Yoga is one of the best practices for improving health both in body and in mind. Most practitioners have more energy, a greater ability to deal with stress, and a better outlook on life. Yoga goes beyond simple stretching exercises in countless ways. Here are some ways you can enhance your experience and make your yoga practice more meaningful.
Create a music playlist to enhance your yoga. Many people prefer peaceful, meditative music, but that does not mean you should limit yourself to this specifically; for example, a lot of Flow/Vinyasa yoga has music that is more upbeat, whereas, some Yin classes play more serene music.
2. Yoga Clothing
Your yoga clothes can be designed especially for yoga, or they can simply be comfortable clothing that you feel good about wearing. When you put on your yoga clothing, your subconscious mind will soon see this as a cue that you are about to step into a different state of consciousness for a while.
3. Uninterrupted Time
It is often best to set a specific time each day for yoga practice. The reason for this is similar to the reasons for choosing designated yoga clothes. When your schedule won’t allow it, then find another time and make sure it is uninterrupted time. It can be difficult to bring relaxation and focus to your yoga routine if you worry about interruptions. Your yoga will be far more meaningful if you are able to give yourself over to the poses and movements.
4. Setting an Intention
Setting an intention before each practice offers purpose to routines. For example, if you have been struggling with a problem, your intention could be to resolve that issue. Nothing needs to be changed about the routine itself, unless you feel led to make changes. Setting an intention prior to practice gives the brain a specific task, and some of the energy that arises during yoga will be directed towards your intention.
5. Essential Oils
The scents around us influence our emotions and state of being. Essential oils can uplift the spirits or calm the body, and they are a natural way to enhance the space where you practice yoga. Using oil on your body or placing essential oils in a diffuser adds scents to the room. Lavender oil is great for calming.
6. Creating the Space
Whether you do your routine in your living room, bedroom or basement, simple additions can set the space apart as your yoga area. Add a wall tapestry, a throw rug, and a small statue or other meaningful art, and leave plenty of room in the center for your yoga mat. At the beginning of each yoga routine, light a candle and some incense or your essential oil diffuser to increase the effect of setting the space. Even if the room you practice in is used for other things at other times, adding meaningful items such as these helps keep you on task with your yoga.
As you continue with yoga, your preferences for music, scent and other additions may change. Yoga can be a spark for personal growth, and it is best to remain flexible to new insights regarding even these simple things. By incorporating some or all of these tips into your yoga practice, it can become more meaningful.
A yoga lifestyle is one that goes beyond the mat. The way that you live your life off the mat can impact your everyday life. By living a yoga lifestyle, we begin to have more meaningful relationships with our family, friends, and the world around us. In return, it creates a more meaningful and rich experience for us personally.
Living a yoga lifestyle is about how we live each part of our lives. It is through our own asana and meditation practices that we begin to uncover new insights that we create and live a more balanced life. As a yogi, we discover (as I have in my own life) that these insights are a part of a lifelong journey of learning that never ends. We continue to grow (and hopefully) learn something new not only about ourselves, but the world around us.
Here are 7 ways on how to live a yogic lifestyle:
Learning to let go of the things that no longer serve us: What can you begin to let go of? Old thought patterns and ideals that no longer serve your overall well-being. Grudges, hurt, pain, etc., that we haven’t let go of from years ago. Don’t get stuck in your own story.
Show compassion towards yourself: Our internal dialogue is often full of blame and judgment. We blame, judge, and shame ourselves for our pain. We abandon ourselves and look to whoever (or whatever) can give us comfort. We talk to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to others. Because we’re convinced we deserve it. Self-compassion creates a caring space within you that is free of judgment—a place that sees your hurt and your failures and softens to allow those experiences with kindness and caring. As one of our human family, don't exclude yourself from the circle of compassion. Seeking comfort in our unconditional goodwill towards ourselves is a lifeline for our well-being.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude: So often we go through our daily lives wishing we had more, but when is the last time you actually paused to give thanks for what you do have? The more we practice gratitude, the happier we will become. Once we stop thinking about the things and what we supposedly don’t have, we feel more at peace and ease. Keeping a “Gratitude” journal is a great way to begin practicing gratitude in our daily lives. By writing down just 3 things you’re grateful for every day, you will begin to see a noticeable difference in how you feel.
Being authentic: In a world that rewards flawlessness, it’s hard to separate our identity from what we pretend (especially on social media). The masks we wear might seem authentic, but they are just a disguise. Being yourself is not about standing out. Or being different to others. Being authentic is following your path, not comparing yourself others. Authenticity is about accepting yourself as you are.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.”
Living intentionally: Living intentionally requires clarity. When you are clear about what makes you happy, healthy, loving and wonderful, you can be happy, healthy, loving and wonderful. Remove the excess, the distractions, and every other unimportant, unnecessary thing. Get clear on what matters to YOU by getting rid of everything that doesn’t.
Be open minded: Being open-minded doesn’t mean that someone is indecisive or wishy-washy. Opening up your mind to new ideas allows you the opportunity to change what you think and how you view the world. Learn a new way of doing something. Try a new recipe or put a twist on an old recipe that you’ve always loved. When you open your mind, you allow yourself to experience new ideas and thoughts and you challenge the beliefs you currently have.
Approach your health holistically: Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. Holistic health emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning at the highest level possible.
Disclaimer: The information and exercises provided within this web site are to be used at your own discretion and under professional guidance. They are not offered as a replacement or substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you believe that you may suffer from a physical or emotional impairment, it is strongly recommend that you seek advice from a licensed health care professional before embarking on this or any other exercise program.
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