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5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Practice

Ashton August
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Picture it: you’re in downward facing dog, but instead of concentrating on touching your heels to the mat, you’re balancing your checkbook or composing next week’s to-do list. We’ve all been there! And while thoughts and distractions are bound to occur on the mat, there are easy ways to avoid them and improve your practice. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or trying it out for the first time, these simple guidelines will enlighten your practice and enrich your overall experience.

1. Give yourself time

Yoga is a practice of calming the mind and body. Rushing onto your mat and into your practice contradicts the calm that yoga stands for. Leave your stress at the door and give yourself a few minutes before class begins to simply relax. Bring your awareness away from your to-do list and onto your mat for some one-on-one time with y.o.u. Allotting a few minutes before each class will guarantee a more peaceful, fulfilling practice.

2. Focus on your breath

The Sanskrit root for yoga means “union” or “to yoke.” Yoga is the conscious practice of linking breath to movement. When your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your practice by focusing on your breath. Allow every inhale to help center you within your pose. Allow every exhale to lead you a little bit deeper into the stretch. Staying with your breath will silence your mind and strengthen your practice.

3. Find your Drishti

Drishti is the practice of steadying your gaze. Where your eyes go, your attention follows. When your gaze begins to wander, so do your thoughts. When you can calm the mind, you become fully present. Now you are able to mindfully direct your focus, with a gaze that is both present and controlled.

4. Stay hydrated

As with any physical exertion, it is important to keep your body hydrated. In yoga, and especially for all you hot yogis out there, you need 1-1.5 liters of water for an hour-long practice. As the body sweats, the blood thickens and the heart has to pump faster. While this chain reaction increases immune and metabolic function, it also puts a strain on the body. If your body isn’t remaining properly hydrated, your performance will suffer.

 5. Don’t judge

When it comes to self-confidence, we can often be our own worst enemies. Just as our bodies are constantly changing, so does our practice from one day to the next. One leg might be more flexible today than it was last week, or we might find tension in a forward fold that wasn’t there before. The most important aspect of our yoga practice is our attitude. Arriving with an open mind and a willingness to accept your body as it is in this moment will banish all your negative self-chatter.


Is there anything you would add to this list? Use the comment section below and tell us some of the things you do to get the most out of your practice. 

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Ashton August

Ashton is a writer, yoga instructor and Editorial Director here at YogiApproved.com. If she's not bustin' out articles or producing YogiApproved videos, you can find her teaching Buti Yoga, hugging her puppies, or traveling the world with her beau. Follow her on social @ashtonaugustyoga

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