Progressing in Your Yoga Practice
Are You Eating Enough?
Making healthy food choices and controlling portion sizes is an important part of being fit. Unfortunately, sometimes it's possible to become too enthusiastic about limiting food, which can affect your ability to practice yoga. You might not be eating enough if:
You're Frequently Sick. When your body doesn't receive enough food, you may start to feel run down and tired. Lack of proper nutrients can affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses.
A Yoga Session Exhausts You. Food provides the fuel your body needs to power through a Bikram class or a jog through the neighborhood. If you skimp on calories, you might find that you can no longer handle an hour-long yoga session.
You've Eliminated Fats and Carbs From Your Diet. Fats and carbohydrates provide energy and are necessary for cell growth. A diet that's too low in these essential nutrients is just as bad as one that's too high. Make sure your diet includes healthy fats and carbs, such as olive oil and whole grain pasta or bread, every day.
Depending on your body type and sex, you'll need to take in at least 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day. If you're active, you may need to add 1,000 to 1,500 calories to that total, reports Familydoctor.org.
Progress tends to occur rapidly when you first begin yoga classes. As you embrace yogic principles and become more flexible, you'll notice exciting changes in your body. Unfortunately, it's not unusual to feel that you aren't progressing as rapidly as you would like after you conquer basic poses. Fortunately, a few simple changes can help you improve and refine your technique.
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
It's true that the only way to get better at something is to do it often. When you set aside 15 to 30 minutes every day for yoga, you'll be stronger and more confident when performing your asanas. Adding a reminder to your phone or tablet will help you stick to the schedule.
Embrace a Slow and Steady Approach
Pushing yourself to master a difficult pose might seem to be a good idea when you haven't progressed quite as much as you had hoped. You might think the strategy makes sense, but your body probably won't agree. Pushing yourself too hard can cause muscle strains or tendon or ligament injuries that will keep you off your yoga mat for weeks. A gradual progression is much better for your body than a rapid one.
Don't Compare Yourself to Anyone Else
Some people master poses quickly, while others need a little extra time to become proficient at asanas. Yoga isn't about being better than anyone else, but is about being the best you can be. As long as you are making progress, even if it isn't quite as fast as you would like, you'll reap the many benefits yoga offers.
Do you think using props is cheating? Props offer a simple way to deepen poses and perform poses that wouldn't be possible without a little help. In fact, it may be difficult to advance if you don't use props at least occasionally.
It's not always easy to leave the world behind when you practice yoga. If you don't clear your mind, it may be more difficult to reach the next level in your practice. Practicing meditation whenever you can - when you get up in the morning, at lunch or while you're waiting in line at the grocery store - will make slipping into a meditative state second nature.
Mix It Up
Learning new poses or trying different forms of yoga offer learning opportunities that can help you advance. Getting bored with Hatha yoga? Enroll in Kundalini, Bikram or Vinyasa classes.
Ask for Help
Often, you only need to make a few adjustments to improve your asanas. Even if you practice yoga in front of a mirror, it still may be hard to tell if your technique needs some refinement. Your instructor can offer a few tips that will help you become stronger and more competent.
Do you feel like you're stuck in a yoga rut? Why not try a different type of yoga? Call us today and let us recommend a class for you.
Yogi Times: 10 Tips to Strengthen Your Yoga Practice
Yoga Journal: The Key to Progress: Consistent Practice
Breaking Muscle: Are You Eating Enough
Familydoctor.org: Nutrition for Athletes