1. Be Patient
Yogacharaya Shri K. Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) said, “Practice and all is coming.” The benefits of yoga are just as limitless as the variation of asanas, so take comfort in knowing that there is no end or “final goal” in this practice. It’s not a race or competition, because thankfully, it’s YOGA.
2. Be Consistent
Plan yoga into your days and weeks. Pre-registering lets us know that you are coming and also gives you a sense of accountability. Create a realistic yoga schedule and do your best to make it to your mat.
3. Ask Questions
Our instructors LOVE getting questions before or after class because it helps us grow as teachers, as we learn what is challenging for you or what you have questions about. We are always happy to help you with a posture or yoga concept. Just let us know! We can also suggest online resources, upcoming workshops and ways of wryer to practice at home or on vacation.
4. Be Open to What Each Practice Holds
Every day you feel a little bit different on your mat. The time of day, what you ate, how you slept, your energy levels and stress levels change from day to day. Be open to whatever that day brings without judging yourself to your practice yesterday. Avoid thinking I “should haves” and “could haves” on your mat! Practice with truthfulness (satya) in each posture based on your capabilities that day.
5. Tailor Your Practice
Just like anything in life, don’t force it! We are just creating shapes on the mat. Don’t try too hard to “fit into” the postures but rather customize or tailor them to fit you. Listen to the modifications and variations your instructor offers. Practice non-harmfulness (ahimsa) by being mindful to your body’s need and healthy edge.
6. Make Yoga Friends – We Are All In This Together
Get to know your yogi mat neighbors. The energy we share at Full Circle Yoga is positive and contagious. Be a part of it and you will discover so many friendships and a lifetime of support.
7. Remember You’re a Yogi Off Your Mat, Too
You know the importance of your breath control (pranayama) during your practice, but how about using it as a tool off your mat? Even just one conscious inhale and exhale counts as a meditation and has the power to calm you. When you are feeling tension or stress, take a few moments for big inhales and exhales and follow them with curiosity. Remember you can also take a calming forward fold, a rejuvenating twist or energizing sun salutation anytime of your day, not just in the studio.
8. Practice Postures You Like Least
We all know the feeling when our teacher says, “Now, Revolved Half Moon!” Ugh. But that’s when the yoga begins. We tend to avoid what we need most. Focus on your breath as you are transitioning and remember it’s only a few breaths out of your whole day. I find it helps to remember why the pose if good for me, i.e. building balancing, finding calm amidst chaos,
9. Develop a Circle of Teachers
Visit different classes with us and see which styles and instructors address your needs. Having a teacher or circle of teachers helps you get into a rhythm with your practice, so you don’t have to learn a new language with every class you take. It also allows you to grow more quickly because the teacher gets to know you and your practice.
10. Catch Yourself Becoming Too Serious
Your body was meant to move. Enjoy your practice, the breathe, the movements, the music and the positive vibes are all there to elevate you. Don’t get so caught up in the “posing” that you forget to relax and enjoy.
By Christine Northcote