Yoga, a fantastic workout for the mind, and the body is rooted in Eastern cultures from long ago. As Western culture adopts the practice, more and more, we want to know how to get the most out of our yoga sessions.
Research Yoga Instructors
Not all yoga instructors and studios are the same. Different people match different personalities. Some studios pride themselves on hot yoga, others have prenatal, and some can be more hardcore than what you are looking for. It’s great to try different places out, especially when you are new to yoga, to get a feel of the environment and to see what instructors speak your language.
If you aren’t interested in in-studio yoga and will do it at home, the internet has yoga videos to match all types of personalities. Try them out to see what kind of video you like — if you don’t like the music or sound of the instructor’s voice, move on, and listen to your instincts. You should also take the time to create a comfortable yoga environment in your home space.
The point of yoga is to get in touch with the inner self. If you ignore something that may cause you discomfort may get you out of yoga before you even really get into it.
Release any Expectations
One adaptation Western culture has to get used to is to let go of your expectations. In society, we are born and bred to have expectations (bigger, better, faster, more). How do we let go of pushing ourselves to do more when we should say, “Today, I’m going to expect nothing but do things anyway.”
This tip takes practice, every day… exercise. Practice being okay with the way things are and the way things will be. Know that the more you do something, the easier it becomes, but pushing your mind or body to do something more significant than what it is ready for can end in a physical injury or a case of the giving-ups.
Go Early, and Often
Practice makes for an excellent way to form a habit. While the jury is out on how long it takes to build a habit (some places say 21 days; others say it can take up to 254 days), setting a goal of practicing yoga often is a good rule. Even if it is one time a week to start with, if you like to go to a studio, make sure you go. If you like to do yoga at home, don’t let anything distract you from doing it.
Sooner rather than later, your body, mind, and instincts will take over for you to get moving on yoga when you need it.
Pack a Yoga Bag
Getting into a pre-yoga routine will help you form your habit more easily. Buy a yoga mat, get a few blocks, a towel, yoga-mat cleaner — whatever you feel will make your yoga journey more comfortable for you. Each day, before you do yoga, pack your bag up. Packing a bag with personal items will allow your yoga routine to feel yours personally.
Again, not going to a studio and practice at home? Get sensory with essential oils or incense and turn on meditative music that soothes and speaks to you.
Drink A Lot of Water
Water seems like it is a no-brainer, but seriously, with all the stressors people have going on in their day, sometimes drinking water will be the last thing on their minds.
Water helps your muscles, the ones that are used in yoga every time you practice. Drinking enough water helps you tolerate more pain, lubricates your joints, allows for more flexibility, and gives you a shorter recovery time.
Eat a Light and Healthy Snack
Not everyone likes to exercise with something in their stomach, and as a general rule of practice, it is good to let the food digest and turn to energy before the workout. The nice thing about eating a light, healthy snack before you start a yoga routine is that it will give you that books of energy and may help push you to a level you didn’t know that you were capable of.
Set Your Yoga Intention
Setting a yoga intention sounds easy enough, but it could stump some people who tend to overthink. Try starting small, figure out what you want to get out of yoga before you practice that day. It could be as simple as, “I want to relax,” or something a little more complicated like, “I am going to get my feet to the ground in plow pose.”
Whatever your intention is, it is there for you to find peace of mind in your practice.
Listen to Relaxing Music
Stress comes with waking hours. Knowing that you are getting ready to do yoga or rushing to make it to class will only amp up the tension levels more. Try keeping relaxing music on your phone or in your home for you to listen to. Do this every time before you start, ten to twenty minutes of relaxing music will help enjoy the practice sooner in the routine rather than later.
Prep for Yoga Every Day
Even when you aren’t at yoga, you can still set intentions and let go of expectations for yourself. Having continuing goals, also when you aren’t in the pose, to help you relax throughout the day, can help you grow and allow for some of the slower things in life to become enjoyable.