photo by Rui Dias on Pexels
September is National Yoga Month! Started in 2008 by the Department of Health & Human Services, the purpose of this month is to educate people about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle.
Many people practice yoga to relieve stress, improve flexibility and strength and overall enhance their quality of life. If you are new to yoga or have always been curious about it, now is the perfect time to give it a try.
Here are some tips if you are just getting started:
Wear comfortable clothing:
Dress in comfortable stretchy clothing that is fitted, supportive and moisture-wicking. Some poses may be in an inverted position, so make sure to wear something that stays put to avoid unwanted exposure of skin.
Use a clean, non-slip mat:
A “sticky” mat will allow you to work through the poses without worrying about your hands and feet slipping. A mat with appropriate thickness will also provide cushion and padding for joints like knees and wrists. There are many economical options for mats, but if you decide to continue with a regular yoga practice, it is worth the investment in getting a high-quality mat.
Find an experienced yoga teacher:
Whether in-person or virtual, an experienced instructor should be able to offer modifications (or hands-on adjustments if in person) that will allow you to adjust a posture to work for you. Find an instructor that you resonate with and that can provide you with instruction and guidance, as well as kindness and compassion.
Explore class styles:
There are various styles of yoga. Explore and find styles that work for you and the amount of time you have. There are many yoga videos on the Internet of varying lengths, so you can see if a shorter or longer practice fits your lifestyle (or a combination of both). Remember a yoga class does not have to be 60-90 minutes long to be effective. Incorporating short snippets of 10-15 minute sessions are just as beneficial.
Be kind to yourself:
You may feel some intensity in the muscles during the poses, but it should never be painful. Any sharp or intense pain is your body’s signal to stop and take a step back.
Don’t compare yourself to others:
Yoga is a continuous practice. Everyone starts somewhere, so move at a pace that works for you. Yoga is your own unique journey. Don’t compare your Chapter 1 with someone else’s Chapter 20.
With continued dedication, repetition, and consistency to your yoga practice, you will find yourself less stressed, more flexible, and generally healthier in mind and body.
Burgin, Timothy. “Yoga basics” Retrieved from https://www.yogabasics.com/practice/yoga-for-beginners/yoga-tips-for-beginners/
McCall, Timothy. July 2021. “The benefits of practicing Yoga.” Retrieved from https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/health/womens-health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit/
About the Author:
Lyja Levas has worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years and is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor. She is a BaySport Program Manager as well BaySport’s Group Exercise Coordinator. Lyja enjoys an active lifestyle that includes daily morning and evening yoga.