Bikram, You’re a Disgrace!

Bikram Choudhury, the creator of Bikram Yoga or Hot Yoga, is currently up on charges in a  sexual harrassment case.

When most people think of a Yogi, they think of someone who is tolerant, kind, compassionate and loving.  If these allegations are true, Bikram certainly does not fit the description of what we would hope for in a leader in any area.

With other individuals such as Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshy up on similar charges recently, this topic is a highly relevant and important one.  Discussion about rape culture in our society has become more prevalent.  Historically, there has been a lot of blame placed on women when their bodies are violated. I hope this is beginning to change.

As a parent of one girl and one boy I am always conscious of the messages I send to both my children and about respecting yourself and others.

As I enter into my project on learning about Yoga, I will be closely watching this court case.

 

The How and Why of My Yoga Project

Why did I choose Yoga as my Learning Project? What are my goals and how will I know when I have achieved them?

Why Yoga?

It is not about vanity. The purpose of increasing my activity is to improve my energy, focus and positivity so I can be more effective in every aspect of my life. I will not be measuring weight lost, inches lost, or even gains in muscle tone, although those would be a welcome bonus.
Life is busy. I have two kids and a husband who depend on me. As my kids get older I find that more time is spent running them around to activities. I have a job which requires a lot of emotional, mental and physical energy and many personal hours of work at home. Adding in classes means there is really no free time and I must be highly organized. All of these aspects of my life are conscious choices that I strive to excel at. In order to be most effective, I need to stay healthy.  Stephen Covey’s Seventh Habit of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to sharpen the saw. (I am a big fan of Stephen Covey’s work).
I find that I am often tired and have little desire to exercise. My hope is that a short session of gentle yoga will not seem too daunting and will be easier to commit to than some other forms of exercise. I also did not want to have to purchase a gym membership that I knew would just go to waste. I prefer to exercise at home. Yoga is something that is easy to do from home. There are many YouTube videos to learn from as well (see below).
I believe self-care is a huge problem in our society, especially for working parents. Hopefully others can benefit from my experiences.
The history of yoga has always intrigued me as well. I see this as an opportunity to learn more about this topic as well.

How will I measure my success?

Every great teacher knows that a well-made rubric is an excellent way to measure growth. So I decided to create a rubric to clarify what it is that I wanted to improve (see below). I will complete the rubric every Saturday to evaluate my week and note whether there is progress. Although I will also include running and walking on my treadmill as part of my exercise routine, the rubric will focus on the number of weekly yoga sessions I complete. I decided I would also keep a personal journal on Google Docs to reflect on how I feel and any my thoughts about my yoga practice as I go. I hope to fit in at least three sessions each week.

Rubric to Measure Effects of Regular Exercise on Mental Focus, Energy & Positivity

 

1 2 3 4
Mental Focus

(And Time Management)

– had difficulty focusing on tasks all week – had difficulty focusing on tasks sometimes – had difficulty focusing on tasks occasionally – able to focus on mental tasks any time of day
Energy level – felt tired all week

– unable to complete many necessary tasks  this week

– felt tired 2 or more days this week

– unable to complete some of the tasks this week

– felt tired 1 day this week

– able to complete most of the tasks in my week

– felt energetic throughout the week

– able to complete all of the tasks in my week easily

Positivity & Stress Management – had many negative thoughts and emotions

– felt anxious, worried or stressed much of the time

– had some negative thoughts and emotions occassionally

– felt anxious, worried or stressed some of the time

– had positive thoughts and emotions most of the week

– felt calm and confident most of the week

– had positive thoughts and emotions  almost all week

– felt calm and confident almost all week

 

What did I look for in a YouTube Yoga video?

I decided to use YouTube videos to guide my yoga practice. Luckily, I have a Smart TV in my basement for this purpose. I searched YouTube for Yoga for Energy. Of course, there were over 1 000 000 results!

My personal criteria for a yoga video consists of five parts. First, there must be relaxing music. Secondly the challenge needs to be just right for me. Next, the instructor must have a voice that is easy to listen to and explain the movements in a clear, easy to follow manner. Also I look for differing variations on the poses, so that I will have options for those days when I am feeling more lethargic, more energetic or more flexible than usual. Lastly, the pacing should be just right – not slow and boring, but not too fast either.
Fortunately, the second video I previewed met all these criteria. Yoga for Better Energy with Jason Crandell is the current choice. Of course, if I tire of this one, there is certainly not a lack of other options!

I think this is a great start to my project! After three yoga sessions in eight days I am already feeling more energetic! I gave myself a 3 in Mental Focus, a 2 in Energy level and  a 2 in Positivity on my rubric for the first week.

Stay tuned to see if I can fit in my three sessions of Yoga for Energy, and whether or not it indeed increases my energy for the week.

I love Yoga!

I have decided to my Learning Project on Yoga. My plan is to learn more about the history of yoga and the various types of yoga. I want to improve my yoga practice and my ability to perform the poses and sequences.
I have loved yoga for many years. I have always done yoga with a guide of some sort – an instructor or a video. I have heard terms being tossed around (Ashtangawho? Vinyasawhat?). I have always been curious to learn more about the different types and the history, but never really had a reason to, until now.
I have a basic knowledge of some of the most common poses (cobra, tree, triangles, downward dog) and the sun salutation sequence, and I use them regularly in my exercise routine. I have always found that I feel great when I regularly practice yoga (3-4 times/week). I feel stronger, more energetic, more positive, happy and motivated. I have read some articles about why yoga is beneficial. I know there is a lot of information out there.
Recently, I have heard some discussion around whether yoga is cultural appropriation. So I will also address this as I am on this journey.
This is the current knowledge that I have about yoga. I am excited to begin learning more and, hopefully, becoming a healthier me!