Your yoga practice is called that because – duh – it requires practice! It also takes work, commitment and dedication. You will be elated by your good days and you will have to persevere through your bad days. You will learn and re-learn things. You will discover truths about yourself.
Each time you step on your mat will be a complete and unique experience. Your yoga teacher plays a role in what happens during class but, more importantly, YOU play a role in your yoga experience.
Think about it – after a particularly heinous day, you get on your mat thinking you’re going to “yoga this day right out of your hair” but then you hold on to your unpleasant thoughts… Does your practice then feel a little lacking? Do you feel as frustrated as when you started? Do you feel like you just wasted your time?
Below are some tips on how you can make the most of yoga each and every time you step on your mat:
- Be patient. Strong poses take time. It will come.
- Stay present. Mindfulness increases awareness of your body. It will not only help you fly in your poses but also prevent injuries.
- Release your expectations. Don’t start with the goal of successfully holding a difficult pose. Allow your body to guide you and don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Do not multi-task. Set aside your to-do list or what lies ahead of you. Focus on the one thing that you are doing. You will be better at listening to the needs of your body.
- Ignore your peers. You are on a different point in your yoga journey than your fellow yogis. Turn your blinders on and focus.
- Breathe. When you are straining, you tend to hold your breath. When you hold your breath, your muscles tighten up instead of expanding and this will hamper your flexibility.
I know… You’re thinking… It can’t be that easy?!? Trust me. It isn’t. In an age where multi-tasking is king not letting our mind go “SQUIRREL!” is a hard task. Rather than talking to yourself as you flow from one pose to the next let your mind go blank. Then come back here and tell me how it went.