Yoga is an excellent way to improve health, strength, and flexibility. It’s also a useful meditative tool that provides you with a physical way to stay mindful of your thoughts and actions, even when you’re not practicing. Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been flowing for years, you may hit a point where you want to get more out of your practice. Here are a few ways you can.
At any point in your yoga practice, it’s important to check in with your mindfulness goals . In addition to being a great source of exercise, yoga gives you the opportunity to develop a sense of awareness of your body and presence in the current moment. Mindfulness practice has significant impacts on your mood and mental wellness, so refocusing on the meditative aspects of yoga can go a long way toward improving all aspects of your life.
Pick a Focus Pose
One of the simplest ways to focus on mindfulness during your yoga practice is to narrow your focus. The longer and more complicated your flows, the harder it will be to keep your mind on track. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy longer sessions; however, consider setting aside some extra time to focus on a single pose.
Pick something that challenges you, but not so much that you risk injury. As you practice your focus pose, draw your mind’s eye to every part of your body, paying special attention to the places where you are tense or struggling. See if you can encourage your muscles to lengthen and relax or strengthen and steady, whichever the case may be.
This kind of focused practice does two important things. First, it provides you with a great opportunity to practice staying mindful of the moment. Second, it makes you stronger and more flexible and, therefore, less likely to get hurt.
If you’re struggling to make a move work, or there are parts of your favorite flows that click more than others, consider using yoga tools to make things a little easier. Blocks, yoga straps, exercise balls, and other props aren’t just for people just starting off. Although they do help modify moves for beginners, they also allow yogis of all levels to gradually increase the intensity of their practice. Look up ways other yogis use these tools, and let their methods inspire you to challenge yourself in new and exciting ways.
Make the Most of Tech
Thanks to websites like YouTube and smartphone yoga apps, keeping on top of regular yoga practice has never been easier. There are a plethora of resources at your fingertips, allowing you to learn new poses, flows, and techniques. Try out a few yoga apps (Glo is a good place to start) and keep your favorite on your phone so you can take it with you wherever you are. Part of your yoga practice might be making time to turn away from the seemingly endless pull of technology. However, it’s important to remember that there’s always a middle ground. Keeping a few guided yoga classes or meditations on your smartphone and constantly checking Facebook or Instagram are entirely different situations. Resolve to find that middle path toward using technology in a way that boosts, rather than drains, your energy.
Commit to a Schedule
The easiest way to boost your yoga skills is, believe it or not, pretty simple: stick to a schedule. By committing yourself to regular practice sessions, you allow your body to continuously learn and adjust. Moreover, making it into a routine means that yoga becomes a part of your regular, everyday life, not an obligation or chore.
So, try to make sure you keep to your schedule even when going out of town. Apps can make this easier, as well as using a streaming stick to access meditative music and apps and channels featuring your favorite yogis. Don’t let vacation or work travel disrupt your schedule entirely — instead, embrace them as fresh challenges along your path.
By committing to yoga — and yourself — in this way, you can create opportunities to find balance, both on and off the mat.
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