Yoga Project: Final Self Assessment

Photo Source:The Resilience Centre

If you have been following along with my yoga journey, I thank you.  It has not been an easy road, honestly.  I want to talk about the goals I had at the beginning of this journey, which goals I achieved and which goals I still need to keep working on.

What were my goals:

  1.  To attempt to increase my energy, focus and positivity (and ability to manage the fast pace and stresses in my life)
  2. To fit in 3 sessions of yoga each week
  3. To find online resources for doing yoga in my own home (and attend some face-to-face yoga classes)
  4. To learn more about the history of yoga
  5. To learn more about the different types of yoga, the purposes of yoga, and which types of yoga were beneficial for what purposes
  6. To learn more about whether or not yoga is cultural appropriation
  7. To talk about the idea of yoga being part of a larger lifestyle and way of being
  8. Although I didn’t think to state it in the beginning, another goal I had in mind was to begin to blog about my experience of being a vegetarian and buying vegan products (also part of a yoga lifestyle)
  9. Another goal that I did not think to state at the start was finding an online community of other yogis

In order to keep track of goals #1 and 2 I kept a self-evaluation and a record of my yoga practice (see below).  I used a 4 point scale for the rubric which you can see here: Google Document of my Rubric and weekly Progress.

I would like to talk about my success first; Goals #3-9.

Goal #3: I believe I was quite thorough in researching the various Online Resources For Yoga .  There are literally millions, if you include all the videos on YouTube.  So obviously it was impossible to review them all.  I came to the realization that it was not necessary for me to pay for an online yoga site (which there are hundreds of).  I am very happy with the site that I have been using: Yoga with Adriene. I will continue to use this site.  I hope my reviews will be beneficial to others who may find my blog online.

I was not successful in attending any face-to-face yoga classes, as the times for nearby yoga studios just didn’t work well into my schedule.  As a busy person, I prefer to do my exercise in the comfort of my own home.  And I believe that is my prerogative.  Of course, I have attended yoga classes in the past and would consider it again, at times when my life is a bit slower paced.

Goal #4: Yoga History: I posted once about Yoga History 101 as well as Is Yoga Cultural Appropriation?.  I learned a great deal about the history of yoga during my research for writing these 2 posts.  I developed a greater understanding of the origins of yoga and an even deeper appreciation for it as a result.  I understand that our western view of yoga simply as exercise is not nearly sufficient.  I would love to have the ability to become a yoga teacher and continue to learn from well established and authentic yogis.  However, I don’t see that in my near future, unfortunately.  I also believe my research in this area can be useful to others who may have a similar desire to learn more about these topics.

Goal #5: Purposes and Types of Yoga:  I posted once about this.  I learned a lot from this research  and I hope this will be useful to others.  I would have liked to have spent more time actually trying each type and specific poses within each one.    I also would have liked to have done more research about meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises).  However, I believe both topics are too big for the time allotted in this particular learning project. So overall, I am happy with my research in this area.

Goal #6: I referred to my post on Cultural Appropriation in Goal #4.  I learned a great deal from this research.  I believe it is an important question.  I’m glad I included it in my project.

Photo Source: Pinterest

Goal #7 and 8: Yoga as a Larger Lifestyle:  I repeatedly shared this article about this concept.  For me, it is basically being calm and kind (to all living beings) in all things, at all times.  It includes thinking of our existence in an energetic-spiritual way, not just the physical. It might also include Being a Vegetarian and Buying Cruelty-Free, Vegan and Socially Consicous and Environmental.  It was empowering for me to share my experiences and opinions on these topics. I hope it will be beneficial for others to read these posts also.

Goal #9: Finding an online community of yogis: I have just begun to develop a following and find others who I want to follow.  But I feel like it is a good start.  I know that there are people out there that I can reach out to if I have questions, need support or just want to chat with someone who is similar to myself.  I am glad that I started on this journey and will certainly continue to blog, follow others and research further about these topics.

Ok, so those are the goals that I feel pretty good about.

Now for the ones that didn’t go as I had hoped: Goals #1 and 2:

The primary reason I chose this project was to see if I could keep up my energy and maintain my health and well-being throughout the course of this class, through regular yoga practice.  There are basically 3 parts to that statement: regular yoga practice, energy and overall health & well-being.  How did I do in those 3 categories?  I’m sorry to say I did not achieve any of those goals!

I had planned to practice yoga at least 3 times each week.  Unfortunately, I found that most weeks it was a struggle to fit in even 2 sessions of yoga.  Did I find it beneficial when I practiced yoga?  Yes, absolutely.  I don’t think there is any question that regular exercise of any kind is immensely beneficial for everyone.

As I was unable to fit exercise into my schedule at least 3 times a week, I did not receive the benefits of increased energy or overall well-being.  I was sick with flu and colds frequently.  I was frequently tired, I experienced a great deal of stress around completing all my daily responsibilities.  My overall well-being, I’m sorry to say, is not very good at the current time.

I was very disappointed about this.  I had always been able to fit exercise into my life previously.  I did it as a new teacher, during my pregnancies, after I had tiny babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and new-schoolers.  At this point in my life, I find it the most difficult to maintain a regular exercise practice.  I miss it.  And my health is missing it also.

Are there other factors involved?  Yes, of course.

I have not been getting enough sleep throughout this time, which makes it difficult to exercise, reduces energy, makes one more likely to get sick and also increases the likelihood of emotional and mental stress.

Also, as any teacher can tell you, teaching is a stressful job.  And trying to balance the profession of teaching with raising a family is not easy.  The needs of the teacher/mom always seem to come in last.  And stress affects the body in so many ways.  Many teachers experience  depression, panic attacks, anxiety and other emotional/mental/physical health problems.  It seems to me that teachers are at a higher risk of developing these issues compared to those in other professions, although the data on this may vary somewhat.  Dealing with the many issues regarding youth and the changing education system takes it toll.

I suppose it is unrealistic to expect yoga to fix all of this!  Well, perhaps if everyone in our society began to practice yoga…. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon!

Perhaps I could try harder to squeeze yoga into my life – get up earlier in the morning, be more “forceful” or disciplined with myself, try not to feel guilty about taking time away from my kids to do yoga or involve them in it.  Perhaps I could focus on other types of exercise that I can do with my kids and/or husband (especially now that it is spring): walking, shooting hoops, bike riding, etc.

In any case, I will continue to try to fit yoga and other exercise into my life.  I will also try to maintain everything I have learned about the yoga lifestyle.  I am thankful for all that I have learned through this project and will continue to learn more in the future.  I plan to continue to blog about these topics, as well as others.

Overall, I consider my yoga learning project a success.  It has given me the opportunity to learn more and develop a further appreciation for yoga.

Please see a complete list of my yoga project posts below.  And please share any thoughts you have about my yoga project.  Thanks for following!

Photo Source: Google

Google Document of my Rubric and Record of Weekly Progress

Weekly Self-Evaluation Record

Date (week of): # Yoga Sessions/ Type of Yoga Mental Focus Energy Positivity Comments
JAN23-JAN 30
1 Yoga For Energy 3 2 2
TIRED IN THE EVENINGS, FELT STRESSED ABOUT COMPLETING IIP REPORTS
Feb 6 2 Yoga For Energy 1 1 2
HAD THE FLU ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT  AND THURSDAY.  DIDN’T FEEL BACK TO HEALTH UNTIL SATURDAY.  VERY BUSY WEEKEND.  NOT ENOUGH YOGA!
Feb 13  1 Restorative Yoga  3  3  3
 LEFT FOR PHOENIX ON THURSDAY, RELAXED WITH FAMILY.
Feb 20  1 Restorative Yoga  2  3  2
 CELEBRATED HUBBY AND DAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY.  CAME HOME TO FIND OUT MY MOTHER HAD FALLEN AND BROKEN HER LEG, SPENT TIME AT THE HOSPITAL
Feb 27  3Yoga with Adriene  3  2  2
 FOUND AN EXCELLENT SITE AND WAS ABLE TO FIT IN 3 SESSIONS OF YOGA.  FELT SOME STRESS DUE TO THE BUSY-NESS OF LIFE. DEFINITE PROGRESS
Mar 5  2Yoga with Adriende  2  1  2
 IT WAS A BUSY AND STRESSFUL WEEK – JUST ONE OF THOSE WEEKS!
Mar 12  2Yoga with Adriene  2  1  2
 WAS SICK THIS WEEK.  FIT IN 2 SESSIONS OF YOGA.
Mar 19  3Yoga with Adriene  3  2 3
 DEFINITELY FELT STRONGER, MORE ENERGETIC, MORE POSITIVE.  YOGA WAS BENEFICIAL.
Mar 26  2Yoga with Adriene  2  2  2
 VERY BUSY WEEK.  TIRED.

Weekly Self-Evaluations of my Yoga Progress   I Love Yoga!   The How and Why of My Yoga Project   Bikram, You’re a Disgrace   Yoga History 101   On Being a Vegetarian   O   nline Resources For Yoga   Buying Cruelty-Free, Vegan and Socially Consicous and Environmental   Purposes and Types of Yoga   Is Yoga Cultural Appropriation?   Yoga Progress Feb 20   Yoga Progress Feb 23   Yoga Progress March 2   Yoga Progress March 6  Yoga Progress March 19

 

Beyond Slacktivism

I have heard the term “slacktivism” a few times before taking it up in EC&I 831 this week. However, I hadn’t really thought much about it until now.

Techopedia states, “Slacktivism combines the words slacker and activist to refer to simple measures used to support an issue or social cause involving virtually no effort on the part of participants”.

Some say that slacktivism can have an impact on global social issues.

slacktivism1
Photo Source: On Social Media

In The Death of Slacktivism  Gilian Branstetter states that “2015 has proven that the Internet is more than an accessory to the real-world actions that change demands—it’s now a proven way to make it happen.”  Abby Rosmarin states in I Get It: You Don’t Like Slacktivism. Now Shut Up. Only Don’t  that slacktivisim creates awareness and makes social change easier. In Slacktivism is having a powerful real-world impact, new research shows Kate Groetzinger quotes a PLOS study reporting the positive impacts of slacktivism.  The author of How We Can Use Livestreaming Apps to Promote Social Justice who refers to a 2012 Georgetown Study  states that “Combined, the findings of these studies suggest we have entered an age of increased activism, both on the ground and online”.

However, there are critics of slacktivism.

Photo Source: On Social Media

In  #BringBackOurGirls Continues to Demand Return of Chibok Girls Nicolas Pinault draws attention to one example where online activism has been devastatingly unsuccessful.  On April 14, 2014 250 girls were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Nigeria.  After a world-wide twitter campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, only 57 of the girls have been saved and interest in the story has drastically decreased.

The TedTalk How the Internet has Made Social Change Easy to Organize, Hard to Win by Zeynep Tufekci (see below) explains that online activism can only get social activist causes so far.  Tufekci asks “in embracing these technologies are we overlooking some of the benefits of slow and sustained (movements)?”.  She explains that the powers that be understand that sharing on social media is easier than movements that require more energy and time and therefore social activists may not be taken as seriously.  Tufekci states, “…you don’t necessarily see teeth that can bite over the long term”.  She also says “…the magic is in that capacity to work together, think together, collectively, which can only by built over time, with a lot of work.”  Tufekci is saying we need to create and sustain organizations and networks that work together for common goals over a long period of time.  And they must do more than retweet and like.

 

I would consider myself a slacktivist.  I often repost, retweet and like posts about social causes.  And I feel very passionate about those causes as I am doing so, even though I know this action is not nearly enough.  As my awareness and knowledge about these topics grows, I feel more and more compelled and capable of taking further action.  Without building my awareness through social media (and other sources) I might not know there was something to take action about.  Even when I know there is something to act on, I may not know how…yet. Awareness is the first step.  Finding out what to do is the next step.  And it requires time, energy and support.

As I repost, retweet and like I am also making a statement about my own beliefs.  I have begun conversations (and yes,sometimes arguments) this way with friends and family.  This has helped me become more confident in my own voice and it confirms and deepens my beliefs. And has increased my ability to speak about these issues in a manner that people are more apt to hear. So my slacktivism has changed me as a person.  It has made me stronger.

I am confident that I will take further action on the issues I am passionate about in the future.  I believe it is important to post about the actions that we have taken, and can take to improve these situations.

So what are further steps that can be taken by slacktivist-come-social-activitist hopefuls, like myself?  Remember, I mentioned activism requires support?  Yes it requires a network.  It can’t be done in isolation.  So finding a network of support is vital.  You might also consider letter writing, starting a petition, walking or protesting,  or boycotting.

Until you feel ready to take it a step further, I think it’s okay to continue to be a slacktivisit and simply raise awareness.  I too, am still learning and gaining strength, knowledge and support.  I plan to begin taking actions in the near future to voice my opinions on social issues around me.  Even then, I will continue to post, repost, retweet and like, because it does, at least, increase awareness.

If you are interested in learning more about going beyond slacktivism see the helpful websites below.  And please share your thoughts on the topic.

Wikipedia: Activisim

Mobilizing Ideas

GroupThink Activism: What Works?

Social Media Today

LifelongActivist

SparkAction: Beyond Slacktivism

How to Empower Change On Social Media