By: Nicole Deacon
Yoga helps us gain strength and flexibility, but more than that it helps us to improve our health, connect to our bodies, to breathe more, to stay calm in stressful situations, to be more patient, to be more kind. Mostly we do yoga for who we get to BE after class. There are many ways that we can improve our yoga practice to get the most out of it. Here are four simple things that you can do:
- Breathe – The postures in Sanskrit are called Asana. My teachers have defined the word asana as “posture holding still, breathing always normal”. The moment we hold the breath we are no longer practicing yoga. The breath connects us to our body, allows the body to relax, and to safely go deeper in the postures. Conscious breathing connects us to our parasympathetic nervous system so instead of going into fight or flight response we can stay calm and relaxed even in a stressful situation. If we do nothing but learn to breathe it would be time well spent.
- Take a Private Lesson. Group lessons are extremely beneficial. We are able to meditate more deeply and be supported by the amazing group energy. However, private lessons allow you to fine-tune your alignment maximizing benefit and preventing injury of each of the postures. How often do you want to do yoga? “Everyday. Just like brushing your teeth.” How often do you want to take a private lesson? At least twice a year, just like going to the dentist.
- Strengthen Your Core. The core is a collection of muscles that stabilize and move the spine. Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities including yoga poses. You can absolutely strengthen your core during yoga class, but a pilates or a strength class can target these muscles increasing your mind-body connection to the area making it easier to engage these muscles during yoga poses. To quote Niki Fillmore, “every time I do a pilates class, I feel stronger in my yoga class the next day.”
- Stay 5 Extra Minutes in Savasana. We live in a fast-paced world and if you can consciously create space to slow down and be still you will maximize the healing benefits of your yoga practice. When the body is stressed out, in fight or flight response, it is pumping the body full of adrenaline and cortisol to survive whatever threat it is dealing with. When the body is in a resting state the body’s natural healing abilities take place. We spend class calming the body and getting into a state of rest and relaxation. If you give your body just a few extra minutes in this state you will leave feeling more peaceful, calm, and focused for your day.
We have recently increased our offerings at BYAZ to support students get the most out of their yoga practice. In addition to yoga our members now enjoy strength, pilates, and high-intensity interval training classes. We also offer add-ons for kids under 17 for all classes and kids club, four private coaching sessions for nutrition, yoga, or goal coaching, and mat and towel service. Start maximizing your practice. Click Here to sign up today.