For many, yoga practice doesn’t end with the traditional savasana (corpse pose) that comes at the end of class. Instead, the principles, best practices, and overarching philosophy of yoga are carried with them throughout the day, transforming one’s practice from a single session in the morning to a day-long focus on maintaining balance and serenity.
But if you’re not on your mat, how can you do this?
1. Keep Doing Yoga
It’s important to remember that the yoga studio isn’t the only place you can stretch and align your body. Between tasks or during your breaks at work, take a few minutes to practice some basic poses – think padahastasana (hand under feet), uttanasana (standing folding pose), and virabhadrasana (warrior pose).
Doing a few poses throughout the day helps your body stay activated, connected, and flexible, meaning you’ll maintain that vibrancy you feel when you end your normal practice. Plus, you’ll be giving yourself more opportunities to master your poses.
2. Reflect on Your Practice
Often, your yoga teachers will instruct you to reflect on what brought you to the mat. This is central to practicing acceptance and gratitude.
But you should also practice the reverse when away from your mat – reflect on your yoga practice, your progress, and your habits with yoga. Reflect on how yoga is working for you. Reflect on your reflection (a practice called metacognition). By doing so, you’ll keep yourself centered and focused on your practice, keeping the connection alive throughout the day. This helps internalize the knowledge and lessons you’ve learned in your yoga classes.
3. Stay Active in Learning
A great way to stay connected to your practice is to continually enrich yourself in new information. Read about new poses, different techniques, and the principles of yoga. There are a great many resources, including the Yogi Journal, that are available online and are completely free. Whenever possible, do your best to take notes and track your progress with learning. Then, repeat #2 in the list and reflect on what you’ve learned about yoga.
4. Teach Others
One of the most powerful ways you can learn something is by teaching others. While it may be frightening to lead and teach, you’ll find that you become both better at yoga and better at understanding what it is you’re doing by sharing your knowledge. Of course, this means you must be conscious of others’ skill levels, learning patterns, and patience (or lack thereof!). It’s also important to keep in mind that many yoga teachers offer their own style and advice – if you find that someone can achieve the same ends with a different means, don’t feel like you need to change that, nor should you let it discourage you from continuing to teach. If anything, take it as an opportunity to learn something new yourself. After all, students are often one of the richest sources of knowledge in the world.
Stay Connected Everyday
Continue to practice growing your connection with yoga every day. From becoming more of an expert yourself to being better in balance with your practice, a deep connection with yoga enables you to continue growth and progress as the yogi you are.