Yoga doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. Maybe you’re here because you want to improve your flexibility or maybe you were thinking about learning some poses for strength. Or perhaps you are well into the physical part and want to get into the heart of yoga. Whatever you intentions, I thought I’d share how I got started!
I started doing yoga because I was an athlete. I heard about it when I was in college about 15 years ago, so I did a class at University dedicated to yoga. It was nothing more to me at that time but a place to stretch, relax, and sometimes giggle with my soccer teammates. Many years later I decided to delve a little bit deeper.
Yoga websites for newbies:
- www.yogawithadriene.com Yoga with Adriene is an excellent beginner’s place. She has everything to from slow vinyasa, deep stretching, to meditation . Her videos are slightly shorter (around 15-30 minutes) so you can start nice and slow and work your way up to something stronger.
- https://www.instagram.com/lexisheri/ I couldn’t not provide the link to my own page for basics! On instagram I’ve got lots of little things for beginners, including very easy “healthy noms” videos for the healthy foodie yogi, and basic yoga videos of approximately 15 minutes on IGTV. Feel free to give me a shout to request info or even to ask me to provide specific tutorials!
- https://www.ekhartyoga.com/ I read Ekhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” before I got very serious about Yoga. I highly recommend reading that book (and the others listed below). But he’s also got a yoga website which has loads of wonderful information and free videos! You can sign-up for courses and at-home classes too.
- https://www.katyayoga.com/ Katya Devi inspored me in my teacher-training program at YogaOne by DiR in Barcelona. She’s a fantastic and very experienced teacher with her own studio. If you live in Spain or the Barcelona area, check out her web for links to her videos on YouTube, for information on retreats, and to follow her on Instagram. She also has her own studio. She is a true inspiration!
Getting started with an at-home practice, or setting up a yoga routine for 15-60 minutes a day is highly recommended. Yoga is about consistency and discipline. That’s how you achieve results with anything! I often fell off A LOT in the beginning with consistency because the thought of doing an hour practice every day felt overwhelming and demotivating. I’m here to tell you that’s ok. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! I recommend mixing it up with other sports and if you do nothing, sit and try and meditate for 5-10 minutes every day, or do 15 minutes of stretching & yoga stretching poses after another workout. Again, yoga doesn’t have to be daunting! You can incorporate it into your existing routines.
These applications were great for helping me get started:
- Calm app is a paid app, but great for beginners looking to start a simple meditation practice.
- Insight Timer app is a FREE meditation app! Don’t we all love free things?
- Downward Dog app has HIIT workouts as well as Yoga stuff if you’re looking for something to mix in with your existing work out regime- whether it be running, cycling, cross fit or ballet, you can find yoga moves in everything. You can access a free trial to try it out!
- The Underbelly app is something I just discovered. Body positivity at it’s finest. Truly inspirational.
I think it’s worth mentioning that when I began I did not meditate. I underestimated it’s value, knew nothing about meditation and felt that (at the time) my very physical practice did not need some sit down and “think” time. What I didn’t understand that this should have been my sit down and “not think” time. It took ages before my practice wasn’t me just thinking about what to do. It was learning how to breathe deeply first, release, and then finally letting go of thoughts. That’s ok- you’ll notice in the beginning that it will take time to be comfortable and let go. Guided 10 minute meditations first thing in the morning or right before bed are great ways to start. Again, don’t put too much pressure on yourself! If you do start and notice that all you do is think, focus on breathing, stare at a lit candle, chant an easy mantra to yourself, or practice more yogi breaths first.
Finally, I’d like to share some books with you that helped me understand Yoga at a beginning and later at an advanced level. Sometimes you want to just know how to get the proper alignment of a pose, other times you want to get lost in a spiritual story, or maybe you are thinking of a scholarly path by reading the Sutras. These books are key:
- Autobiography of a Yogi by, Paramahansa Yogananda. Inspirational story of Yogananda’s lifelong journey with Yoga. Story-like.
- The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali by Edwin F Bryant. A must for the experienced and studious Yogi. Learn the benchmarks for becoming a master by studying “yoga law” with Pantañjali. These primordial laws date back thousands of years and laid the groundwork for the religious Yogi.
- The Power of Now by, Ekhart Tolle. You don’t even have to practice yoga for this book. If you’re looking to change your ever-worrying thought process, this book is for you. Ekhart Tolle’s new-age “meditation” is all about living in the NOW. This book changed my life!
by,Alisa Vitti. This book is not about yoga, but about women’s hormones and functional medicine- eating according to your cycle (cycle synching). I’ve listed it here because I believe that you CAN NOT be a yogi without taking care of your dietary needs. And women need more than men when it comes to this topic because of our menstrual cycle.
- Light on Yoga by, B.K. S. Iyengar. This book has wonderful information on every yoga pose that exists. It also rates each pose based on difficulty, walks you through how to do it with a description, and provides a photo.
- Synchrodestiny by Deepak Chopra. Deepak Chopra is our universal guru. He has several wonderful books, but this book give the name “miracle” a new meaning. Every day your universe presents you with tiny miracles. It’s up to you to decide to see them.
There is so much more to share but I think these short lists are a great place to start. If you are looking for one-to-one classes with combined theory (i.e. the study of yoga), please contact me for more details.
May we find light in each awakening day.