6 Steps To Starting Your Own Yoga Practice

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When I started my yoga teacher training, we were taught that our personal yoga practice was about letting go of judgment and competition.  This was probably the MOST IMPORTANT thing I could learn.  When I started, yoga was unfamiliar and I felt very self-conscious and intimidated.  I quickly learned that I needed to let these feeling go and accept that it was MY journey.  I had only one place to start – as a beginner.

Letting go of competition means you stop comparing yourself to others during your practice.  Everybody will look slightly different in the same pose because every body is different.  Your goal is to make every yoga pose fit your body and not try to fit your body into a yoga pose. Never force, push or shove yourself into a pose.  It’s important to know your flexibility and fitness level.   Challenge yourself to your own limits and don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  You are on your own personal journey of improvement.

Letting go of judgement means to not have an exception of what you “should” be able to do in each class.  Today you may be super bendy and find yourself going deeper into poses than usual and tomorrow you may find you are not.  Today you may have great balance and find each pose easy to hold, tomorrow you may not.  That is ok.   

It is called a “yoga practice” because that is exactly what you do – practice.  Think long-term.  Are you getting stronger, more flexible and more balanced over 6 months or a year?  Change doesn’t happen overnight.  Be patient.

6 Steps To Starting Your Yoga Practice

  1. Find a GREAT STUDIO that makes you feel welcome and comfortable.  Some places will allow you a free trial class.  If you can, try it out before you commit.  This is a great way to meet the instructor and the students.  You want to be in a class that leaves you feeling physically challenged, refreshed, centred and happy.

  2. Find the RIGHT TYPE OF CLASS.  There are many styles of yoga.  A Hatha class can be a good place to begin because it provides an introduction to the basic yoga poses in a low key setting.  Vinyasa can also be a good starting point.  It tends to be a more vigorous style based on the performance of a series of poses called sun salutations, where movement is matched to your breath.  Hot yoga or Power yoga are probably not the best place to begin unless you are already very physically fit.

  3. Invest in a GOOD YOGA MAT.  Some studios supply mats and others do not.  There is something empowering about having your own mat.  It becomes your sanctuary for a peaceful retreat from the world. It’s a familiar and comforting place where you can escape your stress and find inner peace.  It is also a great way to continue your yoga practice at home.  The most important aspects of a good mat include adequate cushioning (while still being firm) and a non-slip surface.  Yoga stores will give you the best options.

  4. Start your class with the PROPER MINDSET.  This is your yoga practice.  You will become stronger today.  You will become more flexible today.  You will increase your longevity and improve your health.  Do not look around the room at everyone else.  Just focus on yourself and be aware of what you feel in each pose.  Be inside your own personal oasis on your mat.

  5. Stay in the PRESENT MOMENT.  Focus on your breath.  Be very mindful of what you are doing.  When you feel your mind wandering to your to-do list or what’s for dinner, stop yourself and re-focus.

  6. Keep a JOURNAL.  Write down how you feel after each class.  Record how you feel emotionally and physically.  Track improvements in your flexibility, balance and strength.  Celebrate your accomplishments and regularly look back to see how far you’ve come.

I’ve read a quote that says “Yoga adds years to your life and life to your years”.  Your body will thank you for beginning a yoga practice.  You have nothing to lose and A LOT to gain.

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5 Post-Holiday Slim Down Tips

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With all the delicious food that’s available over the holidays, it’s so easy to over-indulge.  If you have, you may feel a little bloated and your clothes a little tight.  Now you want to feel skinny fast!  Here are 5 slim down tips, along with a secret weight loss recipe 🙂

#1 – Start eating regularly throughout the day

It may seem logical to skip meals so that you can save on calories but your body doesn’t work that way.  You will become uncontrollably hungry and you’ll end up over-eating and making bad choices in the end.

Your blood sugar begins to fall after 3 hours without eating.  After 4 hours you’ve digested everything you ate earlier.  Once you’ve crossed the 5-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel.

Aim for 3 meals a day with 2 small snacks (morning and afternoon).  Include veggies and protein with each meal.  The veggies will give you fibre that will fill you up.  Foods with protein (even vegetarian options) will slow down digestion and satiate you for longer.

#2 – Stay hydrated – avoid alcohol, fancy coffee and soda 

Stick to herbal teas and water

If you don’t drink enough water, you may think you are hungry when you are actually thirsty.  This will lead to increased calorie consumption.   Plus, mild dehydration will reduce your metabolism.  A study in “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” from 2003, showed that metabolic rate increases by 30 percent after drinking 2 cups of water.”

If you feel inexplicably hungry an hour after eating a meal, try having a drink of water or an herbal tea (not black tea or coffee as it doesn’t hydrate you in the same way) and see if the feeling passes.

I love sipping on a good glass of wine and I know a lot of you do too.  Wine is not something that we have to give up permanently but in order to shake off the extra holiday pounds we need to eliminate it for a few days.  When we drink wine, our body stops the fat-burning and calorie-burning processes and focuses on metabolizing the alcohol.

Wine has 7 calories per gram (ounce).  To put that into perspective, protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram so you can see that it is calorie dense.  Wine does not satisfy hunger but actually increases your appetite.  To slim down quick we need to avoid it temporarily.

Fancy coffees and soda (along with juice) will add sugar to your diet.  It is just empty calories that offer no nutrition – it just adds fluff to your waistline.

 

#3 – Eliminate sugar for at least 3 days

Sugar has nothing good to offer your body.  I’ve seen it labelled the “anti-food”.  It is calories with no nutrition.  Sugar leads to weight gain, imbalanced hormones and immune deficiency.  Eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners will allow your hormones to become balanced and your body to start shedding excess weight.

If you are dying for something sweet to satisfy that craving, try frozen grapes, figs or almond butter (natural, whole foods).  But be careful not to overindulge.  I’m speaking from experience – a soup spoon full of almond butter is NOT a good idea!!

If you are ready to CRUSH your weight loss goals this year, check out my 28-Day LOVE YOUR BODY Transformation Program.  

Click Here to Read More

 

#4 – Get back to your regular exercise program

Get back into your HIIT workouts.  High-Intensity Training is FAR better for fat-burning than conventional aerobics.

Here’s proof that HIIT training is THE BEST:

Participants in a study were divided into two teams. Group A did 20 weeks of conventional aerobics and Group B did 15 weeks of HIIT.  Group A burned 48 percent more calories DURING the workout than the HIIT group, but Group B burned 900% MORE FAT in 15 weeks than Group A burned in 20 weeks.

This goes to show that the EPOC (exercise post-oxygen consumption) is huge AFTER your workout.  Your metabolism is on fire for hours after an intense HIIT workout.  This makes HIIT the best choice for boosting your metabolism and shedding fat.

Click Here to go to my Two-Week Tone Up Videos

 

#5 – Fill your meals with unprocessed, whole foods.

Choose, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, fresh fruit and vegetables.  Design your plate with a palm-sized serving of protein, 1/2 cup whole grains and 2 cups of vegetables.

Tip for eating out:
If you are eating out at a restaurant, ask for a doggie bag before your meal comes.  Place 1/3-1/2 of it in the doggie bag before you start to eat.  This keep you from over-indulging and will give you lunch for tomorrow 🙂

 

Weight Loss Leek Soup Recipe

Here is a recipe from Tosca Reno that will help restore balance to your body.  It will assist your body in eliminating the bloated feeling you have and shed excess water.

Drink this soup as often as you’d like for 3 days.  One cup is one serving.

Ingredients:

  • 6 good-sized leeks
  • 1 fist-sized onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and passed through a garlic press
  • 6 cups of water

Directions:

  1. Chop and rinse leeks.  Place looks in a soup kettle or large saucepan.
  2. Add chopped onion and garlic to leeks.  Add 6 cups water.  If vegetables are not totally covered, add more water
  3. Bring soup to a boil on the stove.  Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and puree mixture using an immersion blender or a high-speed blender.  Do not add seasoning or salt.
  4. Serve soup hot.  Store in refrigerator for 3 days.

 

CRUSH your weight loss goals this year, check out my

28-Day LOVE YOUR BODY Transformation Program.  

Click Here to Read More