If you venture back to my 2018 resolutions, you'll note that one of my biggest aspirations for this year was to become a yogi of sorts.  It was the end of 2017 that I made the bends and stretches of my body a higher priority, instilling a morning yoga practice everyday even if I was only able to squeeze in five minutes.  I had been into the idea of yoga before, the biggest difference this time being that I had no real image or end goal in sight.  I just wanted to move my body and start my mornings with a habitual syncing of the synergies between the mind, body and soul.  For this reason, I didn't judge my body for how inflexible it was, how far I was from touching my toes or how uncoordinated I was moving from one pose to the next.  I attribute my new found love, passion and progress with my yoga journey to having this mindset going into it. I am by no means an expert and I am far from the skill levels of those practicing their rhythms and flows for years now, but I can say with a certain sense of content that I feel more in tune with my body and with the fluctuations of energy that come and go through it.  It was from tapping into this new found power that I discovered the correlation between the stress we feel, the emotions we harbour and the way we treat our overall wellness with the way our bodies feel.  There are days it takes me a few cycles of stretches to release the tension built up between my shoulder blades, others I notice the overall tiredness of my limbs from lack of sleep or achy muscles from pockets of anxiety that like to visit and leave their residue in my bones and skin.  It's for this reason I've become a huge advocate for giving yoga a try, even if solely to discover the language between you and your body.  To open up the translation and signals our bodies and minds are sending to us but we've become so overwhelmed with to-do lists, notifications and Netflix binges that we've tuned them out.  
So with that, here are my tips, tricks and perspectives when it comes to beginning a yoga journey.

1. Get Clear on Your Mindset/Intentions
For starters, I think a lot of the times that we try to pursue any new goal or habit, we paint it in a perspective or mindset that diffuses our sense of inspiration or motivation shortly after we've begun.  Don't get me wrong, I too have fallen into the trap of wanting to get involved in a new hobby solely for aesthetic reasons or the idea of how cool I thought it was versus the actual work or benefits that come with said hobby.  It's for this reason I think it's so, so important to get clear on your mindset going into yoga, and setting an intention for your journey and practice.  Being able to pull cool moves and poses is really cool and it definitely brings a fun sense of accomplishment but don't let that be the main focus or goal for getting into yoga.  Set your intentions on feeling connected to your body, giving it the time and space to be, move and breathe or finding a pocket of time in the day that is just for you.  Along the way, you'll find progress in terms of flexibility and difficulty of poses, but don't get too wrapped up in it because it'll suck all of the beneficial joy and peace out of your practice.  Take it day by day, befriend your body and let any milestones be a bonus rather than a main intention.  

2. Take Some Classes
One of the biggest questions I get is how I learned the poses I do now.  I've fallen in and out of the routine of hitting up yoga classes for a few years now, even long before yoga became a daily habit of mine.  It's for this reason that when I started to practice it again, especially at home without any instruction, I had a basic idea of some of the poses and flows that follow. If you want to get your groundings and learn some of the proper breathing techniques I highly suggest signing up for some classes.  You'll also be able to try out different styles of yoga and instructors which will give you a wide spectrum of variety to see what feels and works best for you! Even now, I try and hit up a hot yoga class a few times a month to keep my practice sharp and to open up some variety to my routines. 
Some Different Types of Yoga: 
* Hatha
* Vinyasa
* Hot Yoga 
* Yin Yoga
* Bikram Yoga
* Ashtanga Yoga

3. Do Some Research 
There's a ton of information out there on the interweb covering topics like the many different benefits of yoga to the proper step-by-step action to learning new poses.  Fill your feeds with positive, informative yoga accounts, check out some yoga flow's on Youtube and follow along at home.  Don't just dip your toe in the water, jump in! There's so much to learn, and if there's one thing I love most about yoga, it's that the journey never ends.  Our bodies are a force to be reckoned with.  I can't imagine the poses I might be doing at 40, 50 or 60.  The breath is the limit, and until my last one I want to keep moving and working with my body. 

4. Accept Where You're At
One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give would be to enjoy the process, inch by inch.  Accepting exactly where you are at and not comparing your body's abilities to anyone else's including what you were able to do yesterday is the fastest way to ease into the zen headspace that comes with yoga rather than the strain and judgment that comes with putting conditions on your journey.  Watch, breathe and enjoy seeing your body unfold and fold again in ways you once didn't think you could.  It may take weeks, months or years to be able to do the poses you see in magazines and online, but who cares.  That's the beauty of it.  Yoga is not an overnight hobby, it takes determination, dedication and most importantly, self-love.  

5. Find What You Flow Best To
What pulls you into the zone of mind, body and soul? This may just be a personal preference, but I've come to find that my yoga flows better in certain circumstances.  While I do love attending classes, I usually prefer to do my yoga from home so I can zone in and listen to what my body wants.  Certain songs, atmospheres, locations, etc. pull out a completely different shade of my practice.  Find what you love to flow to! This can change on any given day.  This morning I found myself stretching to J. Cole and Post Malone where as yesterday, it was Oh Wonder and Troye Sivan.  Some days I don't even want a beat, just the sounds of nature or being outside.  Have a wide roster of vibes to flow to and you'll find the variety keeps you coming back and experimenting with different sides of who you are, and how those different shades comes through to you.  

Here's my latest yoga playlist: 

6. What You'll Need 
There's the obvious basics, like a yoga mat and towel.  Then there are more handy tools you can invest in if you choose to such as... 
- tune up balls
- hot yoga matts (so you don't slip)
- yoga blankets
-yoga blocks
- incense 
- bolsters 
-stretching straps
  Most of these things you can find easily on Amazon! Keep in mind, you don't need any of these things.  Even matts are a luxury! Yoga has been practiced for centuries with nothing but bones and breathes, so don't feel you need to purchase any of these fancy things unless you want to.  

7. Follow Your Body. 
If there's one thing you take from this post let it be this.  Your body already knows the way.  Your body wants to move and stretch.  If you quiet the mind long enough, you will feel the impulses of your leg wanting to move one way and your arm the next.  It doesn't need to be over complicated, you don't need to spend heaps of money on classes if you can't afford them and you don't need to base your practice off of what you've already seen.  Just like there is no proper way to move your body when dancing, there is no proper way to flow with your body as well.  Though, be careful to not pull or over stretch anything - just listen to your body and let it be your guide.  Turn off the mind, let go of what Suzy said to you yesterday or the amount of things you need to get done before the weekend and tune into the present moment.  Tune into every fibre of your being and let it move you rather than you move it.  It's an impossible feeling to put into words, but when you fall into the rhythmic flow that is your body, you'll know exactly what I am talking about - and you'll have officially tapped into the magic that is yoga.   

Happy bending, flowing and breathing.  
Sending you and your yoga practice tons of light, love and good ju-ju! 
- xo K