*Image by pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Deciding to start practicing yoga can be a little intimidating. If you search #yogaeverydamnday on Instagram you can see experienced yogis twisting themselves into all kinds of different poses with the grace of a swan. Starting yoga can also be esssspensive girl. Yoga is truly something I adore, so I wanted to share my tips on how to start yoga from scratch, on a #hertwenties budget with 5 simple tips.
Why should you practice yoga?
I’m so glad you asked. Yoga has many benefits besides adding some really cool flexibility to your life. I think the number one benefit is that yoga greatly reduces stress. Most of us live hectic lives in which we are chronically stressed, and many of us don’t even notice! Chronic stress left unchecked can have seriously detrimental physical health effects. Chronic stress can wreak all kinds of havoc on your body, I won’t get into it too much but if you want to know more check out this article from the Mayo Clinic. Yoga also packs these powerful punches like: increasing focus, increasing blood flow, decreasing blood pressure, bettering your posture, building strength in the muscles, creating balance, increasing your self esteem, increasing you happiness… the list goes on and on. Yoga is a perfect for people like me, who hate sweating and think of gyms as the literal hell on earth. Yoga is also the perfect addition to a gym rat’s routine because it only enhances your body and mind. I’m going to give you guys my 5 tips to get started! If you guys enjoy this, I will definitely do more posts about my practice, and even share some good articles I find on the @hertwentiesblog twitter account!
- Get yourself a good mat
This is probably a no brainer to getting started. The mat is basically your nest or your home during your progress. You will be spending a lot of time on it so it’s important to get one that’s of good quality and one you like! There are millions of mats to choose from, some are in playful colors others have inspirational quotes and fun prints. I get my mats from stores like Marshalls and TJ Max. They usually have a whole cart full of mats to choose from that are never more than $15. Try to pick a mat that is pretty thick that way you won’t be putting too much pressure on your joints, and it provides some cushiony support. Be fun with this! Picking a yoga mat is essentially like finding the perfect shoes for an outfit. Your mat can express your personality.
- Buy a Groupon for a Local Studio
While yoga can definitely be done privately at home it is really important to at least learn the basics for poses with a trained instructor. This ensures that you aren’t doing poses incorrectly and injuring yourself. A great way to start is to buy a Groupon for classes from a local studio. Groupon always has great deals where you can purchase anything from 10 classes anytime you want to even a month of unlimited classes. I have seen Groupon packages range from $20-60. I would suggest trying an unlimited month, or at least 6 classes before trying to practice on your own. Once you get the essential basics it will be easy for you to mimic a class at home. This is a great cheap alternative to those pricey studio packages. And who knows? You just might love the studio so much you’ll decide to stay. Scared to go alone? Swap yoga dates for those weekly lunch and dinner dates you have with your girlfriends. You both will get to try something new that will have generous benefits for both of you without the intimidation of going it alone!
- Get an Online Subscription
Once you have mastered the basics and feel comfortable practicing alone, you can get an online subscription that will allow you to stream hundreds of HD, high quality videos from your laptop or even straight to your TV. I personally use gaiamtv.com. I pay $9.99 a month and I have access to more videos than I will ever use, I can choose practices based on difficulty level, time duration or themes. For example, maybe one morning I want a practice that will get me charged and going for the day, I can just search Morning Yoga practice and boom I have plenty of options to choose from. Gaiam can also stream to smart tv’s! If you aren’t quite ready for this commitment you can search YouTube for tons of free videos! This YouTuber offers 30 Days of Yoga, which has 30 free practices perfect for beginners!
- Design your practice with a purpose
One thing that is important for me is that every time I step on my mat I have an intention for the practice. This intention could be anything, maybe that day I am having difficulty focusing on work I have to get done- so I will practice with the intention of gaining focus. You can do this by repeating a mantra, or even just being mindful of what you want to achieve while you are on the mat. Having a purpose can make the experience so much more meaningful than just getting in a workout, or fulfilling some promise to get more flexible for the summer. There are times I have ended my practice in tears of either gratefulness or realizations of greater ideas. Because I start my practice with an intention I gain so much more than a simple workout.
- Have fun!
This last tip is to remind you that yoga is something that should be fun and not stressful. Sometimes poses will be challenging, or you might be the only person in your class that breaks out in a sweat trying to hold downward dog. But guess what- this is your practice. Use yoga to build something better in yourself. It is easy to get caught up in life and make yoga just another thing you have to do. It is easy to become frustrated about not being able to do certain poses fast enough. But once your mind starts to wander into that danger zone you will lose the true beauty behind it! Once, a teacher told a class I was in to smile when you were experiencing a challenging pose. It was funny because I wasn’t consciously aware of the fact that I was frowning while doing the pose. When you smile you are being grateful for the opportunity to grow! Always remember that your journey is truly yours! You can make of yoga whatever you want out of it, that’s why I love it so much.
I hope these tips inspire some of you to start practicing or to get back on the mat. Yoga is something that has definitely been life changing for me. Practicing on a mat with a candle lit in a quiet corner of my room allows me to get away from the daily stresses life brings. It allows me to have (much needed) me time and focus on positivity. I find that when I practice consistently I am a much happier person. Give it a try! Remember we are all in this together. If you guys have any questions or challenges please comment! Or feel free to tweet me @hertwentiesblog. I am happy to answer any questions you have, and learn anything you guys can teach me!