A good yoga practitioner is always improving and adding to their routine. Whether you want to improve your breathing technique or master more difficult poses, there are a number of ways to take your yoga practice to the next level. Yoga for Vets provides some food for thought.
Set an Intentional Goal
The first step on the path to improving your yoga routine is setting a goal for yourself. Why not put technology to work for you here? Find an app for your smartphone that helps you set a weekly or monthly goal for your yoga practice, and then work on attaining that goal.
A couple of suggestions are to add yoga fitness apps like Track Yoga or Daily Yoga. It’s a simple way to engage with experts and try new poses, whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you to practice. You can decide on whatever sort of goal fits you best, whether it’s practicing a new yoga style, more often, for longer… think through what will feel satisfying and inspirational, and then watch your practice grow!
Look Into New Teachers
If you are looking to step up your yoga practice, check into different yoga instructors. As The Yoga Nomads explains, it is important to have a yoga instructor who is experienced and knowledgeable as you expand your yoga abilities. Keep in mind that while the internet offers you a vast array of streaming options, there is nothing that compares with one-on-one instruction.
Connect with a yoga instructor who can help you learn new poses and reach deeper within yourself to advance your practice. Even if you only can take a lesson here and there, it’s an incomparable opportunity to learn and grow.
Be Brave and Take Risks
In order to better your yoga skills, allow yourself to take risks and venture into the unknown. Take the time to explore different yoga styles and poses that you find challenging. Don't be afraid to fail. Failure is only one step on the path to learning and self-improvement.
If you are having trouble stepping outside your comfort zone, try thinking in terms of alleviating boredom and pushing your personal limits. Gaiam recommends doing something new, like taking a new class, befriending other yoga enthusiasts, or even changing up your playlist. You can even consider signing up for teacher training or put down a deposit on a retreat. Variety is the spice in life, and these small changes and risks can inspire your regimen.
Don't Compare Yourself to Others
Remember that everyone is on their own journey, and each person has different goals. Don't be discouraged by advanced poses that seem to be beyond your abilities. You are treading your own path, as other students and instructors are on theirs.
Stopping this unhealthy habit can be tough. Psychology Today recommends thinking through what it is that triggers your feelings of inadequacy and drive to compare. For instance, if someone is continually telling you about their achievements, or if you’re reading posts on social media that upset you, maybe you need to limit or eliminate your exposure. List your triggers, and with them identified, think through how you will cut that negativity.
Practice Mindfulness in Meditation
In addition to increasing your poses, positions, and yoga fitness level, it is important to take your meditation and breathing up a notch. With a focus on improving your yoga routine, it can be easy to overlook the fundamental importance of mindful breathing before, during, and after your yoga sessions.
Here’s another great place to put your phone to work for you. You can improve your breathing and focus through guided meditation with apps like Insight Timer and Headspace. With the guidance of apps, you can stay mindful and focused, rather than just zoning out.
To stay focused and mindful, your home should be a space where you can relax and destress. If you work from home, take steps to separate your remote work area or home office and the rest of your home. Having a clear boundary between work and home will help you destress when your workday is over. Similarly, a messy and cluttered home can cause anxiety and affect your relationships as well. Remove any negative energy from your space by clearing messes, opening your windows, and letting in plenty of natural light.
Invest in the Right Gear
While you don’t need to run out and spend a fortune on expensive equipment, there are still some items you want to have on hand. This includes blocks, a strap, a bolster, a blanket, and possibly even a yoga wheel. A decent mat is an obvious need, but if yours has seen better days, invest in something new. Consider what you’re wearing too. For men, comfortable shorts and a sweat wicking tee are ideal, while most women feel comfortable in high-waisted leggings and supportive bras.
Are you ready to see your yoga practice improve? With a dedicated set of goals coupled with a compassionate and centered mind, you will find yourself moving smoothly along your path to a deeper yoga practice. You’ll be amazed at your growth with these smart and simple tips.