How to Improve your Yoga Practice
10 simple principles to deepen and improve your commitment
This is a post to help you become a true yogi. Read it and put it into practice today.
1. Clarify what yoga is for you.
There are so many different ideas on what yoga is. Is it a fitness regime? Is it a meditation practice? What is it for you? Why do you want to practice yoga?
For me it is an approach to life that encompasses what I do with my mind, my body and my spirit. They all play a part.
2. Commit to following that path.
This is vital. Commitment is the key to growing in yoga. Know what you are committing to and how your are going to do that.
For me it is committing to a daily practice of meditation and asana practice. I don’t achieve that every day but my commitment keeps me on the path.
3. Don’t listen to the “Yoga Gurus”.
No-one knows better than you what you need, where you need to grow and how you can do it. So many Yoga Gurus have been shown to be frauds and definitely not yogis. Do not be taken in by their promises.
I learn from many people. I take what works for me and leave what doesn’t. I am not in hock to anyone and my practice is better for it.
4. Don’t push your body.
Yoga should not be about fitness, about strength. Physical yoga practice is good for your body but it should not be about stressing or injuring your body. Do you know how many Yoga Teachers suffer constant pain from their practice?
I practice asanas as they open up my body and keep it in tune. I am in my seventies and I do not suffer pain. My body is important to me so I don’t want to damage it.
5. It’s not about the asanas.
Is this clear yet? Yoga is not a physical practice, it is a practice for the whole mind, body and spirit. Don’t be fooled into thinking it solve all your physical issues, it may well create more.
I have used Yin Yoga to help me get over twists and pains in my muscles and ligaments (caused by things I do in life). A gentle approach can solve so much.
6. Practice regularly.
Whatever you practice is, whether it’s asana practice, meditation, chanting or just simple contemplation, do it regularly. Daily is ideal, it embeds your practice as a vital part of your life.
I work to do something on a daily basis, sometimes it’s meditation, sometimes it’s asanas, sometimes just contemplation. My practice is never far from my mind.
7. Forget the “Yoga Classes”.
It isn’t necessary to constantly improve. You need to learn how to carry out what you have chosen to do, but then it’s a matter of just doing it. If a class helps you in this, that’s all very well, but don’t think the classes are your practice.
I do several classes a week on zoom, but they are going through the same routine. After over three years they have become a meditation on yoga for me, but they are only a part of what I do.
8. Let go of achievement.
There is nowhere to get to, there is no final state that makes it all worth while. Yoga is about how you relate to life, how you live life. You are already there, you just need to keep going.
There is nothing more for yoga to give me, that is something positive foir me. I live my life, I practice my yoga and I feel great, in every way.
9. Go inside for inspiration.
All that you need is inside you. You hold all the secrets already. Just trust and enjoy.
I always think of the story of Santaigo in Coelho’s book ‘The Alchemist’. The treasue he sought was buried where he first started. Read the book to understand this.
10. Clarify what yoga is for you.
This is where I started. What is yoga for you? You must answer this to be a yogi.
Yoga is about my whole life, when I realised that it took on a whole new meaning for me.