Sometimes the biggest changes happen with small, subtle steps over a long period of time. Have you ever experienced that moment when you pause, look back to where you were five years ago or six months ago and think: Wow, I have come a long way?
The truth is, we progress through life whether we like it or not. And by putting a few simple goals in place and making small adjustments to our lives, we can really amp things up, especially when it comes to our yoga practice.
If you are looking to improve your yoga practice in 2020, consider these tips.
Seek new experiences
Read the Yoga Sutras or other yogic literature, try a new studio, practice yoga outside, strike up a conversation with a fellow yogi at the studio and invite them for coffee, go to a class or teacher you have never had before. There are endless ways you can re-engage with your yoga experience that will lead to a deeper, more meaningful practice.
Set a goal
Whether it is committing to a certain number of hours or classes each week, or getting closer to an asana that has always felt unattainable (I’m looking at you, Crow), goals can be a great motivator to improve your practice. Remember that each asana has incremental steps along the way, so set your sights on close goals instead of ones that are further away so you can see how much you are truly progressing.
Take yoga teacher training
How many times have you said to yourself — this is gonna be the year!? It can be stressful not following through with a goal you have wanted to achieve for a long time, and it is incredibly rewarding when you do it. A yoga teacher training course does not mean you have to become a yoga teacher (though you can certainly do that), but it will inevitably deepen your practice and commitment to yoga for a long time to come.
Practice Karma Yoga
Karma Yoga is the yoga of selfless service and skilful action, and it is a way to move closer to your practice in a subtle and meaningful way. Try volunteering at the yoga studio for a couple hours a month or putting your neighbour’s props away after class. Volunteer to sweep the studio floor after class! Anything to be of service to your community and to others will have connect you with others and deepen your experience. The trick? Try not to seek recognition — complete the act for the sake of the act and give up the need to be thanked or have something in return. This subtle action may help create the engagement you’ve been craving.
Get into a positive yoga loop
You know those moments when things feel overwhelming or scary? Now how much of that is in your mind? We are surrounded by so much of everything that sometimes it can be hard to feel stable. That is where yoga can come in. The more yoga you do, the easier it is to take it from the mat into the “real world”. The more you practice deep breathing, build strength, and live in the present moment in class, the more prepared you will be to face anything that comes your way! And those wins will make you want to engage more in your practice. It’s the best loop around!
But really, when it comes to improving your practice, the best thing to do is practice. Oh, and give yourself a pat on the back from time to time, too.