How To Approach Yoga For The First Time
So you’re scrolling through instagram checking all your favorite fitness pages + you see it. You’re instantly awed [+ slightly jealous] of a long lean figure twisted into some sort of shape you can only imagine in the circus. You think to yourself that there’s no possible way you could ever coach your body into a position like that. You stare a little longer wondering exactly how long it took this person to get it right. Practice? Nah, they were born for this. You shake your head + keep moving.
++ that’s that. You think there’s no hope for you. You think you’re not flexible enough or strong enough or *zen* enough to practice yoga. You’re wrong. The beautiful thing about yoga is that it is centered around the idea of practice. Even yogis who have been with it for years still come humbly to the mat to improve. Yoga is all about continuous growth + improvement.
Yoga is more than just pretty shapes though – yoga creates a beautiful bond between mind + body. It also relieves stress, eases muscle tension + soreness, strengthens, helps balance, + can even ease body aches + pains [yoga for the lower back is amazing!]. I know some of you out there reading this are thinking to yourself *I know, I know – it sounds great! But I just can’t.*
Please, stop thinking this. You can. I promise.
IF YOU MAKE THE TIME TO COME TO THE MAT + WORK ON YOUR PRACTICE, YOU WILL GET BETTER.
Start with your mat. Not that you necessarily need one – but it definitely helps by offering the slightest amount of padding + the traction you need to get into certain poses. You can find mats at just about any price point + in just about any store with an exercise section. We love Marika + Gaiam, but there are plenty of off-brand options out there.
Next, choose a style of yoga to begin your practice. If your goal is meditation + stress relief, Hatha might be a good place to start. It’s a slower moving style that focuses on form + breath that really allows you to fine tune your practice. If you like something that has a continuous flow + want to learn a larger variety of poses – Vinyasa is for you. This is the currently the most popular type in local studios. It focuses on linking breath with movement + flowing through a serious of asanas [poses]. Ashtanga or power yoga is great if you’re looking to work up more of a sweat, it takes you through poses a little more quickly + involves poses that engage more muscle groups. Lastly – Bikram [hot yoga] is becoming more + more popular + is perfect if you want to work on flexibility in poses or would like to detox a little [you sweat – A LOT].
After you choose a type, you’re ready to decide where you want to practice! Local classes are great + most studios usually offer your first class free. You could also check out YouTube for great yoga series, or for more specific flows [hip openers + heart openers are my fav!] to work on different areas. Do You Yoga is an awesome site for free videos. If you’re looking for a 30 day *intro to yoga* here’s a great 30 day yoga challenge. If you live near a larger city, usually there are free community classes in local parks or studios – check around online + on FB!
The last + most important thing to remember when first starting your yoga practice is that you need to have patience with yourself. You are going to find poses that you can’t quite bend into. You’re going to find that one side of your body may be a little tighter than the other. You’re going to have days that you can’t get as deep into a pose as you could the day before. You’re going to have to take a pause + breath, + accept your body for where + what it is at any given moment. Not every day will be up to your standards. But every day is a practice. Every day is a chance to love + get to know yourself. That’s really what yoga is about.
So you – you over there scrolling through insta pics + sighing over handstands + fallen angels + mermaids: YOU CAN DO THIS. You should do this. You will be amazed at the things your body will do for you if you give it time + patience [+you’ll be amazed at how good you feel!]. It just might change your life.
Now grab your mat + get out there!
+Alexa, RD [@lexx_inchaarg] — Community Outreach