Whether you’re just starting a yoga practice or have been practicing for a while, you’re probably eager to get the most out of your yoga practice. Here are some yoga tips for making the most of your time on the mat.
- Dress comfortably. You don’t need designer yoga clothes, but be sure that your attire doesn’t hinder your practice. You’ll want clothing that’s comfortable enough to move in but not too loose. It’s also a good idea to make sure pant legs are not too long or too wide so you won’t trip over them or have them slide down your legs when you do inversions. Your top should be snug so your head won’t end up caught in your neckline when you’re upside down.
- Don’t practice in socks. You’ll benefit from the direct connection between your feet and the ground, and you’ll also be safer. It’s too easy to slip if you practice with your socks on!
- Listen to your body. “No pain, no gain” is not a principle of yoga. If you feel any discomfort in a pose, back off. Try a modified version of the pose, use a prop, or rest in child’s pose. And don’t be afraid to ask the teacher for help.
- Don’t compare your practice or your progress to anyone else’s. This is the yogi’s version of keep your eyes on your own paper. It’s one of the yoga tips you’ll hear often, and it will often be difficult to follow. It’s tempting to look around and try to emulate what other students are doing, but if you’re not ready for a pose, you’ll just end up frustrated, or worse—injured. Remember, your practice is your own journey, no one else’s.
- Choose a class style and level that’s right for you. It’s great to challenge yourself, but if you’re still working on downward dog as a resting pose and you’re in a class where handstands and difficult binds are typical, you won’t get much out of the practice. Don’t worry. You’ll get to those poses when your body is ready for them.
- On the other hand, step out of your comfort zone once in a while. The flip side of a practice that’s too challenging is staying with beginner classes long after you’re ready to move on. Practice at your edge, but not beyond it. The poses you avoid may be the very ones you need to practice.
- Stay until the class is over. Just as you wouldn’t leave work without your paycheck, you don’t want to leave a yoga class before getting paid—that is, before experiencing final relaxation, or savasana. This resting posture is truly the goal of the practice; it’s what you’ve worked for since the class started.
- Practice at home. Unless you have time and money to go to a yoga studio more than a few times a week, you’ll get more out of your yoga practice if supplement studio time with a home-based practice. Practicing at home will also help make yoga a part of your overall lifestyle, and you’ll certainly benefit from that!
Remember these yoga tips are guidelines. You won’t be able to do everything “right” all of the time, but with commitment to putting your best foot forward every time you step on the mat, you’ll find it much easier to make the best of your yoga practice and your life.