Since I am just getting back to Yoga after an injury I invited my guest Hemali Lala to share some wonderful tips to help take us from 'talking about it' to actually doing it! I am looking forward to the benefits! Please enjoy her guidance and check out her links at the end of this article!
“Come to your mat to feel, not to accomplish.” Rachel Brathen, publicly known as Yoga Girl, said these incredibly profound words.
I began practicing yoga in my late teens, and back then, I absolutely came to my mat to accomplish, to mimic, to look like someone who is “calm” and also “very flexible.” This attitude got my body in several poses, yes. But, my heart never fully opened up. I kept all my emotions buried deep inside. And even though I could get into Crow Pose, or do an insanely aligned Downward Dog, I didn’t hold space within myself to face my true feelings, and find true freedom and gratitude within my body. Yoga is more than just 'moving' or exercise, it is a time to come to your mat to feel, not to accomplish.
Take these words to heart, and yoga will heal every part of you.
Listen To Yourself
The single most important aspect of any yoga practice. Your voice within is your guide, and it will lead your body to exactly where it needs to be. Follow that voice, and everything you do on your mat will heal you. This voice should speak louder than any yoga instructor, and any specifications regarding any pose you put your body into.
Come Back To The Breath
The breath has always been a focal point for yogic practices. It is the beginning of our practice, the middle, and the end (or, it should be)! It will help you relax deeply, and focus fully. Whenever thoughts dwell in your mind, don’t reject these thoughts. Instead, simply float your attention to your next inhale and exhale, and it will automatically divert your focus to the present moment. People often try to “not think,” when so often that is not the answer. Find the breath and thoughts will evaporate on their own.
Focus On The Feeling, Not The Pose
Yoga Instructors will lead you into a pose in the safest way they can.
However, since we all are beautifully unique, it may or may not align with your body or how you’re feeling that day. Set the intention to always adjust yourself based on how you feel. Whether you’re in an in person class, or watching a video on YouTube, allow their words to guide you safely, while simultaneously tuning within and listening to your voice within to guide you. Find your alignment, and go as deep into a pose as you feel comfortable. Once there, stay, breath, feel, and enjoy.
Often times, I’ll go to a yoga class and no one speaks a word. Yoga is about you. If you need more information, or want guidance in certain areas, don’t be afraid to ask. This can be as simple as speaking to your instructor at a class, or googling a question in a search bar from your couch. Make sure you’re well informed, both for your safety and comfort level. And, NEVER be afraid to request not to be re-aligned by a an instructor. Too often I see new (and well seasoned) yogi’s letting instructors align them and then feeling uncomfortable afterwards. You know your body the best, and if you’re comfortable with your own alignment, make sure they know that!
Set An Intention
Get clear on why you want to practice yoga, and have it be from a place of love instead of fear.
You will know if it’s coming from a place of fear; you may hear thoughts like “my body is not in shape,” or “I wish I could do that pose.” Allow yourself to let go of fear based thoughts or judgement, and come from a place of love.
Once there, set a beautiful intention for your practice. Some examples include: to feel gratitude in your body, increase your strength, or release tension and relax. Whatever you want the outcome of your practice to be, say it to yourself and feel the magic unfold as you practice.
Yoga is about discovering what’s inside, so you can harmonize your mind and body.
Once you uncover and heal what’s inside, everything on the outside falls into place. As soon as I stop forcing myself into certain postures and techniques, my body notices and appreciates it and goes there on it’s own.
I hope you will use these steps to guide you through your practice, and find more joy in each moment of your journey. It may be time to ask yourself how these steps may impact you the most, and how are you planning to enhance or start your yoga practice?
Bio: Hemali Lala is a Registered Nurse who helps busy professionals find creative ways to eat healthy and relieve stress. Through her live stream videos, and private consultations, she is here to help you understand and achieve your potential to love and care for yourself on a deep level, nourish your body with nutritious foods and release stress from your mind and body. Hemali has a deep understanding of holistic health, stress relieving techniques, permanent weight loss and creative cooking. She utilizes her knowledge and experience to help people live a healthy lifestyle. Visit www.HemaliLala.com to find out more about her. And for a free goodie, visit www.HemaliLala.com/smoothie to get her 5-min smoothie formula.