5 Tips to Progressing in Your Yoga Practice

How long have you been practicing yoga? If you’ve been practicing for some time, I’m sure there have been times where you feel uninspired in your yoga practice, feel like you’ve hit a wall in your progress, or I hate to say it, just bored of yoga altogether.

My first yoga class was in 2012 and my yoga journey hasn’t been linear. There were times where I only made it to my mat once a week or less because of work and life. I remember a stretch where I was pretty bored of yoga and took time off and actually considered no longer teaching.

But I also have been really inspired and eager to learn and further my journey. I would say that is where I am today. In this post, I’ll share with you 5 tips to progressing in your yoga practice. Read on! They may bring back the love you felt when you first got into yoga!

1. Try out a new studio, instructor, or style of yoga

Think back to your first yoga class. Most likely, a friend brought you to his or her yoga studio. That’s how I got started! A friend brought me to try a free week and I got a membership right after. It’s great to find a home studio and a community to grow into. After a while though, when you’ve been going to the same instructors, classes, and studio, it can be a lot of the same thing. Same is good, but sometimes you need to infuse something new in your practice. Try out a new studio, instructor, or style of yoga.

Back in March, I tried?my first Ashtanga class?and I loved it. A little over two weeks ago, I started practicing Ashtanga regularly through Kino MacGregor’s online yoga platform, OmStars. Also earlier this year, I started practicing at other studio on a regular basis. I currently take classes at YogaWorks, CorePower Yoga, and Equinox?and there’s a lot of variety there.

Don’t be afraid to change things up! The best feeling is being a beginner at something and seeing your progress.

?2. Be consistent

Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity. -Bruce Lee

I’ve been seeing that the key to progress in anything is consistency. I’ve been noticing this in my new meditation practice (18 days in a row today!) and daily ashtanga practice as well. The great thing about yoga is it is relatively low impact, so you can get on your mat everyday and your body will feel good. Maybe doing yoga everyday seems like a stretch. What if you added one minute of stretching before you go to sleep or one minute right when you wake up? We spend countless of minutes just scrolling among other things, so I know we can carve out time for this.

A little on a consistent basis is better than doing a double one day a week.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been able to be consistent with it and my body feels so much more open and my hamstrings have become more flexible.

3.?Develop a home practice

I love taking instructor-led yoga classes. Going into that room without any distractions, listening to the instructor’s voice and tuning into my breath is my favorite thing. When I can, I try to take a class. But lately, most of my yoga has been out of the studio setting. I mostly practice at home or at the gym on my own. There’s a lot of yoga subscription services online and YouTube has great free content. As an instructor, I have a limited amount of time to take the class through integration to savasana, so we can only work on so much in those 60 minutes. But when you practice at home, you can stay and break down that pose for as long as you’d like. You can really customize what you want to work on and find all the videos and tutorials. You get to be a student of your body. Home practice also teaches you discipline and focus since you have to be more intentional about that time.

4. Challenge yourself

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote says it all. I think we don’t challenge ourselves enough at times. I know I don’t, that’s why I like taking certain instructor’s classes because they really push me past what I think I can do. We’re all at different levels in our yoga practice. But if we only stick with the poses that we’ve mastered and have locked in, our practice won’t grow. I think I have a mental block of falling from inversions so I’m still working on that with headstand and forearm stand. It’s been said that the poses you avoid are the ones you need the most.

Commit to moving beyond the poses you always go to, with safety and alignment in mind of course!

5. Have patience

Lastly and most importantly, have patience with yourself, your body, your journey. Progress takes time. Know and accept exactly where you are. Understand your strengths and areas of improvement. This will keep you from the comparison trap. When you know exactly who you are and the incredible value you have to offer, you will feel fearless, on and off your mat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope this was helpful! I’d love to hear any stories you may have of times you’ve felt uninspired or bored of yoga. What got you out of it? Leave me a note in the comments below.

Thank you Charlotte for these beautiful photos!

??Bianca

Let’s keep in touch!

 

How I Feel After Meditating 3 Minutes a Day for 10 Days

For a while now, I’ve heard and read about the benefits of meditation. I love to observe and learn from people doing amazing things- CEOs, athletes, artists, and other leaders in various spaces. One thing I noticed was that they maintained certain daily practices. The most common ones were: waking up early, doing physical exercise, and meditating. In my own personal journey, I also noticed the power of thoughts and how they have the ability to change our brain.

I believe our thoughts shape our reality.

Tony Robbins said,

Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life.

As I started to train my thoughts, I realized that I had more power over them than I previously had. It was amazing to be able to take a step back, observe my thoughts, and filter them through the framework of truth that I live my life on.

Intentional living had become a lifestyle that complemented my yoga journey perfectly. The only thing is, I had a hard time sitting still.

It’s kinda funny because you would think yogis would be professionals at meditating but there’s more to it. When you practice yoga, it is a moving meditation. It’s the best. But it’s another thing to sit down and do nothing but breathe.

With everything going on in life, sometimes the only stillness we experience is when our head hits the pillow right before we fall asleep.

After my recent exciting career transition (more about that at a later blog post), I knew it was time to commit to a consistent meditation practice.

Making the Commitment

The strength of your commitment, lies in pre-deciding what you want.?

I set out to start off every morning with a seated meditation. On the first day, I told myself I would take 10 long deep breaths and that counted as meditation for me. Honestly, those 10 deep breaths felt really long! As I sat there breathing, I felt at more at ease and grounded.

 

 

The next day, I came back and added 10 more breaths to it. It was challenging to sit still so I would count each inhale to stay focused. That week, I added 10 breaths each day and got up to 40. I liked that I finally found a meditation routine but I felt like it was starting to be another thing to check off the list. Like okay, count my breaths, and then get on with my day.

Creating Headspace

Then someone inspiring told me about Headspace. I’ve heard of it before but haven’t used it! It’s a meditation and mindfulness app that has themed sessions designed for people with busy schedules.

I started with the Basics pack. It consisted of 10 meditations that were 3 minutes each.

I loved how simple the app was. The guided meditations are led by Andy Puddicombe’s?and his voice is so relaxing. The app takes you step-by-step and explains mindfulness techniques using the cutest animation videos.

Feeling Connected

What I noticed the most after two weeks of practicing meditation is how much more calm I have become. My energy is usually pretty grounded but this feels really good. I feel more connected with my emotions. I’ve also noticed I’m able to slow down more throughout the day. I’ve been an observer of my thoughts these days and letting them pass through with more acceptance.

I feel empowered too. If my day ever feels stressful or an issue comes up, I know I can always come back to my breath.

This is the beginning of my meditation journey but I see this becoming a lifelong practice. Today, I tried a ten minute one, and it didn’t feel long at all!

Tips for Meditation Success

Schedule it in your Daily Routine

Include it as part of your set routine, just like showering and brushing your teeth. I meditate right after getting ready in the morning and before leaving for the day. It usually helps to do it in the morning since fewer things tend to come up and you have more control over your time.

Find Your Ideal Place

Choose a quiet space and meet yourself there everyday at the same time. I meditate in my room on the floor. I get up early so the house is quiet and it’s still dark out.

Set the Mood

Find something comfortable to sit on. This helps so you won’t be fidgeting as much! I love my Tushies meditation pillow in Fearless. I bought this one when I embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship last month. It symbolized the intention I wanted for myself, which is to be fearless. I leave the lights off in my room and turn on my Himalayan sea salt lamp that my roommate got me for Christmas. I’m a fan of the scents lavender and tea tree so I have this aromatic oil from Tea Tree Hair Care, an?unscented coconut oil?which mixes well together, and a lavender lip balm both from Organic to Green. These help set the mood and you can even light candles or have an essential oil diffuser going!

 

Final Thoughts

I hope this post sparked your interest in meditation and intentional living. I couldn’t wait to share with you because of how I feel from just 3 minutes of meditation a day for 10 days. I’m looking forward to keeping it going! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you meditate?

??Bianca

Let’s keep in touch!