I’m not sure where I found it first – perhaps the august people at Art of Manliness – but I really enjoyed surfing through the Dirty Yoga site. Admittedly, I have a weakness for all things retro (I’d be 100% steampunkified if I could afford it) but more than that I have a weakness for straight talk.
Dirty Yoga Co. makes a virtue of that. It’s not “dirty” in any puerile sense (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but it’s dirty as in “quick and dirty.” As in: I have to wait half an hour for my computer to crunch that video into usable form, let’s throw out the yoga mat and do some asanas. No beaches, no glissandoes, no oiled bodies in spandex tights. Just a regular guy doing regular yoga.
Asana? I Barely KNOW Ya!
I should come clean here: I don’t like yoga. I’ve done it on and off for years, both in studios, at University, at artist’s retreats, and most consistently via a Rodney Yee DVD that I’ve had for about a decade. Never found one I enjoyed (unless you count an intensive on kaluripayat that I took for a year as part of my dance degree, but that’s to yoga what kung fu is to tai chi).
On the other hand, I couldn’t deny that I did enjoy the effects of yoga on my body. I’ve got some wear and tear on my knees and other areas from military and dance practices, so things like running and high-intensity cardio will often leave me sore for days. Yoga, on the other hand, always left me feeling limber, relaxed, and calm…which might be the problem.
I like adrenaline. I like overcoming obstacles. I like the feeling of having “won“. In fact, I fell right into the sort-of tongue-in-cheek marketing of “Man-Yoga“, which states that one of the reasons men don’t try it is simply “Men don’t know how to win at yoga.”
But there is another compelling advantage of yoga for me: it doesn’t require a lot of room or a lot of equipment. Heck, technically a mat is a luxury, and if I’m alone, naked yoga saves on laundry. I can do yoga on the road, in a field, wherever.
I just don’t like it. I got bored easily. My monkey-brain wanted distraction. So I’ve never been able to establish a really consistent yoga practice.
When I offered to try out the Dirty Yoga Co site for a month (and review it), the crew there were very friendly and very straightforward. I’d talked about my past experience with things like the Insanity workouts, and they were quick to stress: Dirty Yoga is a maintainenance program, not a get-fit-quick or lose-weight program. It’s just an easy, convenient way to do something that’s good for you.
That appealed to me, actually. Kind of like the goal of this site, which is not to solve all your problems and bring you peace and happiness forever after, but rather to simply help make things a little better, a little happier.
I assured them that I wasn’t expecting to suddenly reach enlightenment either in tems of consciousness or weight gain. I’m also going to be doing other exercises like running and weightlifting (something which, to my surprise, I do enjoy. Maybe because I feel like I’m winning…). But by publicly reviewing their site and also monitoring the effects on my body and mind, I’m also following one of the techniques that is very successful for forming habits: public accountability.
I haven’t actually started the “practice” yet, but I have done a couple of the sessions. You get three new ones per week, plus a couple of short “core strength” and “stretching” sessions. The full yoga sessions are a little more than 1/2 hour.
My plan is to do one every day that I write a post – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’ll leave a little paragraph at the end of each post just to say what it felt like, what stuck out. If you don’t see that paragraph – call me out on it. Email me (gray at lovelifepractice dot com) and ask me “WTF?”
Then again, maybe seeing that little paragraph will also nudge you, just a bit, to do your own practice for physical health, whatever that may be.
Can I Recommend Yoga?
So far I can. Dirty Yoga, in fact. I find I still dislike doing the poses…but the instructor is just so affable and straightforward about it, it feels ok. He often says things like “No big deal…” about poses that have always felt like a big deal to me before (like Warrior 3). That kind of simple reassurance goes a long way in just making it a yoga practice, not an attempt at emulating a yogic karmic event.
They are also supremely focused. No set at all – just the instructor against a white screen, talking through the poses and demonstrating them (occasionally he stops and says “And now you’re going to go into chataranga…now up to down dog…” while he’s just sitting there, but all the poses are adequately demonstrated). I laughed out loud a few times, when he’d say something like “So, my students hate this pose…but we’re going to do it anyway.”
Basically, it’s a yoga teacher who just wants to show you how to do some yoga, on a site that works well to keep it simple. Take a look at a sample of the kind of teaching at their “Dirty Yoga Tips” page, but stay tuned: I’ll be letting you know how my own practice goes as we travel through the month of May.