“Practice yoga to bring balance back to your body & mind”
Today I want to talk to you about starting your very own yoga practice. Incorporating yoga into your daily or weekly workout routine will not only improve your fitness, flexibility and strength but it also helps to bring your body and mind back into balance. If you’ve never tried yoga before and you’re not really sure where to start, then beautiful girl you’re looking in the right place because this article has everything you need to know to get started!
What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that originated in India. It is a combination of simple meditation, breathing techniques and specific body postures that promote overall health and relaxation.
How I discovered yoga…
I was first introduced to yoga through one of my early ballet teachers. We combined yoga and Pilates exercises to improve our co-ordination, balance, posture, strength and flexibility. Although I haven’t danced for many years I still love to practice yoga because it helps me to connect with my body and clear my mind.
There are many different styles of yoga and each one will have a different effect on your body. Before taking a class think about the kind of workout you want to experience and the outcome you hope to achieve. I change yoga styles depending on what my body is needing on that specific day. If you’re a beginner and want a gentle introduction into yoga then Hatha is a great choice… if you’re up for something a little faster and more challenging then perhaps you’ll want to try out a Vinyasa class or if you’re wanting to REALLY work up a sweat then I’m sure you’ll love doing a Bikram (hot yoga) class!
To make the options easier for you to chose from I have prepared a list below of the most common yoga classes you can take. Remember to think about the kind of experience you would like to have and consider what kind of effect that specific style will have on your body.
Different types of yoga include:
Aerial Yoga – (If you’re looking for a challenge…)
This is a fairly new type of yoga that has come out of New York and is sometimes referred to as ‘anti-gravity’ or ‘upside-down’ yoga. It involves performing a series of exercises inspired by yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerial acrobatics while hanging from silk hammocks connected to the ceiling of the studio. It is especially beneficial for improving strength and flexibility, as you work against gravity through the postures.
Ashtanga Yoga – (If you’re wanting to perfect your yoga practice…)
If you struggle to follow the quick and continuous changes of a Vinyasa class and prefer to follow a set routine then this is the class for you. Classes are made up of a repeated series of poses – that are usually the same in each and every class. Once you are familiar with the pattern and feel confident through the movements you can start to work on perfecting each pose.
Bikram/Hot Yoga – (If you’re wanting to sweat it out & detoxify…)
If you’re a lover of all things hot and humid then this is the one for you! Studios are heated to around 40 degrees celsius with 40% humidity. Practicing yoga in this environment will open your pores allowing toxins and impurities to leave your body through sweat (similar to a sauna experience). This will help to cleanse, purify and detoxify your entire body. You will be losing a lot of fluid through sweat so it’s really important to be well hydrated before, during and after your class!
Hatha Yoga – (If you’re wanting to start a yoga practice…)
This is a great class to take if you are a beginner as the pace is slower and the poses are fairly basic and easy to follow. In this class you will have the opportunity to try many different yoga postures at a level that you feel comfortable.
Kundalini Yoga – (If you’re wanting to explore the spiritual aspect of yoga…)
This practice combines breathing techniques, chanting, meditation and basic yoga postures with the intension of tapping into the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of yoga.
Restorative Yoga – (If you’re wanting to relax…)
This is a truly beautiful yoga practice. It is very calming and helps to relax your entire body as you move through a series of gentle postures. This is great to do at the end of the day as it will help to bring your body back into a state of relaxation and will prepare you for a deep and peaceful sleep.
Vinyasa/Flow Yoga – (If you’re wanting continuous movement throughout your workout…)
These classes are most enjoyable if you’ve had previous yoga experience. The classes incorporate music with a constant flow of movement. You’re mind will need to stay focused and present as you move through a dynamic series of postures and poses at a relatively fast-pace.
Yin Yoga – (If you’re wanting to let go of any feelings of anxiety or stress…)
If you’ve had a particularly full day and are feeling anxious, stressed, tense or tight then this is a great option for you. This style allows you to really connect with your body as you hold the different poses for a few minutes at a time. This promotes stillness in your body and mind, which helps to bring you back into a state of balance and calmness.
Benefits of yoga:
*Strengthens, sculpts & tones your body
*Promotes long, lean muscles
*Helps with co-ordination
*Promotes a good posture
*Improves mental clarity and concentration
*Helps your mind connect with your body
*Improves your mood
*Exercise you can easily do at home/ in limited space
*The level and intensity can be modified to your ability
*Low risk of injury
*Great full-body workout (works on many muscle groups in one session)
*Promotes relaxation and calmness
My Top 10 Tips:
1.Do your research and find a yoga studio in your area.
2. Wear comfortable active-wear to your class (I wear ¾ tights a crop top & singlet).
3.Buy a yoga mat you love! (I have personally used mats from Lorna Jane & Lululemon but I currently have my eye on one of Sally Mustang’s beautifully creative & unique yoga mat designs)
4.Don’t forget to pack a gym towel (especially for hot yoga classes)
5.Try a few different yoga styles until you find the one that works best for you.
6.If you enjoy the class add it to your weekly exercise routine.
7.Once you feel confident you can do the exercises at home.
8.Find a yoga DVD or workout on Youtube you enjoy (I personally love Charlotte Dodson TV).
9.Ease into the workout to allow your body to warm up.
10.Sip on water during your class to stay well hydrated.
So beautiful, if you’re ready to start your very own yoga practice I encourage you to get out there and take a class. Remember that the exercises can be modified to meet you at whatever level you’re at so don’t worry if you’re a total beginner!
Please feel free to share this article with a girlfriend… having extra support can make a huge difference to your confidence and level of motivation. My hope is that when your beautiful friend reads this article she’ll feel excited and inspired to join you for your next workout!
P.s – I’d love to see which yoga style works best for you, take a pic before, during or after your favourite yoga class and tag me in it when you share your post on Facebook or Instagram! @kathryn.chandler #kathrynchandlerworkout