Yoga can be intimidating. Yoga can be expensive. Yoga can be bizarre. However, everyone keeps ranting and raving about how it’s something that you’ve “got to try” right? First of all, yoga is not the end-all, be-all for everyone. I know that sounds crazy coming from a yoga teacher and someone who is personally obsessed with it, but seriously, there are many people who do not enjoy it
and that’s OK! I am a firm believer that in order to make exercise, health, & wellness a lifestyle and not a chore, you have to enjoy it. Period.
I started doing yoga in college. But let me clarify that…I started doing yoga at the
YMCA…where I worked the front desk. Not the most glamorous of beginnings. However, I was lucky to have good teachers that sparked my interest. If you’re curious about trying yoga, I would suggest a Google search of local studios. Look at their class schedule and find one that is labeled “Community Class.” These are typically discounted classes and open to all levels of practitioners. In other words, this is a cheap and easy way to get your feet wet and to see if it is something you might actually enjoy one day.
Don’t be intimidated by yoga. It is a subculture that can be a little nuts, plain and simple. If you approach every class with an open mind, you should be fine. Every teacher is different and if you have a bad experience your first time, try another class, studio, and/or teacher. Do not let that one negative experience taint all yoga for you. Luckily studios usually rotate instructors for their community classes.
So, you loved it?!
Great, that’s what I expected. This is where it gets tricky. As soon as I realized I loved yoga, I immediately became a little discouraged. $15+ a class!? I was a poor college student eating chips and salsa for almost every meal…it was a no go.
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This is where I had to get creative. Enter the world of podcasts. iTunes has a pretty amazing selection of free podcasts that can be fabulous . Here are a few of my favorites:
Power Flow Yoga with Sean and Karen Conley
There are many others that I used—go browse! For a couple years living abroad (i.e. being broke!) I would consistently practice at home, supplementing with a studio class every couple weeks. This is attainable! Also, you’ve probably noticed I have not mentioned anything about yoga dvds. I’m not a fan…these do not create a real yoga class environment. They are oddly staged and it is not at all like a studio class. I love podcasts because they’ve simply plopped a microphone down into a real, live yoga class somewhere. It’s like I’m there…but not.
The Next Step?
Ok. So you’ve been doing podcasts and you still love yoga (of course you do!) From here, I got real creative. While living in Edinburgh
for graduate school (again, still
no money), I found a wonderful yoga studio that was full of great people. I went to a few classes to try it out (again, every studio, teacher, & class is different). Studios are always looking for ways to cut overhead costs. So I began to clean the studio
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twice a week (studio floors can get gross…fast) in exchange for classes. Many studios offer this kind of exchange and it never hurts to ask.
From here I ended taking this concept to the extreme, working full-time in administration at a large studio in Austin, Texas where I was able to attend an infinite number of classes for free. That
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may not be for you. I suggest (if you can afford it) taking a class a week (or maybe a month) while subscribing to YogaGlo.
YogaGlo has changed my life. Since subscribing in November 2012, I have completed over a hundred classes and my practice has completely transformed. The
HD video is flawless, the sound quality is amazing, and the instructors are world class. It is $18 a month, but they offer a two week free trial. I eventually was able to get the funds together to do my teacher training. However, I live in
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a rural community about 30 minutes outside of a major city. It’s an ordeal to make studio classes work and this service has bridged the gap. They have all different kinds of yoga available(which
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is another article of its own. Again, try some classes, see what works for you!
I could babble forever about yoga and the endless roads towards “enlightenment.”
[Tweet “Yoga doesn’t have to be intimidating, expensive, or bizarre, you just have to be creative.”]
For example, you do not need a $60 tank top, an old tshirt with the collar and sleeves cut off works just fine. So you can’t do that crazy pretzel thing with your legs? Who cares?!? 99.9% of the world doesn’t even know what you’re stressing about!
I love yoga and think that it is a game changer both for physical and mental health. Hopefully you find ways to bring it into your life (if it interests you). These are simply the things that worked for me. In addition to podcasts and online videos, I highly recommend the following books:
Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
30 Essential Yoga Poses: For Beginning Students and their Teachers by Judith Lasater
The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga by Kathryn Budig
Go forth and stretch!
*Photography by Allie Lehman
3 thoughts on “Yoga: Where to Start?”
I started doing hot yoga in 2006 and loved the studio I went to. They even had a holiday get together for all their patrons. This was a nice way to meet people that had common interests. Then I moved and had a hard time finding a studio that was a good fit. I certainly have to yoga hop at a few studios before I usually find a class or instructor that works. For myself, I can say that Bikram is not my cup of tea. Although yoga can be a very personal practice but I enjoy practicing with other people around me. Doing it at home just wouldn’t be the same. To get more affordable classes, I am always on the lookout for exchange programs, where you can help out the studio by helping with registration or at the front desk in exchange for classes.
Love this! Yoga has always been really challenging for me, but I’ve always recognized how important it can be. I think I’ll give it another go!