Yoga has been a huge part of my life for the last few years, especially since having a child. I used to go to yoga classes when I was a uni student but these days I practice it at home, using a smartphone apps (I recommend FitStar Yoga) and various YouTube videos. Sometimes I've even practiced yoga in my PJs shortly after I've put my son to bed!
Here are my top tips for getting started with yoga for the first time:
1) Try it out at home using free apps and online classes
Fancy trying yoga but fear you won't be able to keep up with the advance yoga poses you'll come across on Instagram? Don't worry! You don't have to be good at anything to start, you just have to start! I had zero flexibility when I tried yoga for the first time back in 2012. I could hardly stand on one leg without losing my balance and had to hold onto the nearest wall or chair. I began by practicing at home using various fitness video games and YouTube videos, so that I had some idea what the different poses were called and felt a little more confident when I came to joining a gym and booking in for group classes.
2) Take a friend to your first live class.
In my first ever yoga class, I got stuck in one of the positions (don't worry, my friend didn't have to get me out of it, I managed to not-so-gracefully roll my way out of it!) It would have been so embarrassing, but because I had a friend with me, we had a such great laugh about it and got chatting to other people in the class, who were also struggling with some of the poses. Since then, we became such a close group who supported and encouraged each other since. This is the best thing about group exercise classes, they can seem daunting at first but once you make a few acquaintances by going regularly, you'll soon find yourself surrounded by like-minded friends, cheering you on!
3) Don't spend a fortune on kit.
The most you'll need is a pair of leggings, a top, a sports bottle for hydration, and a yoga mat. Did you also know that 29% of Brits spend as much on their sportswear as they their fashion wardrobe? *
I don’t spend that much on gym kit, because I swerve the expensive designer outlets (£150 for yoga leggings, no thank you!) and straight for the high street where there's loads of affordable gym kit, Last week I went to Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester, last week on the search for a new yoga outfit and enjoyed a great post-workout smoothie. The cost of a post-workout smoothie, a new top, a pair of leggings and a food & exercise journal was just £41.97, which is great for anyone shopping on a budget. 22% of the population of Leicester are students, so we love affordable shops!
4) Stay hydrated.
This is especially if you're going to a 'hot yoga' or Bikram class, where you'll need to be sipping water throughout the session to prevent dehydration. Even in a regular class, where you may not feel like you're breaking into a sweat mid-bird pose, but you're still exercising and working your muscles, just at a lower intensity. Staying hydrated can help to prevent muscle soreness.
5) Eat a balanced diet.
Ensuring that you eat a wide variety of fruit and veg, protein-rich foods and wholegrains, will help you get the most out of your workouts and speed up recovery. Use a journal or smart phone app to track your food, exercise and water intake to help keep you on track. Remember to seek help and advice from a qualified health professional before making changes to your diet and exercise regime.
You can bag yourself a new yoga outfit, a health and fitness journal and a post workout smoothie by entering the Highcross’ giveaway! All you have to do is ‘Like’ & ‘share’ Highcross' Facebook post to win: [insert link to Facebook Profile]
*Research carried out by Hammerson.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Frank PR, in collaboration with Hammerson and Highcross Shopping Centre, Leicester.