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Om – Podcasts

Yoga Class at a Gym

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I’ve been a devotee of yoga for seven years now.  It’s a required pastime for West Coasters, a stamp you need on your passport should you decide to live here.  You need to know the difference between Ashtanga and Hatha, know whether you like Bikram’s or not, and have a favorite studio, as baseline requirements.

But there are drawbacks.  It can be expensive – $2o a class equals my entire coffee budget for the week; time consuming – getting to my favorite studio is a 30 minute journey, making an hour long class takes a minimum of two hours, and I worry about the strain on the environment since I need to drive there.

Once there, it is a crap shoot whether I have a plum spot by a window, or am wedged into a corner next to smelly guy who clearly does not believe in deodorant, or bathing, making the entire experience unpleasant no matter how fantastic the instructor.

Yet the benefits are huge – unless I happened to be wedged in the corner next to smelly guy, I inevitably float out of class, my whole being feeling relaxed yet stronger then when I entered the room, my mind quieted (I don’t reach a meditative state necessarily, but as close as I can come, definitely a stiller state).  My posture has improved immeasurably, now when I am mad or stressed I feel my shoulders creep up next to my ears, so I breathe and bring them down – tiny yoga postures used in everyday life.  Opening my hips has drastically reduced my running injuries. Even the mantras take their toll eventually, although that took a long time for me: take the best pose you can for this day, recognizing that each day is different.

Hands down, I would prefer to do a yoga class than receive a massage, so that’s saying something.

But pressed for time and money, as we all are, it’s hard to justify doing as much yoga as I would like.   So I’ve taken to unfurling my mat at home and doing free yoga podcasts on iTunes.  I get the benefits of a fantastic class in a fraction of the time and at a greatly reduced cost (free is the right price for me).

I’ve found an instructor I love – Elsie Escobar – she is quirky yet incredibly knowledgeable.  I tend to gravitate towards people who don’t take themselves too seriously, and Elsie is exactly that.  She often has a great life message in the beginning, but if I’m really in a hurry I fast forward to the beginning of the practice.  And (sorry Yogi’s, you may not want to read my next sentence) if in a really big rush, I don’t do savasana.  There is nothing worse than lying in savasana and making lists of all the things you could be doing if you could just get off this mat.

There are hundreds of podcasts listed, so you can easily do a different one each time, although I certainly have my favorites that I return to on a regular basis.

And best of all: no smelly guy to worry about.  Long live yoga podcasts.

  1. November 18, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I’ve been to yoga classes a few times and enjoyed them but the times for a lot of classes don’t work out for me. In addition, I don’t really want to pay that much for yoga classes. I knew there were yoga podcasts out there and have considered looking into them, but didn’t want to spend the time trying to find a good one. So thanks for the recommendation!

    • November 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      So happy to be of help. You can choose a class by its length of time – there are some great 45 minute classes, and also by their level, so you can search for all level one classes if you are new to yoga.

  2. November 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I came here by way of a comment you left on my site, and I’m glad I did. I could relate to this entire post, except that I’ve never taken a yoga class by any means other than a traditional studio. Thankfully there’s a studio less than a mile from my house. I like Bikram…and being in the front right corner, far from the smelly guy, but unfortunately, next to Gumby girl.

    Very well written!

    • November 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you! I swear by these podcasts, and am convinced yoga makes the world a better place, so eager to share the love.

  3. November 21, 2010 at 12:18 am

    yoga is toatally cool!!!
    very well written!!!


    • November 21, 2010 at 1:22 am

      And speaking of tiny fans…!

  4. November 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Sweet Deanna! Thank you sooooo much for the support and the mention! I’m so glad that you’ve been able to stay away from the sweaty guy thru my podcasts 😉 Seriously I totally hear you when it comes to the money and the time. I remember going through the same thing in LA. There were times when I wanted to take a class is Santa Monica and I knew that I’d have to give it the WHOLE day almost. I didn’t have a car so that added quite a lot longer for travel time.

    I loved it, but often times I craved support at my own home. Now with my daughter getting to a proper yoga class is really a very very very unusual thing. In fact I can’t remember the last time I took a public class. I long for it now, but recognize what I have to do in order to sustain my practice. It’s up to me!

    Thank you so much for adding beauty and strength to the online kula!!!! xoxoxoxoxoo

    • November 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks Elsie – you really are my yogi hero, and I adore your meditations on life as well as your teaching. Your voice fills the room and I am transported to San Diego or San Salvador or wherever you happen to be and I always have a fantastic class that leaves me humming.
      (I have tried to review you on iTunes but can’t figure out how!)
      Your devoted follower,

  5. November 23, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Been thinking of trying yoga for some time but never seem to get around to it. Maybe these podcasts will help, thanks!

    • November 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      If you’ve never done yoga, and you don’t have a clue what a plank or downward dog is, you may have trouble following along. Maybe try a DVD first to get a visual reference. Good luck – the benefits of yoga are so worth it.

  6. November 25, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Guess I will have to get up to speed on all the technical stuff, lol, thanks!

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