How to deepen your yoga practice step by step
Photo by Emily Sea
Originally Posted On: https://www.zenagoy.com/blogs/the-blog/how-to-deepen-your-yoga-practice
Setting up resolutions for yourself is not such a bad idea, but have you noticed that almost all of them are stating the end results?
Such as losing weight, changing jobs or learning a new language. What if this time instead of setting resolutions, we would place intentions? The difference between those two is that with resolutions, we put pressure on ourselves to reach that final result no matter what, whereas intentions are inviting us to enjoy the journey regardless of the timeline.
If you wish to make a one step further and step by step deepen your yoga practice, expand the Yogic Lifestyle, we are inviting you to open the door for new opportunities and new experiences!
It doesn’t really matter whether you start your journey on the 1st of January or the 14th of February – in spirituality the process of learning and the joy of experience is the one that counts
Being a yogi is an exciting journey and we would like to share with you a few tips that will help you deepen your yoga practice (whenever you decide to start!):
Try Different types of Yoga
When we turn to yoga, most of the time we already know to which yoga class we would go or which type of yoga we would practice. Decisions are usually influenced by personal reasons: maybe you had an injury and attending a restorative yoga class is everything you need to heal, maybe you would like to learn those awesome twists from Ashtanga yoga practice or maybe your partner convinced you to try acroyoga! Regardless of which yoga style you practice or planning to explore next, every practitioner will tell you that it’s very easy to fall in love with your favorite yoga style and stick to that one yoga teacher. There is nothing wrong with it, on the contrary, it is great, but did you know that there are more than 20 different types of yoga which are very popular nowadays? If you love your yoga studio as much as I love mine and you don’t feel like going anywhere else because it feels like cheating, then go through the schedule of the yoga classes that are offered and start signing up to new ones.
Suggested article: different styles of yoga
Be mindful, though! If you are attending regular restorative yoga classes then maybe jumping into Ashtanga would be too drastic. Consult with your yoga teacher or read about the yoga style prior to signing up, but stay curios and try new yoga styles through your Yogic journey. This experience will help you understand why different people get attracted to different styles of yoga.
Learn different types of breathing techniques (Pranayama)
Every yoga and meditation teacher will tell you that breath is life. You probably already noticed how our breath changes during the day: when we are stressed and scared, we have shallow and fast breathing. When we are relaxed and happy, we take long, deep breaths. This is where the expression “master your breath, master your Life” comes from. When we learn how to control our breath, as a consequence we take control of our Mind. This, as a result, has an impact on the quality of our Life (for example, we don’t make rational decisions when we are angry but rather take the time to calm down and think again).
The most common among yogis and meditators is Ujjayi breath, also called Ocean’s breath. Even though you can find a lot of information online on how to learn Ujjayi breath, if you are new to yoga and meditation, I recommend you learn it correctly from a teacher. Alternate Nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) is used for calming the mind and most of the time is practiced before meditation or as a closing breath after a yoga/meditation practice. Bahstrika is known as an energy bomb! Few rounds of bahstrika will give you the boost of energy that you need to accomplish your boring tasks (who doesn’t have them?). Complete Belly Breath is a practice which everyone does without being aware of it. We all breathe and while we breathe in, our belly is rising, and when we breathe out – it is collapsing. Complete Belly Breath involves your awareness of the moving breath while one of your hands is placed on the belly and observes the movement. That’s it. It is that simple. Try all of them and then slowly incorporate them into your yoga and meditation practice. I personally love Ocean’s breath and most of the time I am finishing my sadhana with Nostril breathing.
Be mindful, though! If you are attending regular restorative yoga classes then maybe jumping into Ashtanga would be too drastic. Consult with your teacher or read about the class prior to signing up, but stay curios and try new yoga styles during your Yogic journey. This experience will help you understand why different people get attracted to different styles of yoga.
Few sentences about one more breathing technique called Sudarshankrya. Have you ever heard about this breathing technique? Taught in the centers of Art of Living all around the world, this breathing technique is recognized as being the most effective to release the stress, deep traumas, long impressions. People who practice regularly Sudarshankrya share that their quality of life improved tremendously. So maybe you could give a try to this breathing technique by finding the closest meditation center near you.
Suggested school: Art of Living
3. Meditate on the regular basis
If you are yoga beginner and you started your Yoga journey with yoga beginner classes, you already noticed that short meditation is a part of the yoga practice.
Meditation makes the yoga practice complete
Meditation allows the Mind to rest, to go into the deep rest. It is scientifically proven that 20 minutes of meditation equals 4 hours of sleep. If you look around, you will see that lately many people turn to meditation and you might wonder why? The answer is simple – everyone is looking for the peace. The Life around us is so chaotic, everything is changing so fast that the deep rest became a necessity if we wish you live a happy and healthy Lifestyle. Therefore it makes sense to include a meditation in your daily routine if you did not do so.
Suggested video: what is meditation?
4. Implement one of the eight limbs of yoga per month
Yoga is not only a physical practice and it is far beyond a hobby. Years back people used word “yoga” to show off: I can make a difficult twist, look I am standing on one hand, I am learning a headstand in my yoga class. As explained above, there are different types of yoga and everyone turns into yoga for different reasons. However, just because we do yoga at home or carry our favourite yoga mat to the yoga studio, it doesn’t mean that we are yogis. It takes a little bit more than simply owning yoga gear to call ourselves Yogis. Yoga is a Lifestyle. It is the way of thinking, living, eating, and sharing. Respecting the philosophy of yoga on a daily basis is as important as our daily yoga practice. The eight limbs of yoga from the yoga sutras of Patanjali guide us towards the yogic Lifestyle and help us understand what a yogic lifestyle is all about.