I started doing yoga back in August, when I discovered I actually don't hate running. Back then, yoga became my go-to stretching routine after my runs and soon after that, Puerto Rico was hit by two devastating hurricanes. In the midst of all the chaos, yoga became my little piece of heaven and I credit the combination of running and yoga to my mental stability through the most difficult months of my life. I am forever grateful.
I do yoga when I need a stretch, I do yoga when I'm depressed, I do yoga when I have a back pain, I do yoga when I'm angry and I do yoga when I'm happy. Why? Because yoga is self love and helps you truly realize that the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself, through a connection of mind and body.
So where do I practice it? I go to free community classes every once in a while (Santurce Yogi by El Estudio La Ciudadela and Lululemon's Roof Top Yoga at Mall of San Juan are my favorites), attend special classes in studios near me and my favorite way to practice; at home. Here's how I do it:
Setting the stage
High Quality Yoga Mat - I started out with an old workout mat that would move all over the place while doing my downward facing dogs, and yeah... that's not safe. So for my birthday, my boyfriend got me a really good quality yoga mat. I can definetely see the difference in my practice!
Yoga Bolster - A restorative yoga game changer. Yes, you can use some pillows or blankets for this, but this is all about creating a yoga studio experience at home. If you haven't practiced restorative yoga yet, you don't know what you're missing. Here are some really good videos to get started.
Yoga Blocks - This is a must if you are a beginner. Trying to go deeper on your poses when you are starting out can be really harmful for you!
Aroma Diffuser - This is one of those products that you don't know you need until you get one. Diffusing essential oils help you center you during your practice. My favorite essential oils are peppermint for the day time and lavender for nighttime.
Bluetooth Speakers - You definetely don't need this, but it is nice to listen to your yoga music through good quality speakers. Yoga is about treating yourself!
Comfy Clothes - Yoga is all about feeling comfortable in your own skin. That's why I love doing yoga in comfortable leggings and shirts. I especially love practicing with jackets now in the "colder" months in Puerto Rico.
Warm Lighting - I recently started reading about the benefits of himalayan salt lamps, so my sister got me one for my birthday. You can also hang some fairy lights or light some candles. Basically anything that makes your yoga space look warm and cozy in your terms will work.
Earthy Items - Meaning plants, rocks and crystals. In my personal experience, the more you sync with nature, the better your yoga practice.
Yes, you can buy yoga videos online. But there are so many great yoga channels on Youtube that upload really great quality content each week! Here are my favorites:
- Allie, the Journey Junkie - This is my new BFF but she doesn't know it yet. She's spiritual and soothing, yet challenging. I highly recommend you try her Chakra Challenge, which I bet you will enjoy weather you believe in the chakra system or not. But if you are REALLY up for a challenge, check out her two hour long 108 sun salutations. I still feel it!
- Yoga with Adriene - If you are not feeling well in any area of your life, physically or mentally, Adriene is your girl. Her classes are pure self love and with over 300 videos to choose from and a witty personality, there's no way you will get bored with this lady. She has a yoga video for almost anyone! Plus, her cute dog makes appearances in her videos every once in a while! I did her Yoga for Tired Legs video after my first 10 mile run and it was h-e-a-v-e-n.
- Yoga with Tim - This is how I started practicing yoga for real! I did his 30 Day Total Yoga Body Challenge, which really helped me with learning the foundations of yoga and basic poses. He's your go-to-guy if you really don't like the spiritual side of yoga and you're looking for a great workout. In my opinion, he has one of the best Vinyasa Flow videos on Youtube!