Reason #8 Yoga Makes Me Smile: Meeting like-minded friends
I’ll start by saying that I dearly love all of my friends, even the ones that don’t do yoga…
but when it comes to making new acquaintances these days I’d rather shop around a yoga workshop than at a local bar.
Yogini friends Wania and Liz (taken in Mexico last March)
Of course meeting someone at yoga doesn’t mean there will be instant chemistry, but it sure is fun to meet others with the same interests.
What do you love about yoga?
Click here to read reason #7 why yoga makes me smile, with links at the bottom for the previous six
Have you made any friends from yoga?
I’ve met tons of social friends and one new best friend.
Reason #7 Yoga Makes Me Smile: Yoga before travel = a more bearable plane ride.
Sunrise from the sky
If you’re like me you can hardly stand sitting still on a plane for more than a few hours. That’s why yoga comes in handy as a pre-flight routine before leaving the house or hotel. I try my best to get in a good sweaty vinyasa practice (and a shower) before heading to the airport. Of course there are dreadfully early morning flights, in which case I squeeze in a few mandatory sun salutations in my pajamas. I like a vigorous practice on travel days because it helps me chill out on the plane (or any mode of transportation for that matter). Hard work makes it easier to sit back and relax.
Working on crow pose in Mexico
(#24 on my 30 before 30 list)
Laughing at myself
Click below to catch up on previous reasons why yoga makes me smile:
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
What do you love about yoga?
Yoga Makes Me Smile! Reason #4: Switching up poses keeps things interesting.
I love yoga! It never gets old because the possibilities are endless. I usually start with a warm-up:
- Sun Salutation B three times
On lazy days I do a short relaxing practice, but most days I follow the warm-up with a more active vinyasa practice that looks something like this:
Wheel at the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia
It’s a big game of mix and match. Pick any poses from each of the categories, but stick to the order to make sure your body’s ready for what comes next. One of my teachers suggested choosing a “pose of the week” as a focus. I’ve decided to choose two poses and work on them until I’ve got them down pat: Bakasana and Salamba Sirsasana (headstand).
There are tons of ways to spice up a yoga routine. I like this dvd, which has four 15 minute routines. I found it at Target. I also like Ellen Barrett’s Yogini dvd.
I haven’t tried You Tube yet, but when I do I will be checking out Sadie Nardini. I went to her workshop when she was in Philadelphia and she is amazing. She’s studying to be a ninja and she has lots of cool yogi tricks up her sleeve. Finally, there are tons of free sequences on iTunes.
How do you keep your yoga routine interesting?
Yoga Makes Me Smile! Reason #2: It can be done anywhere.
Vintage pic: last summer in Laguna Beach
Yoga is an awesome accessible activity because you don’t really need any special equipment. Sure, blocks and a strap can be handy, but they’re not necessary. Heck, you don’t even have to have a mat. Yoga can be a peaceful way to begin a lazy morning in bed. I like to hug my knees in and roll over to one side in a gentle twist. It’s also nice to fold over into child’s pose. Another mellow way to start the day is with a few slow poses on the floor of a bedroom, living room or hotel room. Most hotel rooms have just enough space to fit in a downward facing dog and a hard floor can provide great support.
Yoga is especially tranquil when taken outside to a quiet porch, deck, patio or balcony. It can be practiced at the beach, a park or even under a covered awning during a Florida rainstorm. I’ve done yoga everywhere from the desert in Morocco to my friend’s living room while three crazy little ones were running circles around us.
Taken in April: Moroccan breakfast in the desert
These days you can find yoga studios in many surprising places. I use yogafinder.com to see what’s around in an area before I go (it led me to this place in New Port Richey) or I ask at the hotel (I ended up here in St. Augustine). It’s always fun to try a new studio or even a new type of yoga. It’s also a great way to meet locals and get restaurant recommendations.
No Ipod needed; the birds provide the soundtrack
It doesn’t matter what you wear (although I don’t recommend short shorts unless you’re a Swedish ski instructor named Sven…). Leggings, sweat pants or your favorite flannel pajamas will do. Get comfy and try a few simple poses. Yoga Journal offers step-by-step to beginner’s instructions here. And if you are a seasoned practicioner, I’d love to hear about your experience with yoga away from home.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve practiced yoga?
Yoga Makes Me Smile! Reason #1: No shoes needed…it’s a barefoot activity!
Yoga makes me smile so much that I decided to elaborate why, and let my list grow. Right now I’m relaxing in sunny St. Augustine. My boyfriend had to make a few work calls, so I have the time to write about how much I love yoga.
The first thing I thought of the other day when I was making my list is that it’s done barefoot. I’m a Florida girl at heart, so I love the sand between my toes and just about any activity that doesn’t involve shoes. To me, being barefoot is all about being relaxed. I’m the friend that will show up to a formal dinner in a lacy dress and designer flip flops. I even donned a jewel encrusted pair as a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding. I love kicking my shoes off the second I enter through the door, and I’ve definitely given my feet some freedom under my desk on lunch breaks. It’s a great feeling to enter the yoga studio and put my shoes away for a while. It’s especially soothing in the winter when they’ve been bundled up in some type of heavy boot.
There are so many barefoot activities that I enjoy. Some of my favorites are: walking on a sandy beach, picnicking in the park, lounging on the couch, dancing to pop music in the living room (hairbrush microphone optional), soaking in a hot bath, napping in a hammock, somersaults on the front lawn, swimming laps, star-gazing, reading a good book in bed, surfing, getting a pedicure…
It was only natural that I would fall in love with yoga the second I tried it. If you haven’t tried it yet, get yourself to a studio ASAP! Pay for a few beginner’s classes so that you learn the basics, and then do it at home whenever you feel like it. I promise you will love it!
P.S. The next barefoot activity I would like to try is grape stomping.
10 Reasons Yoga Makes Me Smile
- No shoes needed…it’s a barefoot activity!
- It can be done just about anywhere.
- Getting into a good flow sweats everything out.
- Switching up poses keeps things interesting.
- The sense of calmness that comes during (and after) practice
- Chaturanga muscles
- Yoga before travel = a more bearable plane ride
- Meeting like-minded friends
- Stretching out feels soooo good.
- Savasana (Corpse Pose). Ahhhh……
(My talented friend Rahmat took these pictures Tuesday morning at the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Yoga is an awesome way to start the day.)