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.
I am Rad Durousseau, the owner and head instructor of Rad Muay Thai Fitness Center in 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.