Oops! Apologies for the cringe-worthy headline. Believe it or not, it took me a while to come up with it!
Welcome to my latest blog post – a beginners guide to yoga, written by a beginner.
Yoga is thought to have originated in Northern India, some 5,000 years ago.
Despite being such an ancient practice, it is arguable that yoga is trendier than ever in the 21st century.
Business Standard estimates that by the end of 2020, there will be 55 million people worldwide using yoga to keep fit and relieve stress.
Which begs the question – what is all the fuss about?
I have always been cynical, yet somewhat intrigued. So, during lockdown I succumbed to the pressure from society and decided to join the millions.
After two months of my self-imposed, often regrettable “lockdown health-kick”, the ‘Down Dog’ app has certainly been my favourite.
You can choose how long you would like your workout to be and what you would like to focus on. No two practices are the same, with the app providing you with a different workout, tailored to your skill level every day.
You can also choose what type of yoga you would like to practice. Many are available on the app, including:
- Hatha – the most popular form. Hatha incorporates basic slow movements with breathing exercises.
- Vinyasa – a gentle warmup moves into a mix of standing poses and deep floor stretches.
- Chair Yoga – modified poses which can be done while seated.
- Yoga Nidra – meditation, allows you to fall into a ‘yogic sleep’.
I’m not going to lie, a great deal of the initial attraction was the excuse to invest in all the “essential” yoga attire and equipment I was going to need.
Throughout, I have used the ladies of ‘Sex and the City’ as my inspiration, determined to mirror their glamorous yoga image. Those girls even made combining their gossip sessions with yoga classes look effortless.
Needless to say, I started on this mission by raiding the ‘Gymshark’, ‘House of Fraser’ and ‘Sweaty Betty’ websites. (You know, for essential research purposes).
Then once I got my mat and app, I was “home-yoga” ready!
After just a few practices, I was able to see the possibility of many benefits to my overall physical and mental health, I also realised that I had many “I told you so’s” coming my way.
The body benefits
Although not a massive calorie burner (I burn around 50 calories in a 30 minute practice), doing yoga alongside some cardio has made me see such a difference in my body in just 2 months.
I have found that the workouts are already beginning to tone and strengthen my arms, legs and core.
However, the most impressive thing would have to be early signs of changes in my flexibility, including my ability to touch my toes for the first time in forever! (Impressive, I know.)
The brain benefits
I suffer from terrible anxiety.
The stress and self doubt in my mind is often infuriating and terrifying. My mind is often consumed by worries about the past, present and future, to the point where it severely limits how much I enjoy life.
So, upon hearing stories about how much yoga can clear your mind and transform your outlook – I was desperate to find out.
Switching off from the outside world during the workouts helps to put my worries into perspective and has boosted my self-confidence no end.
If I begin to feel anxious or doubt myself, I now know that yoga is an excellent quick fix – even if it is just for a small period of time. Yoga has helped to reduce my heart rate and helped me to regulate my breathing and find calm during moments of panic.
Top Tip: Essential Oils
It was my birthday recently, and a good friend treated me to a set of essential oils.
A yoga enthusiast herself, she suggested I use them during yoga. Since then, I put a few drops on my mat and I would highly recommend it.
These really help you to get into your workout and feel even more tranquil, each carrying their own benefits.
Take a look at the infographic below to find the best one for you!
Taking all this into account, I have one thing to say to anybody considering taking up yoga – believe the hype.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have the yoga glamour and confidence of a ‘Sex and the City’ lady *yet* – but I’m getting there, lockdown isn’t over yet!
I’m here to tell you that you do NOT have to be a professional, be super fit or flexible to see benefits from yoga.
Just take your time, relax and don’t push yourself too far.
If I can do it, anybody can!