yogini in training

So you wanna start yoga?

I can speak for most yogis who are asked regularly on where to begin with their yoga journey. You may have received different answers: some may point you to YouTube while others may suggest taking a class. I know the thought of watching some slim girl bend into some unholy position is a bit intimidating for the first time around and entering a class where others are seemingly more advanced steers people away from heading into a local studio. Let me begin with this statement though “YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE FLEXIBLE TO BEGIN YOGA”, if anyone has told you this you’re given permission by me to pinch them. Okay so pinching isn’t very nice but it’s so frustrating to think that people choose not to practice yoga because there’s an assumption that you need to put your leg behind your head. Another thing, you don’t need anything to do yoga, not a mat or fancy leggings; think about how ancient the practice of yoga is and you’ll understand why I say that you don’t need anything. Of course as you make the practice a regular part of your life, a mat is great along with blocks/straps as you move forward with advanced postures. But do you need to spend over $100 to begin? Hell to the naw. You can begin comfortably in your home without these things; a towel can act as a mat and strap to relieve any discomfort on your feet if you live in a home with tile or wood floors. Or if you’re in Fort Lauderdale you can take classes with me (plug).

So now that you’re aware of these facts where do you actually begin? I always suggest familiarizing yourself with Sun Salutations, once you actually muster up the courage to take a class or decide to keep it at home with a YouTube practitioner as a guide they’ll more than likely take you through the sequence. Sun Sals or Surya Namaskar consists of 12 or more foundational poses in a series which will provide you with the strength and range of motion necessary to move forward in your practice. For the purpose of keeping it beginner friendly, I’m going to go through Sun Salutations A which is seven poses dedicated to energizing the body as well as giving honor to the Earth and the breath as we flow through the sequence. Understand that this is a physical sequence that will most certainly challenge your strength and endurance, allow the breath to lead the movement. The heart of yoga isn’t focused in execution of the posture but instead centered around following the breath, your breath is solely the most vital component of your practice.

I begin every yoga practice with about 5-6 rounds of Sun Salutations, it doesn’t matter if I’ll be following with hip openers or inversions; I choose to wake my body up with Sun Salutations. Take it at your own pace, there’s no rushing in yoga as it your practice. I often like to find a playlist which will play for the duration of about an hour when doing Sun Salutations so there’s no rush through the sequence and I can take breaks when necessary, if at any time you need to catch your breath find child’s pose (Balasana).

As you begin in Mountain pose bring your hands to prayer at your heart center and set an intention for yourself. What do you want to attain from this practice? It may be to become strong in mind and body or flexible in both mind and body. Keep your intent with you as you flow through the sequence.

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Last day of my adventure here in Greece and tomorrow I will officially be a certified yogi :) Oh life, who would have known I’d swirl out all the way here! And little me, how happy I am you held on during those dark, hard days when you just wanted to fold it and give up. The adventures awaiting for all of us are worth sticking around for, I promise 💙🌎

Today in yoga we were tasked with cultivating gratitude.

About halfway through class, I decided that I looked large in the mirror. Shoulders, boobs, waist, thighs, all too big for my head, which looked abnormally small.

Except I managed to redirect my thoughts. My goals in doing yoga are not to be the fittest and skinniest and cutest yogini. They are to find peace and mindfulness, to be the best yogini I can be, to cultivate inner peace and acceptance and strength and balance in my daily life.

And my body allows me to do that. It allows me to use the yoga poses to focus my breath and my mind and bend into weird shapes and balance and move.

And for that I am grateful.