5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Yoga Practice

Ashton August
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Picture it: you’re in Downward Facing Dog, but instead of concentrating on feeling your body in this pose, you’re composing next week’s to-do list.

We’ve all been there during a yoga class!

And while thoughts and distractions are bound to occur on the mat, there are simple ways to avoid distractions to get more out of your practice.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or still learning the ropes, these simple guidelines will show you how to experience a more enriching, purposeful yoga practice every time you step onto the mat!
 
 

Here Are 5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Enrich Your Time On the Yoga Mat:

 

1. Get Grounded Before You Practice

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 yoga practice to get settled in will guarantee a more peaceful, fulfilling yoga practice.

If you’re practicing at home, take a few minutes to sit on your mat, tap into your body awareness, and breathe. If you go to a class, leave yourself enough time to arrive early and get settled in before class starts.
 

2. Focus On Your Breath

The Sanskrit term 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 yoga 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, keep you present, and strengthen your yoga 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.

Try these 5 Yogic Techniques to Create a Truly Calm Mind

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 during your yoga practice.

Your drishti helps immensely in balancing poses, but also helps you avoid distractions, whether that’s looking around the room or starting to think about life beyond your practice.
 

 
 

4. Stay Hydrated

As with any physical exertion, it is important to keep your body hydrated. As your body sweats, the blood thickens and your heart has to pump faster.

While this chain reaction increases immune and metabolic function, it also puts a strain on the body. If you aren’t properly hydrated, your performance will suffer. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your practice.
 

 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 in last week’s yoga class, 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.
 
 

Improve Your Yoga Practice With These Simple Tips

Being ‘good’ at yoga isn’t about how flexible you are or what advanced yoga poses you can or can’t do. Improving your practice is not about competition – it’s about getting the most out of your time on the mat, so you can step off feeling calm, focused, and healthy mind and body.

Remember these tips the next time you practice. Simple things like focusing on your breath and drishti, releasing the impulse to judge, getting grounded, and staying hydrated will go a long way for your overall experience.

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 yoga practice. 

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Ashton August

Ashton is the founder and Editorial Director of YogiApproved.com. She is also a published author (check out Learn Grow Shift, her 30-day workbook for personal growth) and yoga instructor. You can practice yoga online with her on YA Classes. Connect with her on social @ashtonaugustyoga

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