Monthly Archives: February 2013

Yoga and the Thin Girl

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Last Wednesday a girl arrived just a second before class started and put her mat down in front of me. She was just thin, with a slight frame – she wasn’t anorexic, or bony, or even excessively skinny – but I winced and didn’t want to practice behind her because I felt so large.

There’s a teacher at my studio whose classes I don’t go to for the same reason. She’s thin. And I feel gigantic compared to her.

The rational part of my mind knows how unhelpful, unhealthy it is to compare myself to others in this way.  Logically I can acknowledge I have come far, I have lost a lot of weight, and I am now fit and healthy. That just coming to class and wearing yoga pants and a tank top is an achievement. I also know that other people are probably not judging my appearance as harshly as  I am, and I definitely don’t feel animosity towards these women.

I just feel large and I don’t like it. Read the rest of this entry

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Running Speed Work and Kicking Up Into Headstand

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stop-watchSpeed work for me is a little different from speed work for most people. At least I think it is. Basically, I hate it, and I’m very slow, despite a LONG running history and two half marathons! I almost never run for time, but I do keep time for my long runs, the 10-milers, and my pace is about 11 minutes a mile. For any non-runners … this is pretty SLOW!

Since I’m hoping to break my last half marathon time (2h07m) and run the one in a few weeks in under 2 hours, I decided to start a little bit of speed work. For the first time ever.

For me, this means “sprinting” every other block or so on one 3-mile run per week. And “sprinting” is in quotes for a reason…I am slow slow slow slow slow.

That said, I have been able to pick up my pace at the end of some of my longer runs. I think it’s because of the speed work I have been doing. I don’t delude myself that this kind of one block on / one block off stuff will make a serious change to my longer run pace – but I think it does have a benefit. Read the rest of this entry

Random Yoga Stuff: Arm Balances I Like

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As recently as a year ago, I would have laughed out loud at the title of the post. Arm balances I *like*?  They are all torture!

I’ll be honest. I can’t say I’ve really mastered any but crow, but I can start to do some and definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it is kind of fun! I can get my feet up a bit in side crow on both sides, and sometimes in firefly (disclaimer: they are nowhere near straight). I’m close to getting the second foot off the ground in kundinyasana.

Teachers have said these are about balance and core, not strength, which I think is a little disingenuous. Read the rest of this entry

Hiding Behind Yoga?

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I’ve had a few very frustrating experiences with people who are neck-deep in yoga: teachers, studio owners, founders of yoga-related organizations. I won’t pretend I’m perfect, but these are people who sign emails with “peace and gratitude” and take it on themselves to teach others about yoga. This is not a new article or study, but it describes something similar to a story I heard more recently but can’t find, that “do-gooders” may feel morally justified in acting unethically. Read the rest of this entry

The Gender Divide in Yoga

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malefemaleMy simplest comment is that my classes taught by male teachers tend to be more physically challenging than my classes taught by female teachers, even when the class “level” on the schedule is the same. This might be sexist of me. It might be because what is physically challenging for me personally is not the same as what is physically challenging for most men – perhaps my man teachers are not making classes hard objectively, but rather the sequences and poses they choose are just hard for me.

However I suspect there is a different cause: Read the rest of this entry