May 2, 2011

Yoga for the Uninhibited

A while ago, a friend shared a conversation with me reporting how embarrassed she felt when her husband would strike a yoga pose wherever they happened to be — mostly in public and broad daylight. I laughed when she told me that not everyone wants to see Mr. Big (a code name to protect the innocent) bending over in line at the movie theater, with his sweaty curled-up lower back hair (and more if you can imagine) peeking out of the seat of his jeans. It wasn’t hard for me to imagine it and although it gave me a chuckle, I can totally relate.

In my younger years of practice, I felt uneasy about striking a pose in public. Yoga poses always felt like they were my own private Idaho, and were not to be shared in public. However, aging has increased the general wear and tear on my body and has also increased the need to stretch it whenever possible.

For instance, I love striking a pose when I am working underneath the hood of my car. And what could be better than a variation of Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend) to help keep my lower back loose. Now I’ll admit, for those who are standing behind me or even in front of me, the view is not so appealing, but here I can accomplish two things at once. My yoga practice has taught me to handle more stress than ever! That’s not exactly what I was going for, but that seems to be how it’s worked out so I’m going with it.

I love the new “California Cell Phone Hand’s Free” Law. It’s allowed me to accomplish so much more while I’m driving. I can eat, talk, stretch and drive all at the same time. This photo illustrates a great side bend I love to do with just one hand on the wheel. When no one’s looking, I slip off my seat belt for some extra room to stretch. Look how focused I am. Now that takes some real yoga skill!

Of course, there’s nothing better than stretching my hips on an airplane. Although I don’t prefer doing it in front of the tiny bathrooms, I don’t have much choice. I tried stretching out in my coach seat, but I haven’t met a passenger yet that approved of my yoga foot floating in front of their face. I can’t imagine why.

Seriously though, why not strike a pose when it’s calling you? How about abandoning all conditioning and fears,and give yourself a good safe stretch wherever you might be? After all, isn’t part of the magic of yoga the capacity to follow what’s in your heart — to abandon what’s holding you down and follow with awareness, the road that leads you to freedom? It’s the yogi’s way.

All photos shown are not of Leeann Carey, and are respectfully illustrated to support the light-hearted humor of this article.

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