Yoga is a superb method of self-actualization and the best step one can take towards a healthy mind, body, and soul. There is more than likely a qualified, friendly, and experienced instructor near you offering classes for those interested. If you search around a bit, you may even be able to find “karma classes,” free yoga sessions based on a donation structure: you pay whatever you feel the class is the worth. There are also a plethora of online resources available, chock full of videos demonstrating various poses, breathing techniques, and styles of meditation. Here are a few out-of-the-ordinary tips from an experienced yogi.
First, breathing is the most crucial aspect of yogic exercise. Maintaining a calm, steady, breath throughout your routine is essential; do not allow yourself to become exasperated or wheezy even when practicing more active, aerobic, “hatha” yoga. You know your body, and limitations, better than anyone and, even in a crowded studio, should never feel embarrassed to just lie down for a moment in corpse or child’s pose. When truly embracing a pose, always remember that you will be able to stretch deeper on an exhale.
Second, surrounding yourself with “power items” can help provide a more comfortable experience. These can be totems you have owned for a long time, mementos of dear friends and loved ones, symbols of yourself and what you believe, effigies of problems facing you, or anything to bring peace, concentration, or inspiration to your space. Some people enjoy consulting a tarot deck before practicing yoga, leaving the spread upon the floor for their eyes to catch and mind to toy with. As they stretch and meditate, certain themes or cards are brought to their attention and help organize the chaos within.
Third, embracing these random thoughts is a non-traditional approach to the meditation inherent in yoga. While many aim to clear their minds, some aim to seek answers while their physical selves are distracted. The thoughts pondered, influenced by whatever contextual circumstances your life finds itself in, coupled with the choice of objects populating your space, can be profoundly revolutionary when compared to the processes your mind runs through the monotony of day to day life While your heart is pumping, your blood is flowing, and your muscles are relaxing, your consciousness is free to run rampant and supply insightful alternatives to problems you had already written off.
Lastly, as hydration is one of the most intricate areas of physical health, it should not be ignored while practicing yoga. However, in contrast to the notion of “cooling off” after a workout, hot beverages are superior to anything even room temperature or below. Yoga helps one to build heated energy within and this should not be wasted on consuming an icy bottled water; drinking hot tea provides equally adequate hydration as well as some amazing antioxidants without wasting the heat stored in your body. Some suggest a green tea with honey in the morning, earl grey if you have an unusually busy schedule, and a chamomile or licorice tea in the evening.
You should do more yoga. 15 minutes a day, 4 times a week, is superior to an hour once a week but find a schedule that works with you and for you. Most importantly, stick with it and be constantly trying to improve your posture, flexibility, and stamina. Try yoga underwater, outside, in a new studio, on top of the fridge, just make sure to find a balance between the novel and routine.