It’s one of the best ways to increase stamina, flexibility and inner peace, but only if you set the right atmosphere at the very start. Having these five steps in place can assure a solid workout every single session.
Yoga isn’t just about twisting and tugging your body into shapes that help strengthen and stretch the muscles. It’s about tranquility, peace of mind and all the other stress-busting perks that come from becoming one with your body and mind and avoiding all the stress within your life, if even for a short while.
One activity, two amazing benefits… or are there two? Having a strong, flexible body and calm mind only comes to the yoga practitioner if they set up the right conditions throughout their workout. If you don’t follow the right rules beforehand, you’ll never achieve everything the activity has to offer your mind and body. These five lessons in yoga etiquette can help you reach your physical and spiritual potential.
1. Keep your clothing as loose as possible. Pick clothing that will make it easier to stretch your muscles, not show them off. A loose T-shirt and a pair of shorts or sweats are perfect for giving you the room you need to move around comfortably for each move. You can leave your footwear to the side, which includes your socks. Going barefoot will give you the grip you may need for certain poses and allows you to feel more relaxed at the same time.
2. Migrate to the quietest spot you can find. It’s hard enough finding someplace you can kick your shoes off and relax in, but the place you choose should also be a quiet environment that promotes relaxation. Not having anyone else around will also allow you to feel less self-conscious, while the silence can help you listen to your own breath to further aid in stress relief.
3. Don’t be afraid to use a little help. What we’re referring to is a mirror placed in a subtle spot that allows you to see yourself to check your form. If you’re not in the right position from the start of each pose, you’ll never obtain all the yoga benefits each pose can encourage.
4. Slower is always better than faster. Some moves may feel so uncomfortable that your first impression may be to rush through them as fast as possible. Speeding through any movement decreases the positive benefits of yoga (such as stamina and strength building) while increasing your chances of injuring yourself by straining muscles by asking them to work or stretch too fast. Instead, try changing the moves a bit by either holding the position for less time or not stretching as far until you’re ready to do so.
5. Focus on every breath. Each deep, slow inhale should come from your belly, not from your chest. The more air you take in, the more oxygen you bring into the body. The slower you breathe, the faster you’ll relax your body and mind. Holding your breath will only drain your strength by restricting blood flow to your muscles.