One of the good things about having access to social media or a basic smart device in our modern world is the ability to access health and fitness materials online. Gone are the days where you absolutely had to find a gym or fitness centre in order to get your daily dose of exercise! In this article, I will share the beauty that is Yoga, from the comfort of your home, office or any space you can find, as a â€˜feel good exercise.â€™
What makes a Yoga session at home even better? The perfect workout music to go along with it. Be it your favourite song playing on your phone or iPod, playing through your earphones or a speaker, the combination of music and exercise makes any workout twice as enjoyable and twice as effective.
My Fitness Story.
It wasnâ€™t until I was 20 years old in 2014 and studying at university that I discovered Yoga. I knew about yoga before, but, like exercising in general, till that point in my life, I paid very little attention to it. I remember one evening coming across a YouTuber named Kino Yoga. Kino McGregor (her real name) is an incredible yoga instructor and her YouTube channel to put it simply, changed my life.
The video I clicked on that day showed Kino demonstrating how to do the Frog Splits posture.Â I was amazed and fascinated by the awkward and skewed movement of her legs and how she effortlessly shaped and moved her body, all the while maintaining a peaceful and relaxed aura.Â I lost myself completely to Yoga after this and grew eager to learn more about it and most of all, determined to be as strong as yogis like Kino were.
Preparing For YourÂ Yoga Fitness Journey.
The only thing you need to start practising yoga is your body! Anyone can practice yoga.Â Since I started practising Ashtanga yoga Iâ€™ve been approached by a few friends who expressed their interest in practising as well. However, they all had one common concern: flexibility. I have heard so many people say they could not start yoga because they did not think they were flexible enough to do the yoga postures.
Are you are thinking about practising yoga, but you are concerned that you may not be strong or flexible enough? Scrap that thought! Do not let this mental fear stand in your way! I personally became more flexible because I practised yoga. Flexibility and strength are undoubtedly two of the physical benefits of yoga.
YouTube Videos and Instagram.
When I first started yoga, the area I lived in didnâ€™t have any classes.Â Yoga is not commonly practised in African communities, in comparison to Western ones. So, I heavily relied on online YouTube videos and Instagram pages. I started practising in my living room at home. Honestly, any space I could find! The beauty about yoga is you often do not need props or weights. All you need is a mat or if you donâ€™t have one, a smooth, clean surface, such as grass.
There are pros and cons to online classes because when you practice, you are in essence, teaching yourself. You donâ€™t have a teacher to check on you and guide you with the correct way of moving. It is always important to follow the instructor carefully and if you find a friend to practice with, the better!Â Online Yoga teachers are generally very steady and slow paced when they instruct and guide you through their videos, therefore you can absolutely practice on your own.
Fitness apps are always a great way for yogis to practice from any smart device. Like online videos, you can use Yoga apps anywhere. All you need is your device and a small space to exercise. Daily Yoga Fitness Plans is one of many apps you can find in the Google or Apple stores that are filled with daily exercise plans for people at all levels in their fitness journey.
The Impact of combining Music into your Yoga Practice.
Incorporate relaxing yoga music or any type of music into your workout.
Iâ€™ve always found that the combination of exercising and listening to my favourite playlist makes my work out twice as effective and pushes me to work harder. Working out with music:
Â Sets the pace for the Entire Workout.
listening to music will keep you focused throughout the entire workout. You can actually use the RPMs (rates per minute) for any song as a way of counting how long you hold a certain posture for during your practice. For example, you could use a 30-second chorus to hold the Chaturanga pose (arm balance), which is a great toning exercise for arms, abs and thighs!
When you combine music into your yoga session, you literally lose yourself. You escape from the distractions of the world, noise, concerns you may have or personal challenges you may be facing. You become engulfed in the sound and engage 100% in your exercises. The Sound of those exhilarating Hans Zimmer instrumentals can push you to hold those last 10 seconds of a squat pose as you complete your last set!
Yoga is a Feel-Good exercise.
For anyone who practices yoga, you know that it is extremely challenging at first, but practising it, results in a sense of mental and physical satisfaction, during and after the workout. Above all, it builds confidence and increases your self-esteem. This is especially true when you start to notice the physical changes yoga has had on the body. The feeling of pride you achieve when you feel stronger and are finally capable of holding that headstand you have been working on for weeks is unparalleled!
I realised when I started my fitness journey that a great workout should leave you feeling sweaty, out of breath, thirsty and fatigued as well as mentally strong and focused. The positive feeling you end a workout with is what pushes you to exercise again and again until you develop a routine. Your routine eventually becomes your lifestyle. Feeling stronger and the knowledge that you are achieving something is what stops people from giving up when they exercise. This is what a Yoga session accompanied by my favourite playlist does for me, and Iâ€™m sure it can do the same for others.
Strengthens the Mind & Body.
Yoga improves your mental state and, equally important, makes you physically healthier and stronger. Yoga gives you a constant sense of determination in everything you do, long after you finish your workout.
Taking the First Step.
As a beginner, you can expect your practice to be a challenge at first. It doesnâ€™t get easier but the more you practice and persevere, the stronger and fitter you get! Do not, however, expect to see immediate physical changes to your body. Like any other form of exercise, consistency will lead to results.
Depending on where you live in the world, you can find yoga classes at most fitness centres and gyms. However, as I have tried to show in this article, you can find and connect with groups of people who share your interest in Yoga, online. There are a wide array of online classes and tutorials that you can use to train and practice from the comfort of your home.
- Keep yourself focused and inspired by connecting with others who share my fitness interests.
- Join Facebook groups, subscribe to YouTube Channels and follow Instagram pages of people that are as avid about yoga as you are. Being part of an online community really helps as you motivate and push one another and celebrate each otherâ€™s progress.
- You can also start your own visual diary, helping you keep track of your progress. This can be in the form of pictures or videos, blogs or start your own fitness page on social media.
Hold onto the long-term fitness goal you want to achieve and not give up!