When I tell people I practice yoga I get the following reactions:
"I'm not that flexible."
"Do you do anything weird, like chanting?"
"I don't want anyone watching me."
"I would feel too self conscious."
"It's too hard to learn."
"I'm too old."
Quite honestly, all of the above concerns should not stop you from either taking a yoga class at a local gym or studio or taking a free yoga class on You Tube. Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that anyone can do. In fact you can gain health benefits by taking only one class a week. Think about anything you do for the first time. Can it be weird? Yes. Can it be scary? Yes. Does it take a little time to get used to? Yes. The same is true for yoga.
There are a variety of class types that you can take depending on your comfort level. There is even chair yoga if you are older and haven't been exercising routinely. When you first start practicing, simply tell the teacher you are new to yoga. They will make sure to give you tips to modify so you can be comfortable doing the poses. Also, don't think anyone is watching you. When you routinely practice yoga, you get into a zone on your mat and are only thinking about what is happening for you at that point in time. No one is looking at you!
As with any type of exercise, make sure to consult your doctor before you start. This is to make sure that if you are on any medications or have existing physical issues, you know what to look out for when taking a class. Also, tell the teacher any physical ailments you have. That helps them give you more suggestions on modifications.
Below are 5 things you need to know about yoga. If you would like to receive healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
5 things you need to know about yoga
1) You do not need to be flexible to take a yoga class. In fact, a lot of the poses you may never be able to fully achieve due to the unique proportion of your body. This is OK! There are a lot of times the yoga teacher will queue students to use a block or a strap or a towel if they can't touch their toes. Yoga will help you gain flexibility that is right for your body. You may never be able to touch your toes. It all depends on your unique physical body. This is why it is called yoga practice not yoga perfect.
2) Yoga teaches self-acceptance. You may feel awkward for the first couple of classes. That is OK. Everyone is new to yoga at some time in their life. Believe me, no one is watching you. When you get used to yoga, you will realize that a yoga class is a personal interaction with yourself. You will gain self-confidence and learn to love your body and all it gives you. Yoga is not about conquering a pose. It is about respecting your ability to do the pose in some capacity.
3) Yoga relieves stress. The Mayo Clinic reports that several studies have been done showing yoga reduces stress and anxiety. Yoga requires a very specific breathing rhythm while moving from pose to pose. In order to achieve this rhythm, you have to pay attention to what you are doing. This means your mind focuses on the task at hand which helps you stop thinking about all the other things in your life that is stressful.
4) Yoga can help you lose weight. Some parts of yoga move quickly, such as Sun Salutations, causing your heart rate to rise to aerobic activity. There are other poses that are static in nature but will still boost your heart rate as you work to hold the pose and not break it. This can be very stimulating. As a result, you can lose weight with a regular yoga practice. Yoga also helps build muscle and endurance. It is a fact that when you gain muscle, you burn more calories throughout the day. (Source: Yoga Journal)
5) Yoga is not expensive. As I mentioned earlier, there are free yoga classes on You Tube. I really like Brett Larkin. She has many videos posted on You Tube that are for beginners. She also walks you through proper alignment. Plus, she has videos that are 15 minutes in length, so if you have a particular busy day, it is easy to squeeze in some stretching. Check her out on You Tube by clicking here.
I hope this post inspires you to add some yoga into your life. After about 4 classes, you will feel more comfortable with the poses and how the class is taught. The more consistently you do it, the better your mind, body and soul will feel.