By Heathyr Marie Stanics
“How did you get started in yoga?”
“I’m not flexible at all. I can’t even touch my toes. Can I still do yoga?”
“Can you give me instructional advice? I want to do what you’re doing, but don’t know where to start.”
CURIOUS ABOUT YOGA
These are all questions that are sent to my @SweetHeathyr Instagram DM box, weekly. I am so flattered that women from all over the world look to me for inspiration when it comes to yoga. My answers vary from person to person, depending on how much time I have. I’m usually running errands or rushing around, getting ready for work.
IT USUALLY GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS
My curiosity about yoga piqued in March of 2014, when my friend Taylor bought a yoga book and brought it to the gym to show me some new stretch es. I flipped through the book and saw some really challenging poses, and being the competitive person I am, wanted to learn them all. With my schedule for work, I knew I didn’t have time to go to yoga classes, so I turned to the next and most valuable resources: YouTube and Instagram, of course.
HI MY NAME IS HEATHYR AND I AM AN ADDICT
I immediately started following all kinds of yogis on Instagram from all different backgrounds and experience levels. I wanted diversity while I was learning. After a few days of browsing hashtags and following Instagrammers worldwide, I saw there was a yoga challenge for the month of April called #YogaToTheCore. After reviewing the poses for the upcoming challenge, a friend and I decided to give it a shot. Day by day, we would go to the host’s page and watch how they entered the pose, and we would mimic it as best we could. When we came across poses that we weren’t able to do, we’d search through hashtags of that day’s pose looking for modifications. By the end of the month, we were addicted.
3AM YOGA ANYONE?
In the following months we’d complete a new challenge, each with a different theme. Some months we’d work core, other months were focused on balance or inversions, while some were a mix of target areas working from beginner to advanced poses. All the while doing these challenging stretches, I began watching instructional videos on YouTube. Due to my schedule, some nights I wouldn’t get home until almost 3am. So I’d often pull up a YouTube video and follow along. It really helped me relax and wind down after a very long day.
BEYOND MY TOES AND SOME HEADSTANDS
I’ve never really considered myself a very flexible person. I did gymnastics for a while when I was very young, but stopped for reasons I can’t remember. As I progressed through weeks, then months of yoga, I noticed the poses were becoming easier. I had my favorites, and I had some that gave me trouble. But one thing I came to realize was that yoga was helping me touch my toes. Hell, yoga was helping me go beyond touching my toes. I was laying my hands flat on the ground…and reaching back between my feet. Finally I was able to get myself into a full split, and even balance on my head without the security of a wall behind me.
STRETCH YOUR MIND
The changes were also going beyond the mat. Things were changing within me. For the first time in my adult life, I was building confidence. With each successful pose I felt a sense of encouragement when my body was able to move and bend in ways that I had not been able to before. Yoga even helped me find my inner strength to rid myself of some of my vices. After being a smoker for 15+ years, I was able to finally quit cigarettes for good. I’ve even cut way back on my alcohol intake. The benefits to yoga are endless, and mostly internal. Just believing that you are better can make you better. As a result of all of this, the confidence that I’ve gained with my yoga practice has snowballed throughout many aspects of life.
BE A WANNABE LIKE ME
I’m not a yoga instructor. I’m not a professional athlete. I try to avoid giving instructional advice because I’m not an accredited teacher. But the above methods worked for me; a yogi wannabe. If I were to give advice to someone looking to start yoga, I’d tell them to find a local class and attend at least once a week. You really can’t beat face time with a certified yoga instructor. However, if you are unable to attend classes due to budget or scheduling reasons, then at home yoga is perfect, and really worked for me.
YouTube is a great (and FREE) resource for follow along videos. Just type “Yoga for Beginners” into the search bar and you will be flooded with videos from instructors inviting you to flow with them. Instagram is also a fun (and favorite) tool. Browsing 15 second video clips of real men and women from various levels is truly inspiring to get on the mat.
YOU CAN AND SHOULD
No matter what your experience level is, yoga is for EVERY body. I preach that daily. It’s for all generations and fitness levels; novice moms, fitness buffs and bodybuilders, experienced athletes, and teens. The yoga community is welcoming to all aspiring yogis.
Heathyr began her fitness journey in August of 2013 by going to the gym by herself, walking the treadmill, or slowly easing along on the elliptical. Soon after, she decided to set a goal and give herself something to look forward to. Heathyr signed up for a colorful 5k and also started dabbling in yoga because she was so fascinated with inversions. Heathyr is now 3 sizes down from when she began and continues to work on her physical fitness. She practices yoga every day and is also a Spartan Race finisher. She loves to post fitness and yoga videos on her Instagram page, along with healthy food ideas.
Click here to see all of Heathyrs articles!
Follow Heathry on YouTube
We would love to hear from you! Leave your love in the comment section below or email us at [email protected].
Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram!
Don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter!