From Inspiration to Motivation to Forward Bending.

Via Jen Murphy
on Apr 13, 2012
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This Forward Bending sequence by Jason Crandell

See yourself successful

This morning I finally found the inspiration to get back into my yoga practice. I had the good fortune of working with a model yesterday who is also a fitness instructor (Thanks Ben!) and who gave me some very sage advice on set. He told me to visualize success in my life as part of my meditation practice.

What does your success look like?

This my not seem terribly relevant to engaging with any kind of physical practice, but it is absolutely relevant to me. It’s not necessarily relevant to my success as a makeup artist (although it might), but relevant to my success as a person. As I see myself as a successful person, either today, tomorrow, or in 10 years, it always includes a daily physical movement practice. For me, this comes in the form of yoga. For you, it could come in the form of running or weight training.

Find your inspiration

Especially with practice that can easily become repetitive, or to which we have a physical resistance (like feeling tight in our muscles), it is important to seek out and connect with things in our lives that inspire us to continue with our practice. It can be a different thing every day that spontaneously reminds us to come back to our practice. Or, it can be a constant reminder that we give to ourselves— such as a mantra. We can let the experience of others be an inspiration, such as the new running book by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

Turn your inspiration into motivation

Whatever it is, let your inspiration permeate your being and allow it to transform into motivation to just do it. I know we’ve heard that slogan a million times, and it’s oh-so-clever as a marketing ploy, but the real reason that it works is that, well, it works. Those three little words call you on your $h!t, implore you to drop your own obstacles, stop making excuses, and take action. As a slogan, it’s still quite powerful even if stunningly overused.

Use what tools you can find to get you there

So, with the nudge from my new friend I accessed my deep need to move and stretch my body. I took stock of my aches and pains and then took stock of my extensive podcast library to come up with the perfect little home practice for just what ails me, a Yoga Journal podcast titled YJ Practice Podcast: Forward Bends.

You can subscribe to these through iTunes: Yoga Practice Podcast

These podcasts are limited, but wonderful if you like to download them to play on your iPhone anywhere you can drop a mat. Or, you can watch all of YJ’s video offerings directly on the by going to and choosing what you want to include in your practice that day. You just need an internet connection to stream the video.

The practice videos are most helpful to me since I know the poses already, but a beginner may want to start by watching the individual asana videos and practicing a little bit with each pose before practicing along with a flow. You can even decide which video to practice with according to its length or the teacher.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass this along to anyone who needs a little help like I do. Thanks Yoga Journal for doing such a beautiful job on these video offerings! And thanks to Jason Crandell for his excellent instruction.

(Did I mention that these are free?)


Editor: Brianna Bemel


About Jen Murphy

Jen Murphy has an M.A. in Philosophy of Aesthetics, but would rather make beauty in the world than philosophize about it. She is a makeup artist and a writer on sustainable and authentic beauty. Find her at Be Yourself Beautiful.


5 Responses to “From Inspiration to Motivation to Forward Bending.”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  3. Jen Murphy says:

    Thanks, Tanya Lee! I appreciate that!

  4. […] to summon the motivation to work out is a challenge for anyone, but it is exceptionally difficult when exercise hasn’t […]

  5. Look at the photos and check out the flattening of the lumbar spine curves of the women doing these forward bends. The sacral/hip joint is being over-stretched as well as the posterior longitudinal ligaments of the spinal column and the posterior cruciate ligaments of the knee. We are designed to move and the forces that bend the knees are disabled when we bend over with our knees straight. We are stretching with the 'brakes on'. Forward bends with knees straight compartmentalize the body and stretch the ligament forces needed to keep joints stable. See my article in Elephant