The Yoga of Starting

By Carol Blanchard
Master Wellness Volunteer

If you are like me it is the actual starting of something that requires the most effort.
Do you find yourself delaying your morning walk by trying to find your shoes, or filling up your water bottle and gathering up your hat? Then there is hoping for emails on your phone, making sure lunch is made, responding to kiddie cries and all the other morning rituals that demand our attention.


Starting a yoga practice includes all of the above. But what is really great about your home yoga practice is that it doesn’t requires shoes, not even a yoga mat. I love using a mat for many reasons but think of all the yogis throughout the centuries who never heard of a yoga mat. What is so special about your home practice is that it can be done anywhere. A small area in your bedroom, an available hall or room or best of all, outside on a grassy patch all make great places to do your yoga. I think we all know those places where we feel more peaceful, secure and private. Finding your place is the first and most satisfying way to begin your home practice.


Now that you’ve identified your home yoga practice place, it’s time to actually take your first breath. Here is where our busy, over-active minds can inform us that we really don’t have time for this today, or question whether we are doing it right or maybe we need to take the incoming phone call just as we think about getting started. Does this sound familiar?


All of us begin right here. I sometimes tell myself that ok, all I will do now is take 3 full breaths, following the path of the breath from my nose to filling my low belly and reversing that path on the exhale. Interestingly enough, after those breaths I just might want to use my arms to increase the capacity of my inhale and the bend forward to deepen my exhale. One thing leads to another and I then might continue with a longer yoga session.


Ok, we’ve started! Wow, we’ve gotten over the first hurdle. But that’s not the best part. The best part about starting is that we can start over and over again throughout the day! We can take these Breath Breaks in our car while waiting in traffic, or give ourselves a Breath Break mid-morning at work, or while standing in line at the grocery store. Starting our practice has many benefits and whether we use our starting breaths to begin a home practice or just to clear out our busy minds during the day, we gently take control of our habits so that we can develop the healthier ones that we prefer.

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