From the darkest moments in my life to the happiest, yoga has been a huge part of me and my spiritual self development. Not only does it make me feel so calm and connected but it also helps with other physical issues such as my lower back pain!
Yoga is so beneficial in hundreds of ways, whether it be physical, mental or like I mentioned - spiritual! In 2010 I was diagnosed with two bulging discs in L4-L5, L5-S1 of my spine. It was extremely painful, some days I couldn't even walk or get out of bed and the hardest part was that nothing I tried was helping. I was seeing a chiropractor, a physiotherapist and even tried alternative therapies such as Bowen Therapy and Reiki Healing. They all relieved the pain temporarily, but I wanted something that was going to help me long term!
So one day, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw a post about yoga and how it helped this particular person and their back issues! So, I decided from that moment on I was going to try it, I had nothing to lose and only calmness, flexibitly, strength and a pain-free back to gain!
I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I just started by watching YouTube videos and copying that, but I knew something was missing from my practice. After practicing for a few days, I decided to get serious and really give it my all to make yoga an everyday part of my life. I fell in love with it even more and learnt so many different aspects of yoga on my trip to India last year. Yoga is a special part of my life now. Below I have put together some of my best tips to begin your yoga practice! I hope it helps you on your yoga journey.
I can't stress this enough. What I was missing from my practice was breathing! I was doing all the moves right (well, at least I thought I was) but I found myself forgetting to breathe on so many occasions. This would cause me to lose balance, tense my muscles and feel lethargic after a session. I highly suggest to learn to breathe and mediate before yoga. Everyday, get up and practice meditating and breathing for 10-20 minutes. Then, you can incorporate this breathing and stillness into your practice.
2. Choose what kind of Yoga you want to do
Very simple tip, find what yoga suits you best and what yoga would you enjoy the most! There are so many different types out there and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. But if you find what kind of yoga practice you want to do, it will be easier to focus and learn. Once you have the hang of it, you can always try other kinds of yoga. I started off with Yin Yoga as it was slow, then I started Bikram Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga. There are hundreds more ranging from Ashtanga to Hatha. Find what works for you and your needs.
3. Invest in a good Yoga Mat
You and your yoga mat will become one..eventually! When you form a good relationship with your mat, your yoga practice becomes so much more special and connecting. Meditate on it daily, talk to it, tell it your intentions, your fears, give it love. I remember when I moved to Thailand last year, I had to leave my favourite yoga mat at home, I was absolutely devastated. When I got to Thailand, I bought a new one and my practice was;t the same. I felt disconnected and lost. It sounds silly, right? But it seriously becomes one with you. Anyways, after a few weeks of practice, I fell in love with my new mat and never looked back... until I left that mat in the Chiang Mai Airport on the way to Sri Lanka, I was again, devastated! But, now I have my original one back with me in Thailand, and practice is better than ever. I recommend investing in a non-stick mat as it can get quite slippery when you sweat.
4. Find local Yoga Classes to attend
Search your local area and see whether there are any places such as gyms or private studios that offer yoga classes for beginners. As a beginner, I believe that it is important to attend atlas a few yoga classes where there is a trained yoga instructor to teach you proper technique, breathing, movement and poses as if not done properly, can cause injury! Trust me, I've pulled a muscle or two doing an incorrect technique! Once you learnt he basics, this should set you up for home practice. Otherwise, being in a class setting is also an awesome way to connect with other like minded people.
5. Reflect on each Yoga Session/Class
I find this really helps with keeping on track with you practice. I keep a regular journal but also use it for my yoga practice. I usually write how the session made me feel, what were the challenges, how I will approach the class next time and so on. I also like to write down my intensions to keep me on track.
So there you are, guys! I hope you enjoyed reading these 5 simple steps to begin your Yoga Practice. Everyone is different, so find what best works for you!
Love and Light,
Mary Christine x