I am officially a yogi. I never though I would say that, but here we are. When I sat down and started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in 2017, yoga wasn’t really even on the list. My list was pretty short: live my life for myself. One thing. One very LARGE thing, but still only one thing. There are a lot of subcategories that fall under this and yoga is apparently one of them for me.
We’re barely over a month into 2017 and I’ve fallen in love with yoga. I try not to say “doing yoga” because I feel like it’s not something you just do. It becomes a part of you. My favorite part of the day now is my yoga time, which I now call my “me time.” I set an alarm for 6:00 a.m. (Yes, that part sucks) every morning, except the weekends when I start at 7:30, and hop onto the mat. I’m getting to where I don’t even look at my phone until I’ve completed the session, which is new for me. I’ve found a channel on YouTube that works perfectly for me, and I will link it for you guys at the end with a good beginner sequence if you want to give it a go!
Before you start your yoga journey though, I think it’s really important to ask yourself “why?” Are you doing it for the workout? Are you doing it for strength? Are you doing it for the mindset? Or do you want it all? Whatever reason you have, keep that reason in mind throughout your entire journey. It will keep you motivated better than you think! I started yoga because I stress. My stress has stress. Now, each morning, I have 30 minutes of complete and utter relaxation with zero stress. I’ve never had that before and it’s worth the wake up call that comes before the sun.
I have found that I am already transforming the way I think and even the way I eat since starting this new journey. My thoughts are more positive, I’ve got more “good juju” flowing, I’m happier in general. I’m learning that my body is a sacred vessel and I’m learning how to honor that. When it comes to food now, I tend to stick to things that are fresh and make me feel good (DUH!) and also look good. I’m not limiting myself (besides vegan and gluten free which you should’ve known but…) to anything either. I know that if I tell myself I can’t eat something, I’ll binge on whatever it is a week later and feel terrible. Do what feels good and right. If I want potato chips, I’m going to eat them. Maybe the next day my craving will be kale so it balances out, right? I know the food thing seems random and not at all attached to yoga, but if you start a journey for yourself, I’m fairly confident you will find the same thing happening to you!
Since you have all listened (do you guys read this in my voice? I’ve always wondered this…) to me ramble about yoga, I’m going to give you some tips from things I’ve learned so far.
- DO NOT stress about yoga. If you’re sick, you’re sick. Don’t add extra worry about missing a day of practice. Rest up and get back on your mat tomorrow, it’s not going anywhere!
- Listen to your body. A lot of times, you’ll find videos of crazy, almost impossible, looking poses. If your body is screaming in pain, you should probably stop doing that pose. You don’t want to add any tension anywhere. Do what feels good and work your way up to the more difficult things.
- Focus on your breathing. I know this may sound cliche but it is so true. Your breath is a great way to stay in tune with your body for each session. If your finding your breath becomes restricted in certain poses, that’s another indication that you may be too tight or tense.
- You don’t have to defend yourself to others. Not everyone likes yoga and there seems to be some sort of floating stigma when it comes to “yogis.” We’re not all hippies floating through life on some sort of weird buzz that may or may not be legal. Some of us work desk jobs! SHOCKER!
- There’s always the person who tells me they can’t practice yoga because they’re not flexible. Well, I hate to break it to you but you’re probably someone who really should be. It’s a great way to increase your flexibility, which will tremendously help with back, shoulder and neck pain!
- BUT before that relief comes, you will be sore! Yoga is a workout, don’t forget that! My back is still sore most days but it reminds me that I’m getting somewhere. I am far from where I want to be, but no pain no gain, amirite?
- Last but not least, let it be your “you time.” Pick a time, it doesn’t have to be in the morning, and everyday at that time, get on your mat and let everything else go. Your to-do list, your presentation tomorrow, the laundry… let it go for 30 minutes. Find an energy and channel that energy during this time and eventually, you will find yourself with a more positive attitude in just about every aspect of your life.
Now I promised you guys some links! It’s really important to find a sequence that works for you, so if you don’t like this one, find something else! There are so many options! You may be someone who wants to get up and go to a studio for yoga. I’m more of a roll out of bed and onto the mat kind of person but to each their own.
Each of the following links will direct you to my favorite YouTube yoga channel, Yoga with Adriene.
- Yoga sequence for the complete beginner
- Morning yoga
- Bedtime yoga
- Yoga for when you’re in a bad mood
- Yoga Revolution (Day 1)
Adriene’s channel offers a sequence for just about anything, I’ve just chosen 5 of my favorite sessions to get you started! She also has a website (yogawithadriene.com) with an amazing blog, an online store and ways to connect with other people in the YWA community!