Tag Archives: Inversions

I don’t wanna hold your hand.

Yoga on the Mall

I think some people get the false impression that yoga is all hand holding and “hippie bullshit.” I’ll have to admit, looking out across the thousands of people that attended DC Yoga on the Mall this year it did sorta look like a hippie convention complete with braided hair, prayer beads, and a group hug at the end (which I luckily missed out on). Trust me; I’m not one for stranger touching. I enjoy yoga because it challenges me, both physically, and mentally. It forces me to come out of my comfort zone, even if that means occasionally holding the hand of the person next to me or assisting them in a stretch. Yoga is what you make of it. If you want to use it as a gateway to Buddhism, that’s your choice. If you want to use it to build strength and stability to increase your abilities as an athlete, it works for that too! There are so many different styles of yoga, and yoga instructors, to choose from. If you don’t find the right fit the first time, keep trying! I have encountered several teachers that I didn’t mesh well with.

Another thing that weirds me out about yoga, that guided OM sound that some teachers make you do. What does that even mean? According to Wikipedia its origins are greatly rooted in faith, namely Hinduism. For the most part, I just opt not to do it. I don’t think most western yoga teachers understand its use or origins. Guided meditation as a whole is something I still struggle with. I think it dates back to my resistance to organized religion that started as a child. I don’t like being told what to believe. The reason I can accept most meditation practices in yoga is because you’re encouraged to be true to yourself — and frankly, I find it soothing.

The point is, just like with everything else in life you can LOVE something and not agree with every single aspect of it. I personally like power Vinyasa yoga. It moves quickly, challenges muscle strength and balance, and allows me to play around with inversions – which is my favorite part! Kicking up into handstands makes me feel like a kid again. If you find a class that is the right match for you it can be really fun.  I’m currently going to Honest Soul Yoga which is temporarily being run out of the owner’s basement. The official studio will open in Alexandria in July and maybe I can convince some of you to stop by. I think I’d like to get into teaching, and plan on doing teacher training once the studio is up and running. It’s all about pushing yourself further.

Stay tuned, friends!

Robin

The Yoga Project – Part II, Nature Photo Shoot

This weekend as the second part of my personal yoga journey I set out with my friend Dave of J. David Photography to capture some yoga poses in nature. For our first photo shoot together we ventured to the Virginia side of Great Falls Park early(ish) Sunday morning – though probably not as early as Dave would have liked. It should be noted that if you’re attempting any sort of alone time/meditation/peace, it cannot be accomplished in Great Falls after 11:00AM on a weekend. In an attempt to avoid as many people as possible we hiked a couple miles just north of the overlook area, which is much less populated. The foliage on this April weekend was not as green and lush as either of us had hoped, but the weather was spectacular.

The shoot itself proved challenging for me. This was my first attempt at yoga on uneven ground in any formal capacity and I wasn’t nearly as capable as my ego would have liked. It’s also less than peaceful to have a camera in your face while trying to hold a pose – as you can tell by my apparent scowl in most of the pictures. My modeling career obviously would have been short lived. It was a bit frustrating until I became comfortable with my surroundings and reminded myself that yoga isn’t about perfection. Here are a few of my favorite shots and poses from the shoot.

Tree on a tree

I call this one Tree on a tree. I was literally standing on a fallen tree branch. WHY AM I SO SERIOUS!?

Side plank

Side Plank – Dave did some pretty cool black-n-white/lightening effect with this one, (that’s the technical term). It’s one of my favorites.

Meditation

Meditation – Ok, so I’m fake meditating for the photo, but how peaceful do these surroundings look?

Warrior one

Warrior One Overlooking the Falls. I’m channeling The Seven.

Wild Thing

Wild Thing — You make my heart sing.

Dancer

Dancer Facing the Falls — One of my favorite yoga poses.

Headstand - split legs

Tri-pod Headstand Variation – How can you not smile when your crotch is in someone’s face? #TWSS

Side Crow

Side Crow – I love, love, love any pose that challenges arm strength.

Twisting Down Dog

Twisting Down Dog — Twisting out the margaritas from Saturday.

Headstand - Pike

Headstand Pike – It’s a really fun pose to practice and great for the abs!

As you can tell from the progression of the photos, once I started to have fun with it I felt more at ease with the process. Still, there were a few positions that I can do on a mat that I had difficultly holding for a camera, such as Hummingbird or any handstand variation really. I do have some pretty gnarly bruises from my multiple attempts though — so that’s something. Hopefully, if we venture out again I will have had time to work on these more challenging poses. And maybe we can find some flat ground to work with!

All in all, I am happy with the results and I had a great time challenging myself. Thanks again to Dave for his patience and awesome photography skills. I can’t wait to see how he does at my Mom’s wedding next month.

Peace, love, and #alltheinversions,

Robin