I danced for 18 years as a kid, and I loved it. The movement, the transitions and the music. It was a meditation to me; it transported me to another place where I stopped thinking and just moved. I tried a few yoga classes, but honestly, thought it was silly. It felt static. I couldn’t concentrate. I was bored, so I wrote off yoga completely.
A few years ago, I ran into a friend who was looking super toned and fit. She told me she had been doing strength building yoga poses and she had only started a month prior. Noticing these dramatic changes in her body after only a month made me very curious. I had to give this yoga thing another try. I told myself that I would try it out for a month, and if I didn’t like then, then I would stop.
The first class I ever took was a hot Vinyasa. It was SO hard, but I kept showing up. The first few weeks were awful, and despite the yoga I had done previously, these types of classes were fast, intense and exhausting. I continued to practice and found that yoga was all about movement, going from one yoga position to another in a definitive and purposeful flow. And, just like that, I felt my body craving the movement. If I skipped a class, I felt tired and out of it. Those once dreaded chaturangas became easy and effortless. Standing postures were meditative. I was LOVING and mastering yoga.
This journey doesn’t just happen overnight, but if you’re wondering how to master yoga poses— or, at least your practice—then check out these tips that I have learned along the way.
Find a good yoga studio
Yoga studios are not cheap, but you pay for what you get! Taking free yoga classes online are nice, but the experience of being in a class with other students and a teacher is unlike any other. Being able to hold space for one another and feel the energy in the room is worth the money. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, sometimes just walking into a yoga studio can make you feel like a million bucks.
Always come back to your breath
You may be unfamiliar with some of the postures, but regardless of the pose, you should always exercise your breath. When you’re going through the poses and movements, be sure you are focusing on a nice active and conscious breath, that way you have something to come back to when you start to get away from yourself. Being able to control your breathing is the number one thing you can do to master yoga.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Everybody is different and every body is unique. Often times we have the tendency to see a modification or variations and try to take it instead of tapping into what our body needs. It’s likely that you’ll see what someone else is doing and judge yourself for not being able to do those yoga positions. This judgement is your ego talking and is simply not true. Yoga is a non-judgemental practice where all students of all levels are welcome.
Listen to the cues of your instructor
Try to understand the yoga pose and how you are supposed to get into it before trying to perform it. The little things like where your foot or hand is positioned makes a huge difference in your pose alignment and will help prevent injury. If you’re listening to the cues and focusing on breath, you’ll be able to get deeper into the pose and get out of your own head.
Don’t avoid poses that you don’t like
They always say that the things you don’t like most are what you need the most. Exercising the same muscles over and over doesn’t take us to new places. Often times wherever the body is uncomfortable, that can mean it needs more flexibility and openness. Be sure to ease into the more challenging poses, and never push yourself further than what you’re ready for.
There you have it! My top five tips for mastering yoga poses. Start slow, and don’t rush into anything you’re unsure of. Yoga is a flow of movements and those need to start with a solid foundation. Yoga is your own practice and no one will ever have one like yours.
About the Author
Certified holistic health coach and registered yoga teacher, Amanda Parry helps women transform and nourish their mind, body and spirit so they have the energy and vibrant health necessary to finally start living a life full of freedom, purpose and abundance. Former marketing executive, Amanda turned to practicing yoga to help her stress levels, relax her body and mind and make her relationships richer. Amanda pushes her clients and students to take their health and well-being into their own hands, guiding them on the path to becoming their best and most true self.