How Do I / Lifestyle

How Do I Start Doing Yoga? Feat. Margaret Francois

Welcome to a new series on the blog called, “How Do I?” Each month, I’ll share how tos with an expert’s help. Wondering how to start doing yoga? Let’s find out!

I couldn’t be more excited to kickoff this series with my good friend and yogi extraordinaire Margaret Francois of BeautyandtheBeatBlog. We know each other from our day jobs as social media marketing managers in beauty, but Margaret doesn’t stop there. She’s a 200-hour registered yoga teacher, blogger, beauty writer and wellness expert featured in magazines like Shape, Sheen, Essence, and Vibe. Her work has also been featured on PopSugar, Vogue.Com, and the Washington Post. Reader, did I mention she’s ALSO a working mom with a 2-year-old and fiancé?

Not only is Margaret a powerhouse, she totally remembers what it was like to be a beginner (and is right here with us during this WFH time, hunched over our computers). I am so excited to share her expert tips and tricks for those starting yoga for the first time. And with that, I’ll let Margaret take it away!

Photos by Jenn Thai

About the journey

I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 4.5 years. I fell in love with yoga in 2015 after attending my friend and coworker Allie’s (@thejourneyjunkie) class. It took place at the office, and she encouraged me to attend. At the time, I was obsessed with HIIT and spin classes, so I was hesitant to check it out. I finally came to her class and felt the most amazing strength and bliss afterwards. She encouraged me to attend yoga teacher training, and in 2017, I became a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher.

What I love most about yoga is the intentionality of each posture and connecting them to your breath during a yoga sequence—it’s truly an act of meditation in motion.

The amount of focus and peace that I have during and after brings out my best self and it transcends the physical. Layer in being able to share this experience with others as a teacher, and I couldn’t ask for more. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.

What’s a common misconception about yoga (especially for first timers/beginners)?

Many beginners who ask me how to get started usually lead with areas they think they lack. For example, thinking they aren’t flexible enough, or that they aren’t’ “skinny” enough.

You don’t have to be flexible or look a certain way to start. My motto for my students is come as you are and learn as you go. Yoga is a continual practice, there is no perfection in it.

A huge part of my platform is making yoga inclusive and accessible. My goal is to encourage people of color, especially women, to feel comfortable in yoga spaces. Many of the advertisements we see only showcase thin, affluent white women as the ideal image of a yogi. Some of the greatest yogis I’ve met are full-figured, and they are people of color from vast socio-economic backgrounds. They absolutely defy that mold and I love it! The word yoga can translate to mean union, and my mission is to inspire and highlight diversity as a pivotal component of yoga.

My goal is to encourage people of color, especially women, to feel comfortable in yoga spaces.

Margaret francois,

What do you need to start yoga?

You really don’t have to purchase anything to start as long as you have a towel or blanket, you can get started. However, I do recommend investing in a mat and two blocks as foundations.

Any tips for WFH-induced back pain?

This is such a great question and definitely a common question for people who spend long periods of time sitting.

Some of my favorite simple poses to try are Cat/Cow Pose, Forward Fold, Chair Pose, and Child’s Pose. I actually wrote a blog post sharing this video of 11 poses to try for back pain:

Want more? Check out these resources:

Liked this post? Let me know what else you’d like to learn and I’ll bring it your way!

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