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Yoga Today: YouTube #2: YogaYak

April 12, 2011

YogaYak offers full length yoga classes online — for free!!  What can get better than that?!  They also offer archived videos for a small price, as well as a DVD on meditation and breathing.  Each class starts with a short focus on breathing — which can be very beneficial to your practice — and on intention for the class.  Intention in yoga is an ancient concept that is becoming pretty standard in yoga, it seems.  I’ve noticed Tara Stiles use the term at the beginning of some of her videos, and Chaz on YogAmazing does the same.  And of course, some in-studio teachers have done it, too.  More on intention later.

You’ll notice the beginning breathing doesn’t last more than 3 minutes.  This video is a good example of how the classes at Yoga Yak are structured:

1) The breathing and intention focus.  This is important to help transition you into the practice.  It helps focus your mind.  And sometimes, it’s the only bit of meditation outside of savasana (corpse pose, which usually ends a class) that you may get in a day.

2) Easy poses to warm up your body.  Even if you are a beginner, the repetition of these poses and their general “intuitiveness” help to warm up your joints, and get you used to moving with your breath (not breathing to your movement).  This includes a sun salutation.  I always start my classes with a sun salutation to get the heart rate up, get my body used to moving with the breath, and to really get the party started.  As a teacher, it’s also nice to have something standard to give students to do while I prepare to teach.  Again — these are things every beginner can do!! I promise 🙂

3) The “point” of the routine (in this case, the “grounding”ness).  She works the poses well, sequencing to keep your progressing and actually feeling very grounded to the earth.

There are some added bonuses to Yoga Yak, as well.  I love that they have about half male teachers on their site.

Men in yoga in America are so infrequent — at least in the “media eye” — and it’s a shame.  The all-women’s-college girl in me LOVES that yoga is something physical that women can do; the feminist equality-drive woman in me wants us to all work together to get everyone exposed to yoga in some way, equally!

They also have sections on fasting.  This is not for beginners!!!!! But fasting has been used as a spiritual gateway for a very, very long time and I love that Yoga Yak offers explanations and discussions on it.  It’s important to keep these ancient practices in our current spheres, even if we ourselves do not practice them.  It’s partially why people still use the Sanskrit names for poses, and why there is a movement for Hinduism to “take back” yoga. While I think yoga should evolve, and that it should be accessible to everyone regardless of religion, etc., I love that there are people who still value and respect the roots of yoga, and want to see those roots become more prevalent in the culture.

How do you like Yoga Yak’s videos?  Do you like the full-length classes over the shorter pieces?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Franzi permalink
    May 4, 2011 1:06 am

    I love that there are full length classes over by YogaYak. Just watching some of it though mad me realize two problems I struggle with. Maybe its because I am not practicing every day but maybe thats something ever beginner struggles with.

    1. The movements are too fast for me to just follow the video.
    2. As you said Yoga is about moving with your breath I can never get into that zone. I realize every time that I try to fit my breathing to the movements when it should be the other way around. I would love someone who would take the time to explain what moving with your breath means. I am having a hard time with it.

    Another great post!!! 🙂

  2. May 4, 2011 7:26 am

    You got it!! I will definitely write about the breath-movement connection. 🙂

  3. Franzi permalink
    May 5, 2011 2:34 am

    That sounds great 🙂 Awesome you are taking all this time! 😀

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