Don't Call it a Comeback...

My Post.jpg

It's been a long time coming, but your favorite tattooed and bearded yoga teacher has left the beautiful shores of Okinawa and relocated back to the great Commonwealth of Kentucky!

Big things are in the works, including the launching of my new business and new book

But that's not all!

Louisville yogis and yoginis: July is a big month, as I'm finally bringing RedBeard Yoga to you!

Starting next month I'll be teaching private and small group classes at the Institute for Integrative Medicine in Middletown. 🤘🏼

I'll have the small group schedule up soon, and as always you can contact me if you're interested in private instruction. 

I'm excited to have a space to teach out of again, and glad that I'll be able to maintain the personalized student driven approach to yoga that I love. 

I'll meet you on the mat.

- R

Filming my Classes/A Peak Behind the Curtain

Students have been asking me for a while now if I would make some videos that they can practice along with. So I've recently begun filming a few of my sequences for an upcoming project. The act of filming has been an interesting process for me for a number of reasons. First is the technical side of it. I enjoy tinkering with electronics and I like any excuse that I can get to play around with gadgets and software. I get a thrill out of solving a problem or figuring out how to make something work. I like to create. Even still, there have been several setbacks that have caused me to lose hours of work and my borderline OCD/perfectionism works against me in this regard. 

A first attempt at filming before I got the right equipment in place.

A first attempt at filming before I got the right equipment in place.

 

The second reason this has been interesting has to do with trying to figure out exactly WHAT I want to film: what sequences I want to focus on, and deciding how best to present this information to my intended audience. Filming my own practice in front of the camera is completely different than working with people face-to-face, either in private sessions or group settings. The energy in the room is different. When I'm teaching in person, i feel more of my personality can come through (although some might see that as a drawback. LOL) and I can stop in the middle of a class if I see something we need to focus more on, like workshopping Downward Facing Dog for a bit. Additionally, if you've taken a class with me, you know that I don't tend to do the practice when I teach. I believe that the focus of the class should be about the student, not whatever it is that I'm doing.

Finally, and most surprisingly, what has been interesting in filming myself has been the effect that it has had on both my personal practice AND my teaching. I'm cognizant of the students that will most likely be watching and practicing along with these videos. This has had the unexpected benefit of reminding me to pay attention in EVERY posture I do, rather than phoning it in until I get to an asana that I really enjoy or that really challenges me personally. It has forced me to savor each moment of my practice again. Yes, there is a slight disconnect from my usual freeform method of practicing because I have to stick to a sequence that I've designed and because I'm verbally cueing throughout, but it's made me think outside the box and has given a jolt to my own practice. It's also nice to be able to SEE myself practice and understand where my limitations are to improve my own form. While the act of filming has transformed my personal practice, I also believe that it has strengthened my teachings (although I'll have to check with some of my current students to be sure). In post-production editing I'm picking up on those verbal ticks that we all have, or noticing how I might be able to cue something in a different way to really push the information I'm trying to get across.

Ultimately, I'm finding that making yoga videos has been fun and challenging at the same time (not to mention freaking time consuming, although now that I have a workflow down, it's not so bad). Maybe try setting up a camera and filming your next practice. You just might enjoy it or learn something about yourself.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the RedBeard Yoga Virtual Studio, coming online soon...

- rb  

 

No, the full video isn't this fast, and yes I give instructions throughout. LOL. This time-lapse is just quick preview of one camera angle from a recent 75 minute class.

 

Why You Can't Practice Yoga

Here's something you might not want to hear: you're probably not cut out for this yoga thing. It's probably too difficult, and the entry requirements are too high. I mean, you'll most likely suck at it anyway. 

Just for kicks, I'm going to let you in on a big yoga secret: to practice yoga asana successfully, to really excel at the practice, hell, just to say you are actually even doing it, you need two things. These two yoga requirements aren't cheap if you don't already have them. Acquiring them isn't easy, and they wouldn't be cheap even if you managed find some. Yoga isn't for the faint of heart.  

The two things you absolutely must have to be successful at yoga are 1) an expensive sticky mat and 2) sheer leggings. You can verify this because that's what you see on Instagram and all the yoga websites, right? Bullshit. It's true that there are only two things required to do yoga, but you probably have both of them already (at least I hope you do): Lungs and a Spine. That's it. And to be honest, they don't even have to 100% functional. In fact, many people come to yoga because one or the other aren't working the way they want them to.

Lungs and a spine is all you need. Everything else is just icing on top.

Lungs and a spine is all you need. Everything else is just icing on top.

Our Goal in a Yoga Class

In a yoga class, we have a few goals as far as the physical aspect of the practice goes (the mental/emotional/spiritual stuff is a separate issue). I don't really care if you can't touch your toes or if you're able to put your leg behind your head. All I really want is for you to breathe (I mean really breathe) and move your spine. We're aiming to connect with our breath and with our movement. I want you to really experience your body. The feelings, the sensations, the aches, the tension, and the release. For this we need the lungs.

For the spine, I want us to move it in all seven directions. SEVEN?!? I hear you say... How the @%#$! does my spine move in seven directions? Why would I even want to do that?

Well, here goes. The seven directions of spinal movement:

  1. Flexion (forward folding)
  2. Extension (back bending)
  3. Lateral (side bending right)
  4. Lateral (side bending left)
  5. Rotation (twisting right)
  6. Rotation (twisting left)
  7. Axial Extension (lengthening)

In our daily lives, we rarely move our spines this many ways. In fact most of us only really move it in one direction - folding forward (think hunching over a computer screen or slouching in a chair). A consistent yoga practice moves you in all seven of these directions while promoting a strong and healthy spine. We all want that, right? I know I do. Especially the older I get.

So I have a confession. I was lying at the beginning of this post. You are cut out for yoga. You can practice it. You don't need any fancy props. You already have the tools to succeed.