Yoga is one of the most popular ways that people today get and stay fit. However, yoga also has numerous stages of mastery and sometimes it can seem as though you reach your limit of what you are capable of. The truth is that getting better at yoga is achievable so long as the right methods and mindsets are employed. Here are some ways that you can improve at yoga and get better fitness results.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make in yoga is maintaining rigidity in their joints and locking up. In theory this might sound like a good way to maintain a pose for a longer period of time, but in truth this can do damage and even prevent you from receiving the full benefit of your pose. When you lock your knees during a pose such as forward bend you can hold the pose for longer. However, if you loosen up your knees and allow them a slight bend you will notice that it is more difficult to hold the pose because you are actually making your legs work harder to achieve the pose. This is a good thing as it keeps your body active even while it is still.
Take the Breath
A big mistake that many people make with yoga, especially those who are newcomers, is not practicing proper breathing. Many disregard the recommended breathing practices because they think it is simply the spiritual element of yoga at play but the truth is that employing the proper breathing techniques makes yoga easier. Deep, long breaths actually help the body relax and make it easier on you to maintain your posture. This enables you to stay in the pose longer and gain more of the benefits.
Remember It's Not a Competition
It cannot be stressed enough that yoga is not a competition. Do not focus on what the others around you are doing or what level they seem to be at. Focus on yourself and your own progress. Comparing yourself with others can be an ego boost at best and a pity party at worst. Either of these is neither necessary nor productive. Instead relish in your improvements and accept that you are not competing with anyone, not even yourself.
Use It Off the Mat
Yoga is meant to help us improve our lives as a whole, not just in regards to physical fitness. One of the best ways to do this is to take your practices on the mat out into the real world. During tense or strenuous situations practice your breathing techniques to alleviate stress. Utilize your developed flexibility to complete every day tasks. The point is to live the 23 hours off of the mat with everything you learned in the hour on the mat.