7 Easy ways to deepen your Yoga practice
7 EASY WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE
7 Easy ways to deepen your Yoga practice – Yoga is an ever-evolving personal journey. I have times when I love every moment on my mat, feeling deeply connected to my breath, my body, my heartbeat and the moment. Other times, my mind runs the show repeatedly, and I must become aware of repeatedly drawing myself back to my breath. And so the cycle goes. The Human Experience blesses us with an incredible yet mischievous mind, and yoga provides tools to help quiet the monkey mind and reconnect to our inner Self. Our True Self. Our True Wisdom.
Some of the most valuable ways I find myself enriching my practice and giving my monkey mind something to focus on, thus enriching my yoga practice by deepening the connection to my body, my movements, my breath and my inner voice are as follows:
Here are the 7 Easy ways to deepen your Yoga practice:
Set an intention:
This is a powerful and essential step in your practice. Whether coming to your mat for a 5-minute flow to shift some energy and wake yourself up from an afternoon slump or on your mat for a few hours, setting an intention speaks to the Universe about what you want to invite. It might be a bigger-picture goal, or it might be something straightforward just for that day. It might be for yourself, or it might be for someone else who you know could benefit from having some cultivated loving energy directed their way. Whatever it is, use positive language and say it/think it/feel it with your whole Self. Yoga is a powerful practice and intention setting a powerful part of manifesting the life that you would like to live. It is also a powerful way to give back to yourself or others.
Add essential oils:
Using them in a diffuser or applying them topically can powerfully enhance your practice. When you use pure certified therapeutic grade oils such as doTerra, you know you are applying the highest quality oils to your skin or inhaling them into your precious lungs. Oils can help alter your mood, help change your brain chemistry, help repair damaged muscles, help improve your respiratory system, and support your lymphatic system & nervous system. They can help boost your immunity, support you through emotional ups and downs, and so much more. Depending on what you want the oils to do, this is a sure way to enhance the benefits of your yoga practice. For more info on what oils are good for what ailments, contact me, and we can chat about what will suit you.
Ground down your feet:
Grounding your feet in a post helps deepen your connection with the Earth. It helps you build a more stable base of support. It helps you gain better balance through the pose and helps you connect to your deep core lines, strengthening your feet and drawing energy up from the Earth to grow the pose with integrity. Grounding your feet also sets you up for a sturdy journey through your practice and, thus, into the rest of your life. It helps you become sure of yourself, have confidence in your movements, grow tall in your stride and be your best self.
Connect to your deep core:
Whenever you move on your mat, take the time to ensure you are connecting/moving from your core. You can do this in many ways. Spread your toes every time you reach your foot away from your torso, plant it into your mat, or flex your toes back towards your face in seated poses, activating your inner core lines, which help switch on your deep sore muscles. When you move, these muscles help support your spine, so you are moving from a far more integrated and supported place. Drawing your belly button toward your spine and up towards your heart as you move helps activate the deeper core muscles and the more superficial core muscles to work together to provide a more stable movement. This can otherwise be known as activating uddiyana (‘flying up lock’ – in your stomach) and mula (root lock – anus/perineum) bandhas (internal energetic locks) to enrich your practice, support your physical movement and build and hold internal energy flow.
Read also: 100 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Goa
Listen to your inner voice:
Whatever your iceberg looks like that day, and however much of the tip is showing above the surface, only you can explore and know what is below the surface. Take time at the beginning of your practice to stop, sit or stand still, close your eyes and tune in deeply. Listen to what your body has to tell you that day. Listen to what your breath has to tell you. Then, as you begin to practice, continue to tune in. If you notice yourself getting pulled back into the multitude of thoughts that can distract us quickly, you would be human, which is perfectly OK. Take a moment and stop again, tune in again, listen to your body and your breath, and then start your next move from a more connected space.
Expand the pose in every direction:
When you think about the full expression of the pose (whatever that looks like for you that day on your mat), think about how you can expand the pose in all directions. Spread your toes and ground through your feet. Grow the pose from the ground up. Extending your heart forward/upward and extending your crown forward/upward helps you stay light in your torso, lengthening your spine and creating space for your lungs to expand and your spine to move more freely. Reaching your fingertips further expands the energy of the pose to the furthest point. It brings the pose to every cell of your body, not just your main body and muscles, but switches on all the muscles along the way and creates a feeling of fullness. Breathe through every pour on your skin rather than just through your nose. Feel like your cells are expanding with breath. The practice will reward you 1000-fold.
Be patient with yourself on the journey:
We often need to remind ourselves of this. Being patient is a constant practice. Yoga helps us cultivate patience, not only with ourselves on our yoga mat, but this then flows off our mat and into our lives, and a greater peace is brought into the way we live. Suppose one day you can do a pose to its fullest expression. In that case, the next you find yourself falling out of a balancing pose, or tired and not able to find the strength you have had another time, or perhaps you have been working on a pose for a while and ‘progression’ is slow, be patient with yourself on the journey. Yoga is not a quick fix, and it’s a lifelong practice that will continue to evolve as you do, always giving back in ways that sometimes are not as evident as others. Enjoy the process and be in the moment with your breath. You will enjoy the practice more when you are not so busy raising that bar.