Life (and work – in fact mostly work) has been so hectic the past month or two, but somewhere in all the madness I discovered vinyasa yoga, which has made everything easier to deal with somehow.
Working from home has many advantages. Working in pajamas is one of them, of course. The increased stress that comes from self-employment is sadly not. The idea of freelancing seems far easier than the reality. Deadlines, late paying clients, making ends meet and juggling numerous different projects, clients and schedules all at once is a very fast ticket to stress. I know this from personal experience, a number of times over. In fact, that hectic pace of life is one of the main reasons that I started this blog in the first place… I needed to regain my ‘zen’ so to speak. I needed to step back, reassess my life and simplify things drastically so that I could find the balance.
About a month or two ago, after recovering first from a broken ankle, and then a bad dose of glandular fever mixed in with a tonsil infection that took two rounds of antibiotics to heal, I had a wake-up call. Being unable to move/get around/do things is very different to making excuses about not moving/getting around/doing things. I had barely finished the last round of antibiotics before I got my eating habits cleaned up, started running again and started yoga again. Kundalini was a yoga that I had done before, so felt safe with that. But then I tried a yoga style that completely changed everything I thought I knew about yoga.
How Home Yoga Saved Me
Saved is maybe a strong word. Home yoga however – especially vinyasa flow – has had quite a strong impact though, so it is apt. Much like working from home, yoga from home takes a fair amount of discipline. At first, I did not even have a proper mat (see how much fun you have using a makeshift mat… I dare you). I used makeshift props, too. At first, I was able to make do with a few practices a week. My attempts at running made me realise that maybe, after getting my ankle healed, running was not ideal. My barre, cardio and HIIT workouts were fun. Yoga quickly became something altogether different. Soon, after-work vinyasa became essential to my very existence.
Headache? There are asanas for that. Bad cramps? Yup, asanas for that, too. Cold or fluish? DO YOGA. Sore tummy? Get on your mat. When I hurt my back doing something random (not during yoga), I found an amazing restorative yoga practice via my current favourite yoga channel on You-Tube, and do you know what? IT WORKED WONDERS.
I have reached that point of a new passion where annoying people relentlessly with yoga talk is a given. But even in a little over a month, I started noticing changes in my body, my health, my flexibility, my sense of calm and in my mood. Suddenly, I think I understand the #yogaeverydamnday hashtag.
How to Set Up a Home Yoga Practice
Want to do vinyasa yoga at home and reap the incredible rewards yoga has on your mind, body and soul? Here are some of my (totally non-expert) tips on setting up a home yoga practice.
– Invest in a yoga mat and blocks as soon as you can, but improvise in the meantime. Do not let the lack of props and equipment stop you. For the first few weeks I used a basic woven rug on top of a non-slip door mat thing. It was hard on the knees, but it worked. I used cushions, blankets and other random things as well.
– Find a time to get your yoga on, and stick to it. Much as I love the idea of morning yoga, after work ends up being far better for me. That way, I can end off the day on a good note, without losing out on my early morning coffee-and-Pinterest-in-bed ritual.
– There are some great free yoga classes on the web. You-tube vinyasa yoga channels that I love include Yoga With Adriene (current favourite channel – great classes, great teacher, great vibes); Brett Larkin (some are a bit intense, but that is good) and Fightmaster Yoga (make sure you choose practices in your level – the advanced classes get way too fast if you are still not there yet!). Yoga Download is another excellent resource if you like to download videos like I do to put them onto your TV.
– Try and do at least three practices a week, if not more. Seriously – unless you hate yoga and don’t enjoy the practice, you will want to do it as often as you can manage. Not all online yoga classes are long. Some are just half an hour; some are 40-45 minutes; some are an hour and some are a full 75 minutes. Even doing 10 minutes of yoga is better than nothing. The benefits that you get from all those stretches, inversions, inhales and exhales are usually felt immediately. Longer-term benefits will last indefinitely, especially if you make yoga a regular thing.
– Find a style of yoga that you love. Vinyasa flow is not for everyone, of course. Some people will prefer other styles – asthtanga, bikram, kundalini, hatha, yin yoga… there are a number of different types. You won’t know what you enjoy until you try different styles to see what fits.
You may find that going to classes is better for your lifestyle. You may find that adding home yoga to your class sessions does the trick. Or if you are like me, and living in a tiny country town where nary a studio can be found, you may find home yoga the only route to zen. You may be interested in the more spiritual side of yoga. You might be looking for gentle restorative yoga to help you get over an injury or illness. You might be keen to try a challenging vinyasa power flow session to shake things up. You may even find that yoga is not for you, but some other movement is.
Do not ever take your body for granted again however. Even with limitations, you can find ways to move. Without movement, it’s not only the body that pays the price, but the mind and the mood as well. And that alone is a very good reason to consider giving something like vinyasa yoga a try… for your mind, body and self.
Looking for more tips on getting started? Check out my mini guide to beginners yoga.