Whew, it’s been a week, hasn’t it? If you’re anything like me, you’ve said that to yourself every Friday for the past 3-4 weeks. Times are tough right now and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, rundown, and simply out of gas. Isn’t it time to refuel your tank by taking care of yourself?
Let me make a suggestion: yoga.
There are a zillion types of yoga but at its core, they all boil down to one thing: mind and body restoration. I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use some mental rest after a day of juggling work combined with a toddler. And, according to what I’m seeing in the mirror, my back could use some stretches and decompression before I turn into Quasimodo. So let’s get started, shall we?
Here’s are the basics you need to kickstart your practice:
Stepping onto your mat is like the unofficial entrance to your practice. As a beginner, it’s important to get an adequately-cushioned mat for comfort and a sticky surface so you don’t accidentally slip and tear a muscle. Trust: I’ve tried yoga in socks on my carpet before and it was a poor life choice. As an added bonus, this Manduka mat is eco-friendly and biodegradable—none of the tree rubber is harvested from the Amazon.
When you first dive into the yoga pool, there are going to be many—many!—times when you think to yourself, “You want me to rest my hands WHERE?” while watching the instructor seamlessly fold into a pretzel. Pro tip: Grab yourself two yoga blocks to keep yourself comfortable. By using these in your practice, you won’t have to reach the floor: you can bring the floor to you, enabling you to get into a deeper state of relaxation without floundering about like a fish out of water.
Imagine laying on your back with one leg straight on the ground and the other pointed up toward the sky. Then, the instructor asks you to wrap both hands around the bottom of your foot while keeping your leg straight. Say what?! As a beginner, there is a great chance your muscles don’t stretch that far—and that’s okay. That’s where a strap comes in handy. Using this allows you to reach limbs more easily and take positions into a deeper stretch without injuring yourself. Win-win.
You may have a subscription with guided flows, but if not, consider purchasing a book like the Yoga Body & Mind handbook. Not only does it provide tons of easy poses and guided meditations, but the author also helps you get into the proper mindset that will help you best enjoy the ride.
Okay, real talk: you can wear anything you want to practice yoga. Heck, you can go naked if you really want (you do you, obvi). But if you’re a female, let me make one suggestion: grab yourself a bra to hang onto the ladies because there are going to be a few movements that are downright uncomfortable without one. One of my faves: the Becksa Bralette. It’s made from a super-soft recycled polyester blend and an ever-so-slight elasticity that keeps the fabric in place. But the highlight is that it feels like you’re wearing nothing. How’s that for comfortable?