Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Yoga for the Win


By: Susan Elliott

This year has brought its challenges. In December of last year, I lost my father to Covid-19. Starting the New Year was rough. We went through Christmas with an empty chair, and now we’ve started a new beginning with one less figure at our side. I guess when you lose someone close to you, everything feels out of control. You are, in essence living in the moment, going with the flow, and hoping you don’t drown.

It’s been a rough few months, but somewhere amidst the turmoil and tragedy, I had a moment of clarity. I enrolled in college with the hopes of finally finishing my degree at the University of Arkansas, and I started a journey toward my health. 

I’ve been struggling with my weight and all the issues that go with it for way too long. But, I decided on February 10 that it was time to quit talking about doing something about it and start doing it. I’d already curbed my eating habits and was primarily sugar-free. But, on the morning of February 10, I’d yet to start doing any exercise. 

When my kids were small, I practiced Hatha yoga. I loved it. I could hold poses. I was flexible, and I had a sense of calm. I guess that’s why I was drawn back to the practice of yoga. I’m not a small girl by any means, but I am determined. And, that morning, I downloaded the Yoga for Beginners App from the Play Store. I was excited to find that there were pre-programmed workouts, and there was the option to create two customizable workouts for free. I’ve been using the app ever since.

Today marks three months and ten days since I took the leap. I can’t begin to describe how much better I feel. I’m still a big girl. But, I no longer wear a size 24/26. I’m in a comfortable 16/18. It’s crazy, but I haven’t really lost any weight at all, but I have gained strength in my arms, more stamina, and a trimmer physique!

I love doing yoga every day. I enjoy challenging myself and experiencing the calm that comes with my breathing. If you’ve ever thought of starting yoga, maybe it’s time for you. The following are a few of my favorite yoga tools that I use daily. I hope this helps you find a place to start. 


I started with a Sivan Health and Fitness Yoga Set.   I had had this mat for a few years. (I’d been dreaming of beginning yoga again for a while). In fact, out of my original kit, I only had one block, the mat, and a strap left. My cats had destroyed the other block. But, it was what I needed to get started. I used that mat for the first month, but it is now stored with my workout equipment for the days that I have company who want to work out with me. (It does happen!)

Pretty soon, I realized that if I were going to do yoga every day but Sundays, I wanted a different mat. I wanted one that I thought was pretty. So, I found a jute mat that I really like, and I’ve been using it for the last two months. I took this mat on my trip to South Padre Island, where my daughter and I could practice on the beach. It was an amazing experience!!!! It holds up well outside, too. Somedays, I practice in the living room, but other days I practice out in the front yard. This mat is doing great in all sorts of terrain.


It didn’t take me long to realize I NEEDED yoga gloves. My hands get sweaty, and I need the extra grip. I have larger hands, and so the first pair of gloves I got didn’t work well for me. Don’t get me wrong; they are great gloves if your hands are small. I used them for about a month, but I had to cut the back of the fingers down the center so they would fit. They just weren’t a long-term option.

So, I invested in weight-lifting gloves.  They are a little more fitted and have a bit more padding. I’ve found that they are tacky enough to have a good grip on my mat, too. I currently wear a medium glove, and I love them!


I still use the yoga strap that came with my original kit, and I love it! It helps me get into poses I couldn’t easily get into. I wholeheartedly recommend using a strap when you start. Any yoga strap will do. I’ve been thinking about changing up my strap but haven’t done it yet. I’ve even thought about using the strap and adding resistance bands

Knee Pads

I use my knee pads for one pose every day, but without them, I would not be able to put the weight on my knees when I’m working out on the concrete floor. I worried that it might be a weird investment since I only use them for one pose, but after thinking about it, I do that pose at least six days a week, so in the end, I decided it was a good investment. If you’re worried about your knees, definitely get the knee pads. They are a lifesaver! 

At this point, I’m not using a lot of extra equipment for my workouts, but even so, I’ve been getting great results! Also, I run the app on my phone, and I turned the music off on the app. So, I work out every day using my Amazon music account. Somedays, I exercise to spa music, others Boney M , Heavy Metal, or Michael Buble. It just depends on what I’m in the mood for. 

I hope this gives you a starting point to jump off from. I’d love to hear from you, and I hope you reach all your dreams!


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