I get a lot of questions regarding how I got into yoga and how others can get into it easily as well. For most, it would simply be checking out your local area for studios and picking a class to go to . . . BUT a lot of the individuals asking me these questions aren’t as mobile and able-bodied as most.
I’ve come across some really great resources online that can help you get into your own yoga practice. Prior to my disability, I did go to yoga classes at different studios depending on my location, but the last two years most of my practice has been developed off of these excellent sources.
Where do I even start?
If you’ve never practice yoga before, if you’re able, I’d suggest looking up local studios and booking a private lesson. Even if you don’t plan on going regularly to the studio, it helps to have a person there showing you exactly what to do and who is able to make adjustments while you’re in the poses. If you can’t or don’t want to, it’s not a problem. Just take your time, don’t push yourself too much and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
That’s the NUMERO UNO rule! Listen to your body. Your body is SO SO SO SO SO SOOOOOOO smart. Once we really tap into our inner wisdom we can open up a wealth of knowledge.
So, where do you start?
I’d say assess where you are right now. As of today.
Are you on crutches? Can you kneel? Can all your joints bear your weight?
It’s important to assess your mobility because you don’t want to over do it. You want your yoga practice to HELP your body, not HURT.
When I spent months in bed and wasn’t able to put weight on my leg I started with chair yoga. As I was able to bear weight I moved to my mat, eventually moving to standing poses (MONTHS later) and now I’m to the point where I can do about everything with the exception of balancing poses on just my left leg. Once you get into a routine you’ll start to find your limit and where you can extend yourself to. Remember, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
Just this month Yoga International published this post on Yoga Etiquette For New Students. If you plan on heading to a local studio and want to know a few ground rules before going, check it out! They also have a great article on 10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Yoga Class and The Beginner’s Guide To Home Yoga Practice.
So what are some web resources you can use to get into your own yoga practice at home?
There are seriously millions of people out there who are doing an amazing job putting out yoga related material for the masses. Some have videos, some have pictures and some have eCourses.
I’ve curated a Gentle Yoga youtube playlist of classes that I used to use when I was getting my groove back 😉 You’ll find lots of chair yoga classes, mat exercises and very gentle on the joint classes. My biggest issue is with my knee, so these were all classes that I found that I could do without putting pressure or strain on it.
So what if I’m in my 20’s and I’m doing yoga classes for senior citizens? It’s good for my body too! 🙂
There are a TON of classes in this wonderful resource library. You can search by level, duration, teacher, ect and find so many great flows.
3. Youtube, Youtube, YOUTUBE!
There are SO MANY amazing yoga instructors on youtube that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few to mention. I started following Erin Motz with Do You Yoga and did her 30-Day Yoga Challenge with Erin Motz back in 2013. I was hooked. I love her – she’s so sweet and easy to follow along with. Just this past year she released a new yoga platform called My Yoga Pro. It’s a platform that you’ll need to pay to have access to, but so far I’m loving it! I helped fund her kickstarter so I was one of the first people to test out the site. She has all kinds of different courses and classes. You get badges when you finish different courses and can interact with the community – kind of like Facebook! Once you get into your yoga routine and are looking for something more, definitely check it out!
Below are 4 examples of great yoga channels on youtube and an example class that they have posted!
4. Do an Instagram Challenge!
Every month there are a TON of different yoga challenges held on instagram. Each one is aimed at a different level, but each pose is always described in length in the post. Usually they are just pictures of the poses, not video. So once you become comfortable and can understand by just looking at photos, you should start! To locate the challenges I always search #YogaChallenge near the end of the month or at the beginning of the month. Usually they’re month-long challenges so logically that’s when new ones would be starting. I know that more and more accounts are popping up dedicated to throwing this information out there, but there isn’t a specific one I tend to check. Once you get into a challenge you’ll make insta friends with the other challengers and once you start to friend them you’ll start to see more and more challenges pop up on your feed! It’s addicting!!!!!!!
5. Search Online & Find Classes!
There really are unlimited resources on the web for developing your own yoga practice at home. The key is to know what to search. If you’d like to do your own searches and find some more resources take the following terms into account – they’re what I usually search to get the results I’m looking for.
Chair Yoga – (Also known as Yoga for Senior Citizens, Elderly Yoga)
“Chair yoga is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so that they can be done while seated in a chair. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who cannot stand or lack the mobility to move easily from standing to seated to supine positions. Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual postures are retained, no matter the stance of the practitioner. While seated on chairs, students can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends. In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other health benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, better breathing habits, reduction of stress, better sleep, and a sense of well-being.” (About Health, Chair Yoga)
Restorative Yoga –
“Restorative yoga provides healing for the body and the mind. It is especially useful when you need to eliminate fatigue and stress that result from your daily activities. It can also help you recover from illness and injury or overcome emotional depression and anxiety that are caused by traumatic events such as divorce, loss of job and death of a beloved.
It is known that restorative yoga can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which enables automatic control of the body. As such, the regular nervous system will be at rest, and the muscles will become more relaxed. Constant practice of restorative yoga will make your body less vulnerable to stress-related illnesses and help you achieve optimal health.” (What Is Restorative Yoga, Fit Day)
Yin Yoga –
“Yin Yoga has the same goals and objectives as any other school of yoga; however, it directs the stimulation normally created in the asana portion of the practice deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues (which we are calling the yang tissues). Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of asana practice.” (What Is Yin Yoga, YinYoga.com)
Gentle Yoga –
“Gentle yoga is a hidden gem of a yoga style. Not only is it appropriate for a wide spectrum of practitioners, contrary to popular belief, a gentle class isn’t necessarily an “easy” one. It does move at a slow and steady pace. Asanas are primarily floor-based, reclined or seated with few, if any, standing poses. In general, poses will be held for a short or moderate length, with props available for assistance. You will work, but at a low-intensity level…For beginners, a gentle class is a wonderful alternative to Yoga Basics. The moderate pace creates an accessible environment for students with less yoga experience. That said, continuing yogis will also benefit from a gentle class” (so what is gentle yoga all about, Tara Charney)
Yoga for Beginners –
This key word search is kinda self explanatory 😛 haha!
However you get into doing yoga, just do it! Having an at home practice really does wonders for the mind, body and spirit. As I progressed, my confidence went up. And as my confidence went up, all the negatives in my life seemed a little less important. It’s amazing at how something we do continuously, everyday (breathing!) can make such a huge impact on our lives. Taking a few minutes everyday to tune into ourselves and work on our inner beauty can help chronic illness and wellness alike!
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
Want to learn more about creating a meditation practice? Check out these two past posts:
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