I am hoping that this thread will be a wonderful place for those of use who are living Yoga in one or more of its many variations to come and share our stories, talk about what we're doing, give advice and encouragement, and so on.
I'm rather a newcomer to Yoga. I got inspired to learn while helping with Harry Potter Camp (a variation of Vacation Bible School that our UU church hosts in the summertime). A Yogi taught us some asanas one evening and I was truly impressed by her calm happiness and flexibility, and by the realization that, at 47, I have lost a whole lot of the range of motion that I used to have when I was younger.
I started out by finding a 40-minute Hatha Yoga easy floor workout on YouTube that I really liked, and that I still really enjoy and find challenging in some areas even now, though I have progressed a lot considering where I was. I can now sit almost directly on top of my heels in my hero, whereas I used to sit suspended a few inches in the air above my heels, and I have recently begun to be able to gently fall forward into my child pose without having to put my hands down to catch myself. One of these days, probably soon, I'm going to get up the courage to go into the full expression of the camel...I feel like I could actually be ready now but keep chickening out at the last minute...
In mid-October, I was talking about Yoga with a friend and she told me about her morning routine of doing a Tibetan form of Yoga called the Five Tibetan Rites. I started reading up on them and got really intrigued (for anyone who's interested, I think Ellen Wood's version is the best and she's on YouTube!). As per my friend's advice, I started out very slowly, doing just three of each rite which took me less than ten minutes, and added two of each every week until, as of Sunday, I have worked my way up to doing the full 21 of each.
I started feeling a change in my body almost immediately, and the longer I do these rites, plus I am still doing my Hatha Yoga at least two or more times per week, plus meditating, the healthier, calmer, and more energetic I feel.
About the meditation: before I started doing the Rites, I was just kind of squeezing in a few minutes of meditation here and there, wherever I could fit it in. But when I started my morning ritual with the rites, I began to feel an urge to start spending thirty minutes meditating every morning immediately afterwards. So I started pushing my waking up time a little earlier and a little earlier, until I now get up at 4am instead of 5am (I start giving my telephone English lessons at 6), and I am actually feeling even better now, getting 6 to 7 hours of sleep than I did before, getting 7 to 8 hours.
The meditation itself is really doing wonderful things for my lungs. When I first started doing the conscious deep breathing, squeezing my tummy in on the exhale and pushing out all the air, I would often find that I'd do a lot of coughing the first few times. Now I still cough sometimes, but since I also do this deep breathing at various times all throughout the day, whenever I think about it (and I tend to notice now if I'm sitting slouched or not breathing deeply enough), I find that I'll sometimes cough once or twice, but after that, my lungs are totally clear. I usually get seriously congested a few times a year, so I'm paying attention to this so I can see, by next October, how much things have changed.
I hope to hear from some others now!