Having practised yoga consistently for 7 years now we have a fair few ideas on your question: how to improve my yoga practice? And firstly, let’s remember, that really, the goal of your yoga practice is to simply show up and do your best. This action alone will benefit your body and mind.
However, there are certainly ways you can improve it and for the sake of this post, we are talking about the physical practice of yoga, the yoga poses.
Before we get into the improvements and how you can make them, let’s quickly chat about the definition of yoga. The word yoga itself means to unite. To come together.
This really is the core aspect of yoga. Go to any of the yoga studios around your hometown, or of course even in our online studio for your home yoga and every yoga teacher will talk about this.
Yoga is about your mind slowing down. It’s about you being able to unite with your truth. It’s about letting go of thoughts that hold you back, letting go of the thoughts of the past that cause regret and unease, and the thoughts of the future that cause anxiety. It’s about you getting present on your yoga mat.
If you can do that for a 30 minute yoga class, as in, sit on your mat and be present without a thought fluttering in, you’re totally a yogi master (maybe think about doing your teacher training!).
But we get it, you want to know how to improve your yoga practice (the physical kind not the meditation practice).
Here are our top 3 ways to improve your yoga practice
Try different styles of yoga
There are so many styles of yoga to enjoy. From hatha yoga, to yin yoga, to ashtanga yoga and many many more. We’d recommend trying out all of the different styles to not only find one you enjoy but also so you can learn unique yoga poses and cues that you may not have tried before.
One of the benefits of yoga we love is how it can impact your brain health and trying new poses, new flows, new breathing techniques or even a new sun salutation all help to keep your brain firing. Yoga also helps to improve your memory, your focus and relieve stress and anxiety.
Trying the different styles will of course help you build physical strength and increase flexibility. You will find that over time, you are able to do that crazy-bound-twist much easier than before.
This is because of the simple MerryBody philosophy that practise makes progress. If you show up to your mat and do the class and the poses, over time you WILL see improvements and changes. It’s not really a matter of if, it is simply when.
There is no timeframe as to when you will be able to touch your toes (if you couldn’t before) but don’t let the fact that you can’t stop you from practising, use it as a fun way to monitor your progress.
Try not to be attached to this progress, remember, Yoga is more a tool for your mind.
Go back to the beginning, take a foundations course
Sometimes it’s not about adding more but taking away. This is why inside MerryBody we ALWAYS encourage our (amazing) Members to focus on their technique and alignment. It’s also why we created a specific Foundation Program inside the Online Studio, a perfect place to begin and a perfect place to go back to.
Often when we practise a movement again and again we can start to do it as if on auto-pilot. There might be a simple modification to your alignment that could make all the difference in your yoga practice.
For example, maybe your downward dog is too wide. Maybe your hips aren’t square in your lunge. Perhaps your shoulders aren’t stacked over your hips in warrior II. These are simple changes that can absolutely make your yoga practice improve and generally just feel better.
Next time you get on your yoga mat, really bring awareness to your alignment. Don’t focus too much on flowing or getting to the peak pose, focus on the foundations.
From strong foundations you will grow and blossom.
Create a consistent yoga home practice
This is absolutely one of our most important tips for improving your yoga practice. Don’t just rely on real life studios. What happens when another lock down occurs? Or when your life circumstances change? Perhaps you go on an extended holiday where there is no studio?!
Consistency is key to improving your yoga practice.
You can’t expect anything to change with one class.
So, if you haven’t already… Let’s start an at home yoga practice together. And no, you don’t need any props, no yoga straps, no blocks.
All you need is a little space and a yoga mat. A yoga instructor would help (this is where we come in) however, you can also create your own home practice going through simple yoga poses you’ve learnt from other classes.
Why don’t you try this Yoga class we created? It’s a 10 minute hip stretch class (it’s bliss!)
And if you LOVE that class, then we’d definitely recommend signing up for this FREE CLASS, it’s designed to stretch out your shoulders and back.
Emma + Carla