5 Simple Ways to Ignite Your Yoga Practice
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Yoga is a practice that empowers us to live in the present moment—to release our worries about the past and fears of the future. It’s a physical, mental, emotional and, for some, a spiritual practice that connects mind, body, heart and soul. Its benefits are limitless and ageless.
When you practice regularly, you might start to notice you focus on some areas more than others. That is completely natural. However, you want to ignite or reignite your commitment to those other areas to continue growing in your practice. If that sounds like the next step for you, here are some ideas to help boost your yoga practice, including running good yoga apps on your phone and trying out new avenues of yoga.
Run Smartphone Apps at Home
Keep your studio practice going by working through some yoga practices at home for at least seven minutes a day. This can be a time to meditate or do a sun salutation. Download an app to guide you through your home practice, and run an app that will help you set and achieve yoga-related goals. There are hundreds of reputable apps out there, but most require a strong Wi-Fi connection, so be sure your smartphone and data plan are up-to-date. Browse the market for a new phone if it fits your budget; for example, the iPhone 11’s super-fast chip will run the app smoothly, while the Galaxy S10’s dynamic display lets you watch videos in high definition.
Find a Good Teacher
Learning yoga from someone who is compassionate and puts safety first is key to having a strong, sustainable practice. Finding a teacher who is knowledgeable and tailors your routine to fit your needs can get you excited about your practice. The right instructor will also give clear instructions during the routine, so that you avoid injury.
Find New Challenges
If you are ready to explore new avenues of yoga, try looking for teachers in your community that are trained in different styles of yoga. For example, if you often practice vinyasa, drop in a yin class or a Kundalini class. Take a workshop on inversions, arm balances or other advanced poses you’d like to safely incorporate in your practice.
Study the Principles
Yoga, which means “to yolk,” is a practice of uniting the mind, body and spirit. It’s at least 5,000 years old and, quite possibly, much, much older. There are many texts that explore the principles that guide yoga, but the sutras of Patanjali are considered foundational. If you want to add a little wisdom and inner awakening to your yoga practice, learn about these sutras. Many yogis also study the eight limbs of yoga, including the yamas and niyamas. These can expand your practice with insight and inquiry.
Find Your Breath
Pranayama, or breath work, is a major element of yoga. Using various breathing techniques, you can find calm during stressful moments, feel sensations more deeply in your body, and oxygenate your mind and muscles. The breath is a very useful source of power and one that can be controlled or freed—and both are beneficial. When you are feeling anxious, this breath work can reduce your feelings of flight or fight. When you feel lethargic, breath of fire can energize your mind and body.
Just like any daily practice, yoga can become routine and stagnant. It’s a necessary reminder that we aren’t growing in our practice. Yoga isn’t something we finish or accomplish; it’s an ongoing journey deeper into our own sense of being. Try not to judge yourself too harshly if you have let go of your practice or wound up in a place that doesn’t feel quite right. You have learned something important from this experience. Take that knowledge into a new direction, chapter or exploration of a centuries-old philosophy on “yolking” the mind, body and spirit.