Madison, Wis. — It seems like yoga is more popular than ever. With its many benefits – from improving strength, balance and flexibility, to providing stress reduction and relaxation – it may be time to consider incorporating a little bit of yoga into your fitness lifestyle.
Katie Schwartz, from the Center for Wellness at UW Health at The American Center suggests 10 ways to get the most out of your yoga class:
1. Set your intention and motivation for class
Setting a personal intention and motivation for class and being clear about what you want out to class is important. Create your own personal intention for your practice every class!
2. Get to class early
Give yourself enough time to get to yoga class so you don’t feel rushed. Taking time to center yourself in the space on your mat before class begins is a good practice and allows for a more relaxed experience.
3. Communicate and speak up
Be willing to try what the teacher leads you through and be willing to speak up if it doesn’t work and ask for modifications or variations. Speak up. If your yoga instructor doesn't ask about pain, limitations or an injury before class, bring it up yourself so the instructor can modify the exercises for your needs.
4. Be present
Yoga class is a time you’ve dedicated to yourself, so take full advantage of the time on your mat to be present for or experience without all the distractions. Turn off your phone, limit and let go of distractions.
5. Use props
Props are a great way to support the body in openings and help us deepen into a pose or stretch.
6. Find the right class for you
Take the right class, choose carefully. There are so many different styles of yoga from which to find one that suits you most. Talk to teacher, ask about training and know about style of yoga before class starts.
7. Don’t compare to others
Be true to yourself. Honor your body and where you are at, do not compare yourself to others.
Taking time to hydrate before a yoga class helps us feel more refreshed, awake and attentive rather than sluggish and drained.
Deep breathing is foundational to yoga and helps us receive the most out of our practice. The breath supports the body in opening with ease, calms the nervous system and improves its overall function and balance.
10. Find a balance between effort and ease
Balancing effort with ease. Challenge yourself so you can meet your growth edges and get the most out of class but not so much that it’s overpowered with too much effort. Allow yourself the option to rest at anytime throughout class. It is in this place of rest we often integrate all the work and receive benefits.