Nourishing Life: preparing for practice
Before we step foot in a studio, pop in a DVD, practice from a book for the first time, we need to prepare ourselves for yoga. We have tamed our yoga fear dragon (Stanley says hi!) and now it is time to get ready to practice. We’ve already done the biggest step in our preparation – facing our fears and self-doubt around yoga. You are amazing and I am so happy for you. It takes courage, real everyday courage, to take a risk on ourselves. You are to be applauded.
Gushing over. Let’s prepare to get our yoga on! Here are my Top Five Tips for preparing for yoga. These are practical suggestions, based on my own experiences, for getting the most out of your yoga practice. We’ll cover styles, teachers, studios, etc next week.
I really want this to be a growing and evolving list of tips for the new-to-yoga. Please share your tips below!
Without further ado, here are my favourite five Practical Tips for preparing to get your yoga on…
5. Consult your physician – Very important. Always let your physician know when you start a new physical activity. Do it. Yoga teachers are not health professionals. Take responsibility for your health and consult your physician before you start practicing yoga.
4. Ensure you are properly hydrated, but don’t drink too much water before yoga. You want an empty feeling in your belly or it will be uncomfortable to move with all that water sloshing around. I have heard from some yoga teachers not to drink water when you are practicing. I have heard from others that you should have a water bottle with you. I think that you are the best person to know whether you need a sip of water during practice. Listen to your body. Give it what it needs. If you’re going to try a studio, make sure water is allowed in the room before you bring it in.
3. Food – stop eating at least two to three hours before yoga. As with water, you want to practice on an empty stomach. Trust me on this. Its not pleasant to be bent over in a forward bend as you feel your lunch make its way back up. No food two to three hours before yoga. And that last meal or snack before you stop eating? Make it light. And avoid eating foods that give you gas. I don’t care if its natural (it is) – I don’t want to fart or be farted on in yoga class.
2. Dress your super fly self for yoga – that means make sure you are comfortable in what you’re wearing. Bend over and check the three B’s – boobs, belly & butt. All clear? We don’t want our junk hanging out. Buy clothes that are comfortable and sit somewhat close to the body. This allows you to move more freely. A big, baggy T-shirt works – but I find sometimes I’m too busy pushing the extra fabric out of the way when I could be holding my pose. I prefer capri yoga pants so I can see my feet easily. I found some nice plus size workout wear at Wal-mart recently – I really like them. Yoga is not a fashion show. I repeat – yoga is not a fashion show. It just plays one on TV.
1. Get a good mat – I’m not going to tell you which mat to buy. There are hundreds of brands of yoga mats on the market. When I first started practicing yoga I used a $22 mat from Costco. It was perfect. Sometimes I pull it out for old times sake. My point is – you don’t need to drop $100+ on a mat to get started with yoga. What you want to find is a mat that is designed for yoga (not a pilates mat), has some stick to it and isn’t paper thin. I recommend checking out Wal-mart or Target. You can always upgrade later.
What other tips do you have to share with those new to yoga?