Recently I was banished* from sweat inducing exercise and needed to find an alternative. It was ever so appropriate that Penguin sent us 15-Minute Gentle Yoga by Louise Grime. This was the perfect time for me to give yoga workouts a real go and maybe learn to like it.
This book was created for the beginner, to give a “Taste of Yoga” and hopefully leave you wanting to learn more. From the first page, Louise Grime’s gentle voice comes through strongly as she guides you through everything. Literally, she leaves no stone unturned.
Aside from delivering on the cover’s promise of “Four 15-minute yoga workouts for energy, balance, and calm”, the book offers a lot more for those wanting to dip their toes into Yoga. Louise starts the book by introducing you to Yoga and giving a lot of valuable beginner’s advice from finding a teacher, starting out, clothing, equipment and practicing safely. She also closes the book with a history of yoga and tips on bringing the five principles of a yogic lifestyle into your life.
“A traditional yogic lifestyle is built around five principles: proper relaxation, proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet, and positive thinking and meditation.”
As a non-fan of Yoga (you know the type of person who has never enjoyed it but doesn’t have anything against it), this book really converted me into wanting to live and breathe a yogic lifestyle inclusive of the daily bite sized yoga workouts the book provides.
Louise says that the four 15-minute sequences are intended for different parts of the day but they work just as well at any time. They are;
1. Rise and shine
Start the morning with a series of gentle, flowing movements to prepare you for the day ahead.
2. Strengthening the Body
Root into the ground and engage your core muscles to build up inner strength and improve posture.
3. Early evening energizer
Clear your mind and ease away the tensions of a hectic and stressful day.
4. Winding Down
Watch your breath become slower and deeper as you prepare for a restful night’s sleep.
With my usual forms of exercise off the table, slotting the first two of the four yoga workouts into my morning schedule was seamless. Where I truly struggled was with the two evening workouts. I don’t usually work out in the afternoons and evenings and even though these yoga workouts are not a heart rate pumping, sweat inducing session, I struggled to make the mental shift of setting 15 minutes aside to do either. This was even after trying them out and liking them.
I call this a discipline/ willpower problem that I’m determined to overcome. I realise my error was in using this book to replace workouts that were temporarily on hold rather than making space to bring something new into my life.
The things that make this book so usable are;
- Every single pose and movement are illustrated with words and photographs.
- Each workout closes with a summary in the form timeline style chart. This is very handy once you get the hang of the movements but can’t recall the sequence.
- Each workout has an FAQ section where she addresses common questions about terminology used or potential pain you may be feeling. She very articulately sets out the difference between good and bad pain.
“It is important that you learn the difference between sweet pain – a good stretchy feeling in the muscles – and sour, or negative, pain – a sharp or nagging pain.”
Most notably, the only thing missing from this physical book is Louise’s voice actually talking aloud as the pages turn, but like I said, she leaves no stone unturned. Right at the beginning when she sets out “how to use this book” she gives you a link for videos of each workout. The videos are designed to be used in conjunction with the book.
Like everything in life, this book isn’t a magic wand and isn’t going to make you set out 15 minutes in your day to practice Yoga or bring instantaneous energy, balance and calm – the conscious decision, effort and practise needs to come from you. However, if you give it a chance, the book nicely demonstrates how easy those 15 minutes can be.
*I had microblading done and you can’t wet your brows during the healing.