I recently took up yoga as part of my new workout plan. And I am so glad I did. Itâ€™s helped me a lot with my fitness and my mental health. Hereâ€™s how I got started.
Why I chose yoga
Iâ€™m now in my mid-30s and my body is not quite what it used to be. Realising that itâ€™s only going to get worse as I continue to age, I knew I had to do something about it and start developing some healthy lifelong habits. This meant I needed to start working out routinely and take care of my fitness.
Iâ€™ve never enjoyed exercise. Iâ€™m not into team sports, HIIT classes remind me of why I hated PE in high school, swimming dries out my skin and hair terribly and I am no way near disciplined enough to force myself to go to the boring gym three times a week. So, I decided to give yoga a go.
How I got started
To begin with, I tried to do yoga at home watching online videos. I bought a yoga mat, set up my laptop and pressed play. This was a mistake. I had so many excuses for slacking off during challenging flows and never finishing the whole workout. I simply had no motivation. On top of this, I wasnâ€™t even sure if I was doing it right because there was no one there to correct me. I realised I would need to take classes to actually get any fitness results.
Choosing the best yoga studio
To find the best yoga studio for me, I took advantage of all the free trials on offer in my area. I went to five or six different studios before choosing the best one. As a beginner, it is important to get plenty of assistance from the instructor to help you achieve the correct alignment. So, I made sure to choose a yoga studio that had smaller classes with only 10 or so participants at most. Because I do shift work, I wanted a studio that offered classes throughout the day as well as the evening to suit my rotating schedule. And, of course, I wanted something budget friendly. Using these three criteria, it was easy to make a decision and find the best yoga studio for me.
Different styles of yoga
There are a variety of different styles of yoga. For beginners, I can recommend Hatha yoga. This is physical yoga (rather than breath yoga) that focuses on learning the different postures, building strength and developing flexibility. Detox yoga is also great for when you first start. It involves a lot of twists and stretches to help massage the digestive system.
After you gain a bit of confidence, Vinyasa classes are a great next step. These classes are more of a workout as they connect the breath to each movement in a faster paced flow. Yoga Wheel is also worth a try for developing strength and flexibility in your back. To keep things interesting, there is also a range of fusion classes that take elements of other fitness programmes like Pilates and barre to create more of a challenging workout.
My progress so far
Honestly, progress is a little slow and it took a while to see results but as I keep up my practice, I find it easier and easier to workout. To begin with, I was weak, inflexible and unfocused. After about six months of classes, I can now say I am somewhat stronger, far more flexible and continuing to improve my focus and overall fitness. One of the main benefits has been to my mental health. I now feel calmer and wake up in a good mood. Taking up yoga was definitely the right choice for me.