By Ava Hiniker

Whether it be through an advertisement for a local studio, a tagged picture of a friend in workout gear, or a glance down the fitness aisle, yoga can be found virtually anywhere. With so many different options and mountains of information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking to dive in. Luckily, starting your first stretch or scheduling your first class is easier than you may think.

Originating in Northern India, Yoga is an ancient practice focused on helping individuals strengthen the connection between their bodies and minds. With countless variations of the art developing over time, the practice can be loosely defined by its mixture of structured, yet fluent poses as well as its emphasis on controlled breathing. Through these actions, yoga has proven to be a reliable and popular method of exercise for decades, constantly capable of relieving stress and built-up tension for those who enjoy it. While new stresses can be found on a day-to-day basis, the plethora of early yoga options out there ensure that trying something new doesn’t have to be one of them.

“When just starting out with yoga, it’s important to take a chance and have no expectations,” says Amanda Mikesell, yoga teacher and owner of Inner Vibes Yoga & Wellness. “It’s all about trying out different gym classes and studios until you find one that’s right for you.”

The most popular method of starting yoga is through booking a class at a local studio. After doing research for yoga instructors in the local area, those interested can learn the basics in a group environment with specialized instructors willing to lend a helping hand along the way. From beginner classes to strength training, there will always be a coach out there ready to show you the ropes. Those wishing for a slower start can also visit credible websites or instruction videos online for beginner stretches to perform stress-free in the comfort of their own homes. Either way, it’s incredibly important for yoga practitioners to get to know their own bodies and limitations while developing a healthy yoga schedule. This way, regardless of if you have a fully stocked gym bag or are simply dedicating a few hours a week to stretching, you are getting the most that you can from these practices in the safest way possible.

Despite being recognized as a slow and spiritual art, experts note that the intricate poses and practices of yoga can actively improve flexibility, strength, and balance. More renowned, though, are the many benefits yoga can have on one’s mental health. This can include the easing of stress, anxiety, and insomnia as well as creating a strong emotional connection to one’s inner self. In a constantly changing and wild world, yoga provides a moment of reprieve where one can truly get to know who they are. Whether it’s through the fast and athletic Vinyasa yoga style or the spiritual and deep Kundalini yoga practice, those who take the initiative are in for a unique and revitalizing experience.

“Yoga is an ever-evolving journey,” says Mikesell. “Sometimes people start at a studio and sometimes people start by simply sitting in silence. No matter what, though, it all gradually comes together until you become a completely different person whenever you step on the mat.”

Inner Vibes Yoga & Wellness is located at 3241 E. Shea Boulevard. To learn more, visit