When was the last time you did something new for the the first time? Start the year off feeling more zen with beginner’s yoga and wellness tips from Miss iTAN 2014, Leslee Baker. Yoga poses can be a little intimidating, but the practice itself is also known for its mind and body benefits. To set you up for success, we went to our very own Miss iTAN 2014, Leslee Baker, who also happens to be a certified yoga instructor for the best tips and tricks.
Here’s what Miss iTAN 2014 said:
1. What is the allure of yoga?
I think everyone has their own reason for getting into yoga. The most common reasons people are drawn into yoga are for a spiritual connection, mental challenge, or the physical aspect of it. I’m sure a lot of people see the postures and think, “Wow that’s beautiful” or “I need to get a good stretch.” Some people also use it for rehab after an injury.
2. What’s your favorite part about practicing?
I love the calmness, the growth and body/mind/breath awareness that I feel every time I step on my mat.
3. How did you get into teaching yoga?
I had practiced a couple times before, but I had the opportunity to go to hot yoga with a friend and I was hooked. After practicing for a while, I contacted the leader for teacher training and never looked back. The whole experience and journey thus far has been incredible and it really opened me up to new, ideas and best of all, friends.
4. What is the greatest wellness benefit you receive from yoga?
The greatest wellness benefit I receive from yoga is happiness and tranquility. Whether it’s a private practice or with a group of people, I always end on a positive note feeling wonderful and relieved of stress.
5. What advice would you give to someone trying yoga for the first time?
It’s understandable that trying things for the first time can be intimidating but the best advice I can give is to take it easy and listen to your body. It may take time to get your body used to the poses or adjusted to a new stretch. There is always child’s pose if you need it! We’re all human and it’s in our nature to want to help people, so if you have questions don’t be afraid to ask! You have to walk before you can run, right?
6. What’s your favorite pose and why?
My favorite pose is Eka Padasana “Standing Splits” because I always think of the mythology behind it and how the pose represents taking a leap of faith.
7. Advanced poses such as inversions are very intimidating to most people? How do you work up to that?
There are many studios that offer different levels of classes so you can find the appropriate class based on your experience. There are also workshops available solely for inversions where you learn the foundation and how to use your abdominal muscles and correct hand placement to stabilize yourself. Alignment is very important, once you have a solid foundation, don’t be afraid to try new things, and remember to have fun and not take it too seriously.
8. What’s your favorite yoga inspired quote?
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery and today is a gift; that is why we call it the present.” I’ve used this quote on several occasions to inspire others to live in the present. This very moment is the only time you’ll experience it, so make every moment count.
9. Are you passionate about other fitness and wellness activities aside from yoga?
Absolutely! I love running by the water, hiking, going to the gym, dancing, kayaking, anything that keeps me moving and active.
10. What iTAN services do you feel combine best with your yoga or fitness regimen?
The FIT Bodywrap compliments my fitness activities especially when I’m sore the day after a workout. The wrap relaxes my muscles and loosens them up. I enjoy the Beauty Angel on my rest days because it tightens and brightens my skin. Also, while I’m in it I’ll stand and do a Chair Pose while the Beauty Angel plate is moving.