When I first starting dipping into Yoga, I had no idea how freaking deep the yoga ocean was, and by “deep” I’m not talking philosophical, I’m talking THERE IS A LOT OF YOGA CRAP OUT THERE. Books, DVDs, clothing, music, accessories, props, and on and on. Just to give you an example, I did a few searches on Amazon. Here are my results.
191,343,885 in All Departments
22, 794 clothing
25, 559 books
6, 201 DVDs
4, 005 music
Holy Batcrap, Batman! Even taking into consideration that sometimes Amazon thinks an e-reader is related to yoga, and some possible duplications, that’s a lot of stuff for a discipline that is supposed to simplify your life! Also, I find it highly amusing to note that there is more clothing than anything else. Because screw the books and DVDs if you don’t look good while doing Yoga, am I right?
I actually bought some workout clothes back when I was trying various kinds of workouts. Sure I could workout in old sweats, but I like the way some of the clothes hold in areas of your body that otherwise do not stay where you want them to stay. It’s important to have, say, your boobs compressed if you’re a female (and possibly if you’re a male, I’m not judging here) if you do anything physical. Also, in yoga, you really need something that fits fairly well on top unless you want it falling in your face when you are invariably told to turn upside down. Yoga likes people upside down.
I don’t just have clothes, of course. Since I’m a librarian, I admit to having a book problem. I love books. I don’t have nearly the number of books my librarian mother has, but I do have some that I keep for various reasons. Sometimes it’s because they are funny (I have almost everything Dave Barry has ever written) or because they’re pretty or because I swear I’m going to read it someday. The last category is the biggest one. Periodically, I weed out books, donate some, and sell a few to Hastings – at which point I immediately buy more books. As I often say, working in a library for me is like an alcoholic working in a liquor store. Not very healthy. Especially since it’s free, so you can take out as many items as you want and Holy Batcrap in a Hat you want them all, of course.
Libraries are not the free entities they appear, though, my friend. That is a ruse. Suuuure, check out as much stuff as you want, they say. Oh, but you will have to pay fines when you forget to return the books on time. And you will forget to return the books on time. Because you’ve lost them, haven’t you? And now you have to buy the books from us. Thank you for supporting your public library!
Since I am guilty of this very thing, I figured I’d just buy some books, especially if they were on the bargain rack (discount liquor, guys!) So now I have several books. But I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’ve figured something out. If I want to get published, I should write a book on yoga. There are so many, probably no one would notice that I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m talking about. And I know the title. Yoga Twilight Sexy Times. Bestseller for sure.
Then there are the DVDs. Oh, so many. I love comparing instructors. The boring ones, the hyperactive insane ones (see the spooky Kundalini chic), the evil ones (yoga meltdown, noooo) the zen ones, the athletic ones, the scarily skinny ones, and the ones who stepped out of a Richard Simmons video. Just looking at the beginner DVDs alone is astounding, especially what they consider to be “beginner.” I’ve started with some only to stop and just watch the instructor continue to bounce from one position to the next, down dog, salute the sun, down dog, salute the sun, down dog, I’m not saluting the freaking sun again so stop it!
And finally, let’s not forget the props! Sure, technically you could do yoga without this crap, but where’s the fun in that? You’ll need a mat, of course, that’s a given. Try to make it an actual yoga mat, and not a fruity sixties bathmat. Then there’s yoga blocks (don’t tell me to use my yoga books as blocks those are for sitting on my bookshelf and looking pretty!), yoga blankets (really), yoga bolsters, yoga beads (like the rosary without the Catholic), yoga straps (a belt, but way cooler, cause it’s, um, yoga). It’s outrageous what you can pay for some of this stuff, all so that you can relax already. But I’ll admit, I bought some of it. Bolsters are overpriced, but worth it, because they are really supportive of your body. I have one that I was going to take a picture of, but I lost my camera. Anyway, my yoga teacher made it, it is beautiful, and I call it my preciousssss. There is nothing wrong with me.
So anyway, with all this stuff, you can start to get slightly overwhelmed, yes? I know I have! But I like to throw myself into learning new things head first (I have gotten a few head injuries this way). If you want some real details with pictures and links and stuff, go see this post at braith an’ lithe’s blog. There’s some cool stuff here. Okay, so it’s stuff from the U.K., but it gives you an idea of what’s out there. Have fun, and remember – a yoga bolster can act as a floatation device if you are afraid of drowning in yoga metaphors. Good luck and Namaste and all that.
I’ve researched a lot of different workout programs. That’s what I do. Obsessively research. Everything. It’s a handy disorder for library work, but not much else. Last time I let you know that I’d narrowed it down to Yoga. Then I figured something out. There are eleventy-billion versions of Yoga.
The first time I experienced something like this was when I started learning about penguins. Thing Two has been crazy about those wacky birds since she was two years old. There are like 17 different species of penguin. Of penguin. I mean, seriously? Yes. They range in size from about a foot to four feet (the well known emperor penguin). I bet you didn’t think you’d get penguin facts in a yoga post. That’s just the kind of extra oomph I offer you in my blog.
Anyway, so I’ve checked out lots of yoga books and videos. And I’ve bought some too. Also yoga accessories. You can buy lots of yoga crap as it turns out. I’m all into that. If you’re going to go into something, go all the way I say. That’s why I paid money for a cushy yoga mat and two foam blocks. For my HEALTH people. There are tons of other products I can
waste my money on invest in if I choose. More on that in a later post.
First I have to tell you about the different kinds of Yoga. According to the women’s health site there’s Anusura, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Lyengar, Kundalini, Restorative, Power, Furby, Tatooine, Hokey Pokey, and more! I might have made the last three types up. Bikram is yoga that you do in a room turned up to 150 degrees. That way your body becomes like Plastic Man’s and you can do all sorts of poses. Also you can see all sorts of colors as you dehydrate out all your brain cells.
I’m thinking that’s not my type. I don’t like sweating. Power Yoga was also quickly eliminated. Power Yoga is basically the Western way of screwing up an Eastern tradition. Someone said, hey, let’s take the worst parts of Yoga, stretching people’s bodies to the limit, rip out all the relaxing, spiritual parts, add in a lot of aerobic crap and market it to Type A Americans. That’s why Jillian Michaels has a Yoga video. Jillian. She is not what I associate with inner peace. More like extreme horror.
Hatha seems to be the most common type, at least in my area. It’s fairly basic. There’s stretching and meditation, but no chanting and chakra stuff. That works for me. I also like Restorative yoga, which is great for stress relief. You lay on pillows and breathe. I’m all for laying on pillows and breathing. In fact, I rather consider myself an expert at that. I might open a studio soon.
I did learn about one other type of Yoga in detail. I got a book from the library on Kandalini Yoga. It was a nice, pleasant book with soft, relaxing colors. Sure she mentioned lining up your chakras and chanting om and stuff, but eh, no matter. It looked okay. So when I saw a video of this type of Yoga at the library, I thought why not?
Oh, my peeps, there were so, so, so, SO MANY reasons why not.
First off, I should have taken a clue from just looking at the cover of the video. It was called “Fat Free Yoga” which is a rather odd title. Are they saying no fat people should do this? Or that they have somehow removed the fat out of the yoga routine? Is this a diet Yoga video?
The girl on the cover looked like a recent graduate of a hippie concentration camp. As you can see in the picture, she sits in front of a purple swirling rainbow vortex of some sort. The cover mentions something about a Matrix menu. Trust me, the Matrix is not just in the video menu.
I took it home and popped it in the machine. The Things decided to help me review this video. Pretty soon they are going to run from the room as soon as I turn on the television. In the beginning, we zoom into a white room with a woman sitting on a shaggy, round pink bath rug type thing centered in the middle of flower petals. Normally you hear gentle, non-distracting music in the background, but here we’ve got some Indian tune. I actually like Indian music, usually, but somehow this theme makes me think of those old 60s videos with people smoking pot and yammering about the universe.
She says nothing in the video, but there is a disembodied voice that speaks to you, and it’s not at all creepy. It’s also, interestingly, a male voice, which gives you the vibe of some guy peeking in her window and reporting his observations. A guy who first smoked a little crack.
Our bony little Yogi is wearing dog eared ponytails that I normally don’t see on people over twelve, and a little spandex outfit that’s way too small for her. Maybe she borrowed the outfit and the ponytail holders from her little sister. She also made the mistake of tanning herself a Cheeto orange and not investing in a bra. Let’s just say it was clearly a little cool in the room.
She starts out cross legged, looking somewhat normal. This is the last time she does this. Soon she opens her mouth and starts chanting oma lama ding dong or something to that effect, punctuated by Lamaze style huffing and puffing. I half expected her to give birth to a pea sized baby. At one point, she began panting like a dog. The Things crowded in closer. “I’m scared, Mommy,” reported Thing Two.
But this was only the beginning. After the breathing, chanting stuff, she starts to shake her head back and forth. And not gently either, we’re talking whiplash inducing whipping of the head, back and forth, until you half expect the head to go flying off her neck. Soon you start hoping this happens. After the head shaking, she goes back to the huffy breathing and chanting. Then just when she’s calmed down, she hops up and starts swinging around some more. I sat, fascinated. I’d never seen anything so incredibly bizarre before.
It’s really indescribable, which is why I encourage you to check it out. I included a clip here from youtube, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the insanity. Suffice it to say, if that’s Kandalini Yoga, I think I’m sticking to the basics. More on my adventures in Yogaland later. Now I leave you with the spookiest Yoga chick on the planet. Enjoy.