Yoga has a powerful way of transforming stress into calm, craziness into mindfulness, and self-destruction into self-love. These are just a few of the reasons why more and more people are turning to yoga—both as a form of exercise and for mental health improvement. Whether you want to get into yoga or have been practicing for a while, there is always room for growth. Take a look at these beneficial tips for improving your yoga practice—your mind and body will thank you.
Utilize Yoga Props
Yoga props are a saving grace for beginner yogis. Straps, blocks, and bolsters help you achieve a broader and more diverse experience of the different movements and positions. It may feel strange at first to keep a block under your calf for a pose, but it will help your muscles delve deeper and stretch further. They’re also great assets for actively engaging targeted muscle groups!
Get Good at Intention Setting
Whether you’ve heard it in on your meditation app or from your yoga instructor, the phrase “set your intention” actually has way more power than you’re giving it. Intention setting isn’t actually as daunting as it sounds—it’s quite simple really. All it’s asking is for you to define what you want to get out of your practice for the day. Do you want strength? Energy? A calmer mindset? There are tons of ways to go about it; however, the more you practice honing in on your intention at the beginning and throughout your practice, the sooner you’ll recognize and understand how that intention and feeling can transfer into other areas of your life.
Also known as yogic breath, this is another aspect that can truly improve your yoga practice. When the instructor asks you to inhale deeply, this request isn’t just for fun—rather, it’s to help you reclaim that deep, diaphragmatic breath that helps your muscles, body, and mind relax. Almost everyone lives their day with some sort of irregular breathing pattern—from stress, exercise, or what have you. The sooner you reclaim this calming breath, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits of an even breathing pattern.
Keep a Yoga Journal
If you really want to delve into your yoga practice and benefit from all the positive lifestyle changes that come with it, then you need to start a yoga journal. A journal dedicated to your yoga practice will help you key in on and keep track of your intentions and goals. It’s a great ritual to take a few minutes after your yoga session to gain insight on improvements and fluctuations on and off the mat. It’s also a great way to see your growth the more you practice!
Get into a Ritual
Similarly, the sooner you get into a ritual both before and after your yoga routine, the better for your general yoga practice. If you walk out of yoga and head right to a fast-food joint or grab an espresso shot, then you’re derailing those health benefits you just received from the class. Make a routine for yourself—for example, write in your yoga journal right after, head to a natural smoothie spot, and take a hot shower when you get home. Create a healthy before and after routine, and your whole yoga practice will transform.