I mentioned last week how my favourite partner in crime and I were closing the gap over the 295 miles between us and exploring yoga together. Well, sort of. We’d decided to sign up for Gaia and do the same 14-day yoga fundamentals course at the same time, comparing experiences and notes as we went. Here’s where she wrote about it before we got started, too.
We’re about four days in and it’s been pretty interesting so far. It’s been a while since I practiced yoga regularly and I hadn’t really realized just how long. Fortunately, I am aware of how quickly the body adapts and how they call it a yoga practice for a reason: because you just keep going and it never ends. I’ll be honest, I was a little sad and disappointed when Amy described yoga as “a topic that feels tremendously overwhelming” in the questions I’d asked her before we started. I immediately felt like I’d let her down. For all the things that we have done over the decade we’ve known each other, I feel like I should have held her hand and bridged that gap before now.
Each of the days in the 14-day series have been given a title. So far, I’ve been through: Courageous, Grounded, Strong and Connected. It’s a nice approach to have a theme and a tailored practice to relate to that theme. Each lesson so far has been taught by a different instructor and all of them have been quite good at explaining the small details of what they are doing and what the viewer should be. The compilation really honours the fundamentals approach and takes the time to teach the bigger picture as well as the small details. The sessions have ranged between 25 minutes and about 50 minutes long and each day’s practice is also accompanied by some bonus video tutorials and readings for each day. I’ve flirted with the idea of doing the yoga teacher training a few times over my lifetime and the intense learning aspect of the fundamentals series really speaks to that part of me.
I’ve struggled with yoga over the years because of my need to combine my physical practice with my spiritual practice. I may leave most yoga classes with a feeling of having physically stimulated my body, but I rarely leave feeling as though I’d stimulated my soul. For me, the heart of the yoga practice is in the soul and I feel like a diner who leaves their gourmet meal still feeling hungry when I walk out of many yoga studios. (If you ever get the opportunity to practice with Amy Reedman, take it! She is easily the most wholly satisfying instructor I’ve ever encountered.)
Over the first four sessions, the Gaia fundamentals series has walked that fine line between being both physically and spiritually satisfying and I love that. It approaches both sides in a way that is encouraging and not intimidating for a beginner. It starts to tackle the concept of mind-body connection that is largely ignored in mainstream fitness practices. It’s nice and easy to digest.
I think that since we started, we’ve realized that we were a little ambitious in our plans to do each session on consecutive days. You know, real life and all… We’re carrying on and working at the goal and checking in with each other periodically to talk about what we’re doing and what we’re learning. I even put this series into my list of things to do in September.
When I asked Amy about her experience so far, she had this to say:
The instructors are always talked about grounding yourself with the earth, through your feet. I thought it was interesting, because it’s easy to take for granted. Just…standing there. Not really thinking about how your feet connect with the ground. Stopping, breathing, feeling the connection.
I’m super proud of her and I’m loving this experience of practicing long-distance yoga.
Do you practice yoga? What’s been your favourite yoga learning experience?