By Sheila Johnson
Once thought of as a pastime for “hippie” types, yoga is now a respected physical activity practiced by people from all walks of life. The sport has gained popularity over the past decade, and even major professional athletes including NBA all-stars are hopping on board the yoga bandwagon. It’s no surprise, given the advantages: Harvard reports that the sport offers an array of health benefits, from improving cardiovascular function to enhancing flexibility. Yoga is also versatile, and you can always add new tips and tech tools to your practice to intensify your workouts. Get some inspiration with the below suggestions.
Set individual goals using mobile technology
To enhance your yoga practice at home, you can use apps to set and track personalized goals. If necessary, upgrade your mobile device to accommodate this increased usage. If your current data plan has expired, you may be able to get a package from your provider that includes the most recent or second-most recent iPhone model when you renew your plan. Recently released phones like the iPhone 11 are packed with advanced tech features like high-quality video recording, a dual camera system, and a battery that can last all day. If you’d prefer an Android over Apple products, The WireCutter recommends the Google Pixel 3 for its fast performance and wireless charging capability.
Find a teacher that suits your style
A yoga teacher should encourage and inspire you while also challenging you. It’s important to find an instructor who you trust. Finding a fitting professional is about more than confirming their basic qualifications. To test out your rapport with a new teacher, take a beginners-level class (even if you’re more advanced). This will give you a chance to assess the teaching style and see if it’s a match for you. Finally, don’t settle on the first person you find: Shop around, asking friends and family for recommendations in your area, and try different courses.
Focus on meditating, not zoning out
Part of what makes yoga so appealing to many people is that it requires exercising your body and your brain. By encouraging a focus on breathing, yoga calms the mind (and can even lower blood pressure). To make the most of this benefit, engage your mind in meditation, instead of zoning out and thinking about your to-do list or work project. If you have trouble focusing, try asking yourself a soul-searching question that demands you to look beyond yourself and at the big picture. Considering something major like whether there’s life after death will keep your mind off daily minutia.
Don’t compare yourself to others
When you’re struggling with a yoga pose, there can be nothing more frustrating than glancing over at the mat next to yours and seeing someone else mastering it seemingly effortlessly. Comparing yourself to others in this manner will only result in frustration and discouragement. Keep the focus on yourself by fixing your gaze on a part of your own body as you transition through poses. If you still find it impossible to stop looking around, consider practicing at home by yourself. Create your own DIY yoga studio: All you need is a quiet corner with enough space for a mat and tools like yoga bands and blocks.
Yoga is a deeply personal practice that you can tailor to fit your own preferences and fitness level. With the above tips and tools, you will discover new ways to challenge yourself and bring new intensity to your workouts. This will not only benefit you physically, pushing your body to new limits, it will also keep you engaged mentally. Avoiding boredom will keep you excited about yoga and practicing regularly, setting you up for long-term improvement and success.
Photo Credit: Unsplash.com