How I Came To Yoga + Tips For Beginners l 2018

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 ----->

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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.

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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.

The 5 Best Podcasts That You Need To Listen To NOW

Last year I signed up for Spotify Premium for my Yoga classes. A few months in I noticed the section called "Podcasts". Something I've heard of but not actually heard one before. I started listening when I was walking to the bus, on my way home from work and right before a Yoga class began. Below are my five current favorite channels that I want to share with you.

ALSO, did you know there's an International Podcast Day on October 30th!!!!! People all over the world celebrate the history of Podcasts. That's pretty cool :)

 Photo by  Jens Kreuter  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

Optimal Living Daily

What is this podcast about: Justin Malik reads to you from the best content on the web with author permission… just like an audiobook! There is now five total podcasts in this series but this one is all about personal development, minimalism, and productivity.

Why I recommend it: I think this was one of the first podcast channels I listened to last year. To be completely honest I had no idea what I was in for at the time. Justin has a super buttery voice that almost makes you so relaxed that you could fall asleep. I appreciate that he only reads from the best blogs/books! These podcast episodes keep me motivated to continue on my self development journey.

Click the title to open in Spotify!

 

From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl

What is this podcast about: Rachel Brathen is an international yoga teacher and speaker, bestselling author and serial entrepreneur who inspires millions every day. Known as Yoga Girl, Rachel has sparked a movement through deciding to share every corner of her heart's journey, the moments of beauty and of pain, and always of unyielding trust in life. The light you are seeking is within your own heart. Join Rachel as she helps you uncover it, from her heart to yours.

Why I recommend it: There isn't enough positive things to say about this podcast channel!! Rachel was one of the first few I got into last year and I'm really happy about it. She is such a kind hearted soul with practical knowledge that she shares every week with her followers. Also I love that she is a fellow Yogi!! One of her older episodes really touched me when she spoke about her journey into teaching. Her Instagram is jam packed with personal shares and feel good vibes too!

Click the title to open in Spotify!

 

The Ultimate Health Podcast: Lifestyle, Nutrition, Fitness, & Self-Help

What is this podcast about: Jesse and Marni teach and inspire you to reach your maximum potential in the realm of health. They interview world-class experts in the health & wellness community. Topics include lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, self-help, sleep, meditation, and spirituality.

Why I recommend it: This podcast channel is AWESOME!! The one I listened to last weekend was an interview with Sahara Rose who is an Ayurvedic Healer. As a Yoga Instructor and Health Advocate, I think it's important to explore different ways of doing things. That episode got me even more curious about Ayurveda which led me to read more about it. Jesse and Marni are great at bringing new and interesting content within the health and fitness industry. I look forward to learning more very soon.

Click the title to open in Spotify!

 

Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso

What is this podcast about: Sophia interviews boundary-pushing women who've made their mark—eschewing polite conversation and extracting solid advice from the lessons they've learned along the way. Expect hilarious co-hosts and vulnerable, honest conversations you won't hear anywhere else. Conversations that humanize the known, champion the unknown, and laugh a little at the absurdity of life.

Why I recommend it: I am a HUGE Sophia fan and have been for years! I also really loved the Girlboss show. She's a very inspiring young female who takes business to the next level. My favorite interviews are with Sarah Jessica Parker and Tess Holiday. If your really into what female business women are ruling the industry then listen to this podcast. I promise you will feel the #Girlboss inspiration!

Click the title to open in Spotify!

 

The Goal Digger Podcast - Marketing, Social Media, Creative Entrepreneurship, Small Business Strategy and Branding

What is this podcast about: Week after week, host Jenna Kutcher brings you the the productivity tips, social media strategies, business hacks,, and inspirational stories that can help YOU design your dream career. Jenna shares tangible tips and hacks that she used to become a self-made millionaire in photography, online courses, Instagram sponsorships, and navigating the world of being a #girlboss social media influencer.

Why I recommend it: So, this channel is a bit newer to me but equally as awesome as the others. Jenna is an aw inspiring artist who truly believes in herself and others. She is also completely honest and to the point with her content. It's refreshing to listen to a female Entrepreneur who really understands both sides to being creative. I highly recommend if your all about learning to be more confident in your work or daily life.

Click the title to open in Spotify!

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation + Beginner Practice Tips!

What does someone mean when they mention Mindfulness Meditation? According to Wikipedia "Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that originated in Eastern meditation practices" "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally" "Bringing one's complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis".

Let's break this down a bit more with the benefits and various methods...

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Decreased Stress and Anxiety

According to American Psychological Association, “MBCT is an eight-week, group-based program that incorporates mindfulness exercises including yoga, body awareness and daily homework, such as eating or doing household chores, with full attention to what one is doing, moment by moment.” Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) combines elements from mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.

 

Ability to Deal with Illness

In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as a critical element in the treatment of a number of problems, including: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

 

Increase Body Acceptance

Body Anxiety is a major source of suffering among women of all ages. If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. It can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.

 

When you induce a state of total relaxation, which can be achieved through mindfulness meditation, yoga or other activities, you can obtain the benefits that include:

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  • Higher brain functioning
  • Increased immune function
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Increased awareness
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Increased clarity in thinking and perception
  • Lowered anxiety levels
  • Experience of being calm and internally still
  • Experience of feeling connected

 

 

 

There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness practice is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation.

Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly in a comfortable place and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra. Example: "I am okay" or "I am strong, stable and at peace".

Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Observe each part of your body in succession from head to toe.

Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and then gently let them go.

Urge surfing – Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviors) and allow them to pass. Observe how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.

 

DISCLAIMER: Parts of this posts were taken from several articles found via Google. Please be aware that it is a combination of my own writing and others.