Scraping the bottom of the barrel for a post title this week, perhaps, but it hopefully conveys the topic. I'm going to write today about ways technology help my yoga practice.
I'm hardly unique in utilizing the Internet and my iPhone when it comes to yoga - it seems every couple of months there are new articles and lists out there sharing with you the best apps to de-stress, unplug, meditate, work out - you name it. There's a reason why, "There's an app for that" is a thing.
So this may not be totally revolutionary as a topic, but these four things I'll listen have been revolutionary for me personally. I hope they, or one, can make a difference for you as well:
1. Karma Kids Yoga - Studio Live TV
This one is unique because although it's not a resource I utilize for myself as often as others, it's really special in that it allows me to connect with more students than just the ones in front of me on any given day. Studio Live TV partnered with Karma Kids Yoga's Pre/Postnatal program to deliver classes on demand to our students who for whatever reason can't make it to the studio. The most special thing about this for me is that my sister has been able to take classes not just from me but from teachers who I respect, admire, and learn from at our Peace In studio. The classes are specifically geared toward Pre and Postnatal, but they're appropriate for anyone looking for a core-based class that will leave you feeling strong and calm afterward.
2. Yoga Journal - Videos
My classic, all-time go to when I need some quick yoga at home. I'm sure I've plugged this before, and one video in particular. I discovered this part of the site back in either 2008 or 2009, when one of my favorite free yoga websites suddenly stopped being free. The videos only get up to about 35 minutes, but sometimes all I really want is 10 or 15, and they've got that too. There are a wide variety of teachers and styles to choose from, and tons of really short tutorial videos on just one or two particular poses. I really just have a few videos that I tend to do over and over here, but every so often I'll dip my toes into something new and I'm usually pleased with it. For my money, though (and even though it's free, I would pay for this), the best on the site is Jason Crandell's Evening Relaxation Sequence. I've done this off and on for over five years now, I never tire of it and it has not lost its blissful effect on me. It's one of the oldest videos on the site, I think. Jason Crandell is the bomb.
Speaking of Jason Crandell (transition!), you can find a ton more from him and a ton more in general at YogaGlo.com. The stunning Laura Frye (whose amazing yoga classes you can find on Studio Live) turned me on to this site. It's not free, sadly, costing about $18 a month, but holy moly do you get your money's worth. There are over 2,200 classes from dozens of teachers, and it grows every day. Some I've seen or read about in YogaJournal, some I don't recognize, but everything I've tried and seen from it so far is amazing. My man Jason Crandell blew my mind last night with a sequence called Yoga for Your Calves and Feet which is exactly what my body needs right now as I get ready to dip my toes into getting back into running in a couple of weeks (very, very, very, very slowly, mind you). There are also meditation practices from meditation expert Sally Kempton, and classes that range from 5 minutes to two hours. For $18 a month you get unlimited access to this, which is like having unlimited access to 100 yoga studios a month. I highly recommend it, for yoga students as well as yoga teachers as it is an endless library of learning.
Last but not least, my trusty (and free) meditation app. Now I mentioned apps at the beginning of the post, but I haven't really done that much exploring. Truth be told, I think it would just overwhelm me to go through all the options and I'd wind up not practicing at all but just being obsessed with which app would send me off into bliss with the tap of my finger. Basically, I'm afraid it would send me down a rabbit hole.
There's not much fanciness to the InsightTimer app, although it has changed and expanded a bit since I first discovered it ages ago. I downloaded it so I could set a timer on my meditation practice and be brought out from it with something other than Marimba. There are a variety of Tibetan bowl tones you can choose from that will put you into it and take you out of it with a gentle, beautiful sound. My favorite part is you can also put in interval bells which is perfect if I want to do 10 minutes of active yoga, 5 minutes of meditation - or even better, if I want to do a restorative practice. 10 minutes for restorative child's pose, 15 for legs up the wall...you get the idea. A gentle little bell signals each transition, with a more distinct one signaling that time is up. They've expanded and added some guided meditations, but I haven't tried any of them out yet.
So there you have it! Four recommendations, four easy ways to bring yoga into your home. Two are 100% free, and the other two are a bargain! I'd love to hear feedback from anyone who has given them a try.