If you’ve been practicing yoga for a little while, it’s understandable that you’d want to ramp it up to the next level. Just because you’re doing yoga, it doesn’t mean you like taking things easy. One of the great things about yoga is that you can always go just a little further with each pose or each lesson, with a little help from a few useful apps and props. Let’s explore these ideas and other ways you can tweak or add to your current routine that can kick the challenge up a notch for you.
Choose the Right Items and Tech for Home Practice
Since you’re looking to get more out of your practice, it might make sense to create your own space at home so you don’t have to wait for a class. The Journey Junkie provides some helpful information on carving out a spot for a yoga room. It’s important that the area you’re using to practice is flat so you can maintain your balance. You can use a room with sufficient space and preferably with great natural lighting. You can then equip the room with anything you need to practice like mats, pillows,blocks, and straps. Instead of trying to form your own routine, you can make things easier by downloading yoga apps on your mobile phone. If you’re worried your current phone isn’t able to run the apps well, then it might be time for an upgrade to a newer one like the iPhone 11, which offers fast performance and an excellent battery. Android phone users can turn to the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus for all-day battery power and top-of-the-line hardware.
Adopt a Yoga-Friendly Diet
While you may already know that consistently practicing yoga can have a positive impact on your digestive system, you can get even more out of yoga if you practice mindful eating. This means choosing the foods you eat carefully so that they are meeting your nutritional needs, and then being more aware of what and how you eat. You should think about incorporating plant-based foods into your diet to replace a few of the meat-heavy dishes. When eating, you should avoid distractions but instead focus on what you’re eating, making sure your senses are engaged. If you do this, you’re more likely to enjoy your food and less likely to overeat. When it’s time to practice, this NDTV Food advises that what you eat before and after yoga is also important. For a morning yoga session, you can have fruits or protein-rich foods about 45 minutes beforehand, and an evening yoga session calls for nuts, salads or steamed vegetables an hour before practice. After practice, be sure to hydrate and then eat a highly nutritious meal like a light sandwich or yogurt.
Using Blocks and Straps Can Help
There’s a general misconception that props are only for beginners and that you should outgrow the need for them as you keep practicing. You should instead look at the ways in which using props can help you do even more. According to Self.com, props like blocks and straps can help you get your body into alignment with the pose your instructor is teaching without putting you at risk for injury. When you’re using a prop, you’ll find that your breathing deepens, which helps to set your mind at ease and keep you focused on the pose you’re doing. Props can also encourage you to experiment with new poses that would otherwise be too challenging for you to accomplish, whether because of experience or physical limitations. Props can also be useful if you want to practice while recovering from an illness or injury. Some of the poses that can call for the use of blocks and straps are lunges and single leg stretches, respectively.
An Exercise Ball Works for Yoga, Too
If you’re concerned that your current practice is languishing, then adding a stability ball to the mix can bring even simple poses to a more challenging level. Some of the ways you can use a stability ball include when doing rolling squats, downward facing dog and upward facing dog poses. You can also use a stability ball when doing other poses such as warrior one and two, as well as child’s pose. Apart from giving your yoga practice a kick, using a stability ball can also improve your core stability and muscle balance, both of which are integral to a successful yoga practice. With continuous use of a stability ball, you may even see changes in your posture and your back health.
Mix Things Up With Your Practice
Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break from your current practice. Doing this can allow you to get some rest or explore some other ways of improving your practice without actually practicing. This can include working on your meditation techniques or deepening your theoretical knowledge of yoga by studying books or other works on the subject. If you’d prefer to keep physically active, then consider other forms of exercise like walking and swimming, or try out another yoga style like Iyengar, which involves sustained, detailed, and precise poses. If trying a different yoga style, it might be interesting to see how your body handles one that is completely different from what you usually practice. This can give you a better appreciation for the parts of your body that get engaged in different styles. When you take the time to mix things up, you can go back to your practice with renewed focus and energy. The things you learned during your break can help you get to the level you want.
It’s perfectly normal to want to challenge yourself when doing yoga. You just need to make sure you’re still doing what works best for you, and you must protect yourself from injuries. This can be easily accomplished when you introduce new things slowly and tailor programs in a way that fits your lifestyle.