Boasting an array of health benefits, yoga is popular all over the world. However, becoming an expert in the practice takes time. While most of the postures look easy enough to practice, performing them correctly takes patience and dedication. If you’re using the exercise to find inner peace, seeing results can take even longer. Thankfully, there are a few ways to fast-track your progression. In this article, we discuss a few tips and tricks for becoming a yoga expert. Before you get started, it’s important to pick up some breathable clothing and a comfy yoga mat.
Like any form of exercise, your yoga progression can be stunted by self-doubt. If you don’t believe you can progress, you probably won’t do – it’s as simple as that. Overcoming your own self-doubt allows you to open new doors and get involved on a deeper level. While it’s important to practice safely, don’t let nerves hold you back from trying more complex postures. If other yogis have achieved them, there’s no reason why you can’t, too. Unlike competitive sports, yoga classes boast a relaxed and welcoming vibe. Most instructors believe that failure does not exist in yoga. This allows practitioners to figure out what works for them without worrying about making a mistake.
It’s not uncommon for beginners to find certain poses a little tricky. To a certain extent, this is down to flexibility and strength. Before flexibility is increased, it can be hard to bend into certain asanas, and with-out a good level of strength, the positions can be hard to hold. Thankfully, both strength and flexibility can be improved with regular practice. The more you practice, the better you will become.
To go from beginner to expert, it’s important to learn how to breathe. It’s common for beginners to hold their breath during more complex poses. However, correct breathing can actually make the asanas easier as it encourages the muscles to relax. While most instructors give students a breathing pattern to follow, this doesn’t work for everyone. It’s important to relax into the practice and to find a rhythm that works for you. Over time, you will learn a range of different breathing techniques; until then, though, just remember to breathe deeply and consistently.
Before attempting more complex postures, get to grips with the basics. While pushing yourself into expert asanas may feel beneficial, the risk of injury may hinder your progress. Becoming comfortable with basic poses such as Downward Dog, Child’s Pose, and Cat/Cow allows the body to develop the strength and flexibility needed for more complicated asanas.
To become a yoga expert it’s essential to stay hydrated. Beginners often bring a large bottle of water to class but forget to hydrate throughout the day. While sipping on a cold drink during class may quench your thirst, it’s important to drink prior to your session if you want to stay hydrated. If you’re still feeling tired or lethargic, pick up a natural sports drink on your way to the studio.
To become a yoga expert, it’s important to have the right gear. Good-quality yoga clothes don’t only look the part but they also benefit your practice. A flexible pair of yoga pants will allow you to move without restriction and a lightweight vest top will keep you cool. Additionally, breathable clothes will allow the body to oxygenate sufficiently. Getting your hands on a comfortable yoga mat is also important – especially if you’re hoping to practice from home. While many classes provide communal mats, the supply is often limited. Going equipped with your own mat will avoid disappointment.
While yoga boasts a few instant benefits, becoming an expert isn’t one of them. Like any skill, improving your performance takes time and patience. Additionally, don’t feel disheartened if you’re struggling with an asana that you managed the previous week. It’s normal for your strength and flexibility to vary week-to-week. For best results, take time to stretch and warm the muscles before each session.
While this point may seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many yogis skip this step – especially once their practice starts to improve. Unless you’re a yoga expert, your instructor probably knows more about the practice than you do. This means that listening to their advice is essential if you want to improve. Take their comments and suggestions on board and remember them next time you try the pose.
A great way to improve your form is to observe others. While your instructor may explain how to perform the asana, watching other students allows you to see the pose in action. If you can, ask another student to observe you, as well. After a few minutes, ask them to critique your performance and question how you could improve.
If you’re using yoga to find inner peace, meditation is one of the most important steps. At the end of each session, take a few minutes to quietly meditate. This time will allow you to reflect on the session and give the body time to cool down. As well as being used in class, meditation can be used in your day-to-day life. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, find a quiet space to meditate. Like any aspect of yoga, the more you practice, the better you will become.
Whether you’re hoping to reap the physical benefits of yoga or you’re more interested in finding inner peace, the tips above will help you progress from beginner to expert. As mentioned previously, wearing the right yoga clothes is essential. With the summer upon us, a lightweight vest top and some breathable sweatpants will be ideal.