We’ve got some die-hard yogis on the Peerfit team, and, on occasion, they’ve been known to try and convert those who are less om-inclined. One of yoga’s key benefits is that it’s good for both the body and mind. That being said, we know how difficult it can be to “turn off” our brains for an hour, but, in the end, it’s always worth it.
Whether you’re just starting out and in need of some pointers or a bonafide yogi looking to strengthen their practice, these no-fail tricks will help you make the most out of every asana.
Turn off your phone.
We know, it sounds blasphemous - but it’s necessary. Turning off your phone, ideally half an hour (if not earlier) before class, is a total game changer. Think about it. Yoga is all about being present and focusing on your breath - you can’t do that if you’re stressing about that last-minute text or itching to respond to it.
We all know excessive screen time is bad for our health, and there are a number of reasons why we should unplug more often - use this as an opportunity to do just that. After a while, you’ll notice you’ll keep your phone off, even after class is over.
Set a (realistic) intention.
Set a goal for your class, and make it a reasonable one. If this is your first yoga class, don’t feel pressured to try and contort your body in ways it’s probably not ready for. Crow pose isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally okay! Your intention can be as simple as feeling more relaxed by the time class is over. Don’t have a specific goal in mind? Focus on gratitude.
As our own Liz Wheeler puts it, “When my intention is gratitude, it allows me to focus on my breath and be present because I'm grateful for the time and space to be on my mat. It tends to filter into the rest of my day!” In the hustle and bustle of our everyday grind, it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re grateful for. What a beautiful, simple way to bring it back to the forefront.
Remember to actually breathe.
This may seem obvious, but it actually makes a huge difference. Your instructor will no doubt remind you to breathe during your practice, but make sure you actually do it. Breathing exercises are generally a great way to relax, but they’ll also help you tune out all the noise going on in your head. This way, you’ll stay calm, cool, collected, and in the moment.
Don’t limit yourself.
To quote our PR maestro, Jordan, “Never put yoga in a box. If you don’t immediately love the first class you take, try not only a different teacher, but also try a different style.”
There are many types of yoga, each designed to challenge your body in a different way. Slower moving classes, like Yin yoga, are wonderful for improving flexibility and mindfulness since poses are held longer. Faster classes, like vinyasa or power yoga, are more athletic and more likely to break a sweat. Try different styles for a well-rounded experience, and you’ll be better suited to decide which, if any, is best for you.
Just like taking care of our bodies, taking care of our minds is of the utmost importance, and yoga is a great way to do both at once.