Now let’s get started! I think I did my part on the “baby blog” introducing myself, that I’m finally ready to hit the ground running with you all! So, first things first, I would like to give some of my personal learned advice:
• Before anything – you need a place to practice. Whether you choose a home room/gym or even a small area to convert into your yoga space, OR you choose a studio to practice in (or both), you need to figure out where you’ll be setting up. Gyms are great because if you have questions about different things you’ll need – you have all the answers. However, I’ve bought the same mats and yoga towels for a mere fraction of the price on Amazon and even places like Ross, $5 Below, etc. if you have them in your area. And for almost all of the items I haven’t noticed a difference even if they aren’t the same exact brand. However, some studios let you rent a mat, but if you’re attending often that adds up too. If you’re just trying it out for the first time – DON’T invest, just rent at least if it’s your first class.
If you’re choosing your home, there’s an investment which we don’t all have the luxury to do. I didn’t. So I started with a mat, a towel, (both from Amazon), and practiced on my back porch. I didn’t have a room to convert. I’ve also heard of people in my many groups talk about practicing in their garages (which I do that as well). (Tip: people who practice hot yoga can use a heater in their garage and I’ve heard it works really well minus the humidity part – hence why yoga is so costly to customers…not just a space and tools, but heat out the wazoo (you think your electricity bill is high!), plus such high humidity, showers, amenities…it’s expensive. So customers pay the price but it’s worth it if you want in studio practice which is what I (most people) start with. You can always transition or do both! Also, for a meditation or small yoga space, it doesn’t have to be a big room, I just want to emphasize that. You can really choose anywhere including the park as well! Just get started it’s not like you’re in a contract! Upgrade as you go.
Now that you have your space, here are some amazing tips along the way to further your practice, but as a starter you don’t need much. I say, don’t get ahead of yourself. You can always add more later. Maybe that’s the frugal mom in me, but hey, your checkbook (that shows my age doesn’t it?) will thank you!
• Whether it is Hot Yoga, Restorative Yoga, or just simply beautifully meditating — water is a must. Fact: 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. A big reason for this is because when the feeling of “thirst” begins, you’ve already become dehydrated. Your cells need it, your body needs it. It flushes toxins out of your body. If you are working out, it is going to help repair worn muscles so that they heal quicker = less soreness.
• You will definitely need some gear. Now, you can just start with a simple yoga mat as I said (I’m repeating some of the above here and adding on), and if you’re planning to do Hot Yoga, a non-slip towel is a must (I’ll post a how to on what is a real non slip towel because some claim not slip, but you want it to have a specific grip on top of your mat). Not only is hot yoga…hot…it is around 60-65% humidity. So slipping and sliding on a mat while trying to stay focused and give it your all is just not happening. Those are the first two. Absolutely must haves. As you progress OR as a beginner to aid you getting into poses, holding them without injury, and transitioning from assisted to full expression, there are so many great tools.
• One for starters that is the first go-to would be a yoga block. This can do just about anything. You can place it underneath areas to prop you up, you can use it to lean on in postures that you cannot hold, you can even do workouts alone with them, such as side to side upward crunches. You can also hold the block with your feet while laying, feet a few inches above the floor, and move the legs vertical – grab the block by reaching, now lower the legs and arms but don’t touch the floor (I’ll post a how-to). Killer abs right there! Blocks are #1 PROP to start.
• Bolsters – you can use bolsters which are similar to pillows to aid you in positions, sit on, and they’re great for prenatal yoga. You can do a lot of postures and get a lot of relief from postures by adding a bolster (same pose, different benefits). This is used a lot in Hatha and restorative. I’m a hot yoga girl so bolsters aren’t top of my list but a lot of people prefer traditional yoga which would mean bolsters could be a LOVE for you.
• Yoga straps – (I LOVE THESE) – wonderful for flexibility. You can hang them over the door knob, you can wrap them around the feet and pull one leg, you can do a ton of things for strength and flexibility with yoga straps and there are different forms and variations for different achievements.
• For Yin, restorative, slower type meditation blankets are great.
• Chairs are so cool! They aid you into poses but they also allow you to do poses you can’t do on a regular flat surface (floor) on your mat.
• Oils – at the end of each class (since I primarily do hot yoga I use a cold towel) but any temperature will do, with some essential oils, place it over the face and just lie there in savasana. Soak in your hard work, be proud of yourself, rest, and be grateful for the day ahead. (My personal favorites are Lavender, Lemongrass, Frankincense. You can get them through MLM but I get mine at a health food store. But really you can even get them at Target or on Amazon.
• Extra towel for the face/body sweat. MUST.
• Yoga Wheel – I have Yoga Buddy’s yoga wheel and with back pain I am in heaven. I don’t just use it for yoga, I get it out throughout the day and open up my vertebrae. So simple but so rewarding. You can also do poses on it or balance on it – a lot harder than it looks! I’ll be doing a WHOLE post simply on the wheel because I’m OBSESSED.
• Other great tools (but not as essential) include salt lamps, diffusers, playlists, sandbags, sound healing (such as gongs), and bars. Lastly for class you have to have a mirror (unless you’re outside). That IS essential for in-studio yoga practice.
This was just some baby tips, and I’ll do posts on them, where to find them, great brands, what to look for, etc. but I wanted to start easy. So — stay tuned!
Until next time my friends, NAMASTE