Mind, Body, and Spirit: This Is How You Can Start the Practice of Yoga

Now is the best time to start a routine of grounding yourself and caring for your well-being.

For beginners, it may seem intimidating to do yoga, especially when you have never tried any similar practice before. It can even seem overwhelming when you are in a studio space and you become conscious of how you look and how you perform. However, now the pandemic limited our trips outside, you can freely take online classes at home and practice at your own pace. Yoga and meditation advocate Sara Black and Carla Mckowen talk about their experiences, techniques, and how yoga has helped their overall well-being. Of course, everybody is different, but you can pick-up an insight or two from their stories that will encourage you to get into the practice as well.

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Carla Mckowen and Sara Black.

Introduction to yoga

Meditation and Radiant Energy Coach Sara Black has been practicing and teaching Sattva Yoga. “It’s a highly integrated practice of Meditation, Breathwork, Kriya, Mantra, and Asana,” Sara explains. “It’s the most highly evolved style of yoga I’ve come across.” For a decade, she used to do Vinyasa yoga, a style that pairs movement with breath. However, she eventually realized with the guidance of her Guru Anand Merohtra that Sara desires for more spiritual practice. Thus, she transitioned into Sattva Yoga and has been enjoying its benefits to her mind and body.

Like Sara, Chairwoman and President of Modine, Inc. Carla Mckowen is an active yogi as well. “I do about one to two hours of Vinyasa yoga or calisthenics on a daily basis,” she says. “Three to four times a week, I add in a 30min HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout beforehand.” What is good about accompanying her yoga with workout is it does not require any props or equipmentonly her body weight and of course, discipline.

It is no surprise Carla is a fitness advocate as growing up, she used to tag along with her mother, Mariquita Yeung, in the latter’s gym sessions. I would have so much fun joining her aerobic and dance classes,” she muses. As an adult, she came to learn what her own body needs and got into Vinyasa yoga practice. “I like how it incorporates strength, flexibility [or] mobility and cardio in one session,” she clarifies.

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From Sara’s Instagram post, she talks about how yoga helps in focusing on our awareness on syncing our body’s movement with our breath. This begins an experience of being present in the moment. Doing so helps in discerning relevant thoughts and letting go of ones that are not.
Carla demonstrating the different poses in Vinyasa yoga.

Seeing changes

There are many different styles of yoga that one may confuse which one would work best for them. That is why Sara and Carla strongly suggest studying and trying short or small practices first. For Sara, Sattva Yoga works for her as “it fuses my body, mind, and spirit all in one activity. It’s a road map to a conscious life full of authentic love, peace, and bliss.” Carla echoes a similar sentiment in that “I seem to come out of a practice or a run with a clear mind, de-stressed, re-energized, and filled with positive energy,” she shares. These are the common benefits one gets from doing physical activity that definitely helps especially in releasing stress from work or struggles amid the pandemic.

For beginners and those who are not accustomed to workouts, Carla advises doing daily 30-minute walks. “Gradually up the challenge by quickening the pace of the walk little by little per week or by walking inclines,” she adds. Once you have established a routine, it is time to complement it with a yoga class for beginners. Similarly, for those who already have regular workouts, Carla underscores the importance of knowing your end goals in choosing a style of yoga. “If it’s mobility and flexibility, do ashtanga or vinyasa. If it’s to lose weight and detox, I’d try Bikram or Hot yoga. If it’s spirituality or mediation you’re after try the mindfulness classes offered,” she explains.

Sattva yoga. (Photo from SATTVA Yoga Studio)

When you remain uncertain, you can always try everything or consult a guru until you find what works best for you. Now is the best time to explore the needs of your body and respond to it. After all, wellness is something that is precious now as we deal with the impact of these times.

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