7 Tips to Improving Your Yoga Experience Right in the Comfort of Your Home

yogaMore and more people all over the world are now enlisting in yoga programs as an alternative method of achieving optimum health and fitness. While some may consider yoga more as a meditative activity, many health and fitness experts as well as individuals who have already included yoga in their fitness regimen consider yoga as a very holistic approach to improve the body-mind connection. Studies now show that yoga can help manage chronic back pain, improve the quality of life of cancer patients, may help in the reduction of blood pressure, and may possibly help in the management of pain among individuals with rheumatic pain. On a psychological viewpoint, yoga has been shown to be an effective way to manage anxiety and depression.

You too, can reap these benefits and even more right in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how.

Always Know Your Physical Limitations First

As in any physical activity, be it strenuous or not, you need to identify first whether you have physical limitations that you have to worry about. For example, as yoga will often involve considerable amount of stretching, you might want to look for problems that may hinder or make stretching a little bit difficult. The point is for you to respect your body, identify your limitations, and never push it beyond what your body is designed to do.

Identify a Comfortable Area in Your Home to be Your Yoga Area

You don’t need to go to a yoga class to enjoy great and fulfilling yoga. Just make sure that you choose an area in your home where there will be no distractions – visual, auditory, olfactory, and even tactile. This is very important because what you need is a room that is peaceful and quite so you can visualize your breathing as well as the different sensations generated by your muscles. If you don’t have a space like this in your home, then you just have to make do with what you have and try to minimize the distractions.

Prepare Your Yoga Accessories

You will need a non-slip yoga mat, yoga bolsters, and even blocks for a variety of yoga exercises you will be performing. While it is not absolutely necessary that the yoga mat be non-slip, you will find it a lot easier to do yoga if you can stay in one place on the yoga mat. Additionally, you don’t necessarily have to buy blocks or yoga bolsters because you can improvise. Get pillows and use that as a bolster. Or you can stack up books, tie them together, and you now have an instant yoga block. You might want to prepare incense and scented candles as well as aromatic essences to help you enjoy your yoga a lot better.

Always Warm-up First before Performing Intense Yoga Postures

Like any physical activity, you need to loosen up your joints and warm your muscles first before you can take on more intense yoga postures. Rotating your upper arms at your shoulder joints, flexing and extending your joints at the elbows, waist, knees, and ankles can prepare you for better yoga enjoyment.

Use Your Yoga Smile Meter

There is no scientific method that can tell you are doing yoga correctly. Sure, you can look at instruction manuals as well as watch how-to videos but the important thing to remember is that your body is definitely different from those that are portrayed in videos and manuals. So, how do you know you are enjoying and doing it correctly? Use your smile as a meter. If you are not comfortable, your smile will vanish. If you overstretch resulting in mild to moderate pain, your smile will also vanish. The point is that if your smile vanishes, it is a clue that you are doing something wrong in your yoga session. Yoga is supposed to be enjoyable. So, the first instance you lose your smile, re-adjust your body until you find that smile again.

Breathe Deeply and Long

Known as the ujjayi breaths, taking long and deep breaths is crucial to optimizing the full benefits of yoga. Deep, long breaths increases the amount of oxygen that enters the lungs which is translated into improved oxygenation of the different tissues of the body, particularly the brain. This stimulates the release of certain neurotransmitters that help muscles relax to allow you to stretch further and stay in the yoga pose for a significantly longer period of time. Focusing on your breathing can help you better relax, maintain your yoga posture, and feel the stretch of the pose.

Practice Regularly

The key to improving your yoga experience is by doing it repeatedly and focusing on the different sensations the different yoga poses bring you. A thrice-weekly yoga regimen should be a great way to start until you can integrate it into your daily life.

In order for you to really take advantage of the benefits of yoga, you need to understand one thing – you should feel a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment in doing yoga. Everything else follows.

Lori Hoskens

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