Smoga (Stretching + Meditation + Yoga)

Recently I added a new practice to my morning routine. It combines stretching, meditation, and yoga. I call it Smoga.

All three of the practices incorporated are ones that I believe are good for me but I have had trouble committing to any of them, let alone all of them, in the past. My early success with smoga, however, gives me reason to believe that the practice may stick. It works well because even though I want to stretch and meditate and do yoga, I never really want to do any of them. To clarify, I believe there is a difference between the things we say and think we want to do versus the things that we actually want to do at any given moment. These three practices are excellent examples to highlight that difference for me personally as I want to do all of them but never really want to do any of them.

Because it combines all of the three practices, Smoga feels much more worthwhile than any of the them do individually. On their own merits, the three practices sometimes feel like they have not done a whole lot for me, but with smoga, even if I do not feel much better as a result, I have a very high degree of confidence that what I just did was good and worthwhile. That may in part be due to the fact that I made it up and that I have a natural bias towards believing in any of the things that organically come to believe in, but whatever the reason, it is working for me.

If you were to look for any existing information on smoga, you might google it like I did. In doing so, you would find that the results are diverse and unexpectedly entertaining, and I will summarize the top three of them below to save you the trouble.

The first is a 2011 made YouTube video of four eastern European women satirically smoking cigarettes while doing yoga. The two-minute video shows “expert yoga teacher and smoker” Veronica Butskitighten teaching the principles and methodologies of what she also calls smoga. It is absolutely absurd but at the same time better than any SNL skit I have seen in a while, so I watched it twice, but I am going to stick with my version of smoga for now.

The second is a link to a page from the Mayo Clinic with something about the screening and diagnosis of monoclonal gammopathies including analysis of free light chains. I have no idea what that means but I am confident it has nothing to do with stretching, meditation, or yoga.

Finally, the third result shows smoga as it is defined by urban dictionary which is “to do yoga while smoking marijuana”. This definition falls closer to the practice that Veronica teaches, and though it sounds significantly more enjoyable, it not my smoga.

My smoga is simple. Get on the ground, put a timer on for 10 minutes or however long you want to do it for, close your eyes, and transition between various stretches and yoga positions while at the same time focusing on your breath and simply witnessing your thoughts as they pass through rather than letting them pull your attention in any infinite number of directions. It is that easy.

While it is still early days in terms of my experience with the practice, smoga has been great for me so far. If you think stretching, meditation, and/or yoga could be good for you too, give smoga a try. Just leave the cigarettes out of it.