I started practicing yoga in my living room led by Youtube videos and tutorials. I didn't have a great mat or cute yoga clothes. What I did have was a willingness and excitement to learn something new and experience all the benefits I've heard so much about.
Here are my top 5 tips for anyone just starting out with a yoga practice!
1- Define your practice. Whether you are starting yoga to relieve sore muscles, rid anxiety or gain strength it is important to know the why behind starting a new activity. Knowing this will help you get into the proper mindset every time you step onto the mat.
Jot down a few reasons why you want to start yoga and the benefits you may receive. Spend a few moments before each practice to reflect on these things and get yourself in the right mindset.
2- Invest in a quality mat. When I first started practicing yoga I had a $10 mat that was falling apart. This was okay to get me going but as I advanced in my practice this mat really held me back. I would slip out of poses and wasn't able to get as deep as I wanted. This resulted in sore muscles due to improper form.
Investing in a high quality, sticky mat was a game changer. Sticky mats allow you to get a good grip and hold poses deeper and longer. As well as decrease the risk of injury.
3- Set the mood. If you are practicing at home make your yoga space relaxing and peaceful. Light candles or incense, set dim lighting, put together a calming music playlist, etc. Creating a calming environment that is your own is great to help you get the most out of your practice.
4- Choose your yoga style. When you get on the mat ask yourself, "what does my body and mind need today?" You may need something relaxing and restorative like yin yoga or something more fast paced and invigorating. This is a great way to get in tune with your needs and experiment with different styles of yoga.
5- Yoga props. A yoga block or prop can be great for beginners. If you don't have a yoga block you can use a stack of books or a pillow. Props are a great way to ease yourself into a difficult pose and prevent injury. Be mindful of how your body feels during poses. If you feel pain, try adding in your block to ease tension or pressure.