What I Wish I Knew About Yoga
Consistency is the mother of mastery.
The first time I walked into a yoga studio nine years ago, I remember questioning my decision to sign up in the first place. If I am being entirely honest, I heard great things about the new fitness facility called 'The Edge' which was offering university students a whooping 75% discount! After discovering the range of classes they had, I opted to sign up for my first yoga class. I was never extra-ordinarily flexible neither was I the type to enjoy a quiet workout while deliberately connecting my mind to my body, which is the basis of yoga.
After settling down and taking off my shoes, I sat with my legs crossed over and looked around to see whether anyone looked out of place like I did, but it was all in my head. Nobody in the class cared to compare themselves with each other and the instructor was extremely pleasant. Right before the class started, she dimmed the lights and played the most soothing music I had ever heard. There were no lyrics… it was simply instrumentals tailored to relax its listeners making us feel like we were on a wellness retreat somewhere in Bali.
The class was officially in session. The warm up was not the conventional cardio but a five minute meditation to get our minds right, and we had to do it with our eyes closed. I kept opening my eyes because my contact lenses kept drying up. We later started with simple movements and just as I was starting to get a grip of the flow, the next thing I heard was “now we’ll go into head stand pose”. At first I wasn’t sure if I misheard her but the lady next to me along with everyone else in the class got into formation. I was left in child’s pose wondering where to start!
The Edge Fitness Facility, Leeds, image@theedge
That’s when the instructor walked up to me to ask if I was a beginner and I gave her a reluctant nod because I felt embarrassed. To my surprise and comfort, she politely informed me that I had selected the advanced vinyasa yoga class. Throughout university I tried to stay consistent with the practice despite not understanding half of the poses but later fell off the wagon and only revived it last year. All I knew is that I wanted to be strong and flexible like my first yoga classmates and I must say, consistency is the mother of mastery. Throughout my experience, I have picked up a few tips that could help you stay consistent or guide you if you are starting out.
Tipwa Tipwa Fitness Studio, Lavington Mall, Nairobi @entheon_pictures
-Tips For Beginners-
+ Start with an open mind and be patient with the journey. Try not to compare yourself with others because you don't know how long they have been doing it, also, everyone's fitness capability is different.
+ Don’t go to a yoga class wearing sneakers; instead invest in a pair of athletic slides because you will be working out barefoot.
+ Invest in comfortable yoga leggings because you want to be as comfortable as possible. The clothes you wear also need to be made of material that allows your stretch easily...sweat pants will not cut it.
+ Try to either wear a sleeveless vest or sports bar… avoid hoodies at all costs. Core Active Wear is a Kenyan brand that particularly sells yoga apparel; their clothes are a bit on the high end but good quality. You can thank me later!
+ Although most yoga studios will be stocked with accessories like mats and blocks, its good to have your own because you can practice at home or carry them whenever you travel. Check out a shop called Miniso at the Hub or Thika Road Mall which has affordable yoga accessories in vibrant colors. They also have an online shop with Jumia.
+ Identify yoga studios or rather, facilities that offer yoga classes close to where you live or work. You can check out Acacia Studio, Alpha Fit, Tipwa Tipwa Fitness, Fitness Revolution, and Momentum Fitness. You are less likely to miss a class if its close to you. If you would rather practice at home, YouTube has ample content on yoga videos! Its all free and all you need is your own mat and space for stretching; examples include Pop Sugar Fitness, Boho Beautiful, Yoga With Adrienne, among many more!
+ Find community of people who would enjoy yoga or better yet, create a circle of friends that you can attend classes together. Its more enjoyable this way and they will hold you accountable if you miss a session especially on weekends! At the moment, I am really enjoying Soulflow where we practice on Saturday mornings. If you would be interested, send us an email for more details.
Yoga For Beginners by 'Yoga With Adrienne'
Yours in Wellness,
Wellness & Fitness Editor: Loise Machira
Photograhy: Raphael Mumbo
Location: Tipwa Tipwa Fitness
Wardrobe: Impano Sports Wear
What are some of the things you learned along your yoga journey? Comment below, we would love to know and don't forget to subscribe to receive more of our weekly newsletters directly to your email.