9 tips to get the most
out of your yoga practice
by: kellee rich
“Yoga is light, which once lit, will never dim.
The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”
Most devout yogis and yoginis dedicate at least two to three times a week on their mats. Even if you can only make one class per week, or struggle to make a class every other every other week, each time you make time on the mat can be drastically improved by a positive mindset and 9 simple tips.
- Let go of Expectations. Come to each class with a fresh perspective, and let go of all expectations. Remember, the teacher is there to guide you through your spiritual and physical asana practice. Therefore, come into, and flow through your practice with an open mind and heart.
- Be Present. All of us get distracted, but when it comes to your yoga practice, just be there now.
- Set an Intention. The power of intention is universal. Setting intention, or Sankalpa, in class and in life, is an exceptional way to keep focused, and set goals toward a better you.
- Honor your Intuition. Listen to your gut, it’s always right. If you are feeling uncomfortable going into Headstand today, honor that. Instead, modify, and do Legs Up the Wall. When we honor our intuition we protect ourselves from injury, and possible suffering.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen to your intuition. Listen to your body. Quiet your “monkey” mind. It is in stillness that we find peace. Listen to your yoga instructor and follow the sequence, modifying when needed. They are their to guide and protect you on your journey. And, listen to your soul. All the answers you seek are within.
- Breathe in, Breathe out. Breath is automatic, since your first breath was forced in at birth by gravity. Pranayama, or breathing techniques, used in yoga class teach us how to consciously breathe. Remember it only takes 6 breaths to calm your heartbeat, and to relax your body and mind. If you lose your place in class, first come back to your breathe, then fall back into the flow of the sequence.
- Leave your phone at the studio door. There is nothing quite as disrespectful as checking your phone, or texting during class. It is a sacred time for you, and the other yogis in the room. The group energy can easily be pulled in a negative direction if someone in the front row is preoccupied and fumbling with their phone. If you are on-call for work, let the teacher know, set-up near the back of the room, and try not to check your phone every couple minutes. Otherwise, check it at the door, and enjoy some disconnection from the virtual world.
- Honor your teachers, both internal and external. This means to show respect for both the yoga teacher guiding you through an asana sequence, and to your inner teacher. All the answers that you seek are deep and dormant within you. Honor thyself and others, and all will be good.
- Be Grateful. Always be grateful. Grateful for your body, your temple. Grateful for your blessings in life. Grateful for your yoga practice. Grateful for the studio space and the guidance of experienced and passionate teachers. Just be, grateful.
About: Kellee Rich. A poet and writer, full-time yoga teacher and devout mom, in her hometown of Truckee CA, Kellee enjoys spending her time outside the studio with her family and friends by paddleboarding, kayaking, snowboarding, and anything athletic and outdoors. She holds a BA in English Literature from SNC (Sierra Nevada College, a 4-year Liberal Arts School in Incline Village NV.) Kellee is a Lyme Disease and Stroke survivor, and is currently working on a memoir about living with and surviving Lyme, focusing specifically on how yoga saved her life. Poetry and yoga go hand-in-hand in Kellee’s world, and she brings this eclectic mix of inspiration and empowerment to her students and in her yoga and meditation classes.