DO YOU ¿ YOGA | A STARTER PACK
Words & Playlist by HI54LOFI
There is only so much 'Getting Started w/ Yoga' advice someone who is only 3 months in to a practice can give. And this is all of that advice + a yoga playlist. [originally written in Feb 2018]
Over the last few months, I’ve been taking some time to pull back and concentrate on something I often forget is there: myself (cut to scene where Oprah reaches out, grabs my hand and looks proudly into my eyes). Now, I would like to say that getting intently into introspection has helped me figure a bunch of important stuff out, but that would probably be a stretch…
…speaking of ‘stretches’, I recently started getting into a daily yoga routine. And since I am a total yoga newbie that can barely hold any proper poses, I’ve found it really helpful to just embrace the fact that I am a total newbie that can barely hold any of the proper poses.
Because once you let yourself be ok with not being currently awesome at something you plan on slowly trying to get better at, that thing—and the process of fractionally improving each day—becomes a whole lot more enjoyable and doable.
I am currently applying this theory to yoga and tentatively calling my approach DO YOU ¿ YOGA—as in “you gotta just do you”, but also as in “do you?”. Except, instead of a question mark (?), I've used the upside-down-Spanish-style-one (¿)—because that way "DO YOU ¿ YOGA" is kinda like a question but also not + the upside-down question mark kinda looks like someone doing a kneeling pose.
Don't worry, the way this made up yoga "program" actually works is much less convoluted than the explanation behind its name.
DO YOU ¿ YOGA | A Step By Step—that's right, only 2 steps—Guide
•STEP 1 - Put on some nice tunes. To help, I’ve started a Spotify playlist that consists of 95 tracks you can throw on shuffle to get a chilled yoga vibe flowing as you move from "Downward Dog" to that thing that I'm assuming is called "Upward Dog".
PS - I have also found that putting on an Audiobook or Podcast sometimes instead of the music is a good way to mix things up + fit in some extra learning with your stretching (and if you’re an audio multi-tasker like myself, I recommend having something like this HI54 instrumental playlist playing in another tab at the same time - really helps audiobooks feel more cinematic).
•STEP 2 - Lay out your mat (light a candle if you're a romantic or hit a vaporizer if you're a skeptic) and using whatever level of yoga knowledge you currently have, get in the flow of whatever routine feels right with the music and your body. Call it stretching if you’re uneasy about someone catching you doing something that looks spiritual. Y'know, just "do you" (for me, a person that’s on a computer way too much, that involves a lot of focus on my back). I tend to do 15-45 minutes every day, usually split up into different little—and much needed—breaks throughout the day. And since I get sent a lot of music submissions, I often fit in some of my rolling around the floor while I’m listening to those.
If you don’t have any yoga knowledge at the start, that's ok. I didn't either (also, that is literally how starting something new starts). Check out a class in your community or, if the thought of stretching in front of strangers fills you with anxious excuses, just jump over to youtube and watch a few videos. I’ve found Yoga With Adrienne to be a very good one as she is extra chill and has a very good "do you" mentality.
Plus, she also has Shakey Graves on her intro song, so what more of a co-sign can you ask for from a music blogger?
The key here (in regards to DO YOU ¿ YOGA at least) is to mostly use these instructional videos to learn a few things that you can take back into creating your own routine without the videos. Maybe it's just me, but I found that when I was following along with the instructional videos step-by-step, I’d end up spending a lot of my awareness cranking my neck trying to follow along with what's happening on the screen, thinking thoughts like, “it sure doesn’t look like that when I do it”, and never really staying in the moment long. Which didn't always feel super zen.
Of course, it's important to learn new techniques and how to do things properly—but it’s equally important to just experience closing your eyes and connecting to the movements of the moments happening inside you. Because it’s in those moments of not over analyzing what you are doing that you'll start to realize:
"ooohhh… so this what yoga is"
And if you ever start digging deeper, you’ll discover that “yoga” actually means “union” and there are a bunch of different paths on how to achieve that union—meditation, selfless service, sounds, etc— that don’t revolve around contorting your body in specific ways (as the public perception of “yoga” in the west tends to imply). The best way to figure out what path/s work for you? Just do you ¿
**BONUS RELATED CONTENT: here is probably the worst take on taking up a yoga practice that you will ever see; it is so bad, it is kinda impressive—but given that this guy has over 130k followers on Twitter, it is also kinda sad:⠀
Anyways, best get back to stretching with an eastern devil.