How to start your yoga journey and make it a daily practice
"Your practice lives at the intersection of self-compassion and inviting your body to its edge"
Imagine a yoga teacher who’s a mindful meditator + fun-loving free spirit; bare feet, buzzcut and probably climbing a tree. *That* is Janine Martins.
She’s taught over 1000 hours of dynamic flows in the Cayman Islands (her hometown), Canada, Bali and Singapore.
Alma Story: Finding the right yoga style, studio and teacher can be a challenge. What advice would you give someone who is about to embark on their yoga journey?
Janine: Any journey will be a process of evolution; forming opinions, changing your mind and probably changing it again. Similarly with your yoga journey try not to put so much pressure on yourself to get everything perfect the first time.Try to keep it simple and maybe focus on these three things:
1. Find a studio that is as convenient as possible to get to. Maybe it's on your way to or from work? Is there one close to your kids school so you go after drop-off or before pick-up? If you take transit, is it close to a bus/subway stop? If it's a hassle to get to you're less likely to stay dedicated.
2. Yoga studios and discount websites like Groupon and Living Social offer introductory deals and specials so that you can try out different studios for a reasonable price. Think of it like test driving a car. You'll get a feel for the studio and teachers before you make any commitments.
3. Trust your instincts. If a place doesn't feel right or you leave a certain class feeling off listen to that. Listen to your body for clues about what direction to head. You already know what you need.
Alma Story: What would you say to students to motivate them to continue their practice when they feel like giving up?
Janine: Like life, your yoga practice will ebb and flow. When you feel like giving up, perhaps ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I comparing my practice to others or believe I need to have reached a certain goal in a certain time?
2. What inspired me to try yoga in the first place? Am I still experiencing that?
3. Has my practice grown to reflect changes in my lifestyle/personal needs?
Alma Story: What advice would you give a well-practiced yogi to take their practice to the next level?
Janine: Come back to the beginner's mind. The desire to keep achieving is sometimes fuelled by the ego. How can you bring a sense of humility back? Maybe refocusing on fundamental poses that you might mindlessly move through.
- Try something new! Maybe slow down your practice to feel more intimate with the flow and the space between postures. Take a workshop for a focus you're interested to learn more about. Find resources that you trust and open up to knowledge.
- Make time for meditation. The asana practice has many purposes but a major one is preparation for meditation. Try guided meditations or focus on your breath in silence. Maybe add this to the end of your physical practice or make it a bedtime ritual? Perhaps starting small with just five minutes and setting a time on your phone?
Alma Story: What advice would you give a beginning practitioner to make yoga a daily practice?
Make it mindful! Just like you schedule meetings and vacations, schedule yoga. Dedicate certain days/times for your practice. Honour the styles that you feel called to, trying to include a few softer practices like Yin/Restorative to stay balanced. Maybe buy your own mat as a symbol of your commitment to you. Take steps that treat your practice with respect; just anything else you value.
The project “Soul Story” is aimed to connect beautiful like-minded souls, who are all into yoga or just considering to explore yoga, share their unique life stories and create a beautiful place where everyone can feel supported and inspired.