Yoga is an incredible way to strengthen and support your mind-body-spirit connection. The combination of breath, movement, and mindfulness is especially powerful. Not only does it help you increase your flexibility, core strength, balance and mobility, studies have even shown physical improvements in blood pressure, heart disease, digestion and sleep. And that’s in addition to psychological improvements in both stress management and symptoms of depression.
When we quiet our minds and center our bodies, it is amazing what they will tell us about our deepest needs and brightest possibilities. Yoga gives us a chance to really listen.
Whether you are a beginner, a mom, or perhaps both, it always helps to be prepared with some tips and tricks to make the most of your yoga experience from the very beginning. Of course that starts with finding the style of yoga practice that works best for you. There are many forms of yoga – with varying levels of intensity and difficulty – but some of the best for beginners are hatha, iyengar, kundalini, vinyasa, and yin (aka restorative) yoga.
Of course, you can always just join me on the BB Body app, a LIVE stream, or even one of my in-person classes or retreats, and we can walk through the poses and breaths together! I’m here for you!
Before you get started, here are some of my favorite tips for hitting the yoga mat ready and able to be your best.
Staying hydrated is always important, but it is even more so when we are exercising. Unlike other forms of exercise, a water break mid yoga session will disrupt our physical and mental flow. So it’s better to arrive hydrated (and with an empty bladder) to ensure we can stay comfortably in the moment. Of course, you should still bring along a water bottle for afterward!
Yoga should be relaxing and comfortable, even when we are pushing ourselves. That means dressing in clothes that allow us to feel confident and move freely. It also means arriving early to set up, so that we don’t feel rushed, with our yoga mat, small towel, blocks or straps, and anything else we might need in tow. Here are some of my favorites:
State of Mind
Yoga can be truly transformative and that experience begins in your brain before we ever move our body into the first pose. That’s why we should take a minute to get settled, silence our inner dialog, and relax before class begins. We should also make a conscious choice to let go of judgment and expectations and just be in the moment. Try to avoid comparing ourselves to others, or even ourselves on other occasions. This moment is all that matters.
Because breathing is typically something we do completely unconsciously, we often forget that it is actually a tool we can use for our own benefit. When we actively control our breathing, taking deep breaths in and out through our noses, we take control of our autonomic system and begin to release stress, tension, and negativity. In or out of yoga, this is a great tip for centering and calming yourself when the need arises. Incorporating breathwork into your self-care routine is absolutely life-changing. I promise!
Relax before you begin. Relax into each pose. Relax when you are done. This process of releasing expectations, tensions, and thoughts is key to unleashing the power of yoga. And it means pausing the noise and demands of the outside world long enough for us to refocus, recenter, and reconnect with ourselves. At the end of our session, we should hold in savasana – the state of being awake but completely relaxed – and enjoy the peace and quiet for a few extra minutes. Our busy lives will still be waiting when we leave.
The Why of Yoga
While positive health and wellness practices are obviously a good thing for everyone, moms definitely have some special needs when it comes to energy, flexibility, mobility, and longevity. Not only are we dependent on our bodies, but we have little ones who are counting on us being there for them, too.
Yoga is a wonderful way for us to practice self-care on multiple levels at once. It empowers us to strengthen our minds and our muscles at the same time. It provides us with an opportunity to nurture our mental, physical, and spiritual connections. And it supports our personal growth so that we can be our best selves for ourselves and for our families.
If you are a beginner, don’t feel intimidated. You are welcome and wanted here. We’re all on this journey together.
Let’s stretch to meet the moment!