Top Ten Inspirational Yoga Videos (Not About Asana)
Seek Retreat digs through the interwebs to bring you the top ten inspirational yoga videos – that aren’t just about the asana.
by Tess DiNapoli
Getting lost in the internet can easily make you feel like Alice falling into a digitized Wonderland from which escape or productivity may seem impossible. The internet sucks up a whole lot of our time and our energy on a daily basis. There are places in this crazy digital world, though, that can light you up, feed your brain, and maybe inspire you to do something offline.
We’ve shared some of our favorite yoga YouTube videos with you already, but this time, we plunged into the tumultuous and often very distracting world of YouTube to find the top ten inspirational yoga videos that go beyond the postures (in no particular order).
The practice extends beyond the physical shapes we twist, back-bend and fold into. Yoga isn’t all about the celebrity yogi floating with ease through her practice to rockin’music; her focus, breath and strength, however, are indicative of the deeper awareness one finds through sustained practice. Taking the time to study yoga as a dynamic, holistic practice for mind, body and spirit enriches and deepens your understanding of yoga beyond its physicality.
Some of these videos take a little more time and attention to watch, but they’re all worth it, I promise. Curl up with your tea, your journal and prepare to get inspired.
1. Rod Stryker: Yoga is Not Asana
A brief but informative little excerpt of Rod Stryker telling us what’s what in terms of the depths of the practice.
2. Elena Brower: Interview with Happy Mind Magazine
Elena Brower glows in this interview with Happy Mind Magazine. She is so authentic, elegant and humble. (And I’m not going to lie; her outfit is gorgeous.) Her days are busy and filled with family, yoga, work, and a love for her work with Pangea Organics – some days it’s a little of everything and some days it’s just one of those things, she says. I love her experience with her first yoga class, how the book Art of Attention she co-authored with Erica Jago’s came into existence, her story about finding/rediscovering Kundalini with Kia Miller… and most of all, how much she lights up when she starts talking about avocados and goat cheese.
3. Maty Ezraty Interview with Wanderlust
Maty Ezraty talks about her teachers and later in the interview, about how the asana are a means to get you inward, tools to make energy flow easier. The way she talks about yoga beyond the asana and how beautiful a simple, less advanced practice makes me feel all kinds of good inside.
4. Annie Carpenter Interview with Big Happy Day
Pranayama is an integral part of every yoga class, but it’s not just about learning how to constrict the back of your throat and make that “ocean wave” ujjayi breath you hear so much about in your favorite yoga classes
Learn more about the practice of Pranayama with the “the teacher’s teacher” Annie Carpenter . Prana, with a capital P, means energy. Yama means restraint, or control, and thus P/pranayama on a deeper level is about how to learn to harness your energy, internally, and gain mastery over the techniques to do so entails using a variety of practices, particularly breathing techniques.
Annie then goes on to teach the “3-Part” breath, also known as Durga breath – named for the southern Indian goddess of obstacles who both destroys obstacles and also creates them. Durga pranayama teaches you to “learn how to pay attention to the full inner landscape of the body.” I could listen to Annie talk about the deeper elements of practice for hours; fortunately, Big Happy Day has a whole series of discussions about the other limbs of yoga with her.
5. Max Strom on TedX: There is No App For Happiness
“We think cell phones have improved our ability to communicate… but has it improved the quality of your communication?” Max Strom is a renown teacher for his teachings on breath and movement. This TedX talk explores the idea that there is “no app for happiness” and our increasing dependence on having a “digital” life. He raises some important questions with a subtle sense of humor and is easy to listen to.
6. Seane Corn Interview with Deepak Chopra
In this excerpt from an interview with Deepak Chopra, Seane Corn discusses how at first, we come to our practice because it is about “MY” health and “MY” happiness; after a while, there’s a shift, she says, toward wanting to serve the world, assessing your values and where they stand on the issues that are important. For her, this shift was the seed for the development of her organization, Off the Mat into the World. The practice of asana served as a starting point for her to go into outreach practice.
7. Janet Stone Interview with Big Happy Day
Bringing the symbolism and the spirit of the five elements into her yoga practice helped San Francisco yoga teacher Janet Stone find balance. She sweetly weaves in visualizations of the elements to show how to bring awareness of the elements into your practice.
8. MC Yogi at TedX
MC Yogi at TedX? I’m in! In this 13 minute talk, he passionately talks about the power of being interconnected. “Bringing your mind back into the moment simply with your breath is the most revolutionary act.” Also, do you know where the word radical comes from? Watch the whole talk to find out, and then listen to my favorite MC Yogi song about Gandhi.
9. Miyoko Shida: The Intense Power of Concentration
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras give us framework on which to build our practice, and asana is just one of the limbs of his eight limbed path. This performance by Miyoko Shida that went viral earlier this year epitomizes dharana (single, one pointed focus) and drishti (using the gaze to cultivate deeper concentration and focus).
10. Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings the Blues”
When I first saw this movie years ago, I was immediately was taken by the stylized design of the characters, the different and parallel storylines, and of course, the music. With its beautiful opening sequence that visually tells the story of sleeping Vishnu and Lakshmi, and an animated universe of Hindu mythology, you are drawn into the world of Hindu mythology pretty fast… only to open with a scene in modern day San Francisco, where a man learns he has to relocate for a job offer to India.
The film follows several stories: the modern day tale of a couple facing the challenges of change, the ancient tale of Sita and Rama, and the heart-felt commentary by our narrators, three silhouette puppets who sometimes can’t get their stories straight. It’s an hour and twenty minutes, but the art is beautiful, the music fun, the animation sassy and the writing entertaining – perfect for your next movie night!