By Rachel Boddy, Boddylanguage
I know the story - you hear how wonderful yoga is, so you go to a class.
You feel like your limbs have morphed into planks of wood and the whole experience leaves you stretched and sweaty. Then you wake up the next day feeling like the muscles you never knew you had have found their 'on' switch.
The key to staying flexible is to make sure you practice at home. But how do you get started?
The only 'gear' you really need for yoga is a mat but if you don’t have one, just a floor will do. However, a mat is practical because it's a clean work space that will help you stay in one spot. It can also be symbolic of your practice and of some 'you' time. I use a Lululemon lightweight toweled mat.
The key is to learn from the experts. If you want to work on a yoga practice at home, there are countless resources you can access that will help build up your confidence in yoga:
The Book: Ashtanga Yoga - The Practice Manual by David Swenson
This is probably one of the best designed yoga/exercise manuals around. All of the poses in the Ashtanga Series are shown and modifications are illustrated. The only problem with this form of learning is you have to flick back and forth to understand the sequence of the poses.
The DVD: Tara Stiles 'This is Yoga' 4 DVD Box Set
Tara Stiles’ combination of DVDs gives you a great mix of yoga sequences, including a 60 minute DVD exploring some of the more advanced poses.
The YouTube Video: Yoga Weight Loss and Balance Workout (Tara Stiles)
If you're not yet ready to invest any cash into your yoga journey, this 50 minute YouTube video is a good start. It gets a bit boring after watching it time after time, but it will give you a good starting point.
The online resource: www.myyogaonline.com
For a monthly subscription, you get to pick and choose the yoga class and teacher of your choice, who will guide you through the postures in the comfort of your own home. Some of the videos will work on just one pose and others will take you through a whole sequence. The fantastic thing is you get to pick and choose your practice.
Practice, practice, practice
The only way to progress in yoga is to practice, practice, practice. Yoga is meant to be a daily routine (with days off on a Saturday and 'Moon Days' - when there is a full or new moon). You will be amazed at the progress you make if you practice regularly. If you don't believe me, check out the video (on the left) of my progress to a half headstand in just two days.
The black and white photo in the top right corner was as far as I could get in my headstand. Then two days later, and after a two-hour workshop on the headstand at Meadowlark Yoga, I managed to get my feet up!
Join the yoga community
The fastest way to progress is with the guidance and encouragement of others. Try finding a supportive yoga school or studio to enhance your practice. Perhaps attend some specialist workshops, try a different style of yoga, or just meet some people in the same situation as you. Yogis tend to be very welcoming, supportive people, so why not join the club?
Remember, no one is a born yogi. Everyone had to start with the sun salutation sequence at some point.
To find out more about how Quartermile-based Boddylanguage can help you get fitter both physically and mentally, visit the website or call 0131 623 0646. You can follow the team on Twitter @boddylanguage.