Written by: Sonia Heidenreich, LGSW
As most of my clients already know, I also work as a yoga teacher when I’m not here being a therapist. (If you want to learn more about why, or hear my thoughts about the wide-ranging benefits of developing a mindfulness-based yoga practice, head on over here!) To summarize: Yoga helps us to develop a new, more compassionate relationship to our physical bodies, gives us an avenue through which to explore and process emotions nonverbally, and teaches us that we are strong enough to withstand challenging moments or physical sensations without becoming reactive. There are million other things yoga teaches us: choice, courage, agency, dedication—the list goes on.
A few people have asked me how to get started, and have mentioned feeling intimidated by attending public classes, or feeling dissatisfied with classes they have gone to. With that in mind, I’d like to offer some resources I’ve come across to get started:
Rachel Brathen, an Instagram-famous yogi-turned-entrepreneur, launched OneOEight, an amazingly curated online platform that has videos from lots of different instructors, in many different styles. I really appreciate the range of styles, from gentle restorative classes, to more vigorous flowing sequences. You can easily search for sequences that focus on whatever you’d like to work on—core strength, chest opening, lower body strengthening, or whatever it is feel your body needs. You can access it all for free for a week, which I recommend doing to figure out what styles of yoga or types of teachers you enjoy.
Sonima Wellness is another great resource for yoga tutorials and posture breakdowns. There aren’t as many videos to be found here, but it’s helpful if you want to learn more about specific poses. They also have recipes and other wellness-related resources, so it’s worth checking out!
If you’re looking for more videos or posture breakdowns, Yoga Journal is a great place to look. I especially like their detailed articles and step-by-step instructions about how to get into various poses—perfect for those who are curious about anatomy and alignment.
Finally, for all the anatomy nerds out there, Jason Crandell’s blog (and podcast) is full of sequences that focus on specific anatomical intentions: hamstring strengthening or lengthening (yes, these are different things and we need to do both things to find strong and safe alignment!), hip opening, and essential yoga sequences like Surya Namaskar A—also known as Sun Salutation A.
If you try any of these resources or would like even more (there are so many more!), I’d love to talk with you.