My Yoga Journey: How I Started and How You Can Too!
Many people come to yoga for various reasons with different needs. Maybe you're interested because you want to lose weight. Or maybe you're suffering from muscle aches and pains and you've come to seek for recovery. Today I am going to share with you how I started and maybe it'll inspire you to start yours too!
I started yoga about four to five years ago. I honestly can't recall exactly what prompted me to do yoga but it all began when I started college. After graduating from high school, at one point I was simultaneously working three restaurant jobs day and night. I wouldn't get home until 2 a.m. on some nights and waiting for the bus at that hour to get home during the winter was brutal. By the time I started college, I was tired of working night shifts and longed to have a more healthier and balanced life schedule. Finally, it was when I got a medical assisting job that I quit waitressing.
I was so happy at the time. I started working out at the gym and eating healthy. I loved how empowering I felt lifting weights. I felt strong. Yet, there are days where my body would feel so sore from the workouts that my body needed the rest. And somehow through Youtube, I stumbled upon yoga. I would search yoga for neck and shoulder relief, yoga for an energizing morning, yoga for core strength and flexibility, and etc. In the beginning, I would do sequences as short as ten to fifteen minutes. Then it became a regular three times a week routine. And before I knew it, I found myself rolling out of bed in my yoga clothes, right into my mat as early as 5 a.m. and you guessed it, to do yoga. Eventually I even added a post workout yoga routine and practiced challenging yoga postures such as the crow pose, the firefly pose, and more. I was pretty hooked and was on a yoga "high". Overtime, yoga became more than a daily routine for it's physical benefits but for it's mental benefits as well. I began to experience clarity in the mind and gained ability to focus even in the most distracting environment. I learned how to be disciplined and dedicated, which translated into other elements of my life such as college. I can probably go on and on with how yoga has influenced my life in a positive direction but I think I'll dedicate it to a separate blog post and explain more in depth.
So how can I start yoga? My best advise is simply to just start! It is truly just that simple. Because guess what? You can start right now even if you have zero experience. Nada experience, ok? Every yogi you see on any social media platform starts somewhere. Now is the perfect time to start yours!
Below are six simple things you can do to kickstart your yoga journey:
Go on YouTube. Youtube is such an amazing platform! Being a college student, this was perfect because not only was I able to follow along at the comfort of my own home, it is free. To name a few, some of my favorite yoga YouTube channels are: Tara Stiles - Bubbly personality and many of her videos can be as short as fifteen minutes. Yoga with Adriene - Great for beginners, suitable for people with different needs. Kino Yoga - Ashtanga yoga focused, offers full length classes as well as tutorials on postures. Yoga with Tim - Laid back and chill personality, makes videos for basic to advanced.
Go visit different yoga studios. With the rising popularity of yoga, finding a yoga studio nearby is just a few google clicks away! If you're someone who is less inclined to do yoga at home and needs external motivations like paying for a class package then this is a great option! The good news is, often times many yoga studios, if not all offers a discounted rate for new comers to try. Making it a whole lot more affordable. So be sure to take advantage of that! That being said, this is a great opportunity to hop around different yoga studios to explore which yoga class/teaching style most resonates with you!
Get a yoga mat. Pretty obvious but I'd also like to emphasize the importance of getting a decent one too, if not, a good one if you're really serious about it. Imagine getting a cheap yoga mat which costs $10 (which is perfect for the health of your wallet) but slipping non-stop the entire time during a simple pose like downward-facing-dog? Trust me. It's not a good experience. And you wouldn't really want to do yoga on those mats again anyways. My favorite mat to use is from Manduka. It's quality won't disappoint. I've had it for over four years and it's still in perfect condition. Another yogis favorite brand is Jade Yoga. Either or you can't go wrong. And you'll be happy that you got one.
Wear something comfortable and fitting. Yup, I didn't say go transform your wardrobe into a yoga one (like I did) because you really don't have to. Just wear something that is comfortable and fitting. Not too baggy that it'll get in the way when you're moving and transitioning between yoga postures. Oh, and be sure to wear a bright smile while you're at it too! :D
Learn how to breathe. Like Tara Stiles says: "As long as you're breathing, you're doing yoga". Yoga is all about bringing your body and mind into ease. Breathing is the essence of yoga. Here's how to do it: Begin by sitting nice and tall in a comfortable seat. Shoulders relaxed and hands rested on your knees. Imagine a string pulling from the top of your head, as you're grounding through your sit bones. Then, close your eyes and begin to slowly breath in through your nose in a count of three. And then, slowly breath out in a count of three. Repeat three times. Smile. And open your eyes!
Learn the Surya Namaskara (sun salutations). Learning a simple sequence like this is fundamental. It is a basic sequence that will pop up in nearly any yoga class you take. So, if you don't want to feel like a total beginner when taking a yoga class for the very first time. Learn this one. In addition, I personally love doing the surya (for short) when I'm on a time crunch in the morning. It is a full body energizer. A great way to kick start your day with a positive note! We all need a little stretch and awakening after a good nights sleep. Don't we?
So there you have it! Six simple things that can help you start doing yoga. I hope you find them helpful. Be sure to give them a try! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them with me down in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
Namaste and happy yoga,