Yoga has immense mental and physical health benefits, so it is no surprise that it is incredibly popular all over the world! According to Finder’s research, about 460,000 people in the UK take part in yoga classes weekly, and that number may be even higher in the US!
Although yoga is quite engaging, it isn’t uncommon for Yogis to get stuck in their practice now and then. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to enjoy a more purposeful and enriching practice every time you step onto your mat.
Here are some tips to help you get better at yoga:
1. Eat Light Before You Practice
Adequate nutrition is key to all types of exercise. However, it is vital to eat light (instead of enjoying a heavy meal) before practicing yoga.
Why? Well, you will quickly become very uncomfortable with a stomach full of food during your posture changes. Light options: healthy granola bars, energy bites, smoothies, protein shakes, etc. can help you get full without the ‘stuffed’ or ‘bloated’ feel. In addition, waiting an hour or two to allow your food to digest before beginning your practice session can help as well.
2. Prioritize Alignment Over Poses
Many seasoned Yogis agree that building your practice on a strong foundation is best. Therefore, always ensure you are in proper alignment and be aware of your body’s placement with every movement.
Also, never sacrifice your form to force your body into a more complicated pose. It is tempting to go straight for complex pose variations due to the many images we see on social media. Still, remember it took those practitioners a lot of time and patience to perfect their poses.! When you focus on doing your beginner variations with proper alignment and ease first, (and potentially work with a physio to help you become more flexible), you’ll feel confident and ready to attempt more complicated poses.
3. Stay Hydrated
The human body is reportedly about 60% water, so many health experts recommend drinking up to eight glasses of water daily. Water does a lot for the human body, but you may not have considered how it can help you take your practice to the next level!
Remember that any form of physical exertion makes your body sweat, which in turn causes faster heart pumping and blood thickening. Although this reaction boosts metabolic and immune function, it puts an incredible strain on the body that affects performance. Therefore, stay hydrated during your yoga practice to keep your blood thinner, reduce the odds of muscle cramps, and increase your body’s capacity to perform.
4. Use Props
Many advanced Yogis practice without props, but these items will help you significantly as a beginner. If you want to get better at yoga, consider investing in helpful props like straps, blocks, bolsters, and wheels to help you.
These yoga props will help you achieve the right alignment before you get the flexibility to try more complex poses and moves. You can also watch tutorials on how to practice with props or how to use them to modify poses you may be struggling with, too.
For other yoga tips and ideas, head to our Exercise & Sports page!