Get The Most Out Of Your Yoga Practice
While I have the deepest respect for the ancient practice, mind-body connection, and OM in spirit with my fellow yogis, I move and see through the eyes and body of a Strength and Conditioning Coach.
That being said, what I share with you today is to benefit your body first, and as a byproduct, your mind will soar into eternal bliss (if you allow it). That is my hope, anyway, and if you travel on a yogic path, you know or will soon know what I’m talking about.
Last year, I gave workshops based upon my eBook, Yoga For People Who Sit Down All Day, and today I am inspired to share more with you. By the way, yoga always seems to fill me with inspiration and motivation to do things. Maybe the same will happen for you!
Whether you want to begin a yoga practice or have been practicing for eternity, here are 4 considerations to get the most from your practice:
1. If it feels good…
If the stretch or pose feels amazing, chances are it’s not the one you should focus on.
Strength and flexibility improvements are never made by doing things that are easy. Take a few moments in your favorite position to grab the bliss, but spend more time on the ones that stump you and challenge you.
2. Take the road less traveled…
This is very important. Taking the road less traveled means to go the other direction. How do you spend most of your day? If you are in a seated, slumped over position such as at a computer, your road less traveled is one that takes you to a standing, back bending, heart opening place. Conversely, people who stand up all day will want to journey into forward folding and lengthening the muscles in the back of their body.
3. Ask and ye shall receive…
So how does a yoga instructor know what road the students have been traveling all day? They don’t! Speak up and request certain stretches, poses, or directions. A quality yoga instructor will adapt to the students and believe me, they love the interaction. Requests invite conversation, create a community environment, and many bodies will benefit. Chances are some of your fellow yogis have been traveling down that same road all day.
4. Try as you will…
There are numerous poses, progressions, and regressions in yoga so you will be challenged.
But if you are looking for benefits such as weight loss and an increase in lean muscle, you will have to do some cross training and tweak your nutrition habits.
It is true that many yoga practitioners look lean and healthy. This is because of many reasons including yoga. Yoga and other body-weight-only training, will only improve muscle strength to a certain degree. To gain lean muscle, thus provide the opportunity to burn more body fat, you must add progressive resistance (aka: lift weights).
Our lifestyle has changed over the last 3000 years since the birth of yoga. While our goals for enlightenment and happiness have not changed, the demands on our bodies have. The opportunities to move are less and less with each generation.
Because my opportunities to exercise are few and precious, my guess is yours are too? I like to make each one count and add benefit rather than go through motions to consider it done.
What about you? Do you get the most out of your yoga practice considering my 4 considerations above? Share them with your yoga instructors. Give them a shout out in the comments below or tell me, what do you love about your class?
Strength & Love,