat, high sugar, high salt, starchy food, but I don't deny myself anything. I have over a number of years educated myself to eat healthier. I eat a lot of of fruit and vegetables. Lean protein like chicken breast and salmon. Nothing really very scientific. I don't weigh my food or limit my portion sizes. The biggest revelation I have found is that when you start lowering and cutting out crap in you diet and replacing it with healthier alternatives, you stop depending on the artificial flavour boost that added sugar and additives give food, and you start appreciating the subtle flavours of natural food. You really have to embrace this concept. When you look forward to your quinoa and mixed bean salad at lunchtime then you know you've become a health food bore I am aware that this thread started as a question about the best type of yoga to lose weight so here is my tuppence on that too . I would have thought all yoga! Yoga is great because it takes your body through a variety of low intensity and high intensity exercises. The body responds to these different intensities by burning fat and calories in different ratios. My philosophy with exercise is the same as with food - it's all about balance. Combine a balanced diet with a balanced exercise programme and you will become fit and lean.
  5. 6 likes
    Not even Indian tradition is able to accurately trace where yoga begins, not even, where yoga ends. We can only rely on the interpretation of a minimum written heritage left so I find that even today Yoga is a work in progress. At the XIXth century yoga had almost dissapeared. Under the English colonization Indians start to claim the own identity and heritage, and it is in this context that yoga begins to have a place. I have a teacher who refers to yoga as the "pizza effect". The orgins of the pizza are in Italy, but as we know pizza worldway today is the work of the italians who migrate to USA at the beginning of 20th century. Something similar with yoga. it is not until it has been Occidentalized that yoga is known worldwide. So even acknowledging the Indian origin, it is very difficult to strictly define what is tradition and what not.
  6. 5 likes
    I'm with Robbie here. Cutting out entire food groups seems too extreme for my taste and not all that sustainable in the long term. I love food, and the wider range of things I eat, the happier I am. A time eventually comes when you truly look forward to your pasta (or quinoa) with sautéed Brussel sprouts. Also, I'd take my focus away from losing X amount of weight. I don't weight myself. Instead, I focus on making sure my clothing fits right (I still have clothes I used to wear some fifteen years ago when I know for a fact I was thinner), on how my body feels, how much exercise I'm able to do before getting too tired to move*, how much stronger I'm becoming. Maybe working with a doctor to have an idea as to what your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc. are like will give you an idea as to how healthy you are at this moment and what goals you want to reach as far as your health and overall well being. Vinyasa, ashtanga and power yoga have all helped me lose weight, but hatha and yin yoga have also helped me stay on healthy levels. I see a lot more muscle definition on my legs than before I started a daily, consistent yoga practice and it's not a super demanding program either. I try to alternate days with a strong, physical practice with days that are more about subtle details. That way I don't get overwhelmed or bored. _____________________ * Not really because I have severe anaemia and I get tired way more easily than I'd like, but you get the idea.
  7. 5 likes
    A great topic! This is something I think about a lot. Cultural appropriation is an interesting concept, but I do sometimes wonder if we've villian-ized the concept of culture and practices changing over time. Even looking at yoga, "yoga" doesn't mean one thing that one group of people practiced in one way some hundreds of years ago. Look at something like the Bhakti Movement in the Medieval period that brought new ideas into an existing tradition, is that a more valid change of yoga than yoga advertised for fitness in 2014? Yoga has never been stagnant, there's not one guy we can point back to in 100BC and say "If you don't do it like this guy did it, it's not yoga." It's an interesting time of year for this topic with Halloween approaching which swells the discussion of cultural appropriation. It's really easy to identify at halloween because it's literally a costume and taking a whole culture and putting it into one image. But where do I draw the line in yoga? Maybe all the yoga I do is taking pictures of me in dancers pose on the beach and posting them to instagram. What if I have a regular practice, read about the origins of yoga, and post beach pose pictures to instagram? Does it have to do with intention? Overall I come to yoga to try and relieve my mind from stress and create a connection and understanding between my mind and my body, and I guess overall that's more or less consistent with the origins of yoga. But sometimes I come to the mat because I really want to try and nail crow pose to feel proud of that accomplishment, is that wrong?
  8. 4 likes
    I'm on board with eating lower carbs and getting those carbs from vegetables and avoiding processed food. It has worked well for me. I don't starve myself or go hungry. I eat healthy snacks. I also pretty firmly believe that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to weight lose. Exercise is necessary, but diet is more important.
  9. 3 likes
    Candace, how has the strength training you have been doing lately changed how you practice yoga? Has it changed your outlook around it? For instance have you shifted towards a gentler practice now you're getting your strength from other means? Or are you experimenting more with advanced postures?
  10. 3 likes
    I believe anyone has the right to practice yoga, no matter what they believe, where they come from, where they practice or what they wear. I once read a response to a picture on facebook that really turned me off. I don't remember exactly what the person wrote but after I read that I began to notice more responses like that. Basically what I got out of the response was that "real yoga" involved chanting, no music, no talking except for the teacher (who had to teach a certain way), and anything else was just pretending and not the real thing. I just couldn't believe what I was reading.I know everyone has the right to practice in their own way and have their own beliefs but to tell someone else that they are practicing yoga wrong just didn't sit well with me. I started yoga to help with back pain and that is what brought me to my mat each day. Then I began to "live yoga" and understand all the the practice can give you. Whatever and however yoga can be introduced into more people's lives is a good thing right? I think if yoga is taught just as an exercise it will reach a certain group of people but I bet more than a few of those people will find that yoga is more than that. With so many different styles of yoga out there, isn't there room for everyone?
  11. 2 likes
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  12. 2 likes
  13. 1 like
    Thank you Candace. I look forward to starting the progam.