Checklist For Starting Yoga

Yoga can be pretty intimidating. I know because for many years I was too afraid to try it. But now I practice it every morning for 10 to 20 minutes and I feel so much better about starting my day. Yoga will make you feel healthier, more positive and comes with a laundry list of other wellness benefits.

One of the hardest things to do is to just get started. I’ve taken classes over the years but I find it hard to commit to going. I’m much more likely to practice if I do yoga on my own time. I love learning with my virtual instructor — Esther Ekhart. She has a YouTube channel with many yoga videos that you must try. She’s very soothing and gentle.

For those of you who want to try yoga but don’t know how to get going — this checklist is for you. It was written by a yoga instructor from named Susie Lopez. Bent on Learning is a wonderful program that is bringing yoga to New York City public school children.

Getting Started with Yoga Checklist

by Susie Lopez

Once you start doing yoga you will begin to feel its myriad benefits; relaxation, focus, increased energy, strength and flexibility are just a few starters. You may even feel like you want to teach yoga to others, in which case is a great site to give you details on teacher training. Deeper still, the practice of yoga can stimulate our vagus nerve, a sensory transmitter for “feeling good” which begins at the base of our brain and is connected to our major internal organs; lung, heart, stomach etc. When this nerve is firing not only do we feel content, safe and at peace but a signal is sent back requesting we do more of what made that nerve respond in the first place! Essentially, practicing yoga makes us feel so good that … we want to do more yoga.

Your Yoga Checklist

Equipment: Make sure you have a mat, colors and sizes abound, but I prefer something not too squishy for better balance in standing poses. Gaiam makes great options. As you are at home, it may be nice to have a light blanket to cover your body during savasana (laying down and taking rest), even a rolled up hand towel can be a perfect eye pillow for extra relaxation.

Special yoga clothing is not needed but it is necessary to have comfortable clothing that stretches. A baggy t- shirt distracts, it will hang over your head in down dog and expose your belly in inversions. You might also want to purchase some colourful yoga pants.

One piece of equipment you do not need? Your phone! Turn it off, if you can.

Space: Chose a place in your home that has an even, clean floor and is free of drafts. Decide whether you would like to practice with music or any other items to “vibe up” your space like incense or a candle.

Time: Chose a time that the house will be relatively free of distractions. It could be when you wake up, when the kids are at school or if practicing with them, perhaps a Saturday morning. Stick to that time, make it regular but know that when life throws a schedule curve, even a 5 to 10 minute practice can change your day for the better!

Practice: If you are following a video, feel free to pause it when you need to work on something, remember this is your practice, the video should be seen as a guide. If you are doing self practice, fantastic! Remember to always be conscious of maintaining your breath and know even for regular practitioners, it’s hard to stay on the mat and focus, a little music and patience go a long way. A great first practice is 5 Sun Salute A and 5 Sun Salute B. Enjoy!

Practice every day and all will come your way.

Susie Lopez strives to enhance the lives of inner-city students across all five boroughs of New York City. She has been dedicated to yoga for the past decade and practices at Ashtanga Yoga in New York. Being as dedicated as she is to Yoga she joined Bent on Learning, which was established in 2001.

Susie Lopez has created a DVD called Look Up Yoga. She also co-founded FIVE for Kids. FIVE for Kids, founded by Tamra Davis, consists of five simple lesson plans built around our food pyramid. FIVE for Kids helps students foster a healthy relationship with food and empowers them to make positive choices.

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