Guest post by Shiela Johnson
Yoga is a time-honored practice that can be as simple and low-key as you like, and new advances in technology can help you make your sessions go even more smoothly. Combined with the right equipment, you can turn yoga into a lifelong passion instead of it just being something you do after work. Much of the dedication and ability to advance in yoga is internal rather than external; your thoughts are just as important as your ability to hold a pose. Apps that help you concentrate and find the right instructor are among the tools you can use to give your yoga practice a serious boost.
If you’re ready to reach new heights in your yoga practice, Rad Muay Thai suggests the following tips:
Find a Well-Trained Teacher in Each Style
For those who have been practicing yoga for a while, it may feel like time to find a different style or a different teacher who has a more advanced approach.
Trying a new style of yoga broadens your perspective. If you have been practicing Bikram yoga, for example, trying restorative classes could be a great addition to your regimen. And while all teachers should be able to handle beginning to advanced students, you may want a class that is more focused on intermediate skills and above. To learn more about different styles, you can take online quizzes or look through roundups to decide which ones catch your eye. When you do decide to join another class, you may need some extra equipment, such as blocks or bands.
Note how you feel after the class. You can try logging your impressions right after class on a journaling app for your phone, so you have access to the notes wherever you go. After a few classes, review the notes to see how your perceptions of the style or teacher have changed.
Look for a teacher who can effectively explain new terminology and techniques of a new yoga style. No matter how long you've practiced yoga, there’s always more to learn. Remember, too, that you're not going to connect with all teachers, and not liking the way a teacher does something does not necessarily make them a bad teacher.
Train Your Brain Not to Zone Out During Poses
Many yoga styles incorporate forms of meditation along with poses, but for beginners, staying on track mentally can be a challenge. One way to handle this is by combining mindful meditation with each pose. Many of today’s yoga teachers actively promote mindfulness during each pose.
Every time you get into and hold a pose, try to be present. Become aware of how you feel and how your body seems to react to the pose. Just observe. If you realize you've zoned out, just become present again. No judgment.
If you have trouble staying mindful, try addressing the energy of the space. A contrary atmosphere can get in your way, so do some decluttering, open your windows, and encourage only positive thoughts and words in your household. It’s important to have an environment that’s working for—and not against—your progress.
Set Intentions and Goals for Each Session
Every class you attend should have a goal and intention attached to it. These can be expansive and cover several classes, or they can change every class. The goal is what you want to accomplish (e.g., holding a pose for longer without shaking). The intention is what you want to focus on mentally, such as letting the session bring you a feeling of peace. Goals and intentions sound similar, but goals are more concrete while intentions are more spiritual.
Your goals and intentions should be personal. Don't take on other people's goals or intentions. One way to stay on top of your goals is by gauging your progress, and again, tech rises to the challenge. A fitness tracker like the Apple Watch Series 6 can be just the ticket, since it monitors things like calories burned, heart rate and even your movement outside of workout sessions.
Expanding your personal yoga practice takes time, but it will happen if you put in the effort. With apps to help you out and sturdy equipment that helps you feel comfortable, you can advance your yoga knowledge to incredible heights.
Connect with Rad Muay Thai for more fitness tips, as well as for instruction for adults and youth in Muay Thai, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, NoGi submission grappling, and fitness bootcamps.
Your First Cardio Kickboxing Class
Cardio kickboxing is an intense and fun activity to either begin your fitness journey or add to your current workout regimen. Kickboxing is not difficult to get into, even if you’re a beginner. Let’s prepare for your first kickboxing class.
You’ll need a few extra pieces of equipment for cardio kickboxing. You should buy all of these items new for hygienic purposes.
Boxing Gloves – just as anything else, there are different levels of quality when purchasing gloves. Find a nice pair of boxing gloves that are your favorite color or a rad design that you fall in love with, preferably ones that don’t break the bank. By all means treat yourself, but you don't really need to spend a lot of money.”
You’ll want to look for 10oz-16oz gloves. The higher the ounces, the more padding, protection and space for your hand. Our pro-shop has an array of gloves available for purchase.
Hand Wraps – these are needed to provide your fists & wrists with extra protection for all those punches. You’ll need to learn how to wrap your hands. I recommend watching a YouTube video and practicing a few times. You can purchase good old fashioned hand wraps which allow you to control the support based on how tight you wrap, or there are gel hand wraps available which you simply slip onto your hand, whichever you prefer. Our pro-shop does have hand wraps available.
Mouth Guard – this is optional. You will not spar with any of your gym mates during class. However, some people bite down hard when they kick and punch during their session. If you find yourself gritting your teeth or clenching your jaw, a mouth guard can protect your teeth. Mouth guards are available in our pro-shop.
Optional & Helpful Essentials
Gym Bag – I recommend a mesh gym bag; this allows for air flow through your equipment after class. You are going to sweat, that is guaranteed. Just be sure to purchase a bag big enough to hold your gloves and your gym essentials. We have a large RMT gear bag perfect for all of your training gear.
Water bottle –Bring a large water bottle to every single kickboxing class. These classes can get intense and hydration is important. I recommend a water bottle with a straw, so you do not have to remove your gloves to grab a drink. Grab an RMT water bottle from our pro-shop.
Hair band or headband – anyone that has hair on the longer side can appreciate keeping their sweaty locks out of their face. It’s difficult to wipe away sweaty, sticky strands of hair when your hands are in boxing gloves. A headband is also beneficial for short or no hair at all.
Towel – speaking of intense & sweaty workouts, pack a gym towel! You might even want to pack an extra shirt or outfit to change into afterwards if you need to run errands after your workout.
Now that you’ve got all your gear, let’s go over the basic kickboxing moves or stikes. The traditional stance is left foot forward, right foot back. Your instructor or coach can help you identify your stance. Technique is important to ensure you do not injure yourself and it will improve over time. You’ll want to focus on getting a good workout in while your technique improves. Coaches and trainers should help correct your form as they lead you through class.
1 – Jab
2 – Cross
3 – Hook
4 - Rear Uppercut
5 – Lead Uppercut
6 – Rear Body shot
7 – Lead Body shot
Lead switch kick
First, wrap your hands before class begins, no need to put your gloves on just yet. Next, choose either a hanging or standing boxing bag. Class will begin with a warmup. 5-10 minutes of jogging, jump roping, or body weight exercises will loosen you up and get you ready. The coach or instructor will let you know when it’s time to grab your gloves. For the next 30-40 minutes you’ll follow the instructions of the coach as they direct you what to do during and after the rounds on the clock.
Remember to have a good time and give it your BEST effort!
I am Rad Durousseau, the owner and head instructor of Rad Muay Thai Fitness Center in Aurora Colorado. I love to share whatever I can to help whomever I can to grow through training in what I call Martial Athletics. I use functional strength training and conditioning to strengthen my martial arts and I use martial arts to compliment my S&C training in an effort to create a complete Martial Athlete and next level human being.