Before watching the video, if you don’t mind,
please subscribe to our channel and hit that bell icon, so you don’t accidentally miss
our next videos, thank you. The history of yoga and how its developed
into the practice you know today! Ask any yoga practitioner to define yoga,
and you’re likely to get a myriad of answers. For some, it’s a way to feel good in their
bodies. For others, it’s a spiritual practice, and for many, a way of life. But regardless
of your approach, yoga can help reshape and unravel your habitual or unconscious patterns.
Practicing yoga helps provide a foundation and tools to building good habits, such as
discipline, self-inquiry, and non attachment. This exercise is also a pathway to empower
you to make conscious choices to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Today, many agree that
the word yuj — which yoga derives from — refers to greater internal states, such as clarity,
peace, and happiness. One prevalent definition comes from “The
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” compiled before 400 A.D. In the second verse of the first
book, yoga is defined as the “cessation of mind wandering.” The sutras also provide
an eight-limb system that guides the practitioner to transcend beyond the mind and attain yogic
freedom. The eight-limb system is an integral and highly
regarded part of yoga. Today, we practice asana, the physical postures, the most. These
were developed in the early 20th century by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. Then, three
of his most well-known students further developed particular styles of yoga, each with something
different and beneficial to offer. Many styles practiced today have evolved from
these three students, including Vinyasa yoga, where poses are linked with breathing to create
a flowing, dynamic, and creative sequence. B. K. S. Iyengar: creator of Iyengar yoga,
K. Pattabhi Jois: creator of Ashtanga yoga, T. K. V. Desikachar: creator of Viniyoga.
Today, we’re in an unparalleled position to engage with yoga through a multitude of
channels. There are countless ways to practice: from studios, gyms, community centers, schools,
and outdoor venues, to online videos and social media channels. You can also fully immerse
yourself by attending conferences, trainings, and retreats all over the globe.
With so many ways to engage with yoga, you’re in an optimal position to begin or enhance
your practice and tailor it to best support your health and well-being. Why you should practice yoga! We live in a culture where our minds and nervous
systems are stimulated constantly. Yoga offers the space to slow your mind down and restore
a sense of balance. In 2016, Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance conducted a study called
Yoga in America. They found that 36.7 million people were practicing yoga. That’s a 50
percent increase from 2012! It’s unclear what the direct cause is for
this booming growth and rise in the popularity of yoga, but such interest may be attributed
to the promising benefits that yoga and mindful practices offer. Yoga helps your physical body! The most obvious benefit is, of course, physical.
Yoga postures can help increase: flexibility, strength, mobility, balance.
These benefits are also why athletes practice yoga as part of an effective cross-training
regimen. During yoga, your body goes through a full
range and variety of motion that can counteract aches and pains associated with tension or
poor postural habits. Not only does yoga help you — and many athletes — become more
aware of your body, it also allows you to fix these imbalances and improve overall athleticism. Yoga helps with stress and relaxation! Another key benefit of yoga is that it helps
with stress. Accumulation of stress can cause your nervous system to be constantly in overdrive,
making it difficult to unwind, focus, and sleep. The breathing exercises you practice
during yoga can help lower your heart rate and shift your nervous system into a more
relaxed state. It also promotes better sleep and increased focus.
For people with a more spiritual background, the effects of practice start to be felt beyond
the physical body and off the mat. Yoga can help connect you more deeply to your sense
of purpose and awareness of living in the present. As you start your journey, what you
get out of the practice can also change based on your needs. Getting started with yoga! Yoga isn’t one-size-fits-all, but it’s
one of the few exercises that actually offers different “sizes” for people to try. If
you’re new, it’s worth trying different styles to find which best resonates with you.
Here’s a summary of the main types of yoga: Iyengar – This type is a combination of standing
and seated postures using props for people who want to focus on alignment, posture, and
gain increased muscular power and range of motion. Viniyoga – A class that’s focused on breathing
and meditation for people with limited mobility or who want to work from the inside out, to
experience relaxation, body awareness, and better posture. Jivanmukti – A set sequence that incorporates
meditation, compassion, chanting, and deep listening, for people who want to incorporate
spiritual elements and ancient teachings of yoga in their practice while gaining body
awareness, learning Sanskrit, and improving relationships. Hatha – This type uses yoga poses and breathing
techniques to align and calm the body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.
Classes are slower paced, but holding the poses can be more physically demanding. Vinyasa – This dynamic type synchronizes movement
with breath and may be referred to as a “flow class.” Expect to move faster than in a
traditional Hatha class. Ashtanga – Ashtanga goes through a fast-paced
and physically challenging sequence of poses practiced in the same order with a strong
emphasis on the breath. In traditional classes, you aren’t meant to drink water and can
only move onto the next pose or series after you’ve achieved the last. Bikram – Bikram consists of two breathing
techniques and 26 poses repeated in the same order for 90 minutes. It’s often practiced
in a room heated to 105°F (40.6°C) to help sweat out toxins. Kundalini – This type incorporates repeated
movements (referred to as a “kriya”), dynamic breathing, mantras, chanting, and
meditation. It’s believed to awaken the energy at the base of the spine and draw it
upward through the chakras. Yin – Poses are held for 3-5 minutes, mainly
in a lying down or seated position. The longer stretches aim to release tension and restore
range of motion to muscles and connective tissue. It’s helpful for people who have
tight muscles, stress, or chronic pain. Restorative – Very gentle poses are held for
10 minutes or more. Includes plenty of props for support and relaxation, such as blankets,
bolsters, and straps. Similar to Yin yoga, this is a helpful practice for people living
with chronic pain or anyone feeling stressed. Through different styles of yoga, you’ll
notice a common, consistent theme: self-healing. Whether you choose to practice Yin or prefer
Vinyasa, practicing any style of yoga gives you the opportunity to turn inward and learn
more about yourself so that you can be of greater service to the people and the world
around you. A guide to foundational poses! It can be helpful to familiarize yourself
with some of the main foundational poses that most physical practices use. Check out this
list of poses with alignment cues that you can practice in the comfort of your own home. Downward-Facing Dog! Come onto your hands and knees.
Straighten your arms and relax your upper back between the shoulder blades.
Keeping your knees bent, lengthen your knees and lift your hips high. Your aim here is
to form the shape of an upside-down “V.” If you have the flexibility in your hamstring
muscles, straighten your legs and let your heels drop down toward the floor while maintaining
the length in your spine. If you notice your spine start to curve as
you straighten your legs, bend your knees enough so that you can keep the spine long.
Hold for 5 breaths. Cobra! Lie on your stomach with your legs straight.
Firm up the muscles in your legs and have your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing
behind you. Push down through your pubic bone to avoid
collapsing into the lower portion of the spine. Place your weight onto your forearms as you
lift your chest away from the ground. Make sure that your neck is long as you look
straight ahead. Hold for 5 breaths. Warrior 1! Stand up straight and step your right foot
back. Keep your front foot pointing straight forward
and position your back foot at approximately a 45-degree angle.
Position your feet hip-width apart so you’re able to square your hips to the front of the
mat. Bend into your front knee. Make sure your
knee is directly above your ankle, or behind it.
Keep your back leg strong. Raise your arms up straight above your head
and relax your shoulders. Hold for 5 breaths before switching to the
other side. Warrior 2! Stand up straight. Step your right foot back.
Keep your front foot pointing straight forward. Position your back foot at a little less than
a 90-degree angle. Align your front heel with the arch of your
back foot. Have your hips turned toward the side of the
mat. Bend into your front knee so your knee is
directly above your ankle, or behind it, ensuring the kneecap is tracking over the middle toe.
Keep your back leg strong. Raise your arms up parallel with the ground.
Relax your shoulders. Hold for 5 breaths before coming to the other
side. Tree Pose! Stand up straight. Shift your weight onto
the left foot, keeping the inner part of your left foot firmly on the floor, and bend your
right knee. Draw your right foot up and place the sole
against your inner left thigh, inner calf muscle, or inner ankle with your toes touching
the floor. Place your hands on the top rim of your pelvis
to make sure that it’s parallel to the floor. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor.
Firmly press the sole of the right foot against the inner thigh, calf, or ankle, and resist
with the outer left leg. Raise your arms straight above your head.
Ensure that you keep your shoulders relaxed. Hold for 5 breaths before changing to the
other side. Seated Forward Fold! Sit on the ground with your legs straight
out in front of you. If you have tight hamstrings, bend your knees.
Keep your feet flexed with your toes pointing toward the ceiling.
Sit up tall, lengthening through your spine. Leading with your chest, keep your spine long
as you fold forward. Place your hands in a comfortable position
on your legs. Hold for 5 breaths. Bridge Pose! Lie on your back.
Bend both knees and position your feet hip-width apart with your knees stacked over your ankles.
Place your arms on either side of your body with the palms of your hands turned down to
the ground. Spread your fingers wide. Lengthen the skin of your tailbone toward
the front of your mat. Lift your hips up and hold the pose for 5
breaths. Supine Twist! Lie on your back.
Hug both knees in toward yourself with your feet off the ground.
Place your arms in a “T” position, with the palms of your hands turned up toward the
ceiling. Let both knees drop down toward the right
side of your mat. Keep your gaze looking toward the ceiling,
or turn to face the opposite direction of your knees.
Hold for 5 breaths before coming to the other side. Cat-Cow! Get on your hands and knees. Your wrists should
be underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
Balance your weight evenly on all fours. Inhale and look up, letting your stomach point
down towards the mat. Then exhale and tuck your chin into your chest,
curving your spin up towards the ceiling. Be awareness of your body and your breath
as repeat these movements. Continue this fluid movement for 5 breaths. Breathing exercises, or pranayama! Controlling your breath is an integral part
of yoga. The formal name for this practice is pranayama. “Prana” can be explained
as life force, energy, or qi, while “ayama” is the Sanskrit word for extension. Here are some of the basic pranayama practices
to start you off in your yoga journey: Ujjayi pranayama! Ujjayi pranayama is most commonly used in
Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. An ocean sound is created with this breathing technique by
contracting the epiglottis, the leaf-shaped flap of cartilage located behind the tongue
at the top of the voice box. This sound aims to anchor the mind during your practice. Ujjayi technique: Breath in and out through your nose.
Breathe in for 4 counts and breathe out for 4 counts. Complete 4 rounds of this.
On your fifth breath, slowly breathe in through your mouth, as if you were sipping through
a straw but with your mouth closed. As you breathe out, see if you can slowly
exhale, as if you were steaming up a mirror but with your mouth closed.
Continue this breathing all the way through your yoga practice. Nadi Shodhanam pranayama! Nadi Shodhanam refers to alternate nostril
breathing to slow down inhalation and the exhalation. This technique balances the parasympathetic
and sympathetic nervous system to cultivate a state of internal tranquility, stability,
and peace of mind, while balancing and regulating energy through the left and right side of
the body. Nadi Shodhanam technique: Find a comfortable seat on the ground or on
a chair. You can also be standing still or lying down.
Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths in and out through your nose.
Using your thumb on your right hand, close your right nostril.
Inhale through your left nostril for 5 counts, then remove your thumb. Using a different
finger on your right hand, close your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril
for 5 counts. Now switch, inhaling through your right nostril
for 5 counts and exhaling through your left. Repeat for 3 to 9 rounds.
Viloma pranayama! This breathing technique aims to calm the
brain and your nervous system. It can be practiced at the start or end of your yoga practice,
or on its own. Viloma technique: Lie down, or sit comfortably.
Place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your heart.
Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths in and out through your nose.
On your next inhalation, sip in a third of the breath through your lips, like you’re
drinking from a straw, into your belly and pause for a moment.
Sip a third more into your side ribs and pause for another moment.
Sip the final third of your breath into your chest.
Exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat for 3 to 9 rounds. Mindfulness and meditation exercises! Both mindfulness and meditation are integral
parts of the yoga practice. As mentioned earlier, physical yoga practices aim to prepare the
body and mind for meditation. There are two simple elements that define
mindfulness: Become aware of the physical sensations in
your body. Notice these sensations without judgment.
Below is a simple, mindful counting meditation that you can practice at home: Meditation technique: Find a comfortable seat.
Set a timer for how long you’d like to meditate for, somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes.
Close your eyes. Notice the sounds around you. Listen as they
come and go. Bring your awareness to your physical body.
Can you notice the temperature of your skin? Can you notice what’s touching your skin?
Focus the awareness from your head and move down to your feet. Which parts of your body
are harder to notice? Which parts of your body are easier?
Bring your awareness to your breath. Notice the cool air as you breathe in and the warm
air as you breathe out. Start to count your breath. Inhale on 1 and
exhale on 2. Continue counting all the way up to 10. Repeat
until the end of your meditation. What to expect as a beginner! The start of any new activity can be met with
a combination of excitement and nervousness, and starting yoga practice anew is no different.
To help you feel more at ease, this section will cover options of where to begin practicing
yoga, what to expect in class, and suggestions for progressing your practice to the next
level. Where to begin! Just as there are a wide variety of yoga styles,
there are numerous options where yoga classes are offered. Find a practice space that’s
easy to get to and offers classes that fit your schedule. Common settings include: neighborhood yoga studios, gyms and athletic
clubs, integrative health practices, like physical therapy offices, chiropractic offices,
etc., workplace and corporate yoga, online yoga programs and websites, private yoga instructors,
seasonal, donation-based outdoor yoga events. Set a goal to make one to two classes per
week for the first few months of your practice. With this consistency, the poses and flow
of the class will become more familiar. You’ll start to notice the physical and mental benefits
of the practice. How to approach classes as a new student! Many studios have beginner classes and fundamental
workshops. These offerings are wonderful for beginner and advanced students alike. They’re
often slower paced, and focus more attention on alignment and how to safely get into the
poses. Bring your yoga mat and water. For warmer
classes, you might want to bring a towel, too. Most studios are usually well-equipped
with yoga props such as blocks, blankets, straps, and bolsters, but you may want to
call ahead or check online to be sure. A common reservation for beginners is working
with injuries and a lack of familiarity with the poses. If this is a concern, you can work
privately with an instructor before entering group classes. Just a few individual sessions
can provide the foundation and confidence you need to modify poses or work around your
injury. What to expect from a yoga class or routine! The typical length of a group class is 60,
75, or 90 minutes. The teacher will guide you through breathing and moving your body
into the poses. Some teachers may even demonstrate the poses, although larger classes tend to
rely on verbal cues. Yoga classes end with several minutes of lying
down on your back with your eyes closed in a pose called Savasana. It’s a time to let
your body and breathing completely relax. Savasana is an opportunity to feel the physical
effects of the practice integrate into your body. After Savasana, the word “namaste” is
said by the teacher, and the students repeat. Namaste is a word of gratitude and a gesture
of thanking the teacher and students for coming to practice. Always feel free to talk with your teacher
after class if you have specific questions about certain poses and how you can make them
more accessible for your body. How to improve after starting! Repetition and consistency are the keys to
moving forward. After you’ve found a style, teacher, and location that works for you,
try these tips: Improvement tips! Begin a home practice once you feel comfortable
in the foundational yoga poses. Attend local workshops where teachers can
break down certain aspects of the yoga practice in more detail.
Notice the effects a consistent yoga practice has on you by observing how your body feels,
and how interactions and relationships outside of your yoga practice feel.
Take note on how you feel during times away from practice. This can help you recognize
yoga’s benefits more. The positive effects will highlight the value
of the practice and serve as motivation to keep returning to your mat. Moving on to the intermediate stage! By now, things that may have seemed impossible
in your first class might now be within your grasp. You’ve heard about the benefits of
yoga, and experienced moments of calm and clarity that make them feel a little more
believable. To advance further, here are some qualities to continue building that’ll help
you advance your yoga journey. Dedication! One of the qualities that separates a serious
yogi from a beginner is consistent and dedicated practice. Two of the core concepts of yoga
philosophy reinforce this: Tapas, or burning enthusiasm. Tapas means
to heat, shine, or purify. Yogis believe that the fiery effort of tapas, stoked through
disciplined yoga practice, burns off lethargy and impurity, transforming you into your best
and highest self. Abhyāsa, or regular and diligent practice
over the long haul. In the same way athletes train to meet the challenges of their sport,
yogis continue to show up on their mats. Subtlety! It’s time to look beyond the basics of the
pose and into nuanced cues, like: “Lift the arches of the feet.”
“Lengthen the skin over the sacrum.” “Engage mula bandha.”
Instructions that didn’t make sense to you as a beginner are now ready to be explored. To progress in your practice, cultivate more
body awareness. Instead of copying your teacher, develop a rich internal sense of how and where
your body is positioned in space. Study the details, from meditation method and pranayama
(breath work) to mudra (hand gestures) and mantra (sacred sounds). Focus! As aspects of practice become more familiar,
you can begin to develop what yogis call “drishti,” or focus and concentrated intention. With
continued focus, more and more time will pass between periods of distraction. Your practice
will start to generate a feeling of clarity and calm. The next steps of committing to yoga! As you continue to practice, see if you can
find a difference between yoga days and non-yoga days. Focus on the positive, such as feeling
calmer or a boost in energy and mood. Each positive experience you associate with being
on your mat will make it easier to commit to coming back again. You want the benefits you’ve noticed to
last, for every day to feel like a yoga day. If you feel confident in your practice, it
may also be the time to initiate a home yoga practice. No matter how short or simple, a regular — even
daily — home practice is the stepping-stone to making the physical and mental changes
you’ve noticed more permanent. If you’re short on inspiration, consider
a private yoga session with a respected teacher, delve into yoga history and literature, or
attend a workshop on a topic that intrigues you. The ancient practice of yoga offers countless
pathways to real and concrete benefits. Now it’s up to you to find your way. Entering the pro, or advanced, stage of yoga! Being an advanced practitioner is less about
doing advanced poses — although your body may certainly be ready for those — and more
about deepening your commitment to practice on and off the mat. Furthering good practice habits for yoga! Advanced practitioners usually practice four
to six times per week. At this stage, we also recommend expanding the range of your practice
to include both active and restorative asana, pranayama, and meditation. If it appeals to
you, mudra and mantra can also be a way to add richness to your practice. The style and duration of practice will vary
depending on what you feel you need the most that day. At this stage, your ability to maintain
focus on your breathing and internal states throughout practice allows you to quickly
tap into the depth of your practice. This means a shorter practice can be just as potent. You can still enjoy practicing regularly with
a teacher or with a class. But you’ll also want to commit to practicing at home in a
dedicated space, such as a corner of your living room or bedroom. Some advanced yogis practice at home a majority
of the time. Others maintain a more even balance between home practice and public group classes.
As you progress, this will become a matter of your personal preference. Awareness! At the advanced stage, it’s important to
develop a richly nuanced internal experience through self-inquiry and interoception. The
practice of self-inquiry is known as swadhyaya, and is one of the niyamas, or moral practices,
from Patanjali’s eight-limbs. This can help you uncover a deeper understanding of your
mind, habits, and reactions. Interoception is the ability to sense what’s
happening within your body and paying close attention to what you feel without trying
to fix anything or judge what’s happening. With this heightened awareness, you’ll be
able to extract tremendous benefit from the simplest of sequences and poses. Benefits off the mat! Transition what you learn from yoga “off
the mat.” Off the mat is a term yogis use to mean your everyday life. Some ways to take
your yoga off the mat include: Incorporate the yamas and niyamas. For example,
be content with results (santosha), be truthful with your words (satya), maintain orderliness
in your surroundings (saucha), and be generous with your time or money (aparigraha).
Summon the focus you’ve developed in your practice throughout your day. Do this at work,
at home, with loved ones, or in other hobbies and sports.
Notice what disturbs your calmness during your day, as well as your habitual reactions
to these triggers. Apply this awareness to help you make more suitable choices.
Use your improved interoception to take better care of your health. This also allows for
you to communicate more clearly with your healthcare providers.
One of the more rewarding signs of being an advanced practitioner is the staying power
of the benefits. After you’ve accumulated practice hours under your belt and found ways
to connect the practice into your life, you’ll feel your yoga practice’s positive influence
— even on days when you have a short practice or no practice at all. What you need to get started! The great thing about yoga is that you don’t
need much in terms of “gear” to get started. Willingness to take that first step is really
the first tool. You must make the choice to attend to your own health and well-being,
and then once you’ve done so, you can begin to add additional layers as you need them.
You may never need or even want a full yoga wardrobe or prop closet — and that’s just
fine! What you need to buy to start practicing yoga
(and how much things can cost)! What you wear is really important. You’ll
need comfortable clothing that you can move in, whether it’s yoga pants or running.
You may already own something, or you may need to buy new clothes. New clothes can range
from $5 to $100 or more, so choose an option that fits into your budget and that you feel
most comfortable in. Sample shopping list: Yoga pants: 90 Degree by Reflex, $16 – 34.99,
Tanks: icyZone Activewear, $8.99 – 18.99, Mat: Balance From GoYoga, $17.95,
Set of blocks: Reehut Yoga Block, $6.98 – 10.99, Strap: Reehut Fitness Exercise Yoga Strap,
$4.98 – 7.89, Bolster: Yoga Accessories, $39.99. Yoga mat: Many people choose to purchase their
own mat rather than borrow or rent at a local studio, which can range from $2 to $10. Prices
for your own mat can range from $15 to $200. And you get what you pay for, so we suggest
aiming for a quality mat that’s in the $40 to $60 range. (For example, people with sensitive
knees or backs may want a thicker mat). Props and other gear: Most yoga studios will
supply all of the other props you may need, like yoga blocks, straps, and blankets. Some
may even provide bolsters, sandbags, and eye pillows. If you’re practicing at home, you
don’t have to buy these props, either. Owning a mat, a set of blocks, and a strap can help
support and ease you into your practice, but you can use the carpet as your mat, household
items as blocks, and towels as straps, too. What do you need to know about classes and
cost? Here’s a breakdown for average class costs: Studio package or membership. Approximately
$100 to $200 per month. Gym membership. Approximately $58 to $100
per month. Online yoga membership. Approximately $60
to $150 per year. Private sessions. Varies based on the instructor. While it’s certainly less expensive to practice
yoga at home, new yogis may find it beneficial to begin with a group class or by scheduling
a private yoga session. The guidance and feedback a teacher provides on the spot is invaluable.
You just can’t get that same experience from an online video or book. Many yoga studios offer session and class
packages. The cost ranges depending on where you live and what package you’re looking
for. The initial investment is a lot more than paying per class, but often these packages
give you a discount on the per-session or per-class investment. Packages are a good idea if you want to try
a new studio, or if you want to commit to attending class regularly. Some studio memberships
can provide extra perks, as well as reduce your per-class investment. If your local yoga studio’s rates are out
of your price range, check gyms and community centers. They often offer budget-friendly
options. Some gyms may also allow you to attend classes for no additional cost. There’s plenty of resources for home practice,
too. Try an online yoga website with experienced teachers like YogaGlo or Yoga International.
These sites are a great option if you feel more comfortable working at home, are limited
by time, or want to be able to choose exactly the kind of class you need that day. A private session may be more expensive, but
it also has the benefit of providing focused attention and addressing specific needs or
injuries. For group classes, you can contact the studio, gym, or teacher to ask which classes
they recommend for you. Your budget for practicing yoga! Low budget: It’s possible to do yoga entirely for free!
Follow online videos and use household items as props. Wear comfortable clothing you already
own and that you can move easily in. But remember, for every great yoga video on
YouTube, there are hundreds or thousands that aren’t so great. Choose wisely by looking
at reviews, views, and into the background of the trainer featured in the video. Check
out our top picks for yoga videos to get you started. Moderate budget: Purchase a yoga mat and attend classes at
your gym, community center, or through an online yoga subscription site. If your cash
flow allows it, you can purchase a multi-class package or a membership at a yoga studio to
maximize the bang for your buck. Consider making a purchase of two or three pieces of
clothing designated for yoga practice. Large budget: Purchase a yoga mat, two blocks, a strap,
and a bolster for your home practice. Schedule private sessions with a highly recommended
teacher (or check out Yoga Medicine’s “Find a Teacher” resource for guidance), then
begin to layer on group classes. Consider becoming a member at your favorite studio.
Invest in a yoga wardrobe that moves with you and brings you joy! Don’t feel like you need to rush out and
purchase everything you can find related to yoga all at once. Some items may be marketed
as important to a yoga practice, when in reality they may not be helpful at all. For example,
“yoga pants” don’t have to be only yoga pants. Allow your practice to develop and
pay attention to what inspires you and how you feel in your body, then you’ll have
a better idea of what you may need. How to check in with your body, follow up
on progress, and measure success! The definition of progression is “the process
of developing or moving gradually toward a more advanced state.” To measure progression
within yoga practice, you must first define what “a more advanced state” means, and
this is personal to each practitioner. So, what would success mean to you? Is it
to tone up or de-stress? A balanced approach to checking in will include an overall look
at your well-being. When 30-something athlete Alysia experienced
a severe concussion, yoga played a huge role in her recovery. She notes that, “Yoga was
the foundation that helped me be more mentally stable in a very emotionally up and down rehabilitation.” Alysia’s progression was documented over
one and half years and focused on physical aspects such as balance, mindful transitions
to avoid triggering headaches or dizziness, and strength building to counter muscle atrophy.
Yoga allowed her to be more compassionate with herself as well as her recovery. To measure physical improvements, look for: Improved range of motion or ease of movement.
A reduction in pain or discomfort and physical symptoms.
An increase in physical strength and endurance. Less weight fluctuations.
Changes in the ways your clothes fit. Better quality sleeping habits and increased
or stable energy levels. No matter what your goals are, it’s important
to remember that yoga is bringing together your body and mind. Dedicated practice will
affect all aspects of your life, internally and externally, physically and mentally. And
patience will play a role in this, too. It may take months or years to realize the deepest
benefits of a personal practice. To measure mental improvements, look for: A drop in stress levels or mood swings.
Growth in emotional awareness, or equilibrium in emotional situations.
Changes in personal, romantic, and professional relationships.
An increased sense of self, or ability to live more presently.
An increase in mental clarity and resilience. A deeper awareness of sensations in the body
or reactions of the ego. The ability to control quality of breath. Ways to measure progression! For 27-year-old Christy, yoga was a helping
hand in kicking a pain killer addiction that left her insecure, emotional, overweight,
and anxious. Through three months of journaling and private yoga practices, Christy found
it easier to make choices that were good for her. She combined high-vigor Vinyasa classes
and calming meditation practices, resulting in weight loss, self-confidence, and an overall
sense of control. Here are some ways to measure progression: 1. Journal! Write daily or weekly following the measurements
above to chart your progress. Include events or situations that may have occurred. Document
your experience, reaction, or emotions throughout. As time passes, it’ll be insightful to look
back and review your past entries. 2. Group or 1:1 classes or therapy! This can be group classes, 1:1 private yoga
sessions, or therapy of any kind. When we involve professionals or non biased third
parties, we allow for a second set of eyes to help us see our own progression. 3. Ask for feedback! It can feel intimidating to ask loved ones
or coworkers to comment on your progress, but it can also lead to many insights. Maybe
someone’s noticed you’re less stressed and smile more often. Sometimes it’s easier
for others to see us before we can truly see ourselves. 4. Set target dates! Get your calendar out and set target dates.
For example, set a goal to practice yoga once every day or to master the splits in 30 days.
Include check-in dates to help you reach your goal. For some, seeing a visual on a calendar
makes them feel more accountable. 5. Look at the scale or create before and
after photos! The physical body may change throughout your
practice, so use the scale or images of yourself to track progression. Don’t focus on the
numbers as much as the feeling. Notice if your muscles are stronger and your clothes
are fitting better. This is a practice of overall well-being,
so be kind to yourself and repeat this mantra: Practice, makes progression!
If you liked our video, hit the like button, leave a comment and your wishes or suggestions
on what you would like to see next. Have a nice, and healthy life.