As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been doing yoga two or three times a week for just over a year now.
It was nothing I was ever interested in trying – I mean, with a rear-end the size of mine, sticking it in the air seems cruel to fellow participants, not to mention my ego. I did sit through a class or two at the gym and was mortified at both my inflexibility and appearance in yoga pants – and I found the seriousness of the ‘study’ went against my nature.
Then I found someone that “fit” – who allows my sporadic groans and giggles, and forgives my inability to meditate – but who also pushes me to lengthen, strengthen and sweat.
and I am hooked.
I’m writing this to everyone out there that has considered the idea and then tossed it aside for the same reasons (or others) that I did;
I am not skinny, I have not become ‘granola-eating’ – but I am strong…
and strong is the new sexy.
Because I so desperately want you to try it out, I thought I’d put together a list of items: “yoga for beginners”. You don’t need any/all of these things – all you really need is a tinge of motivation and a piece of carpet to stretch out on.
Sun Salutation – Sūrya Namaskāra
This is the foundation of flow yoga – a series of twelve steps, each done in conjunction with breathing in and out. It’s a great starting point for yoga for beginners. You can buy posters online if you want, but I have a printable here that you are more than welcome to use and post near your workout.
The “in” and “out” refer to the breath you are taking in each move – and you only hold each move for that breath (but breathe deeply and slowly). For the deep lunges, you are alternating legs so that both get a deep stretch within one cycle. Repeat this several times and you’ll find that although you’ve only done a few deep stretches – you will have built up quite a sweat.
You’ll also be pleased at how much further you can bend after each round – even if you are doing it for the first time!
I keep forgetting the order of the Sun Salutation – Sūrya Namaskāra. Yup, been at it for over a year and I still can’t remember what comes next – so this mat would certainly help.
I’m pretty sure this would be the equivalent of posting the alphabet above my desk to remember the letters, or riding a bike with training wheels (at my age) – an embarrassment to advanced yoga practitioners – but I’m quite happy being labelled in the yoga for beginners realm. Everyone starts somewhere.
Alternatively, I’ve put up pillows, mugs and clocks on my Society 6 page if you’d rather be surrounded by alphabets and training wheels. lol
While a block isn’t absolutely necessary, it is a nice-to-have for the beginner. It bridges the gap between how-far-you-can-bend-down and actually-touching-your-toes. I think experienced yoganistas (that’s what I call those gumby-stretchable people) use them to increase the length of their stretch – but I’m all about reality – reaching my toes is plenty, going beyond is just showing off.
I found the perfect yoga tote to carry my water, block, mat and towel in… if my yoga studio weren’t in my own basement.
Then there’s yoga clothing – which, I’ll be honest, frustrates the hell out of me. Kate Hudson’s Fabletics line of clothing has the cutest outfits at decent prices – but only if you don’t have boobs. It seems like 90% of the tops do not have shelf bras or some kind of support, and more often than not have an open back so you can’t even hide a bra (even a sports one) underneath. I don’t have big girls by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t like the idea of my fried eggs sloshing here and there, and I never came around to the “Jennifer Aniston nipple trend” – remember how the poor woman was always cold on Friends?
I did however find a top that speaks to my motivation;
I won’t go into yoga pants – but there is a difference between the $12 Costco ones and the more expensive ones from Yoga clothing manufacturers – the main one being coverage. If you don’t want to share your butt crack with your instructor (or class), then I say go inexpensive. I’m in my basement, and Helenahh forgives my occasional moon, but if you aren’t as
cheap, lazy confident as I am, then look into better makes and try them on to make sure they stay in place when you bend over. I’ve had no luck with Lululemon – and quite frankly only think they should be worn by people that don’t actually NEED to do yoga. On me it was an under-sized sausage casing, and no one needs that kind of bladder or ego pressure.
The final thing – and I’ll argue that this is a must-have for yoga for beginners – is a pedicure. I am more aware of my chipped nail polish and calloused heels during yoga than at any other time. Don’t think of it as an indulgence – think of it as protecting your sanity, because they will drive you crazy.
There are a ton of free yoga videos online – but if you want my go-to gal check these out: Youtube: Helena
The best part?
Beyond the endorphins and sense of accomplishment, I have not had a sciatic episode since I started doing yoga. I also have degenerative discs in my lower back and degenerative meniscus in both knees and I haven’t suffered a day of pain from either since beginning.
This is for any age and any ability – yoga stretches can be done lying in bed, sitting on the couch, stuck at your desk or even in the great outdoors. It isn’t restricted to age or sex (Mom, Dad you really should try)
Give it a shot – I was a doubter myself, but I promise you’ll come to love it as much as I do.
Have a great one!