I’m taking Y4G to another level with a concept I’m dubbing yoga “quest series”. Here’s what it is in writing; upcoming videos will actually show you what I mean.
Uh, actually, here's the basic outline. Read on if you want the DETAILS. They are good details to have, I swear.
1. Introducing Y4G Quest Series
2. What is it? A logical progression of short video quests organized as an easy-to-follow YouTube playlist. There is a particular intended benefit for each series of quests. They are meant to be done for a couple minutes during pause-screen breaks.
3. Notes about Quest Series that you can consider.
So, a standard yoga flow is usually designed to ease the body into movement, stretches, strength poses, balance, and relaxation. You won’t typically start with some complex one-legged pretzel-twist squawking-bird balancing pose. You also won’t typically start with a huge hip-opener before you’ve warmed up the whole hip region and established a good rhythmic deep breath.
Yoga is a gradual, mindful process of unfolding, coaxing, nudging your body and mind into the spaces you intend. While you move slowly with a logical sequence you put personal puzzle pieces together more easily, develop awareness, and sharpen your focus. You learn your body better by testing your edges intelligently, and gain more precise mastery over your incredible human system. This is the game.
SO, we can think of a mini progression of postures as a yoga quest series. I hope this is a fun and relatable way of framing some of this stuff.
It also should be more logical and easy to follow than doing videos I’ve posted at random.
I’ll craft a playlist of maybe 4-5 videos that are pretty short.
The first video will take a couple minutes to explain the intended benefit of a given series.
Some examples of benefits might be “stretching the hamstrings”, “strengthening the core”, “improving balance”, “focusing the mind”, or “relaxing”. It might also be a specific, more challenging pose I’m leading you up to by way of breaking it down into smaller steps.
The videos that follow in the playlist are ordered so you can keep it up on your phone or another device, play whatever game you’re playing for a while, and then do your pause-screen yoga in 3-5 short sessions. This will lead you towards the “goal” of the intended benefit. As a yogi, I should note that your experience will be whatever it is, but this is the plan.
When you’re done, you may be able to see a difference from when you started because it has been focused on one area, and the purpose of the quest was revealed to you.
Whether or not you make it through the first video or rocket all the way to the “end” of the quest series, that doesn’t even matter.
HERE is what MATTERS in YOGA:
Pay attention to the resistance you feel in your body and mind. This is your “edge” and it’s the place you need to work with. You might very well feel resistance in your body at the first exercise in the first video of the series.
So be it. Good, even. That means it’s easier to find the edge and work with your mind.
When you find that resistance, breathe deeply there so your body can get oxygen, and your muscles relax; keep breathing and paying attention until you actually notice the resistance clearing up.
If you don’t actually feel it (you can sense it, it’s not imaginary!), then don’t move on to the next video. Most people get pretty obsessed with showing off—whether to their own egos or someone else—and “achieving” this or that. We like to rush to the “end” and plough straight through signs that our body or mind need something different. This is how people get hurt and remain all uptight, even when they are apparently doing yoga.
Looks can be deceiving. You're the only one who knows what's going on in your mind, no matter how fancy you are or aren't on the outside. Don't worry too much about what your poses look like, or whether you can balance on your arms. The sitting posture offers the same opportunities as the complex postures, or more, if you're really paying attention. Just do something.
Wake up call: The yogi or person who does a lotus legs in headstand is not doing “better yoga” than someone who sticks with a basic forward fold. The indication of effective yoga is not in the PHYSICAL postures, but it is seen in the quality of your MIND. Are you focusing? Are you paying attention? Are you using your intellect to respond to the resistance you find? Are you working where you’re at? Answer a genuine YES to those questions and you’re doing good work.
Because it’s tough to tell from the outside if the person in a crazy pretzel arm balance is actually a robot of mechanical repetition, and that’s what lets her get there—not enlightenment or depth of practice. On the other hand, the person who can’t even touch his toes in a fold may be really connecting his mind with the body, moving smartly, and is aware of all that is going on. That’s where growth happens.
So don’t get hung up on the idea of completing the quest series. You can repeat the first or second level 5 times if that’s what is authentic and appropriate for your bod.
Because you’ll be interspersing yoga with gaming, and because you’ll be doing far more gaming than yoga, you may not get as quick or as much of a benefit from the series. If you do them straight through, like in a regular hour long yoga class, your body continually warms and opens. You’ll still get the effect, most likely, but your body will cool a bit again when you go back to playing. Just something to take into account!
Anything is better than nothing! You gotta just START and see where you’re at and what stuff feels like to you.
With yoga, all of the stuff you learn is transferrable. You study the body to study the mind. So, too, you apply this heightened sense of awareness to your GAMING experience. You become sharper, in general, and more relaxed so that you can enjoy things more readily.
Done and Done.
Look out for the first Quest Series within the month. It’ll be focused on stretching the hip flexors!
Danielle enjoys yoga, writing, games, cartoons, and music. She relates a lot to Avatar Korra and is training hard as a yogi to learn element bending. She's also interested in exploring the element of PLAY found in both yoga and video games. Danielle is the one you see in the videos and the creator of Y4G.