4 Key Concepts You Need to Master to Feel the Impact of Yoga
Many people practice Yoga, but how many people truly experience the full benefits?
Here are four key concepts that I encourage my yoga students to master to experience the associated health benefits of Yoga.
- Be physically aware. The most important thing you should do while practicing Yoga is listen to your body. Listen to what feels good, what feels uncomfortable, and what feels painful. Discomfort is usually your body becoming accustomed to a deeper range of motion or stretching, but we don't want to pass the discomfort threshold into pain. It's important that your ego doesn't lead your Yoga practice, as it can push you into places your body cannot tolerate. As a teacher who leads daily classes, I always tell my students that they must listen to themselves first and my guidance second. This applies to ALL movement classes. Only you know how your body is feeling at any given moment.
- Warm it up. Start with full-body dynamic movements to warm up the muscles and joints. It is common to want to take a quick rotation to relieve back pain, but without proper preparation, you are at high risk for injury. If you've taken yoga classes with a Professional Yoga Teacher, you may not have noticed a specific warm-up, but the teacher has intentionally designed the class to progress in a safe way for your body. Preparing your body before getting into static poses that push flexibility boundaries is not only essential to getting the most out of the posture but also to prevent injuries.
- Take your time. Do not try to force flexibility or strength. Over time, your mind and body will get used to poses, and your level of flexibility and strength will improve. Pushing yourself beyond your physical limits in your Yoga practice is similar to running on a sprained ankle. Even though running is good for you, doing it with a sprained ankle is more harmful than helpful. The same goes for Yoga.
- Breathing - Last but not least is the correct breathing technique. In Yoga, you want to focus on synchronizing your breath with your movements. Try and concentrate on breathing in and out of the nose as slowly as possible to help you control your breathing rate. The breath is what helps us connect to our nervous system during our practice, which is where we experience a majority of health benefits, such as reduced anxiety, improved sleep quality, a stronger immune system, and more.
Focus on these four principles the next time you practice yoga, and watch the transformation!
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Founder of Rooted Tree Wellness Studio