Tricks for improving your yoga practice.

Do you want to get even more awesomeness out of each yoga session? Here’s a quick list of tips that I like to employ to make my yoga practice even more effective.

– Utilize scent during your yoga practice.  Choose an incense, oil or candle in a scent that you find relaxing.  Use the scent each time you practice.  After a while, begin to introduce the scent into your environment on days when you’re feeling stressed.  You will begin to associate the scent with calm and it will soothe you even when you’re away from your mat.

DSCF9324– Push your boundaries.  Try a pose that you have never done before.  Work into it slowly, over a period of weeks.  Watch as you get closer and closer with each attempt.

– Don’t do the same workout each time.  Mix up your routine, trying a combination of classes (whether online or in person) and freestyle sessions.  This keeps your mind active and engaged in the practice, as well as providing a greater challenge for your body.

– Be mindful of your breath during your practice.  Try to focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly and completely.  Notice the changes in your body as you inhale and exhale.

– Try to make your poses active rather than passive.  By that, I mean that with each breath you take in that pose you focus on stretching a little further, lengthening your limbs or deepening the poses.  See each breath as a chance to grow into the pose, rather than just remaining still.

-Follow up each practice with a good drink.  A big glass of water or a cup of herbal tea are both good choices.  My favourite post-yoga drink is coconut water.  It’s really hydrating, low in sugar and replaces electrolytes lost while exercising.  It’s like nature’s Gatorade!

– Keep a yoga journal.  After each practice make a note of any progress you made as well as any difficulties you faced.  Make a list of poses that you want to try and mark off when you complete them.

– Listen to your body while you’re practicing.  Learn the difference between feeling a stretch and straining.  If you’re straining, you’re pushing too hard.  But in order to progress, you need to feel a stretch.  If you pay attention to your body and regularly check in with yourself during your practice, you’ll soon learn how to identify your limits.

– Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Every body is different, and we all have different levels of strength, balance and flexibility.  Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t stretch as far or for as long as someone else.  Respect your body’s limits and be grateful for what you can do.

-Begin and end each practice with the same pose.  I like to start and finish my practices by sitting in half-lotus and slowly stretching forwards.  This gives me a sense of how relaxed and pliant my body has become with my practice, and gives a great ‘before and after’ feeling.  You can do this with any basic pose, and it’s a great way to bookend your practice.

How do you maximize your yoga practice?

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Tricks for improving your yoga practice.

  1. I really love the idea of scent! I think I might give that a try. I need to be a bit better with not comparing myself to other people, I realise i’m fatter and that I have to often adjust my positions and my fat, but it sometimes frustrates me.

    • It can be tricky when your body looks or moves in a different way to the instructor or the people who are yoga-ing around you. I get really frustrated sometimes because I have a lot of problems with my hips and this makes it difficult for me to get into certain poses. I’m sometimes annoyed when my pose doesn’t look the same as the person on the video.

      However, one thing that I’ve found really helpful is to close my eyes while I’m practicing and check in with my body. Just scanning my body and making sure that everything is feeling strong, checking that I’m not hunching my shoulders or slumping is really helpful. It helps me to get in touch with my own experience and not get so hung up on what everyone else is doing.

      Lately I’ve started watching a Youtube channel called Yoga with Adrienne. She is a great teacher and she often emphasizes that you don’t have to create a particular “shape” with each pose, she just encourages you to do it your own way. I really love her videos and you might too.

Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s