Several years ago I found myself in a yoga class at a gym in Washington, DC, absolutely miserable and unable to find balance while in an inverted v’ on my mat. My wrists hurt, I was shaking, I couldn’t focus and beads of sweat were rolling into my eyes thus making it difficult to see. It was the worst. Fast forward to now where not a week goes by without my having to plan much of my life around my yoga schedule. Each evening (and the occasional 6 AM class) I come to my mat to shed the wear and tear of the day at work. After having people talking at me for eight hours it’s nice to sit in silence. I have become one of those dreadful yoga people who talk softly about using their mat to find themselves. I don’t simply enjoy the vibrations of saying OM but join in with gusto. I talk about yoga all. of. the. time.
Since starting a very regular practice and sharing my process with friends and family via social media many have asked how I got to this place of (supposed) zen. Trust me when I say that my chakras are not in line and I cannot leap from a downward facing dog to bring my feet to my hands. Nice but no. What I have learned to do is look for flexibility, be more open and strive for balance but I can assure you that it is a work in a progress. I can also assure you that I will never be a teeny, tiny perfectly petite yogi but finding that acceptance is part of the process.
Now that it’s time for the new year, new you’ hoopla and people are looking for ways to incorporate some sort of fitness routine into their daily lives. Yoga is just as popular as ever with new styles and studios cropping up each day. 2014 is the perfect time to do a regular practice or try a class for the first time ever. I promise that you won’t die and many studios have beginner classes and emphasize making your practice your own. Here are a few things to get you started.
New Year, New Yoga Practice 1 of 12
Photo via Flickr User: Relaxing Music
Yoga Anatomy 2 of 12
$15.52 from Amazon
Via the Amazon.com description: "From breathing to inversions to standing poses, see how specific muscles respond to the movements of the joints; how alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness; and how the spine, breathing, and body position are all fundamentally linked." This is good if you are anything like me and curious as to how yoga affects your body.
Meditations from the Mat 3 of 12
$15.44 via Amazon
Via the Amazon.com description: "The 365 meditations included in this book offer a way to integrate the mindfulness that yoga teaches into everyday life. Whether used in the morning to set the tone for the day, during yoga exercise itself, or at the end of the day, during evening reflection, Meditations from the Mat will support and enhance anyone's yoga journey." This was recently recommended to me as I enjoy the reflection that comes from doing yoga. This is good to begin your daily practice.
Shiva Rea Daily Energy Vinyasa Flow Yoga 4 of 12
$8.75 via Amazon
Via Amazon.com: "Practicing yoga daily, even for a short time, can be more beneficial than a long, intense practice once in a while. By tuning your workout to your needs each day, you'll acquire balance, composure, and tranquility in your life. On a stressful day, try one of the lunar programs for relaxation; when you need to be at your best, opt for an energizing solar practice, or put the two together to build stamina and sculpt long, lean muscles." A friend recently asked about starting a home practice before going to a class. I suggested this DVD as it only requires 20 minutes a day. A short, daily practice is a great way to get started.
Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Beginners 5 of 12
$8.61 via Amazon
Via Amazon.com: "Yoga masters Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman demonstrate all the basic poses in a detailed
40-minute Pose Training session. Learn accurate alignment, technique and how to avoid the mistakes they see most often. Then, put those lessons into practice with two full-length workouts." This is another great DVD for an at home yoga practice.
Gaiam Mat 6 of 12
$14.99 - $25 via Amazon and Target
I'm often shocked by the number of people who show up to yoga and ask "Do I need a mat?" Yes. You will need a mat. The good news is that a basic mat is easily available at Target.
Old Navy Compression Tank 7 of 12
$8 via Old Navy
If you are anything like me and are well endowed then you will love this tank top by Old Navy. Not only does it keep your chest secure but it is also nice and long (think tunic). It's also on sale right now so grab one while they are $8!
Peace Beater Rib Tank 8 of 12
$29.99 via Athleta.com
Another great, basic tank top for yoga. I also like the bright color.
Old Navy Fold-Over Capris 9 of 12
$15.00 via Old Navy
I bought these because a) they're cheap (but still really good quality) and b) I like the little slit on the back of the calf. I have been living in these pants of late. Fair warning: Your butt might not look like that after a few times on your mat but don't give up!
Stay Present Legging 10 of 12
$69.99 via Lucy
I'm a sucker for yoga pants with a fun detail. I can't help it. I just purchased these pants and not only do they fit great but when you leave the studio and it's -4 outside, your legs won't freeze off. Win/win!
Hooded Yoga Coverup 11 of 12
$29.99 via Target
You know what I really like about yoga? The clothes. Might as well by this cute, lightweight wrap as a gift to yourself for stepping on your mat.
Yoga Layering Top 12 of 12
$24.99 via Target
A nice layering piece for going to and from yoga. Can also be worn around the house/errands/to walk the dog. Warm and comfy.
Keep the conversation going with Heather Barmore at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue, Twitter and Facebook.