In addition to my current cardio routine consisting of spin class 3-4 times per week, I've started attending a yoga class about twice per week and have really started to look forward to it! I'm by no means new to this form of exercise, but I've definitely stepped up my frequency and am already noticing improvements in my balance, flexibility, and overall muscle strength.
If you are interested in making yoga part of your weekly routine, check out YouTube for some free videos to practice with in the comforts of your own home [Tara Stiles' vids, below, are pretty easy to follow.] Or if you already have a gym membership that offers group exercise classes, try out the yoga class and see what you think!
What to know:
- Get your own mat! They are so cheap at TJ Maxx, Marshall's, etc. [Mine was $10!] Also, make sure you clean it regularly to prevent bacterial infection. Tea Tree oil or good ol' soap and water will do the trick. Class-shared mats are rarely [if ever]cleaned, and you don't know who used it before you!
- Wear flip flops. Yoga is best done barefoot. Flip flops allow you to slip your shoes off easily without dealing with socks and shoe laces.
- Wear fitted pants, leggings, or capris. Do yourself and the class a favor and don't wear shorts [especially loose-fitting ones.] Many of the positions might give people around you a view that they may wish they hadn't seen.
- Fitted tops are also best, since positions such as downward dog mean you will be upside down. Don't flash the class!
- Be in the right mindset. Even if you are stressed, upset, etc. try to free your mind as much as you can and just be in the moment. You will feel so relaxed once class is over.
- Modify! If a certain position pains you beyond tolerance or you just haven't developed the balance to sustain it yet, your instructor should be showing you modifications to the positions that make them slightly easier and help you work your way up to the real deal.
- Bring a friend! It's always so much better when you know there's someone else in class with you keeping you accountable and vice versa. Personally, I'm much more likely to keep a good exercise schedule when I'm going with someone else.
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Do you practice yoga regularly? What is your favorite benefit?