5 Tips to Deepen Your Yoga Practice

Yoga practice
Written by Katy Henderson

“Oh, my gosh, I will NEVER be able to do that!”

That was my go-to expression when viewing postures like the one on this page. It wasn’t until I was knee-deep in yoga training, watching beautiful yogis balance on their noses (slight exaggeration there) and pretzel their bodies behind their head that I learned the difference between an advanced asana or physical yoga practice and advancing my own yoga practice. As I sat in awe, unable to do even the easiest variation of most of the postures being instructed, my fellow trainee nudged me.

“You do know that being able to do a complicated pose doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with deepening your practice,” she said.

“Going deeper means getting to know yourself better and finding stillness in your mind.”

Here are 5 tips to do just that:

Hit it with your best shot. Every single day. Your practice does not have to be a certain length of time to “count.” An hour one day, five minutes the next — do what you can, when you can, but be consistent daily.  It is better to practice every day of the week for shorter periods than to only practice once a week for several hours.

  1. Focus on your breathing. In the car, at the store, when you are incredibly frustrated or incredibly happy. Witness your breathing throughout your day. Set a timer on your phone if you need to, but remember to take several deep breaths throughout the day.
  2. Do something nice for another being with no attachment to the outcome. Giving with no attachment to receiving so much as a thank you is a true act of kindness.
  3. Let go of your own judgement. If that’s easier said than done, then work on it. Be kind to yourself. Ease up off the self-judgement train and you might just find yourself advancing your practice.
  4. Study. Research the yoga texts. Looking for somewhere to start? “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele is a wonderful introduction to the ethical code of yoga and a light read.
  5. Here’s the crazy part: When we focus on the essence of yoga, things like postures often evolve and come along for the ride. 

About the author

Katy Henderson

Katy is the founder of the Studio South Yoga in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her studio is a non-judgmental, welcoming space where everyone is encouraged to participate. Her driving force is to share all the wonderful aspects of yoga with the world.

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