On the mat, on the bookshelf

Last June I made a number of changes in my routine. The first was to make a regular practice of yoga, committing to do SOMETHING on the mat every evening. (Full disclosure: I take off on average one night every two or three weeks when I feel my body just needs a bit of extra rest and head straight to bed.) The odd thing was that, as soon as I committed to doing it every day, I noticed changes even though I was working on exactly the same poses I’ve been coming back to for a decade. I was suddenly able to do things I have NEVER been able to do–like put my head on the ground during a wide-legged forward bend.

I’m a big fan of Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman’s AM/PM Yoga DVD. Most evenings I do both segments, forty minutes of stretches. (Some evenings I do an abbreviated version where I run through the poses on my own without the DVD; this clocks in at about 25 minutes since I never seem to hold them as long without guidance. I still figure it’s better than not practicing at all.)

Right about the time I made a daily practice part of my routine, I discovered Colleen’s book, YOGA FOR LIFE. It’s pubbed under her married name, Colleen Saidman Yee, and it’s superb for anyone wanting to deepen their yoga practice. She pulls no punches; each chapter is a story from her life with no whitewashing. She is honest, forthright, and vulnerable in her writing, and each chapter ends with a yoga routine designed to explore whatever characteristic was discussed in the chapter. Highly recommended.