Yoga practice can be as much or as little as you want it to be. For some it is purely a physical pursuit, keeping the body toned, strong and flexible. For others, yoga practice becomes a way to de stress the mind from the challenges of everyday living. The practice of yoga has many health benefits associated with it,from better sleep to more energy and strength. We know the benefits the practice gives us, however what are we giving to the practice? The following are a list of essentials that you can bring forth to your next class.
1) Be Present– Coming for class and thinking about work deadlines or the list of errands you have to run is gonna create more anxiety when you practice. Whenever we give our full attention, we are practicing. You can stay present by bringing your attention to the sound of your breath as breath only exists in the present, state your intent before the class as a reminder for you to be present. And repeat this intention throughout the class for example “right here, right now” and sink back into your breath.
2) Sense of Humour– Getting frustrated when you are in a challenging pose and feeling defeated when you are unable to get into alignment, is a common occurrence in a yoga class. However, know that the pose is not yoga, yoga is the inner state the pose creates.Happiness is not related to an achievement of a perfect pose. Allow yourself to be happy in the midst of whatever is happening around you. Laugh, not only does it relax the diaphragm, but it connects us with ourselves and with others.
3)Compassion– When you force yourself into the pose, you are creating unpleasantness for the body. Being compassionate is an attitude of love towards the expression of yours through the body. In doing so, you can start to guide yourself in the pose being aware of when you need to pull back and when you can move forth.
4)Curiosity– When you are curious, you’re not sure you know, you’re a little empty and you’re willing to learn. These qualities bring you into the present. And being present is at the heart of practicing yoga. During your practice, use each exhalation to explore a deeper layer of the pose.
5)Courage– By this I mean courage to speak up in class. When ever you are unclear or unsure of the poses you practice, you can either bring it up to the instructor during class or after class to clear your doubt before you head on home. A yoga class is a place of learning and questions are part of it.
Remember that your yoga class is not full of experts; its is made up of practitioners of yoga. Go to class today, and ask not what your practice can do for you, but what you can bring forth to the practice.