Practicing yoga is about more than simply staying in good physical condition. It’s about stretching yourself, increasing your capacity, and bringing your being to a higher plane. For this reason, even long-term practitioners are often seeking to continually enhance their yoga experience. Whether you are a long term practitioner of yoga, a beginner, or somewhere in between, there are probably things you can do to change up your routine and get even more from your yoga. Here are a few recommendations you can implement to help you get more enjoyment and more benefit from your daily dose. Try even just one, and you may be surprised at the change to your yoga practice.
Listen to Your Body
Yoga helps you feel more connected to your body, but only if you let it. While you probably know to leave your phone behind, it is also important to leave concerns and problems that are crowding your mind behind as well. Get to class a few minutes early, find your spot, and sit quietly while you wait for class to begin. Gently push aside any outside thoughts and focus on your breathing. During class, make an effort to relax your body within each pose. If you have trouble getting into a particular pose, you may find yourself unconsciously remaining tense during the pose. Remind yourself to relax.
It’s also important not to push yourself too far too fast. Many of the poses you will be holding during your yoga class are physically demanding. If you are new to the practice you might not be able to achieve a perfect pose right away. Instead of trying to force your body to do something it isn’t ready for, start by simply doing what you are able. Gently push your limits at each session and you will find that before long the poses will come to you naturally.
Put a Stop to Competition
Yoga is not a competitive sport. If you find that you are comparing yourself to others, you may be missing a crucial part of the experience. If you begin thinking that someone is more fit or more flexible than you, remind yourself that you are not in competition with them. If you are having a rough class, and cannot hold poses that you normally do, don’t beat up on yourself. Treat yourself with kindness. Learning to love and accept yourself and your body will enable you to access the emotional peace and mental clarity that yoga can provide.
Use Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils is an out-of-the-box way to get more out of your yoga practice. Essential oils from companies like Davina Wellness and similar businesses support both your physical and mental well-being, enhance your feelings of wellness, and ease sore muscles. The diffusers used with them release a very fine mist of essential oils into the air. Meditating or practicing yoga in the same space as those oils will help you take advantage of their natural benefits, as well as providing a sweet and relaxing fragrance.
There are many different essential oils that can be beneficial additions to a yoga practice, including bergamot, sandalwood, and wintergreen. Remember that different people react in different ways to each oil. If you decide you don’t care for one, don’t worry about it. Try a different alternative and keep experimenting until you discover a combination that works well for you.
Practice between Classes
You will absolutely benefit from one or two yoga classes a week, but that won’t maximize your potential benefit. To really get the most from your yoga practice, try practicing at home as well. Do some gentle stretches, or work your way through the sun salutation series each day. This only takes a few minutes and will help keep your body prepared for class. You may also find it is easier to quiet your mind and reflect in the peace and solitude of your own home. If you are self-conscious about attempting a new pose in your class, trying to figure it out at home can help you gain confidence.
Most importantly, the practice you do at home will carry over into your class and help you be a better practitioner over all. Remember, regularly practicing yoga should enhance your quality of life. If you don’t feel like your life is being enhanced, you should take a step back and look at your practice habits and motivations. You may find that something can be tweaked or adjusted. Adding some modifications should increase your enjoyment, but not add stress. Making just a few small changes can greatly increase your overall enjoyment of your yoga practice.