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How to start your own practice

Words by Samantha Ickes

For the past nine weeks I’ve talked all about yoga and how restorative yoga poses can be for the body. Yoga is a preferred method of exercise for anyone who would rather indulge in a less intensive form of exercise for their joints.

It doesn’t matter why you want to start doing yoga regularly. It might be because you want to be more flexible or more active. For me, it was because I wanted a form of exercise that didn’t worsen my back pain. I’ve struggled with back pain since my freshman year of high school, and harsh physical activity like lifting weights or running caused pain.

When I first started thinking about doing yoga, the main goal in my mind was to do a little exercise each day to minimize back pain. If I start to feel tense when I’m studying, I get up and do a quick 10-minute sequence to stretch out my limbs before hitting the books again.

No matter why you want to start a yoga practice, beginning a routine that suits you can be difficult. I’ve compiled a list of a few tricks and tips to start your own yoga practice.

1. Listen to your body. Every person is different, and what works for one person might not work for you. I form my own yoga sequence based on how my body feels. If I feel more energized, I might choose poses for weight loss. If I have a headache, I might choose more restorative poses like child’s pose or forward fold.

Know your body’s limits. Don’t be afraid to push yourself a little in your practice. Llistening to your body and knowing how where that limit is an important part of any form of exercise.

2. Check out local studios. Kent has a few yoga studios available for students. There are even yoga classes offered for credit at the university.

One Love Yoga, 295 South Water St. Suite 108.

Located downtown, One Love Yoga offers restorative yoga, easy flow yoga, basic yoga, vinyasa flow yoga and more. To try a class at One Love Yoga, drop-in prices are set for $12. Flow yoga classes are only $5 per session, which is a great price for someone trying out a new boutique for the first time. I actually worked with the owner Tim Huth for a story in The Burr’s spring 2014 Issue. Tim showed me poses and let me follow along in a class as part of my reporting for the story.

Kent Yoga, 145 South River St.

Kent Yoga offers $12 drop-in classes and a five-class pass starting at $55. Kent Yoga offers yoga classes for the immune system and for strengthening and conditioning. Kent Yoga also has belly dancing workshops and yoga basics.

Centerpeace Yoga and Wellness, 1951 State Route 59, Suite D.

This yoga studio offers beginner flow yoga, power flow and lunch express, which is a 45-minute session of stretching and strengthening for $8. Just like One Love Yoga and Kent Yoga, Centerpeace offers $12 drop-in classes.  

The Recreation and Wellness Center, Kent campus.

The Rec offers yoga classes as well. Yoga basics, vinyasa yoga, gentle yoga and power yoga are a few of the Group X courses offered throughout the week. A single class is $5 with your FlashCard. A 12-punch pass is $30, and an unlimited pass is $40 for a semester. Beginning yoga and intermediate yoga are also offered as one-credit classes each semester.

3. Explore online classes. Though I’ve explored my options with in-person courses, these studios can be expensive when you’re on a college student’s budget. For me, starting my practice in the comfort of my own room was the best route for me, so I explored some online tutorials found on YouTube.

Yoga With Adriene

I’ve already mentioned how much I love Yoga with Adriene in past blogs, but if you haven’t checked out her YouTube channel, I highly recommend it. I started my own yoga practice based on her 30-day yoga challenge. I continue to use other videos she has whenever I feel like following a new routine instead of the regular poses I tend to concentrate on.

Do You Yoga

This yoga channel is a little different because there are multiple teachers who post videos with instructional yoga sequences. Do You Yoga has a wide variety of videos including restorative power yoga, core yoga, yoga specifically targeted for guys and how-to videos for more intense poses. I’ve just recently found this YouTube channel and hope to explore some of the videos while I’m off for Thanksgiving break.

4. Do some research. My personal favorite site to find all things yoga is Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal has instructional writing for poses ranging from beginner to advance with a “yogapedia” for users to look up poses and how to do them. As I learn more about yoga, Yoga Journal has been my guide to perfecting poses and learning new sequences. Yoga Magazine is also another good resource for yogis. Based in the United Kingdom, Yoga Magazine features a yoga directory, celebrity interviews, fashion and healthy food recipes.

I hope this helps you form a yoga practice that works for you!

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