Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Stayfree via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Stayfree.
Yoga means so many things to so many different people. The great thing about yoga is that it is always there to remind you to be in the present moment. When I first started doing yoga it was little more than glorified stretching. As I continued my yoga practice I learned that I could use yoga in my daily life in various ways. I have attended numerous yoga studios, purchased various DVDs and have watched the transformation that yoga can offer become a reality for me. Now yoga is a positive and healthy escape for me when I need to step outside of my mind and into the present moment. There is never a time where I regret doing some yoga, even if it’s just for 10 minutes atop a mat I have rolled out in my garage.
In addition to the numerous health benefits that yoga can provide, from better flexibility, increased blood flow, and a host of other positive attributes, the most important to me is the clarity it brings. Deep in a pose I have to focus and stay present. Yoga has taught me to focus on my breathing, on the moment, and on what is truly important, the fact that we are breathing at all. It makes everything else seem a little less serious when times get stressful.
Many yoga purists will insist that you have to eat a certain way, dress a certain way, or adhere to their own brand of yoga lifestyle. Many of those things will come to you as a natural part of the yoga process and some will not, don’t let this sway you from reaping the many benefits that yoga provides.
Though I do suggest at least taking a few classes to learn some of the many yoga poses and the correct posture to get the full benefit of those poses. I also think the most important step is just to start in a way that you feel comfortable. If that means a DVD series after your children have gone to bed, so be it. There are few things that relax me better than a gentle yoga session to help me decompress from the day before I go to bed. I do some of my best thinking in “child’s pose” and I feel better and can rest with a clear mind.
Another one of the most important lessons that yoga has taught me is to be mindful. The philosophy of yoga can expand past the position you are in and into your daily life. Being aware and present in everything you do, to me, is the essence of yoga. It seems silly to consider the yoga of doing dishes, or the yoga of playing with your child, and perhaps I am expanding the definition beyond the intention of its creators, but this is my natural evolution of the process.
At times life can be extremely stressful and as silly as it may seem, taking a few moments to focus and concentrate on your breath, or to give yourself a deep stretch can be a huge benefit in how you react to the troubles life throws at you. Here are a few tips on how to integrate yoga into your everyday routine.
1. Start early. If you are like me, you wake up early before everyone else in your house. Instead of staring at your phone and pouring one cup of coffee after another, take this time to invest in yourself. Start the day with a clear mind, awakened senses, and a positive attitude. Flow through some poses you know, or follow along with a DVD.
2. Focus on your breath. Breathing is the thing that keeps us alive, yet we often take it for granted. I have noticed that just focusing on my breath, or practicing a breathing exercise forces me to be aware and focus on the present moment. Our minds can get clouded with unnecessary stress until it boils over. When we begin to feel this way just focus on the yoga of breath.
3. Take a class. Aside from the benefits of yoga, humans are social creatures. Sometimes in order to be present for our family we need a little time for ourselves. Meeting and making friends in a yoga class gives you a connection to other human beings. Even if it is just one night a week, you can learn to cherish and appreciate this time you have taken for yourself.
4. Fit it in when you can. The biggest thing people tell me about any fitness program is they don’t have the time. Evaluate what you are willing to cut in order to improve yourself through the yoga process. If you watch two hours of TV at lunchtime, consider watching one hour and practicing yoga for the other. You will soon find that you might not miss the television time and that you start looking forward to the yoga.
5. Learn the history, and find the yoga that is right for you. Yoga has a rich and impressive history that dates back many, many years. Its history is riddled with many traditions and interesting concepts on how you can live your life in a more positive and aware fashion. In addition to its interesting history, there are many different types of yoga. From the gentle “hatha yoga” to more challenging “flow yoga”, “Iyengar yoga” and so on, there is a place for everyone. Find a style, or sample them all, the most important step is the first one.
6. Be prepared. Whether you are buying a fitness outfit or making sure you have your Stayfree Ultra Thin Liners handy in your gym bag… it’s always important to be prepared and focused. You will find that you might have a much more enjoyable experience.
New year, new you! Yoga is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and who better to lead the yoga-lution than you. Inspired by athletic wear, Stayfree® pads feature flexible layers that move with your body from child’s pose to side crow. Visit http://www.stayfree.com/ to find which product best fits you or visit our Facebook to learn more about our mission. Also, don’t forget to use your Stayfree® purchase to get a 30-Day membership to My Yoga on Gaiam TV and access FREE yoga classes online now through March 12!
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