Yoga: Transform Your Workout with the Exercise That Swept the World!

In the spirit of our focus on travel this month, Dress for Success is exploring a fitness routine that’s not only a vacation from the typical workout, but also a vacation for the mind: yoga!

Long before The Beatles took America by storm in The British Invasion and hippies painted the world a psychedelic rainbow, yoga became the universal symbol of harmony and peace. Originating in ancient India, the practice of yoga has since traveled across the globe. Now, in almost every city, you can find a welcoming yoga studio encouraging you to get your “zen” on and bring out your inner yogi.

 All around the world, yoga is known as an exercise that gets the mind and body in tip top shape. The endurance required to maintain any classic yoga pose is a great way to work on strength-training, while yoga’s repetitive motions offer aerobic exercise without putting too much strain on the body. That back pain you feel getting tighter every day? Just a few yoga classes can work out all those spinal kinks, thanks to yoga’s focus on alignment and posture. Yoga is also a proven stress reliever and women who practice yoga tend to leave their workout feeling calm, refreshed, and confident.

And the sense of community built around yoga is just as strong as the sound mind and body it promises to provide. Most women have found not only that yoga has helped them make new friends, but that the people they practice with serve as a source of encouragement when they push themselves to reach new goals in the yoga studio and in life. The perks of being a yogi don’t stop there. Besides new friends, a relaxed mind and a toned body, one of the best benefits of yoga is something every woman on the path to success needs more of in her life—a good night’s sleep.

Still not sold on why you should start incorporating yoga into your workout regimen? Here is one more reason why yoga has stood the test of time: it is very cost-effective. Yoga only requires one piece of equipment: a mat! Budget-friendly yoga mats can be found at discount stores like TJ Maxx or Walmart for less than $10. Not ready to commit to a yoga mat purchase before your first class? No problem! Many studios provide their yogis with free mats when they sign up for a session, or many have rental mats for just a few dollars.

 When it comes to finding a place to practice, there are many affordable options. If you prefer group workouts, studios across the country like Yoga to the People offer donation-based classes with a typical contribution of around just five bucks.  You can even try giving your community center a call, and find free outdoor classes in the summer at your local public park! Yoga DVDs and even good ole YouTube are other inexpensive options that will allow you to reach your yogi goals right in your living room.

With all of these benefits and affordable ways to practice, there’s no reason not to give yoga a try. But if you need a little extra motivation to get started, here are a few tips:

 1. Get back to basics. Start by taking deep, patterned breaths for 15 minutes each morning. Focused breathing is a key component of yoga and by making this step a part of your morning routine you will already be on your way to becoming a regular yogi.

 2. Don’t give up! Remember that yoga is a continuous practice and a growth process. It’s okay to be challenged at first. You will get there.

3. Bring a friend! Yoga is all about community and what better way to try something new than with your best bud!