In June 2012 I started my Yoga practice and wound up becoming a teacher years later. How crazy is that?!
It all started with an interest in trying it out and finding a very beginner level sequence via an app called Workout Trainer. The Lower Body Booster was the first one I ever tried. Since I had no idea what I was doing at the time, I decided to keep doing the same sequence every time I got on the mat. I had just quit smoking cigarettes a few weeks before doing any of this so my body was still recovering. Yoga in many ways forced me to learn my body all over again through a physical and mindful practice. I ended up receiving so much more than that.
After my outdoor runs, I would drink a protein shake and lay out my mat. Insert old photo of me after a run wearing an extra tank top for another layer of warmth ----->
While my body was still recovering from the lung damage over the years, I kept up with a consistent Yoga practice for a few months. At first I didn’t really stop to observe if I even was enjoying it as an activity. Funny enough I kind of just kept up with the practice as if it was choosing for me to continue. Not knowing what I was doing by any means, I began exploring more sequences in the Workout App. Of course I didn’t know they were called sequences at the time! The Energy Yoga sequence was a definite change up after feeling like a master in Lower Body Booster. Finally I was starting to observe the effects of my practice. I felt calmer, more relaxed. My body felt more open and I also started to see some toning in my muscles.
Transition to college where I continued to practice at least once a week. At the time I felt like this was as much as I could fit into my busy schedule. For me this was still okay but I missed the frequency I had before. Those Downward Facing Dog’s and Warrior Two’s were calling my name by the end of each semester! I told all of my friends about how much I liked it. I even invited them to do a session with me which was way more fun for me than I think it was for them. Little did I know that one day I would become a teacher of this sacred practice.
Transition to moving to Los Angeles in 2015!
Okay so I totally dropped off of a consistent practice for a few months before I made the big move. No judgement though because I came back full force soon enough. My first job here in Los Angeles was a desk receptionist at a corporate gym down the street from me. They just so happened to have an awesome yoga program to boot! This is where I began a much deeper practice and learned so much more about my body. Within months I knew that I wanted to also share the practice with others.
Below are some great tips for those who have not yet experienced the incredible benefits of yoga. Let’s get you started on a journey closer to yourself!
A Few Tips For Beginners:
Deciding why you want to practice yoga can be very helpful. There are so many benefits to practicing so even if you just want to explore the physical aspects, you will better yourself in some way. Even if you are curious to know more about it and just want to try it for the experience.
Breathing. Yoga is all about finding a healthier, deeper harmony between our body and mind, and our breathing is central to this. Breathe into your whole body in the poses, and relax. There is a lot to learn about healthy breathing in yoga.
Make practice frequent. Little and often is more effective than occasional long sessions of yoga. Even 15 minutes a day of a few well-chosen poses can have a very positive effect on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. A regular discipline will reap more benefits, as that way the body begins to feel comfortable and familiar with the process and gradually becomes more flexible and subtly aware of the sensations, rather than ‘starting from cold’ again once in a while.
Modify postures for your body. The perfect pose we may see in a book or see a teacher demonstrate may be a long way from what our own body can currently achieve. A good yoga teacher will show you how to ease your own body carefully towards the ideal posture, perhaps with use of yoga props like extra blocks, bolsters, a belt etc., bringing attention to the principle of the inner stretch or direction of energy that the pose is aiming to evoke in us.
Release expectations. Often we equate yoga with tough, limb-twisting poses. However, yoga is not about touching your toes or stretching 98 degrees to the northeast. Yoga is a process of uniting with yourself, and it should be easy and effortless. You are in yoga when your body, mind, and breath align. So, throw away the idea that you should already be flexible, that you’re too old to venture into yoga at the age of 40, or that yoga is the only thing that will save you from your love handles (although love handle disappearance is one common side-effect of a regular practice)!
Start with an intention. Before starting the physical aspect of your practice, creating an intention can help to set the tone for your practice and prepare your mind for an introspective experience. Whether your intention is “world peace” or “non judgement”, centering your mind around that thought will help bring you into the present moment before beginning.