Last Saturday morning while walking through a charming park here in Taiwan, I had an urge to do some yoga. I had no yoga mat with me, but I had my camera. So I playfully turned it on for what I thought would be a quick 5-minute yoga break. About 20-minutes later I reached pure yoga bliss!
Above is a 3-minute clip of my lazy Saturday yoga practice. To see the full 20-minute flow click here. For tips on how to start your own yoga practice, keep reading...
If you liked the music in the video above, I invite you to follow my Spotify Yoga Love playlist here. I update it with NEW yoga jams often :)
This is the first video I've ever shared to social media of my own yoga practice. In the past I didn't have the guts to post this kind of video. Maybe because Instagram and You-Tube are already saturated with flawless yogi’s posting award winning videos. These fearless beings who make yoga look effortless definitely set the bar high! I use to care deeply about what people thought of me and what I looked like doing yoga.
I cared about other’s perceptions of my yoga practice because I am a yoga teacher. So I felt pressured to perform every single pose “correctly" with the “right alignment." Forget about posting a video where I’m diving too deep in my Chataranga and throwing my head back too far! After all, I have to set a “good example."
But yoga is called a practice for a reason. The goal is not to look a certain way and have a perfect class every single time. The goal is to just come as your are and do the best you can that day. Yoga to me is about quieting your mind, feeling into your body, and letting them guide you wherever they need to go that day.
I don’t do yoga anymore to impress people. Practicing yoga relieves physical, mental, and emotional stress and trauma from my body, mind, and heart. Yoga has changed my entire life. Real talk. I am more connected spiritually and emotionally with God, my friends, my family, and myself because of yoga. I feel more presence, gratitude, compassion, patience, and joy on days that I do yoga. I get HIGH from yoga. NO drugs or alcohol necessary.
If the media images of thin and graceful yogi’s folded into pretzels have prevented you from trying yoga, I hope my imperfect video will inspire you. The full 20-minute video was 100% unplanned and shot in just one take. It's far from flawless. As you will see, I didn't even have my yoga mat and forgot to take my shoes off the entire time lol.
I'm not sporting pretty colorful yoga pants or fresh hair & make-up either. My tag is hanging out of my leggings and I have to keep pulling down my T-shirt. I lose balance and fall several times. My hand slips in wheel pose and I almost fall onto my head. But this IS what my REAL authentic yoga practice is like on any given day.
My yoga practice is never perfect. Sometimes unplanned. Usually un-sequenced. Often kind of a mess. But it feels AHmaZing! Blissful. Divine. Connected. Just right. Relaxing. Freeing. Fan@uckingTastic.
My hope is that you are inspired to start or continue your own yoga practice. And for the record, most of the poses I’m doing in the video I couldn’t do when I started. Forget twisting upside-down into wheel pose, I couldn't even touch my toes! I'm not naturally flexible. And if you're not either, my one tip for you is this: do yoga. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t do a pose yet.
Feeling good and having fun is the goal.
4-Steps to Starting YOUR Yoga Practice:
1. Buy a Yoga Mat
You can start with a basic yoga mat for around $5. That will get you started. Eventually you will want to invest in a yoga mat that has good grip so you don't slip and slide during your downward dog!
Also consider the size and weight of the mat when it's rolled up if you plan to take it hiking or traveling. You can search Amazon, or better yet support your local yoga studio and buy it there. That way you can actually test and feel what the mat is like.
2. Sign Up
You can find a yoga studio almost anywhere these days. Most will let you try a class or even a few weeks for free! Experiment until you find a style and a teacher you like. Just because you didn't like one yoga class, doesn't mean you won't absolutely LOVE the next one you try!
If you feel intimidated to practice yoga in front of people, start with YogaGlo.com. They feature thousands of online yoga classes and dozens of world-renound teachers! I especially love YogaGlo because no matter where my travels take me, I can keep up my yoga practice right from my phone! I could rave about YogaGlo.com forever and no I'm not an affiliate. I'm just a big fan because they give you so much value for only $18.99 a month. Oh ya, and your first 15-days are free :)
3. Schedule It
Commit to practicing yoga consistently a few times a week to feel all the benefits. Our hobbies become real priorities when we schedule them. Block off 2-3 chucks in your schedule weekly for your practice.
If it's difficult to find 30-60 minute gaps of time, commit to just 15-minutes a day. I love starting new habits in 15-minute chucks, because it equals to about 1% of your day. And we ALL can justify a new habit that only takes up ONE PERCENT of our time each day.
INNNhale.... EXXXhale. This is what yoga is all about my friends. Breathing is the foundation of yoga and once you learn different breathing techniques, the benefits are endless. With a consistent practice you can expect REDUCED stress, anxiety, physical pain, and blood pressure; plus an INCREASE in your energy, awareness, and vitality. There's more than one way to breathe!
Thank you so much for reading today. I value all feedback and would love to hear from you in the comments below. Feel free to ask me any questions you have about starting a yoga practice. Namaste.