How I Got Started With Yoga: all of the resources I used, yogis I follow, and why I think it’s important to document your progress.
Disclaimer: I am NOT, and I repeat NOT, a certified yoga or fitness instructor. I do what works for my body. These are just suggestions. Please consult with a professional before beginning any exercise regimen. Thanks!
I finally decided to make a post about this because I get asked all the time: how did you get started with yoga, and what did you do to begin? I wish I had some amazing story on how I started yoga, but it really just came down to a 30 day challenge I found on Instagram. Shauna Harrison use to do these 30 day challenges called #SWEATADAY. It was the catalyst to my fitness journey that included practicing yoga for four years now! Holy smokes! Time flies by when you’re having fun. Actually, as you’re reading this, it’s also my four year anniversary on Instagram! Shout out if you’ve been following along since the beginning. You’re the real MVP!
Anyway, one month Shauna had a whole week dedicated to yoga poses/flows. I didn’t think much of it and thought to myself “great a week of stretching [insert eye roll].” Um, that week of “stretching” was one of the most challenging weeks of the challenge! I was sweating more doing yoga flows than I was doing burpees. Something clicked that week though, and I loved the challenge yoga brought to me. I was out of my element and actually liked being uncomfortable. As the week progressed, I made a vow to myself to keep practicing and see how much I can progress over time. Let me tell you, yoga progress pics are my favorite kind of transformation pictures. There’s been a lot of growth over the past four years!
I also did a lot of research that week and found lots of information about yoga out there. Some were good. Some were not so good. Since I was so new to yoga, I decided to take a beginners class at a local studio. I highly highly recommend this to everyone starting out –especially if you have any issues like lower back pain, recovering from surgery and etc. You don’t want to hurt yourself or make anything worse than it already is. Being in a class allows you to work with a certified instructor who can help you with your posture, and give you modifications to accommodate your physical needs if need be. Almost all instructors are great about these things and are super helpful.
If you don’t have access to a studio or the prices turn you off, have no fear! There’s lots of good information out there, and I sifted through all of the bad ones to find the good ones for you. One of my favorite resources is the Yoga Journal. It’s like a one stop shop for all things yoga and meditation. I recommend starting at their Yoga 101 page and going from there. Whenever I learned a different pose, I would Google it and type “[insert yoga pose here] yoga journal” and an article about said pose would come up. You’ll learn the Sanskrit word for the pose, the benefits and how to do it. It’ll give tips for beginners and tips for those more advance. The Yoga Journal also has a bunch of yoga videos that range from restorative to powerful yoga flows. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone!
Another source of information for me was Instagram! I would search and search hashtag after hashtag and found some awesome yogis to follow. Also, just a reminder, Instagram is a highlight reel of someone’s life. So do not get discouraged when you see all of the picture perfect yoga poses and flows out there. Don’t ever compare your journey to anyone else’s, and always remember that even the best yogi was a beginner at some point. Anyway, there are lots of instructors who will post instructions with step-by-step photos on how to do a certain pose. One of my favorite accounts is “inflexibleyogis” who will re-post lots of instruction pictures from different instructors. They always tag the instructor and that’s how I found lots of accounts to follow! I’ve connected with lots of people over Instagram who shared my love for yoga, and it’s always fun meeting them in person because they don’t judge you when you want to take stop, drop and pose for a picture! 😉 Seriously, your girl loves doing yoga poses in random places!
Another, great and I mean GREAT, resource is Yoga with Adriene. She is my yoga guru/mentor, and all of the information she provides is SO helpful. She literally has a yoga video for everything (i.e. yoga for anxiety, yoga for lower back pain and etc)! There’s seriously a yoga video for everyone and anyone. Her beginner yoga videos are super informative and they make you feel like she’s in the room with you. She does lots of 30 day challenges that are great for all levels, and can be done at the comfort of your own home! A lot of my yoga flows are based off of the yoga flows she shares on her YouTube channel. At the beginning of my practice, I would always do her videos at home if I couldn’t get to a studio or my gym. Out of all the resources I’ve provided for you, Yoga with Adriene would be the one to walk away with if you’re beginning your yoga journey. She has a little bit of everything for everyone, and approaches yoga in the most compassionate and relatable way possible.
So those are my top four yoga resources that helped me with my practice, and I hope you find them helpful as well. Also, always do your own research. You might find something or someone more relatable to your practice, and that’s awesome! Everyone’s yoga practice/style is different. Find one that fits what you need. Oh, and don’t be afraid to try different types of yoga classes as well. Some I loved and some I straight up did not, but I’m glad I tried them.
So get out there and start practicing! You don’t have to be super flexible to start. You don’t need to do super fancy hard poses right away. You just need start! Again, don’t forget to document your progress. You’ll be so surprised at how far you’ve come when you look back. I’m always amazed whenever I compare pictures from four years ago to today. It didn’t happen overnight, it took me lots of practice, and it made me realize that it truly is about the journey.
Oh, and let’s talk props for a second. Obviously, you need a yoga mat, but I also recommend investing in yoga blocks and/or yoga straps. I was stubborn at the beginning of my practice and didn’t think I needed them until I used them. Both helped my practice like no other! They make a huge difference. I got this yoga block and strap set off of Amazon for less than $20 but you can find them anywhere! If you go to a yoga studio, you’ll see other props being used like big pillows and I’ve even seen some people use yoga blankets over their mats. Is all of that stuff necessary? Sure, if you find it useful. Test them out at a studio before you make any kind of investment. I stand behind the blocks and straps. I personally think the other stuff isn’t needed, but you do you.
I hope this information was helpful! I’m so excited for you to start your yoga journey. It was truly life changing for me, and I hope it is for you. If you decide to start practicing, please share your progress with me! I want to hear all about it. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.