Thursday, August 21, 2014

How To Start Yoga You Ask? 5 Points For Starting Your Practice

Thursday, August 21, 2014

In life no matter what you’re doing I find it imperative to put your best foot forward. Go hard or go home. Since I’ve been dedicating so much time to my yoga practice I’ve been getting endless questions about yoga in general but mainly HOW TO START. Here are my 5 most important things to think about when starting to practice yoga.

There is no right or wrong way to start practicing yoga, you just have to do it. Find a class to take, it should only be around $20 give or take a few dollars, and go in with an open spirit and mind. Get yourself in the game and even if you don’t like it at first give it another try. Remember it may not have been the yoga that you disliked but the fact that you were outside of your comfort zone. Don’t give up!

If you’re thinking about incorporating yoga into your life, first ask yourself why. I say this because the reason behind your decision can very well determine how you manifest your practice. I made the decision to start for mental health rather than physical. The idea of getting a peace of mind while also getting exercise intrigued me, but my main goal was not to get fit although it was a plus.

If you want to do yoga for physical health, that’s fine too. It helps build total body strength but a lot the poses focus on core strength. You can take yoga just about anywhere that provides fitness classes, a gym, a yoga studio etc. If you’re more like me and are interested in the meditation and more mental aspect of yoga then you definitely want to go to a yoga studio. Knowing exactly what you want to get out of your yoga class will help you decide where you are best fit to take the class.  Do your research; ask around, you’ll figure it out.

As a beginner you may feel intimidated by other yogis and maybe even feel like a complete amateur. This is an understandable concern. No your chair pose may not look like the girl’s in front of you but one of the most important things to keep in mind is that your practice is your practice. You can and will only grow at your own rate and practicing in a suitable environment can help you maintain this positive attitude. Like I mentioned in #3 Know Your Rhyme & Reason, you must find an environment that works best for you to make this slightly uncomfortable transition as comfortable as possible. The more comfortable you are in your surroundings the more focused you can get. The more focused you are the more you will gain from your practice.

Yes I mention being comfortable. Being comfortable is an important part of yoga however, don’t confuse comfortable with complacent. Find a place where you feel at home to conduct your practice but don’t put yourself in a box. Try a new class, a new teacher and even visit other studios. With that said if you usually go to a yoga studio try visiting a class at a gym instead and vice versa. Once you’ve come to grips with the fact that yoga is solely about your personal journey and stop comparing yourself to outside entities you will feel confident enough in self that you are able to step outside of what you are used to and expand your practice. Every class, teacher, & studio/gym has something special to offer. In the end leaving yourself open to explore your practice will only enhance your craft.

If you take your practice seriously it is inevitable that you will grow both mentally and physically through yoga. Just like in school or in your professional life you have something that you are aiming to achieve. Whatever that is for you, find it and work towards it. As you may recognize by now from reading my previous posts, setting goals is the basis to accomplishing anything. As you grow in your practice maybe set a goal for a particular pose that may have been of difficulty to you when you first began. Keep practicing and growing your strength and soon enough you will gain what you lacked to carry out that pose with pride. Having that light at the end of the tunnel will keep you motivated to persevere through the rough patches that you will encounter at the beginning. Use the people around you that are more advanced as examples and motivation rather than competition. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Some of these points I didn’t have anyone to tell me I had to kind of learn along the way so I felt it was important to share. Grab a yoga mat and some comfortable clothes (preferably cute also, when you look good you feel good) and get into that yoga class. If you want to start off slow and try it at home there are a number of videos and books that can assist you. One book in particular that I really loved is a book/flashcard set called Basic Yoga For Everyone by Gertrud Hirschi. I declare this a must read for anyone who practices yoga regardless of where they do it.



Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Just the Little Things . . .

Monday, August 18, 2014

During my time studying in France we would travel to many cities, some in France and others in neighboring countries. Though often times we would only spend a few days in each place, with proper planning we were able to see a lot, do a lot and truly experience the unique aspects of each place we voyaged to. I made it my mission to stay active in an effort to avoid boredom and homesickness but also, to fully soak up all that Europe had to offer in just a matter of months. So since I’ve been back home in New York I’ve realized the outlook I had while abroad slowly faded away. When in our comfort zone, we tend to forget to appreciate the little things. We easily overlook what special things we have to offer, what special things our friends have to offer and that which can be offered by our surroundings.  So I decided to pull it together and be appreciative, utilizing all the wonderful things that are available to me.

So far I’ve taken a trip to our country’s capital to do some historic sightseeing, traveled to Rhode Island and experienced what summer is like there on 'college hill’, did yoga and pilates in not only Bryant Park but also in Brooklyn Bridge Park and a whole lot more. These are just a few of the things that I decided to participate in to make the most out of the weather that will soon be coming to an end and to stay physically and mentally active. I say all this not to give you a recap of my summer but to help you understand that in keeping your options open to experience available opportunities you promote personal growth. The more we do, the more grow. Take a walk through the park you pass on your way to work everyday. Go see that movie that didn’t really seem like your cup of tea but you thought was interesting. Keeping an open mind will only leave room for knowledge to fill up that space. If nothing else, trying new things can help you to figure out what it is you actually like and what you don’t. 

Regardless of what your interests are it shouldn't be too hard to find a new experience that will be enjoyable to you. It’s the small experiences in life that we can easily ignore or hold ourselves back from because it’s not in our regular routine. Step out of your normal agenda and add something new. Spice it up! These are the very experiences that though they are small, can open you up to a world of wisdom and knowledge. Just remember when you catch yourself selling a small experience short that the beautiful world renowned monument that we know as the Eiffel Tower is built up of more than 20,000 LITTLE pieces of iron to create a structure that stands 1,063ft tall. Start off small and allow yourself to try new things. The small steps will grow into larger ones and you will grow as a person. 

Brionna :) 
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