Saturday, January 29, 2011

Off-the-Mat Reading

I've decided to expand my blogging realm a little.

With the encouragement of a couple of friends, I'm looking forward to doing some regular blogging about yoga (which I love*) and history (which I also love). I still want to keep writing about Doctor Who and the other genre stuff that makes it worthwhile to get out of bed in the mornings, but I figure the occasional Saturday post about "something else" can't hurt, right?

So I thought a nice way to start out would be to spread the blog love around a little.

After all the time I spent last weekend talking smack about Yoga Journal, I figured it was only fair to point out at least one of the things they do very well: blogs. They have some fantastic bloggers and one of my favorites is Kristin Shepherd at Beginner's Mind. Shepherd is a chiropractor and a newbie yogi. At least, she was when she started but the blog is at least a year old at this point -- at least in my memory it is! -- so she isn't that newbie any more. But her enthusiasm for "all things yoga" -- most recently her investigations into the wonders of meditation -- is infectious; she is consistently respectful to her reading audience; and she is never jargon-heavy or pretentious. These are valuable assets in a yoga blogger! Plus, her columns are short, readable, and great for a little midday "why do I do this thing with the colorful mat again?" moment.

Curvy Yoga is one of my favorite blog finds for the past few weeks; I found it because of Anna's fantastic post about the same YJ article I was grumping about. Her's is slightly more...controlled than mine, shall we say, and far more like an actual, reasonable letter. :) What else is to like about the blog? The inclusive tone, consistent respect and friendliness, a desire to see everyone in a position to enjoy a fruitful yoga practice if they want to. And she recommends at least one of my favorite yoga clothing retailers (Athleta, if you must know. And, yes, I know they're really owned by Old Navy or The Gap or something else atrocious but their pants are so damned comfy!) Anna's a certified yoga teacher; she's going through further training with Sadie Nardini who also rocks (and whose blog is temporarily down as of this posting; go to that link and poke at the "Blog" tab until it works -- she's well-worth a read, too!) What is not to like about Curvy Yoga? I have more or less let myself get psyched out of going to studios; I comfort myself with the thought that most teachers seem to say that regular home practice is just as, if not more, beneficial than a 90 minute "kick your ass" session once a week at a studio; that studios are expensive; that I can't afford the time out of my week (even though I probably could). All of these reasons are sort of true -- but I really love that there are folks like Anna out there who don't let themselves get psyched out. That's just awesome.

Not last or least, Spoiled Yogi. How can you not love a blog that has posts like "Just Say No--To Yoga Guilt!" And lookie here! Guest posts from Anna over at Curvy Yoga. :) Anyway, the Spoiled Yogi spotlights lots of guest bloggers and her own posts are always thoughtful and engaging. Do you have trouble springing right out of bed into that blissful morning sun salutation we all hear we should be salivating to do? Yup, so does she. And, like Kristin Shepherd, she's exploring meditation these days. And look! She's looking for folks to talk about how/why/where/when they got into yoga.

Last and still not least: Y is for Yogini. Irreverent? Tongue-in-cheek? Snarky? Oh, my friend: yes. A healthy dose of irreverence is at least as important as a well-balanced downdog. I'm not saying don't be serious about your practice -- I don't think Lo is saying that either -- but don't let your sense of humor die every time you step on the mat. The only problem with this blog is that the RSS feed isn't working properly so it won't load into a reader -- like Google Reader or Bloglines -- correctly. If anyone comes up with a fix for this or sees something I didn't, please let me know! I've been keeping it open in a separate tab in Chrome for a few weeks now, but there has to be a better long-term solution than that!

 *Disclaimer: I am not a yoga teacher. I hold no certifications. All opinions here are only my own and only opinions and should be taken as such.

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