As you approach the end of 2020, do you find yourself wondering what you can do different in the coming year to practice being present in the moment? I’ve seen so many people ask themselves this question, including myself. For longer than I can remember, I’ve had family and friends both comment on the fact that I’m “always busy.” True. For far too long, that “busy” feeling permeated my life, so that even when alone in silence, my mind was filled with “busy” thoughts… an endless list of to-so’s or forgot-to’s. The only time I seemed to escape the noise was in my yoga practice. Curious if yoga is for you? Now might be the perfect time to try it! This time of year can wreak havoc on a lot of people for different reasons… the stress of the holidays, seasonal affective disorders and not to mention that we’re still in 2020, after all, and the entire year has been pretty bonkers, to say the least! If you have no idea where to start with a home practice, you’re not alone. One of the most common statements I hear from people who’ve never tried yoga before is that they are just not “flexible enough” to try it. So, I’m here to tell you that yoga is much more than a physical practice, and it’s available to everyone regardless of your age, gender and agility. The beauty of yoga is that it’s YOUR practice, unique to your own needs and ability. I’m going to tell you how you can cultivate a space at home to begin your own at-home practice and direct you to various online instructors to get you started on your yoga journey, if you choose it.
I first discovered yoga in a college PE/Dance class. The instructor finished each of our sessions with a yoga sequence. I found that yoga channeled my focus in a way that took me out of ME. When I finished college, I forgot about yoga. Several years later, when I was pregnant with my third son, I became unable to run or do heavy workouts, and I remembered how much I’d enjoyed yoga. At first, I found some at home videos to practice with, but then I learned of a tiny studio in a nearby business complex. That studio was the tiny seed that began my yoga journey. Eventually, our community grew to accept the practice of yoga, and now there are several studios to choose from. What happened for me when I embraced yoga as a practice, is that I began to recognize that the practice taught me to be patient with myself, helped me embrace humility not just in my physicality, but in my ability in all things. I practiced where I could for several years. There was a point however, when the practice wasn’t enough, and I craved the knowledge of the yogic philosophy and understanding of the anatomical structures, so that I could have the confidence to lead my own practice without someone else’s guidance. After contemplating for about three years, I enrolled in a teacher training course at a local studio and attained my RYT 200 teacher certification. The nine-month course was a blessing. I made terrific friendships and deepened my love of yoga through inquiry and practice. Having a greater understanding of anatomy, sutras, and the yoga postures (asanas) has enabled me to practice on my own and in any setting I choose. Learning the yogic philosophies has balanced and enhanced my life in so many ways, including managing the stresses of work life.
In the real estate business, whether intentional or not, I’ve been conditioned to be reactive and think reactively. By that, I mean that we learn to anticipate problems and pre-empt them and address them head on. That anticipation comes from experience, which is a blessing, but it can also be a curse when your mind doesn’t shut down long enough for you to recharge. One of the key components of a yoga practice is the use of breath as a guide in the fluidity of movement. The most essential part of our physical being is breath… life itself. Tapping into the use of breath during our day to day living and handling of stress is essential to our peace of mind.
If any of this has encouraged you to explore a yoga practice, I am here to say, go for it! You have nothing to lose, but much to gain. Cultivating a home space for you to practice isn’t as hard as you think. No designated room, no worries. Although, I have a specific room at home for our family’s workouts, I don’t always feel drawn to practicing in that space. Sometimes, I plop my mat on my bedroom floor facing the corner window where I can look down at the maple tree outside our window. Other times, it’s in front of the fireplace, or on the back porch. Lately, I like settling in front of the Christmas tree in the living room with only the soft lights of the tree or candlelight to cast a warm glow over my practice. Just simply go where it feels good that day.
Now more than ever, there’s a plethora of online venues and apps for yoga instruction. For me personally, I enjoy leading my own practice, but sometimes I crave someone else’s leading, and so I split my practice. There are a few instructors I follow on YouTube, and my home studio, I Am Yoga Studio offers several live-stream classes daily, as well as an Online Library. If you’re local to where I live, check them out! They offer several styles suited to different levels and preferences and the teachers are fantastic. https://www.iamyogastudio.com/
Here are seven of the YouTube channels I follow that you might like as well. Keep in mind that these instructors offer different styles and levels, so if you’re starting out, you’ll need to find that level that suits you best. You may not even like these particular channels, so don’t be afraid to search out others. Maybe you are aware that you have a physical limitation, so perhaps you want to explore chair yoga. Yoga with Kassandra below offers a class titled Gentle Chair Yoga for Beginners and Seniors.
- Ekhart Yoga – https://www.youtube.com/c/Ekhartyoga
- Yoga with Kassandra – https://www.youtube.com/c/yogawithkassandra
- Yoga with Tim – https://www.youtube.com/c/yogawithtim
- Boho Beautiful – https://www.youtube.com/c/bohobeautiful
- Yoga with Adrienne – https://www.youtube.com/c/yogawithadrienne
- Cat Meffan – https://www.youtube.com/c/CatMeffan
- Tara Stiles – https://www.youtube.com/user/TaraStilesYoga
My yoga practice as a whole has given me a greater sense of peace and a tool set from which to pull from whenever I’m faced with the smallest of daily challenges. I believe when we set out on our yoga journey, it won’t look like someone else’s. Each of us is unique, and the experience will reflect that. I encourage you to explore. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via email at email@example.com. I’m passionate about yoga and would love to encourage you on your personal yoga journey!