7 tips for a better yoga practice
Photo by Jonathan Colon
1. HYDRATE ALL DAY
Stopping to sip in the middle of your yoga practice can mess with your flow, so it's vital to arrive to class hydrated. Focus on drinking water all day long — you'll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
2. DRESS THE PART
There's nothing worse than having to hike up the waistband of your yoga pants or make sure you aren't spilling out of your tank top all class long. That's not where your brain should be during Downward Dog. Wear clothes that are fitted and comfortable, but not so snug that they're distracting.
3. GRAB PROPS
Advanced yogis often shy away from grabbing props, but there's no shame in keeping them next to your mat! Grab a block, yoga strap, and blanket before you unroll your mat. You never know when you might need one.
4. BREATHE DEEP
It can take years to “perfect” your breath. Anytime a pose feels difficult or your sense some self-judgment creeping in, take deep ujjayi breaths in and out through your nose. This style of breathing will help you let go of any tension or negativity and continue class with a calm, composed perspective.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR TEACHER
Of course your teacher is there to tell you which pose is coming up next, but don't tune them out once you're in that pose! The tiny comments or suggestions they offer once you're in position are the real gems. One subtle tip could help you develop a completely new relationship with a pose that seemed too hard — or too easy — before!
6. SMILE MORE
Once you're moving through your flow, your muscles are heated up, and your breath is married to your movement, get grateful and start smiling. There's no need to plaster an inauthentic expression across your face for an hour, but there are plenty of opportunities to stop taking yourself so seriously during your practice. Smile and mean it —you're taking care of your body and mind just by being present.
7. TRY SOMETHING NEW
If there's a pose that you usually skip or think you're “not ready” for, try it during your next class. The only way we master challenging poses is by facing the fear and moving through it. You might not nail it right off the bat, but it's all about the journey, right?
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