The Value of Virtual Yoga

If you’ve ever done a yoga video on YouTube then you probably know about Yoga with Adriene. She is one of the most famous yoga YouTubers with over 9 million subscribers! I have been doing yoga with this amazing woman since the very beginning of my yoga journey. Even though we have never met or even spoken to one another, I genuinely feel as though she is my guru, my teacher, my yoga guide. It is a strange and beautiful, one-sided bond.

After my class today, another teacher at my studio asked me who my primary teacher was since I don’t live close enough to regularly take classes where I teach. I hesitated, embarrassed, because I don’t ever attend classes in person. I offered Adriene’s name with a nervous laugh. This obviously didn’t really count in the eyes of the person who was asking. None of the other teachers at my studio think very highly of online yoga classes.

I can understand their hesitancy to embrace the idea. They are yogi’s that are much older than myself. Not only that but free YouTube yoga could potentially wipe out the yoga industry all together. Why pay for a class when you can do one for free from the comfort of your own home? So I get their insistence that you are missing out by not attending class in person. There are certainly benefits that you get from a studio that you can’t get at home. At a yoga studio you get to be part of a community. You can speak with your teacher one on one and receive real-time feedback on your practice. Not to mention, you don’t get all those wonderful adjustments from a virtual teacher! There is also a delicious energy that is created in a room full of yogis practicing together that is impossible to experience with a home practice.

So I certainly would still encourage people to join a studio and find a local yoga community. However, I personally prefer my at home practice. I it just a better fit for me and probably a lot of other people around the world as well. Today I wanted to take the time to explain why that is.

Benefits of Yoga Online:

Affordability:

Even though I, myself, am a yoga teacher, to be honest, I don’t think yoga classes are worth what they typically cost. I’ve only paid for a few classes in my entire life, most of them special donation based outdoor ones at that. I deeply respect my fellow teachers and value what they do. However, in my opinion, yoga should never be about money. I never expected to make money from becoming a yoga teacher. I just wanted to deepen my practice and be able to share yoga with others. With YouTubers like Adriene, you don’t have to pay a dime. Yoga studios are great if you can afford it, but online classes allow daily yoga to be accessible to everyone.

Privacy:

When I began my yoga journey, I was even more socially anxious than I am today. The only reason I was even brave enough to take a yoga class in college was because I had to take some time of PE credit to graduate, plus I had a scholarship so it was free. There are many people that may never be brave enough to walk into a yoga studio. It can be very daunting for even an extroverted person to be a beginner surrounded by people with experience. Online classes allow you to experiment with yoga from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Not only is it less intimidating, but it allows you to focus on what really matters. Often in classes with other people I find myself comparing and competing. I feel envious of other people as they easily go into asanas that I struggle with. I push my body farther than I would when no one is watching. An at-home yoga practice eliminates all of that. When I’m at home it is much easier to focus on my breath and on how the pose feels rather than what it looks like. I am able to really let go, let my guard down, and be silly.

Time:

Things are just easier when you don’t have to worry about time. With yoga videos you never have to worry about fitting a 90 minute class into your schedule. You don’t even have to put clothes on! You can do yoga in bed if you want to. This removes yet another obstacle that could potentially keep someone from yoga. A coworker asked my the other day, “Do you have to do yoga for an hour every time to receive the benefits?” I had to restrain myself from bursting out into laughter. “Hell no!” I told her. I hardly ever do a full hour unless I’m teaching. Doing 5 minutes of yoga is always better than not doing any. There are yoga videos on YouTube that are 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, any length of time you want. You can find flows to do while you are in bed, driving in your car, or sitting in your office at work. With the internet, there is always time for yoga.

These are just a few of the many reasons that Adriene’s channel means so much to me. She has brought yoga into countless homes and lives that might have never experienced it otherwise. I am so grateful that she and other YouTubers continue to make yoga affordable, accessible, and convenient for everyone. Even if you are a teacher yourself, please still consider recommending online yoga as a supplement to in-person classes. Even if you attend a studio, it is always important to have a personal, at-home practice as well. Besides, yoga is a gift and gifts shouldn’t have to cost you anything.

Paxil: Pros & Cons

I have been taking an SSRI called Paxil for at least seven years now. Typically I don’t think you are supposed to take these types of medications for such a long time, but a lot of people do. I’ve written before about how grateful I am for what Paxil has done for me. I used to suffer from severe social anxiety. I was petrified of small everyday things such as ordering food at a restaurant or making a phone call to schedule an appointment. Even as a child I can remember rehearsing my age, the school I went to, etc. as I was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. I knew she would ask me about these things and I would get so nervous that my mind would go completely blank. Even though I have always been an excellent student, I was never willing to answer questions in class because I was too afraid to raise my hand and speak in front of everyone.

After I began taking Paxil, magically all of these problems disappeared. I had no problem at all chatting with the clerk at my local store, going out to eat, meeting new people, or introducing myself in a class in school. I couldn’t explain it, but I had absolutely no more fear when it came to these situations. I have no idea where I would be today if it wasn’t for Paxil. It has made my life so much easier.

With all that being said, I have finally started to be troubled by side-effects that I didn’t pay much attention to at first. I didn’t even notice that these things were related to the medication for a long time. One of the issues I’ve come to recognize is my extremely low libido. This is a common side effect of any SSRI. I was so young when I began the medication that I thought it was just normal for me for the longest time. But it seems like it’s becoming more significant as time goes on. I don’t necessarily mind this side-effect. I am usually single and it’s nice not to miss sexual encounters when I’m on my own. However, it’s gotten to the point that I really have no interest in sex at all. It seems like a chore even when I have a partner. Which, as you can imagine, has an effect on my ability to form and maintain romantic relationships.

Another more concerning side-effect that I only noticed when I spoke with my sister who is also on Paxil, is a dampening on all emotions. I don’t feel anything as deeply as I used to. At first, this seemed almost like another benefit of Paxil. However, I’m starting to think it’s a big problem. Everything has faded into shades of gray. I don’t cry anymore. But I don’t laugh as much either. My passion has been all but extinguished. It’s nearly impossible for me to even motivate myself to try to form or maintain meaningful relationships with others. I feel like there is so much that I’ve missed. So much that I am missing.

I’m not sure if I would have still decided to start taking Paxil if I had known all of this beforehand. It is extremely hard to stop taking, which I also didn’t know when I started it. I’m also afraid to stop taking it. I can’t imagine going back to being afraid of every single social encounter. But I miss other aspects about the way I used to be. I don’t regret my decision to take Paxil, but I hope that for anyone reading this, you now have a better understanding of the effects of this drug.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

5 Benefits of a Vegan Lifestyle

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Unlike many people out there. I have no interest in guilting anyone into becoming a vegan. I do not want anyone to feel like they are an awful person for eating meat, because not so long ago, I was one of those people. It can be extremely hard to break away from the norms of our society. It is even harder when you feel like to do so you have to admit you have been committing evil and shameful acts. So don’t look at it that way. We all make mistakes, and the meat and dairy industries are working hard every day to make sure that consuming animal products is one of them. Instead of focusing on the abuse and the pain and all the years you have been a part of it, focus on all of the positive aspects of veganism! Your body deserves to receive the nourishment it was meant to have. Be kind to yourself! Allow me to show you the benefits of veganism instead of just the consequences of carnism.

1. Weight Loss: Veganism is a wonderful and healthy way to shed those extra pounds. A lot of people try vegetarianism as a way of accomplishing this, but as one of the many people who have tried that and failed, I can tell you that veganism actually does work! A vegetarian diet leaves most people suddenly replacing the meat in their diets with more bread, pasta, pastries, and cheese. This may even cause you to gain weight. However, veganism forces you to center your diet around fruits and vegetables. It is awfully hard to be unhealthy and vegan. Even high calorie vegan meals are better for your body and are less likely to be turned into fat. Unlike calories from meat and dairy, which cannot be burnt up without exercise, plant based calories can be used immediately and efficiently by your body. When you eat the things your body needs, you will gravitate towards the weight nature intended without really trying.

2. No Food Hangovers: You know that feeling you have right after eating a decadent meal at a restaurant or after a holiday meal? You almost just want to lay down and die. Well, thanks to a vegan diet, I no longer have to suffer through that. I can eat as much as I want during a meal, yet I still feel wonderful afterwards. I don’t feel heavy or bloated at all! It is such a relief to know that horrible “too full” feeling is in the past.

3. Quicker Food Prep: One of the benefits of veganism that never even crossed my mind is how much easier cooking is. I am not a chef by any means, but I assume many of you are, so this may be a bigger plus for you than it is for me. I would always remember waiting for, what seemed like an eternity, for my mother to finish cooking dinner each night. Now that I use imitation meat or tofu for most of my dishes, I no longer have to wait nearly as long! While meat needs to be cooked thoroughly until it is safe, imitation meat/tofu only needs to be cooked until it is warm, which takes much less time. I am the first one to eat at any barbecue!

4. New Foods: Making the transition to a vegan diet closes the door to many classic food options. However, it also opens many doors to new, exciting, and foreign foods as well. The best part is, these new dishes are healthy as well as delicious! Many of my favorite foods were not discovered until I became vegan. There is not a single day that I miss meat or dairy. Also, veganism allows you to appreciate more fully the simple foods that you used to take for granted. I have never loved broccoli, bananas, and apples more. Fruits are as they should be to me now, a delicious delight.

5. Overall Health: By far the best part of veganism is the health aspect. I have never felt better in all of my life. I have more energy than I ever have. I am able to do more at the gym. Even my thoughts are more clear and organized in my mind. Vegans life longer and are less likely to develop problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. These are some of the biggest health problems in America today. This generation also eats more meat and dairy products than previous generations. This is not a coincidence people. Don’t destroy your body. It is the vessel that will carry your consciousness through your whole life. Be kind to it. Take care of yourself. The best part is, doing so will allow you to care for all those innocent animals as well.

So there you have it! Five of the best benefits of becoming vegan. Those aren’t the only ones either! Leave a comment and tell me one of your favorite parts of becoming vegan. I would love to hear what you have to say!

Stay peaceful, loves.