Hey guys! SO! As I've mentioned, I've been getting back into yoga over the past two months or so. It's been incredibly awesome. I've been trying out a few classes-- some pretty easy, some hard (for me), but all have been amazing. There are a million benefits to yoga (and working out in general) and I've been kind of wanting to talk more about it, but I'd hardly say I'm qualified to really do so. Luckily one of my favorite people on the internet, Brandy of Heart & Habit, knows a great amount about yoga (practices everyday, gets bothered by questions often from me), so I thought she could put together a post for you guys :) She really is one of my favorite people on all the internet, so if you haven't checked her out yet, I suggest you do. And she's Canadian, so you can crack a lot of bacon, beaver, or maple syrup jokes--- if you know any?? ay?? But really, I think you'll find her tips super helpful, I know I did. She's one of the people who really inspired me to get back into it. And I could not be happier that I did. I love it so much, that I've already planned multiple days to do it while away :) Enjoy! (Love you, Brandy!)
Oh thank you for saying so many nice things about me Drea – that was so sweet of you! See what I did there? Now she really has no choice. ;)
Really is there anything more intimidating then starting something brand spanking new? Okay, yes there is but it does rank pretty high up there. Maybe you’ve always been interested and super intrigued with yoga, maybe you’ve tried it a few times and it just didn’t quite stick? Whatever the case, I’m here to tell you that all those reasons that have held you back from trying yoga, just probably not true. I say this because I used to think them, not because I’m a total jerk.
The common reasons for not practicing, I say common because these were some of the reasons that I thought up before I kicked them all to the curb - so common in my head:
I’m not flexible enough. Hey guess what, me neither! Like at all, my high kick in dance or pretend karate fighting (because don’t we all do this?) is more like a super low kick. Yoga actual helps you to become more flexible (being flexible to begin with is not a requirement), no you probably won’t be doing the splits after a few classes (I still can’t do them and I’m at my 3rd year yogaversary - for an unflexible reference). I tend to think being not very flexible when starting yoga is pretty great, because the changes you will notice from a consistent practice will most definitely put a big smile on your face.
I don’t know what I’m doing. No one did when they started. That’s part of the scary nervous fun of it – what being scared and totally nervous isn’t your idea of fun? But really, learning something new is fun. Yoga is a practice, we are all constantly learning and every single day is different because everyday our body feels different. It’s humbling and exciting, because everyday is new. And no one is a beginner for forever!
I can’t do any of those crazy poses. You won’t have to! Steer very clear of advances classes, like totally avert your eyes. Stick with classes that are good for all levels, like a hatha, moksha (my favorite hot practice). Usually the description at the studio will tell you if it’s a good class for beginners OR it will tell you if it’s not a good class or beginners – so read up a little.
I can’t afford to go to a studio. Hey I get it, classes are pricey! But there are ways to make it visiting a studio more affordable, here are just a few (more here if you like):
-Most studios offer cheap “intro” packages for beginners; take full advantage of these – maybe even “testing” a few studios out, get as many intro packages as you can (also good to try out a few different styles).
-Look for Karma classes, studios often offer a “pay what you can” class (often called something different, you’l have to check the schedule” this is a great way to start.
-Check with your local Lululemon, they almost always offer free classes once a week.
-Do you live in a big city? Check out the Passport to Prana Pass, it’s a fantastic deal and offers you the chance to go to one class at every participating studio on the list.
I don’t even know where to begin. I get it and I’m here to help. Here are some very basic but gosh darn great (if I do say so myself) tips for getting started with a yoga practice:
1. 1. Get a book. I suggest this stick man book, because it’s really simply laid out and easy to understand. Plus it’s stick men, so you won’t be looking and ultimately comparing yourself to someone else’s body. Reading up on the most common poses and maybe even practicing them in the comfort of your home? Is a great way to calm the nerves a little before heading to a class.
2. 2. Start with karma classes. Same advice as I suggested above, but this time for a few new reasons. Many studios offer a “pay what you can” class, once a week or maybe once a month. Usually the money they make from the class goes to a charity, so it’s win win – and a really good affordable way to test the yoga waters. The classes are usually full of newbies and beginners, which is way more comforting when you are starting. Also the classes are full, which means you can hide in the sea of people knowing that no one is looking at you. Because really, no one is looking at you!
3. 3. Bring a friend! New things are less nerve wracking and way more fun if you go with a buddy.
4. 4. Go to classes when you are starting out, it’s hard to develop a strong and safe practice when you are at home on your own. Home practice is great, and definitely very important – but to begin with it’s great to have someone else let you know if your knee is over your ankle or your hips are unbalanced. Making sure you are in the poses correctly will make sure you get the most out of your practice and ultimately have no chance of injuring yourself.
5. 5. It’s all about the breath. The poses look so pretty I know. But yoga isn’t just about the poses. They say yoga begins when the pose gets hard, when you want to get out of it. And the only way to get through a hard pose is to breathe, so focus on your breathe (here is a resource to hopefully help) and make it your first goal.