• How to Start a Yoga Practice

    Your practice might begin on a yoga mat but undoubtedly will ripple into every other aspect of your life and every single interaction you come across.

    I was introduced to group yoga classes by a friend around 2003. The class was held at a local gym. I walked into the studio with the excitement of learning something new that I knew was supposed to be good for my body and mind. I still remember setting up my mat and being curious about how we were supposed to use it. Part of me felt like a kid with a new toy.

    Many thousands of teaching hours later, I feel reminiscent about those days. I didn’t know how important and meaningful the decision to take that yoga class and many others would be for my future, growth, and peace of mind. In fact, my whole life these days revolved around yoga.

    I would like to share with you what has helped me in the past to build a consistent yoga practice, and it is my hope you find this helpful.

    Which yoga style is best for me?

    You can be sure that there is a style of yoga that suits your needs. So it is important to ask yourself what is your first motivation for starting a yoga practice.

    Each of us is different, and there are many different styles of yoga. You can be sure that there is a style of yoga that will be the best one for you.

    You might not find the style of yoga that is best for you right away. You might have to do some exploring, whether in person or online.

    Some styles of yoga are slower and more nurturing and restorative. Other types of yoga are more active and endurance-building yet bring a sense of integration as well. Be patient, and the right style of yoga, and teacher will appear.

    How important is consistency in my practice?

    After your initial exploration of what your options are, I suggest you, at least for the first little while, stick with a particular style. See it unfold on your mat. There is beauty in repetition. There is beauty in consistency.

    You can see the changes in your mind and body when the movements and the pace of the practice are familiar. You will not only learn sequences, postures, and breathing exercises, but you will learn from the time spent with yourself. Our practice of yoga can be profoundly meditative.

    What should I expect from my yoga practice?

    We all are, in some ways, eternal perfectionists. There will be moments of great satisfaction from discovering the potential of the body in certain postures or the hidden secrets of the breath in certain exercises, but remember, this practice is a practice of coming back to ourselves for connection. It’s this connection that helps us to see the world through a different set of eyes.

    Be okay with the days you are full of energy and welcome the days where simply being on the mat and doing a less demanding practice can provide comfort and nurture your soul. Be okay when the practice feels flat. Be okay when the practice feels sparkly and full of life.

    The role of moderation in my yoga practice

    You probably heard before about doing everything in moderation. And yoga is not an exception. Be attentive to how your body feels after your practice, including the day after. Tune in to the wisdom of the body to know when a practice has been demanding, and you might need to balance it out with something more soothing.

    Yoga is not only the beautiful postures but also meditation, breathing, and self-study. Yoga can permeate every aspect of our lives, bringing a new sense of appreciation to the human experience.

    How do I find freedom in my yoga practice?

    It is important when you take the first steps, and you had made a connection with a particular approach of yoga and a knowledgeable teacher that you trust in that bond and connection. At the same time, give yourself the freedom to embody the movements, the postures, the breath in your own unique way.

    This is a practice of exploration, and it might look different for each one of us. As long as we enter this world with sincere intentions, the rewards are always sweet.

    Yoga is love

    One of the most important realizations in my years of practicing and teaching yoga is that yoga is an act of love. We feel this first hand in ourselves. Our relationship to our bodies improves by acceptance, understanding, and the time we spend with ourselves. Our understanding of our ups and downs becomes less of a roller coaster ride because we have a set of skills to help us ride the emotional waves.

    Your practice might begin on a yoga mat but undoubtedly will ripple into every other aspect of your life and every single interaction you come across. Yoga has the potential to make the world a better place by reminding us that our essence is love. When we are next to each other, whether online or in person, that recognition that we are both made of the same universal love speaks for itself.

    Enjoy your journey into yoga. For me, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I hope it is for you as well.

    By Adrian Molina

    Adrian Molina is the founder of Warrior Flow. With over 15,000 hours of classroom teaching experience, Adrian is renowned for the sophistication and depth of his teaching style and the degree of mindfulness, compassion and precision he brings to asana practice. He is also a writer, massage therapist, Thai Yoga Bodywork practitioner, Reiki master, and a Kriya Yoga meditation practitioner in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda.

    Image by NatureFriend from Pixabay 

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Starting an At-Home Yoga Practice

    When you start your yoga journey, you’ll have difficulty getting into some poses. You’ll lose your balance and fall over. You won’t be as flexible or strong as you want to be. That is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up. Yoga isn’t a contest to see who can get into the most challenging poses the fastest. It’s a journey of self-discovery.

    Yoga has entered the mainstream and many people around the world recognize the benefits it can have on both physical and mental health. If you are curious about yoga and interested in starting your practice at home, this guide is for you.

    Millions of people practice yoga at home every day. There are a variety of reasons to practice at home. Whether you’ve decided to practice yoga at home because you don’t have access to a yoga studio, don’t have the time or funds to attend a class, or simply feel uncomfortable trying something so new around others this post will give you the information you need to start a solid at-home practice.

    First, let’s start with the basics.

    What Is Yoga?

    Yoga is a practice that combines the inhalation and exhalation of breath with movement. It began in northern India more than 5000 years ago as a spiritual practice to train mind and body. It is a method to truly see yourself and by so doing truly see the world around you. The combination of breath and movement and meditation is used as a way to connect to higher consciousness.

    Today many ignore the spiritual aspects of yoga to focus on the physical. No matter what brings you to the practice know that as it becomes part of your life it will infuse itself in your day-to-day existence. You will not just see the physical benefits from your yoga practice but will also see mental benefits. Yoga is a journey and when you set your foot on the path you will not want to turn back.

    The Benefits of Yoga

    There are many benefits to starting a yoga practice. The physical benefits can be quite obvious. You need strength and flexibility to get into yoga poses and hold them. As you practice you will build strong lean muscles that will not only support you in your practice but decrease the risk of injury in your daily life. You will find that over time your flexibility will improve as well your balance.

    Besides the physical benefits of the practice, there are also mental benefits. Yoga can help you manage anxiety and change the way you respond to stressful situations. It can also ease chronic pain and help you get a better night’s sleep. Here’s a list of things yoga can help and links to studies about them for you to reference.

    These are just a few of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

    What You Need to Start Practicing Yoga

    Because we live in a consumer society there is an emphasis put on what people “need” to practice yoga. You could spend hundreds of dollars on yoga clothes, a mat, and all the accessories, but in reality, early practitioners had none of that. What they had was a dedication to the practice and an open mind and heart willing to learn. That is all you really need, but there are a few things most people practicing yoga in the modern age usually have.

    Yoga Mat

    When you practice you need a surface that you won’t slip on. That’s what a yoga mat does besides providing you with a little bit of cushion.

    Don’t get hung up on which yoga mat to buy. When you’re starting out, any will do.

    If you don’t have one you can use a small flat woven rug.

    The primary purpose of a mat is to help you be able to stay in positions like downward facing dog without slipping.

    Yoga Blocks

    Yoga blocks are useful to give you added support in some poses. If you don’t have yoga blocks you can use thick books in their place.

    Yoga Strap

    A yoga strap is also helpful but can easily be substituted with a belt or scarf.

    Yoga Clothes
    When you practice, be sure to wear clothes that allow you to move through your full range of motion. You do not want to feel restricted in any way while you are practicing.

    These yoga accessories can all be useful to have, but you don’t have to break the bank to get them. Stick to the most basic versions in the beginning. If you can’t get them all that doesn’t matter. What matters is having the desire to practice.

    How To Start Your Practice?

    When you’re first starting out it’s best to have some guidance. Online yoga classes have become an important tool for people looking to start practicing at home. Through the use of online yoga classes, you can learn from expert teachers from around the world. There are no limitations to the style of yoga you can learn.

    Joining an online yoga website like Omstars can give you access to thousands of classes and many different teachers who are eager to share the benefits of yoga with you.

    Below is an example of an online yoga class for beginners that you can use to get started.

    Tips to be successful at practicing yoga at home

    Now that you’re on your way to starting an at-home yoga practice here are some tips to keep you going.

    Set Aside Time to Practice

    Decide how often you want to practice. Maybe you only want to practice a few days a week. Maybe you only have a few minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if you have an hour or only 10 minutes, setting aside that little bit of time to do a few poses will help you get into the habit of practicing regularly.

    Listen to Your Body

    Many of us are used to ignoring the cues our body sends us. That is not something you want to do in yoga. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain or pinching back off. Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t push yourself too far. Yoga is not a contest to see who can get into the most difficult pose the fastest. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery. Self-discovery can only happens when you truly listen.

    Be Kind to Yourself

    When you start out, you’ll have difficulty getting into some poses. You’ll lose your balance and fall over. You won’t be as flexible as you want to be or as strong as you want to be. That is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s difficult.

    Poses have modifications that you can use to make them more accessible to what your body can do at the moment. Over time as you practice what your body can do will change.

    Be kind to yourself in your practice. You’re not doing this to punish yourself. You’re doing this to learn, connect, and find a greater sense of well-being.

    As you move forward on your at-home yoga journey remember that you are not alone. There are many people practicing at home just like you. They use online yoga classes to help them at every step along the way. Here’s what one member of Omstars had to say about her membership.

    Omstars is an amazing tool and has been a huge help for me in developing a safe and insightful home practice as well as helping me continue my journey into the yogic state of mind, offering insight on anatomy and scripture that has been like having my very own satsang!

    If you’re interested in learning more about practicing yoga with the assistance of online teachers sign up to get a free beginners class class that will help you get started.

    Click here to get your free class!



    By Omstars

    Photo by kike vega on Unsplash