Yes, you read that right.
No, I’ve not gone mad.
Yes, I am going to write a post about “health and fitness”, and by that I mean the wonderful, meditative art of yoga.
Yoga is an absolutely wonderful, stress relieving, anxiety busting thing that I love. So I thought I would write a little introductory post to those of you who have not yet experienced the wonders, or for those of you who want to get back into it, or for those who just want to try something new.
You may be thinking that this is a little unrelated to the rest of my blog, but you are wrong! Yoga relaxes your mind and gets rid of all of the horrible unwanted thoughts, it is such a good way to exercise both your mind and your body.
So, to begin with I would recommend you head down to your local gym, village hall, sports centre, or anywhere that holds a yoga class. It is best to try before you buy, and investing in good equipment is an absolute must if you want to continue long term, so make sure you are committed before wasting money!
It is quite a horrible thought using a yoga mat that has been used by multiple sweaty hands and feet before you (gross, I know) so start by purchasing a mat. I would recommend either Sports Direct or http://www.yogamatters.com/ I personally bought my mat (a loooovely bright pink one) from yoga matters, they are such good quality and amazingly affordable! This is a picture of my mat (squeezed into the rather small space in my room). On here you can see that I have a yoga towel (bought today but already loving it) which is from USA Pro sold at Sports Direct. It has grips on it which is a GOD SEND when you are getting all warm and start slipping around on your mat.
So, now you have the essentials, I will show you some extra things you can get your hands on (all from USA Pro at Sports Direct) if you’re super keen and committed and just love yoga so so much.
Again, to stop with the slipping, there are these rather cute yoga socks. Many teachers recommend you go bare foot so that you don’t slip but I personally have found this to be completely unhelpful so I have invested in these! They come as a pack of two and have elastic on top to hold them on and grips on the bottom to keep you firmly in place when you’re in those rather uncomfortable and frankly quite tricky positions.
I also have these body resistance bands (coloured coded as follows; pink – beginner, blue – intermediate, yellow – advanced) which vary in thickness and thus resistance. These are a totally optional thing to have but I like to use these for leg lifts and such as opposed to holding my leg as I feel I can get a much better stretch of my leg muscles and support my back and spine by holding my upper arms firmly by my side. Again, this is just personal preference, whatever suits you, which is why I recommend trying out some classes to find what works best for you and find your own way of doing things.
Finally, because I’m just a yoga fanatic, I have this super cute back which straps around your mat to keep everything together (there’s a zip pocket on the front where I keep my bands and other necessary items such as hair ties, phone, iPod, keys, money, the kitchen sink, and such). On http://www.yogamatters.com/ they sell simple straps that keep your yoga mat together and easier to carry if you want to just stick to the basics.
As for clothes, I would recommend sticking to something loose/stretchy. My personal preference is simple gym leggings with a loose fitting top and sports bra – you don’t want to wear anything too tight or restricting as you won’t feel the full benefit and may just feel more uncomfortable than anything else!
Also, water is a must!!!!! You may not see it as a hard workout but you will be surprised by what your muscles go through, so keeping yourself hydrated is the most important step.
So, now for a simple daily stretch routine.
(Excuse the little stick man drawings that are very poor)
This little routine can be done at home for those of you who don’t have much time or want to keep your body stretched and moving in between classes. It can take as much or as little time as you like and can be as hard or as easy as you like!
One final tip: don’t push yourself beyond your own limits. It is hard to be in a class where there are regular people who are amazingly flexible and can do headstands and contort their bodies into unbelievable positions. Go at your own pace and as far as you can, don’t cause yourself more damage just to try and compare with other people. By gradually working at it as often as you can you will start to see so many changes in yourself and your abilities (and your moods!).
I hope this rather lengthy post has inspired some of you to take up something that I love, I enjoy sharing my interests and experiences with you all,
P.s. I am NOT affiliated with any of the brands or websites posted above, I am merely a VERY happy customer (but can you imagine how much money I would make if I was lol!)