There are many reasons to practice yoga, among the top being stress mitigation.
If you’re a business manager, you’re acutely aware of the need to shred the stress. People in leadership positions often experience high levels of stress from operational responsibilities and the constant pressure to have a healthy work-life balance. This is likely a factor as to why, according to a recent Yoga Journal survey, about 20 million Americans practice yoga.
Some yoga practitioners are happy at the beginner or intermediate levels, but others, particular studio owners, are interested in getting to an advanced level. However, with limited time or an inability to attend in-person practices, it can be difficult to progress.
Here are 4 ways you can take your yoga practice to the next level.
1. Take Yoga Home With You
If you truly want to advance your yoga practice, you should incorporate it into your daily life. One of the best ways to do that is to create a yoga space in your home. Start by designating a space as a yoga-only zone, and fill it with soft, natural lighting and calming, earth-inspired decor.
When you’re practicing at home, make some whole-house improvements to clear out negative energy and help you relax, because feelings of stress can be harmful to your practice. Open your windows and blinds to let in some fresh air and natural light. Go room by room decluttering and tossing belongings you no longer have use for.
Whether at home or in the studio, no practice is complete without a yoga mat. A quality mat strikes the right balance between providing an experience as close to nature as possible and delivering a high-performance surface that is safe, durable, comfortable, and reliable. Look for a design with fabrics that help increase a sense of grounding during your practice while providing other natural benefits such as antifungal and antimicrobial material.
2. Move Your Body From the Comfort Zone
While yoga is known for its relaxation benefits, it can also tone your muscles and ramp up your heart rate when practiced properly. You can get the most out of your yoga workout when you focus on yoga practices that deal with strength training or cardio-intensive styles. If you’ve chosen a strength-focused yoga style that incorporates poses such as the plank, tree, and handstand, you could push yourself a bit by holding the pose a bit longer than you usually would. Take care that you are in alignment and at the right strength level for the pose, or you run the risk of injury.
3. Make Necessary Changes to Your Practice
This may or may not surprise you, but it’s recommended that you practice yoga on an empty stomach. This means you should have your last meal at most two hours before you practice. This way, you’ll experience the full beneficial effects of the session, because you won’t be bloated or feel excess pressure on your stomach when you do certain poses. Some yoga experts go so far as to say that an empty stomach isn’t just beneficial, but essential to practicing yoga.
Additionally, while it’s a common belief that equipment such as blocks, straps, and bolsters should only be used by beginners, that’s not necessarily the case. Using those tools can help you get into a more advanced pose without hurting yourself.
4. Dig Deeper Into the Practice
While there are definite benefits to attending yoga classes and practicing at home, yoga practitioners become better by gaining a better understanding of what yoga is all about. You can do this by reading books that explore the history of yoga, as well as ways in which yoga can influence your overall health. You can also research yoga retreats like Sewall House, as these will help you focus entirely on your practice and give you access to instructors who can give you new insights into your practice.
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