If you’re making the effort to hit the yoga mat regularly, you want to make sure you’re getting the most from your practice. Unfortunately, there are several ways you could be sabotaging your progress – many of which you might not even realize. There are countless things that can throw us off balance, even when we’re trying our hardest to reap the benefits of yoga. For instance, rushing out of the studio to get back to work, skipping savasana at the end of your routine, or not taking enough time to rest. Thankfully, we’re here to help. In this article, we explore 7 ways you could be sabotaging your yoga practice and how to fix them. By the end of this article, you’ll understand exactly how to get the most from your time on the mat.
For best results with yoga, you need to go with the flow. This doesn’t just mean being easy-going, it also means allowing your body to relax enough to flow into each posture. Being too rigid may cause more harm than good, making your muscles tense up instead of relaxing. It’s also important to be flexible with your practice schedule. If you’re too tired to practice one day, don’t be too hard on yourself. That’s all part of the practice. Yoga is there to make you feel good, not to become stressed over. If you’re not in the right mindset to practice, skip a day and return when you’re feeling better. Of course, if you know you’re the sort of person who will feel better once you’re at the studio, that’s fine. You know yourself better than anyone. Just listen to your body and honor what it’s telling you.
After a yoga class, there’s nothing worse than rushing out of the studio as soon as you finish the sequence. The whole point of yoga is to stretch the body and relax comfortably in meditation. Rushing from one place to the next without letting your body reap the benefits will have a negative effect and could sabotage your practice. Whether you’re meeting friends, or you’ve got to head back to the office, leave enough time to enjoy a slow and steady journey. Another way people sabotage their practice is by using their phones immediately. Hopping onto social media minutes after savasana is a sure-fire way to sabotage your progress. At the end of the class, give yourself ten minutes to absorb the benefits before jumping back into daily life. Your texts and social media messages will still be there when you’re ready.
There’s no denying that daily yoga practice is great. However, if you’re constantly trying to squeeze in sessions so you don’t miss a day, you’re not practicing as mindfully as you should be. Over time, this can have a negative effect on your practice. True yogis should be comfortable with giving the practice a rest sometimes. Whether you plan to have a weekly rest day, or you see how you’re feeling when you wake up, make sure you give your body the downtime it needs. Even though yoga is a low-resistance exercise, rest days are important. They give your body time to relax and recharge and allow you to catch up on tasks and errands that need to be done. Instead of beating yourself up over missing a session, give yourself a much-needed day off. When you return to the mat the next day, you’ll be relaxed, recharged and ready to soak up the benefits.
Modern life is full of distractions. While technology is awesome, it’s healthy to take a break from it once in a while and yoga is the perfect opportunity to do this. As most yogis keep their phone in their bag, that’s not too bad. The main problem is wearable tech. If you’re breathing, sweating and connecting with your body during a yoga class and your Apple watch lights up, you’ll instantly lose focus. It can then take you a while to get back into the swing of things. To avoid this, keep your wearable tech in your bag alongside your phone. If you really need to keep it on, put it on ‘Do Not Disturb’ for the duration of the class. This way, it won’t ring, vibrate or light up and distract you.
It’s fine to schedule your practice; in fact, it’s a necessity for those with busy lives. However, you should never feel like you’re doing yoga out of obligation. If you do start to feel like that, take a step back and remember why you took up yoga in the first place. If you’re not achieving what you set out to, think about any changes you could make to get yourself back on track. Maybe you need to try a new style, or maybe you need to find a new studio and approach yoga with a fresh mind.
Not getting enough sleep is another way to sabotage your practice. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have the energy or focus needed to reap the benefits of yoga. Yes, certain asanas are energizing, but they can’t work miracles. Unfortunately, you can’t have just a few hours of sleep and expect to practice yoga like normal. Lack of sleep quickly takes its toll on your body, and it’s best to sort out your sleeping pattern before focusing on yoga. If you’re suffering from insomnia, try using some light restorative postures before heading to bed. These can help to relax the body and mind and help you drift off.
It’s important to drink enough water. However, you don’t want to go overboard right before you step on the mat. Having a stomach full of water can get in the way and end up sabotaging your practice. To avoid this, stay hydrated throughout the day and stop drinking an hour before your class.
So, there you have it – 7 ways you could be sabotaging your yoga practice. To reap the full benefits of yoga, put on your yoga pants and take note of the tips above.