Are you, or is someone you love, a yoga virgin?
A brand-new beginner to yoga is a marvelous thing. A blank canvas, an empty vessel, ready to be transformed by the practice. A spiritual newbie, hitting the road to enlightenment.
The truth is that there is so much confusion and misconception around yoga, due to the fact that it has become so incredibly popular in Western culture, especially in the past decade. Many of us hold false, stereotypical ideals about yoga in our minds, whether consciously or subconsciously.
In short, we don’t need to “be” any certain way or have any certain body type in order to enjoy a fruitful practice.
Little known fact: I have a YouTube channel.
Indeed, several years back, when I was living in Austin and then Guatemala City, I filmed a bunch of short videos about beginning a yoga and meditation practice.
The two most popular, by far, are two short video diaries I recorded on my trip to India in 2008. (Now I’m kicking myself for not having done more video travel blogging, but my heart is calling me back to India and my ten-year visa is still valid until 2018, so maybe I’ll get another chance in the next couple of years!)
Some of my other video topics include setting up a home practice space and the importance of meditation, and there are several videos that offer guided meditations, intermediate vinyasa yoga sequences or neck and shoulder stretches.
I’ll be honest, I cannot even bear to watch some of these videos. It’s kind of spooky seeing myself on screen, and of course I am critical of how I look and how overweight I was in some of them. (Though I’ve made peace with my body and self-image over the years, thanks in large part to having had a baby, amateur video can be rather unforgiving.)
Nevertheless, I think these videos can be helpful to beginners—at least those who may not know where to begin and are at risk of being lost in the sea of so many instructional yoga resources.
So, I’ll swallow my pride and offer this channel up to the yoga virgins in search of authenticity and guidance. Here are a few of my personal favorites. May they be of benefit!
A short warm-up sequence for neck and shoulders, featuring both me and my late, great Chihuahua, Lucy:
A six-minute, seated morning flow:
Last but not least, a hip-opening vinyasa with a beautiful garden background, shot circa 2010 at the lovely Posada de Santiago here at Lake Atitlan:
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Author’s Own // Umberto Salvagnin/Flickr