Yoga has always been fascinating to me. The human body is certainly amazing at being pushed to the limit. I was determined to be on Team Yogi. So determined, in fact, that I downloaded a beginners app to my smartphone and uploaded a few videos on-demand. That way, I could troubleshoot myself in the privacy of my own home should things go awry. I initially thought to take an introductory class at the gym, but decided against it, at least for the time being. I had flashbacks to the last time I took a yoga class at a local gym, many moons ago, and it being an awkward, boring mess. And I may (or may not) have passed gas a couple of times after being twisted up like a pretzel. It was more painful than relaxing. That was the first and last time I tried yoga. Despite all my insecurities, I went for it again — alone! Pose-by-pose, breath-by-breath and day-by-day, things started to get easier. I had lost a lot of flexibility over the years from not being as active but it's gradually returning with consistency. Not to mention, my core is visibly stronger. If you have never tried yoga or, like me, are considering giving it another go, here are some of the things I've learned along the way:
1. Sign up for a beginners class
Most gyms or centers will allow a trial run for potential clients to see if a particular class will be their "cup of tea" before making a longer-term commitment.
2. Know that you don't have to be "flexible" to start
I think this is one of the biggest myths and exactly what intimidated me in the first place. We see all the advanced posing and think that there is absolutely no way that our bodies can get to that level. Truth is, we all have to start somewhere and take baby steps, as with anything. Pretty soon you'll see overall progress in your breathing and core strengthening techniques.
3. Invest in the proper work-out gear
Yoga pants are considered to be most comfortable for a reason. Besides, you need to be able to transition from pose-to-pose without the distraction of bulky gear. It's also important to tie your hair back as well so that it doesn't get in the way.
4. Purchase your own yoga mat
Although most fitness centers provide them to the customers, this is something that you might want to invest in. Every part of your body will be touching it. They are fairly inexpensive and you will be able to get multiple uses out of it at home and at the gym. Although I consider myself still in the beginners phase, yoga has been a relaxing way to self-care and an amazing way to start or end the day. I plan to sign up for an official class within the next couple of weeks now that I've gotten all the jitters out of the way. As with any fitness regimen, it's important to have variety to stay on track.