I couldn’t image my life without my yoga practice. It’s a constant that I rely on for both physical and metal improvement. Thinking back to when I was a newbie, I wish I had known a few things before I stepped onto my mat at my first class. But first…
Let us begin…
History of Yoga
Many children who are growing up in India are taught by their parents to say, Namaste (“num-us-teh” as pronounced in India) as a respectful greeting and salutation to their elders.
In the Hindu religion, people greet one another by bringing their own two palms together at their chest level, and saying Namaste as they are bowing their head.
While saying Namaste to your elders is considered good manners for greeting and saying goodbye in India, we have grown to use it somewhat differently in America.
Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”
Yoga teachers in America typically use this Sanskrit phrase as they place their hands together at their heart, close their eyes, and bow. They may use it with their students at the end of the yoga practice, or at the beginning and the end of the class. Sound familiar?!
While there are many similar variations of the definition of Namaste, it basically conveys to the other person that you are acknowledging that they are of prime importance and that you pay homage to them. The touching palms representing the minds meeting, the bow symbolizing a gracious way of offering friendship in love and humility to each other.
“I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is love, of truth, of light, and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.”
“When we pause and feel, we become more open, more receptive to the possibility that there is another way of thinking that is not our own.” Aadil Palkhivala, Master Yoga Teacher
Even table-flipping, Teresa Giudice, has spoken about how she has welcomed new meditative practices into her life. That doesn’t mean we might not ever see her turning over tables again, but hopefully her new yoga practices help to keep peaceful and spiritual channels open so that she can continue to receive grace, love, and happiness into her life. Isn’t that what we all want and need?
There are so many body, mind, and spiritual benefits that come with practicing yoga.
If I know I can’t fit a yoga class into my schedule, I practice awareness, mindfulness, breathing, and sending out and receiving good vibes. I can do this on my own in the morning, on a lunch break, or before I go to bed.
In our busy schedules, it’s really important that we recognize that we can practice, specific parts or all of, the yoga foundations from virtually anywhere.
So, don’t be embarrassed to head to the local park during lunch and sit on the grass, by the water fountain, or even in your car, to take part in these mindful practices that benefit your present state and your higher being.
Be open and try some basic yoga fundamentals with me now!
Just find a quiet place.
Sit tall with your shoulders back and your heart open.
Place your hands on your thighs,
palms facing up to receive and spread the most positive energy.
Close your eyes.
Now, take a few long and deep breaths.
Breathing in through your nose,
holding that breath at the top
and then exhale all of the stale air out.
Continue doing this until you feel a comforting sensation of relaxation come over you.
Do you feel a little calmer, more present, and peaceful?
This is just the warm up. Something to motivate you to letting go and being open to healthy practices that will help you to manifest peace, love, and success.
I promise by the end of this article, you’ll leave feeling a lot more present, and more open to channeling your energy to bring positivity into to your life and the world.
You’ll also reap all of the physical benefits of practicing yoga too! Who says you have to run marathons, or do the latest high-impact workout craze to rock that bikini body?!
Yoga strengthens and lengthens your muscles so you look strong, yet slender.
For someone like me who easily builds up leg muscles, this is a great way to stay fit!
Photo Credit: Baba Studios
Tips to get you started with yoga
- Wear comfortable and light clothes (yoga pants, shorts, tank, sports bra). You’re not in the weightlifting section of your gym, yogis don’t care about how you look, it’s about your spirit! So, don’t cover up in thick, full length Champion sweatpants because you’ll feel like passing out as soon as you enter the room. No joke.
- Buy a good length and quality mat and yoga towel
- Put your hair up, but not so that it interferes when you have to place your head on the floor.
- Space yourself out in class so that you have enough room between you and the next person.
- Position yourself so you can see yourself in the mirror as it can help you to focus and balance. Don’t be afraid to move your mat if someone comes into class at the last minute and cluelessly sits directly in front of you. This is not the venue for a cat fight lol just breath and gently move over.
- Lie there after class and take a few minutes more to stay present in this transcending state. Get up slowly.
- Bring everything you need to take a shower. Yes, your clothes will literally become one with you after 90 minutes of hot yoga. Bring a change of clothes, a towel, flip flops, soap and shampoo if your studio doesn’t supply it. You’ll also want to bring a bag to put your drenched clothes in so they don’t stink up your car.
- Wash your mat and towel each time you practice. I hand wash my yoga mat when I get home and throw it in the washing machine ever week or so. In the summer it’s easier as you can take it outside and wash it well the garden hose. If you do this often, make sure you have two mats to alternate so you have a dry one for your next class (though I have thrown my in the dryer in a crunch).
- Try to refrain from any technology as long as you can to keep the benefits of your recent hot yoga practice,. If you live close to your studio, try walking or biking to and from. Stay away from people and situations whose energy you might always find depleting and offer them love from a distance.
The idea is to try to maintain this peaceful state even in the midst of chaos.
We are not monks or living in a secluded area, so just do your best and understand that you are on a spiritual journey and that you will find your way. Trust the way, trust your path, and believe in things you cannot see.
“Whatever comes, let it come, what stays, let stay, what goes let go.” Papaji
“I honor the place in you
in which the entire universe dwells,
I honor the place in you
which is love, of truth, of light, and of peace.
When you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
we are one.