Doing yoga online is a growing trend, and one that many yogis are happy to follow. Finding online routines and workshops led by qualified and innovative instructors expands a home practice considerably. Travelers also reap the benefits of yoga online as a way to stay active, even in their hotel rooms. Online yoga allows for desk-bound workers to use their computers for a refreshing break, too.
One of the most comprehensive online yoga membership sites is at Gaia. The site's certified instructors have crafted a number of exceptional routines for a variety of yoga styles, Pilates, and meditation.
LoveToKnow Yoga had the pleasure of talking with My Yoga Online's co-founder, Michelle Trantina. You may be familiar with Michelle's work throughout Canada and the United States as a yogi in Kate Potter's Namaste Yoga television series and DVDs.
My Yoga Online Interview
LoveToKnow Yoga (LTK): Please tell us how you got started along your yoga path.
Michelle Trantina (MT): In 1991, by chance, I stopped by Esther Meyers Yoga studio in Toronto and tried a Hatha yoga class. I was amazed at how I felt afterwards. It somehow cleared and revitalized both my mind and my body. My perspective was refreshed and I felt centered and grounded.
I had realized at that point in my life that as humans, our state of mind is key, and that it is responsible in so many ways for how we feel both physically and mentally, and on a deeper level for what we actually experience in life. And that we had a choice. I had been searching and experimenting in so many ways to cultivate and explore the mental landscape and how it affected me on all levels.
The discovery of yoga was a key element along that path and I am thankful for it. Yoga is so much more than "fitness" as it is often viewed here in the West, yet I suppose getting "into shape" is the icing on the cake.
LTK: What still excites you about practicing yoga?
MT: Yoga has become more enjoyable and rewarding for me the more I have practiced. There is so much to explore, to reflect upon, to create. I discover points in my body and mind on a regular basis. I find blocks in my body and open them, breathe life into them, let go of experiences as I let go of tensions and find myself feeling stronger all the time.
Yoga translates into my life on so many levels, on and off the mat.
LTK: Many of our readers wonder how to integrate meditation into their yoga practice. What steps do you recommend?
MT: To me, yoga is meditation. Yoga poses, or asanas, are a moving meditation.
- Focus on the breath and presence with your body in the moment is key.
- It is also helpful to create an external environment that allows the mind and body some time for solitude and reflection.
- Utilize the breath as a meditative tool throughout the practice of asana.
- Incorporate techniques involving focus and internal awareness prior to the start of practicing asana. Yoga is integration of body and mind.
For many of us, just "sitting" can be very challenging, especially in the beginning. It may be more conducive to some to try some seated meditation after asana practice, when the mind has begun to quiet and the body feels more open, comfortable, and relaxed.
LTK: What beneficial changes have your meditation students experienced? And how has meditation helped you?
MT: Students develop a greater feeling and appreciation of connection, a grounding, and relaxed mental clarity. A more even keel, if you will, with greater ability to see past fears and anxieties and be more present with the truth. This translates into our struggles with everything from self-esteem, to body image, to our relationships with other people.
All this comes with time and practice, of course, and the process is very liberating.
In the beginning many people equate yoga with physical "exercise" in a class at a gym or studio. Ultimately, yoga becomes a lifestyle. It is a natural evolution and comes with practice. Asanas, breath work, and meditations are integrated into the entire day's thoughts and actions. Personally, I tend to have a very active and fast moving mind, so to slow down and breathe is essential.
Yoga Online Fits Any Lifestyle
LTK: What prompted you and My Yoga Online co-founders Kreg Weiss and Jason Jacobson to offer streaming yoga routines and other workshops?
MT: We recognized that many people struggle with creating a consistent practice. They have busy careers, families, other obligations and so on. My Yoga Online provides students an additional method of practice that is flexible, convenient, and very affordable. People have numerous options to fit with their schedules.
We also have some students asking us for yoga resources when they travel or move to places where yoga classes are scarce. We make it convenient, and as a result it becomes easier for people to find the time to practice. An ever-growing library of classes to choose from keeps it fresh.
My Yoga Online offers a wide selection of high quality classes in full screen, DVD quality for practice anytime, anywhere.
LTK: Are people surprised to think of yoga in such a technological way, or is it a natural evolution?
MT: As with any new technology, there are adjustment periods as individuals adapt their lives to the new technology and in the process often wonder how they lived their lives without it in the first place.
With the ever-growing popularity of viewing videos online and the imminent transfer of video from the Internet to the television, this format will become more and more accessible.
And with today's hectic lifestyle, it is so needed by our culture. It just makes sense. In the not so distant future, I think we will log onto our televisions as we log onto our computers.
LTK: I really like the "Yoga at Work" video option. Did you discover that people have a real need for that?
MT: Sitting at a computer for eight hours a day is not exactly a healthy situation. Our minds have become more active, but our bodies more sedentary than ever. Kreg and I teach corporate yoga classes and see week after week the enormous benefit to people in office environments. We felt that our corporate students would greatly benefit from having short, seated mini-flows to accompany their regular practice.
Some benefits of yoga at work:
- Teaches individual stress management
- Improves the immune system and overall health, resulting in decreased absenteeism and sickness levels
- Increases energy, mental alertness, and clarity
- Improves memory, focus and concentration
- Reduces muscle tension and pain due to sedentary working positions
LTK: Are there any other resources you'd like to recommend to our readers?
MT: One of my favorite books is by Erich Schiffman, The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness.
I would recommend taking a class or a workshop with Kate Potter, as well. She has so much to offer and is a wealth of knowledge.