When I read the title “Easy Beginner Practice,” I thought this YouTube video would be, well, easy — easy enough that I tried it after I’d already gone through a 30-minute vinyasa practice of my own.
That was not the smartest thing I have ever done.
[Video from HolmTV via YouTube.]
Since it was advertised as a “Yoga 101,” I was expecting a slower, gentler flow with a lot of alignment instruction. This was not that.
The practice is easy in the sense that the majority of it consists of the same basic sun salute, repeated multiple times. Even if it’s confusing toward the beginning, there’s enough practice to build both cognitive and muscle memory for what to do here. Additionally, the majority of the add-ons contain “nothing fancy” — that is, do include poses that are relatively common in most yoga classes in the U.S. and Canada (perhaps beyond, but that is outside my frame of reference). I might not recommend it for someone who’s completely new to any type of yoga, but it may well be a good practice for folks who have some familiarity with common asanas but who are new to a vinyasa style of practice.
That said, it’s worth noting that the speed of the practice is not slow. And there were enough repetitions — and holds — of utkatasana to make me say out loud, “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”** So while it wasn’t a particularly complicated practice, it was one that assumed a certain level of strength, stamina, and mobility.
Similarly, while I could enter all of the poses in this practice, it was not easy for me. Part of that has to do with when I tried it, yes, and part of it might have to do with someone else’s titling and the subjective nature of what is “easy.” But more of that — maybe a little more, maybe a lot — has to do with my perceptions of my own yoga “level,” my assumptions about what constitutes a “beginner” or “easy” practice, and my own ego. Essentially, some part of this practice was jarring to me because I had thought it was going to be easier, and I felt discombobulated and uncomfortable when it wasn’t. That was unexpected. For a little while, at least, I was unsure of how to cope and felt shamed because I felt so ungrounded.
I got over it, but every once in a while, getting my ass handed to me is a good thing.
** To which Yellow Dog cocked his head to the side and was like, “What? We are not fucking kidding you anything. I are confused.” Gray Dog — who has known me since Forever, in her terms — stared straight at me and was like, “Yes, we are fucking kidding you. But you HOLD THAT CHAIR POSE while I lie on the couch and chew this tasty bone.”