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Everything posted by starslight

  1. So I've been doing it wrong by making like I'm trying not to pee my pants?
  2. @KateZena I really appreciate you sharing your experience with taking classes. I've been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder since I last posted (which I now treat with therapy and meds), and I've felt similarly in class settings. I enrolled in a full-time program to become an electrician a couple years ago and only lasted a month because the stress of being in a bright room with strangers all day was killing me. I don't think people who haven't experienced severe anxiety really understand how intense even a supposedly mundane experience like attending a yoga class can be.
  3. I generally find pictures of people doing ridiculous poses discouraging. It's like, what am I even doing? I'll never get into that kind of shape, I'll never have that kind of coordination, I'll never be that strong, I'll never be able to balance like that--maybe I should just get an exercise bike. But I'm by nature a pretty negative and cynical person, so of course that's how I'd see it. People should post what they want to post regardless of what jerks like me think.
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  5. My fears all have to do with being judged for my shabby appearance and complete lack of coordination, flexibility, and skill. I've always been an unrepentant ponce and have never paid much mind to how manly I'm being in any particular moment. I don't let my family know I practice yoga because I know they'll judge me negatively for it and I don't have the energy to try yet again to explain myself to them.
  6. That totally makes sense. Tricks make sense to me. And the 'if it works, go with it' approach makes sense to me. The mudra you describe is the one I've been using. It feels good to me. I got it out of a book on Zen Buddhism I never finished. I'll try some of the other ones. Couldn't hurt, right? One I know I'll be trying is the Illuminati Gang Sign mudra. Who knows what secrets might be revealed to me?
  7. I really relate to that. Practicing and focusing only on the physical aspect feels--to me, at least--almost like...stealing, I guess? Or at least disrespectful. But at the same time, I fear that the more I learn the less I'll want to participate in any aspect of the tradition.
  8. I tend to find videos like the second one more discouraging than inspiring, but that's a 'me' problem.
  9. I'm pretty skeptical myself when it comes to mudras. I guess I just don't understand how holding your hands a certain way could give you more insight or relieve stress or protect you against negative energy (I am also skeptical that negative energy is even a thing). I've kind of purposely avoided looking too deeply into the spiritual side of yoga because nothing 'spiritual' has ever seemed real to me. I was recommended the book Autobiography of A Yogi when I first started practicing and the ridiculous crap that dude claimed he could do almost scared me away from yoga forever.
  10. I always groan when this one comes up because I know I'm going to be shaking out my fatigued carpal-tunnel-y wrists for the rest of the practice.
  11. I haven't been doing the project because, well, I'm bad at projects, but I completely agree with Shannon on the non-physical benefits of yoga practice. I've practiced a little bit in the morning with Candace's videos for the last three days and it's done so much to help me out of a major depressive episode. My depression's still with me and likely always will be, but I'm so much better today than I was a week ago. Maybe I'll make doing just a little bit every day and building up some consistency my own little project.
  12. 1. In the video, you demonstrate using a block to avoid slouching in butterfly pose. (I used a folded-up pillow, and it was so much better. Thanks for demonstrating that!) Is it okay to sit on a block or a pillow or whatever in any seated posture (forward folds, twists, etc.) or are there times where that should be avoided? 2. For the stretch you do at 13:30, where you're seated with one leg out in front and the other bent with your calf at your side, I found that when I tried this on the first side I felt a slight pain in my (right) bent knee as I tried to lean back. On the other side I found that I couldn't sit up straight (with my left knee bent, I was leaning to the right). Could you maybe demonstrate this stretch from another angle, or suggest either a modification or a different stretch that will provide a similar benefit? Thanks for reading and thanks for the video. It's challenging (my half moon's a mess), but not so intimidating that I don't want to come back to it and keep improving.
  13. I've never taken a public class (I'm ascared), so I'm just talking about yoga videos I follow on YouTube. I do get that I'm the one doing it wrong by strictly practicing alone, though. A demonstration of a modification of a particularly twisty posture here and there in a video might help, though I'd understand if that didn't jibe with your (impressively efficient) approach. Late edit: I don't know if it'd make for a good YouTube video, but it would be helpful to know who your yoga videos are intended for and what purpose you're intending them to serve. Maybe you've discussed this already and I just haven't come across it.
  14. I only ever really get annoyed at myself--I'm the one who let my body get this way, after all. As long as you're knowledgeable and compassionate--and you are--it doesn't matter to me what you look like. I think a lot of overweight people would be glad just to be acknowledged. And I think most people recognize that it takes a lot of hard work and discipline to be in good shape. When I see an instructor who's super-fit, I'm not thinking about whether or not they can relate to my struggle, I'm wondering how they got to where they are and hoping to learn from them. It does sometimes feel like yoga instructors have never known what it's like to be inflexible, though. It's frustrating to have to figure out my own modifications for nearly every pose as I'm practicing. Instead of focusing on my breath and how my body's feeling, I'm wondering if I'm modifying correctly and whether or not I'm actually getting any benefits from the pose with the way I'm doing it. I think you deserve a lot of credit for writing here and on your blog about some of the things overweight people might need to do to make a yoga practice that works for them. I've learned some really helpful principles. It's a sensitive subject and tricky to talk about, which I guess is why most of the online yoga instruction I've seen doesn't bring it up at all. I'm grateful that you do.
  15. Very helpful tip. Thank you!
  16. Keeping a schedule is a good idea I've been resisting for as long as I can remember.
  17. Thanks, Candace. That's really helpful. I hope it sinks in for me one of these days and I can enjoy yoga again.
  18. Well, this is embarrassing. But if you think there are other people feeling this way and it's not just my depression-brain screwing with me, then here goes again: If I can read advice like, "Everyone finds a version [of a pose] that gives themselves a good benefit. It's the person's practice that is important not the pose," (from Anahata above) and recognize the truth and wisdom in it, then why do I still feel like a loser sometimes for taking modifications or skipping certain poses altogether? It's not that I expect to be able to do what a professional yoga instructor does, but sometimes when I compare how I practice to how other people practice I feel like a fraud for calling what I do (on the increasingly rare occasion I actually do it) 'yoga.' Because, comparatively, it often seems like I'm not really doing anything.
  19. Dumb question. Deleted.
  20. I've never taken a public class and I definitely don't know what you should do, but I'm gonna shoot my mouth off anyway. My first thought is I think you'd be a phenomenal yoga teacher. You're so compassionate. You probably don't need to be reminded that you're not responsible for the way others act and think, but: you're not responsible for the way others act and think. It sucks that you don't feel safe in class, but if it's something you want to stick with maybe you could talk to the teacher privately and express how you're feeling. Hopefully she'd listen and respect your perspective and maybe things could turn around. But if not, I don't think you'd have any reason to feel guilty if you found another class where you can feel safe while you're practicing. Thanks for sharing what you've been dealing with. What really struck me as someone who frequently beats himself up for being "bad" at yoga, is that even if I took a public class and got to the point where other people thought I was "good" at it, it wouldn't solve any of my problems--and could, in fact, create new ones. Your ideas about what constitutes good yoga are far sounder.
  21. I can relate to that. I'm beginning to feel like I might not be one of those people who can self-motivate every day. It's a constant struggle to get set into motion, and lately I just haven't been getting there at all. The only downside I've found to the "break it into small bits" advice (which I, of course, hypocritically dispense to others) is that if I fail to get even the first small bit started I just beat the ever-loving crap out of myself--like, how much do I suck if I can't even do something easy? If I could afford a life coach or something I bet I could leverage my people-pleasing tendencies into getting some serious work done.
  22. I've had the same problem, and the solution for me was to stop and find a slower video. I don't even click on anything with 'vinyasa' or 'flow' in the title, because I know it's going to be too fast and I'm going to end up frustrated. The thing I think you're supposed to do is to follow the cues, but at your own speed--so if you're a little behind the instructor, don't worry about it. I didn't do so well with the not-worrying part, but it seems to work for a lot of other people.
  23. I'm 27 and I'm really not considering any yoga class. It's just that any time you see a picture of a class in an article or a blog post it's all in-shape people in super-rad yoga clothes. I guess that's a marketing thing, and I guess it must make some people want to go sign up for a class, but it's kind of had the opposite effect on me. My anxiety's maybe a little more severe than what you're thinking of. It's probably not something I'll ever be able to just get over. But I appreciate the encouragement all the same.
  24. I'd be really interested in something like that as well. I was following along with a yoga video on Amazon a while ago with "For Absolute Beginners" in the title and at one point the instructor flowed right into upward-facing dog without any instruction or preparation and without offering any alternatives. I'm glad I already knew that pose was a no-no--I can barely get off the ground in cobra before my lower back starts tightening up--because I could've really hurt myself trying that.
  25. Oh, I know it's all in my mind, believe me. Knowing that doesn't take the anxiety away--though it'd sure be nice if it did. For now I'm content to enjoy my home practice and not have to worry about what anybody thinks of a fat dude doing yoga. Where I live, I think I'd rather not know.