About 5 years ago, a few of my girlfriends convinced me to go to a yoga class with them. They called it “going to church”. They had been attending classes on Saturday mornings at a local athletics complex and had become captivated by the teachings of Yoga Mike, a soft-spoken yoga instructor whose voice lulled even the most stressed out person into a state of relaxation.
After attending my first class, I immediately discovered the benefits of yoga. My body felt lighter, my breaths felt more clear, and my mind felt relaxed. It was then that I understood how yoga could be compared to going to church. The intent of attending a church or other house of worship is to cleanse the mind, renew our intentions to become a better person both to ourselves and others, and to feel gratitude for the things that mean the most to us. Yoga is very similar, and it’s also a way of life, much like religion is for some. The journey that yoga takes us on is infinite, and allows for everyone to have a unique set of challenges, goals, and learning experiences.
Whether you’re new to yoga, or have been practicing for years, it can sometimes be challenging to attend classes on a regular basis. Life can be hectic, finances can become limited, seasonal illnesses can disrupt our routine, or we may simply lose motivation or interest.
Luckily, there are ways to overcome some of these common obstacles. Here are some tips that will help keep you on track:
1. Nourish your immune system, especially during times of stress. Seasonal illnesses like colds and the flu tend to creep up on us during times when we are overwhelmed with work, family, or school. Aside from washing hands and keeping surfaces free of germs, there are many ways you can boost your immune system. Antiviral and immune boosting supplements such as Elderberry, Echinacea, Vitamin D, and Tulsi can help prevent and fight viruses.
2. If you can’t attend a yoga class due to time or financial restrictions, or if you would like to learn independently at your own pace, check out www.yogadownload.com. The site offers yoga videos for every style and ability level of yoga, and even gives members the option to download videos for offline use. The videos also range from full 60-90 classes to mini sessions, and you can even search for specific asanas or skills that you’d like to learn. This site was a lifesaver for me when I was recently recovering from a chest cold. I was coughing like crazy, and didn’t feel up to going to a yoga class because I didn’t want to disrupt the class or push myself too much. I was able to ease back into my practice using the videos, and even learned some new skills that I wouldn’t have learned in class.
3. Don’t let limitations in flexibility or balance discourage you. There are some great yoga props available that help make poses easier, and they also prevent injuries and protect the delicate connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments. Check out some of the newest ergonomically designed yoga props here.