The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit “Yuj”. A term that simply means “to unite”. These two words form the best description of what all of yoga entails. It aims to help people unify and strengthen the mind, body, and spiritual connection.
Originally from India, the practice has now found worldwide recognition for its numerous health benefits.
Currently, close to 35 million Americans practice yoga, a 63.8% increase when compared to just a decade prior.
With more people trying out the practice, it can be useful to learn how to improve and make each session more effective and potent.
In this article, we will provide you with 3 key tips that can help you do just that.
1. Find a Sacred Space and Stick to It
The physical location where you practice yoga can contribute greatly to your sessions’ effectiveness. In the context of work and productivity, the importance of space selection is significant.
Jessica Borushek, a clinical psychologist, tells us that the brain creates associations easily. She stresses the importance of creating boundaries in one’s activities.
For instance, if you have a cozy spot at home where you relax and take naps, you don’t want to work in the same spot. Your brain is likely to have associated that spot with relaxation and not focus.
When it comes to yoga, these same principles apply as well. The space you practice in should be well-chosen and consistent. You might need to leave your home altogether to find the right space. Sometimes a secluded spot at a nearby park is perfect.
Other times, it could be as simple as getting rid of all the clutter in your bedroom. The main purpose of creating a consistent, sacred space for yoga is to help get into the right headspace.
For those looking for a transcendental experience, try reflecting on what it is that puts you in touch with yourself or the divine.
Think about what it is that you feel is missing or what you are craving from your sessions. Do you feel distracted? Bored or aimless? If so, making an audit about all the aspects of your yoga space can help out.
2. Craft the Right Ambience
The sort of ambiance in your yoga space helps increase the mind-body connection and overall mental focus. Too often, powerful yoga sessions are hindered by a lack of focus more than anything else.
Similar to the benefits of a consistent, sacred space, the right ambiance can help take your yoga experience to the next level.
As you can imagine, there are several ways to craft a good ambiance. Let’s look at some of them below.
If you are into any form of new age-spiritualism, you would already be familiar with the term “Sound Bath“. However, for those unfamiliar, it is a type of music that combines different sounds, tones, and frequencies.
There is usually no specific melody or rhythm in a sound bath recording, as the purpose is to help your mind “let go”.
The goal of sound baths is to induce a meditative state that helps relieve tension and promote a sense of inner peace.
With such a goal in mind, sound baths are particularly potent when paired with certain yoga practices like Savasana, the “Corpse Pose”.
There are many other yoga poses that focus on relaxation and go well with sound baths. These involve:
- Balasana (Child’s Pose)
- Supta Baddha Konasana
- Viparita Karani
- Savasana Variation with Props
- Pawanmuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose)
Pairing a sound bath with any of these yoga poses can deepen the experience. They often induce a peaceful, trance-like state that can feel incredibly cathartic.
There are many types of sound baths, each providing unique experiences.
According to Heart Alchemy Yoga with Michelle Goldstein, sound baths that incorporate crystal bowls can create a blissful state of consciousness that can be rejuvenating.
Most of the techniques used to heighten the yoga experience involve targeting the sensory receptors. Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils and the fragrances that come with them.
Including them in your yoga practice can help strengthen the connection between a selected fragrance and deep relaxation.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, essential oils that market themselves as “Fragrance Oils” should be avoided. This is because they are not 100% pure essential oils but include added chemicals to create the fragrances.
Incorporating natural fragrances from essential oils can help strengthen the mind-body connection. It can be particularly useful for those that have difficulty getting in tune with their bodies.
3. Learn How to Breathe
The impact of good breathing is one of the most important things you should practice for a deeper yoga experience. Yoga, by its own virtue, stresses proper breathing so you might already have a basic understanding of good breathing habits.
However, if you have only focused on the postural aspects of yoga so far, then it can be worth learning good breathing habits.
Out of the many breathing techniques out there, the most useful one would be diaphragmatic. Also known as belly breathing, breathing focuses on engaging the diaphragm to create a deeply relaxing breathing cycle.
When you breathe in with this method, you should feel your stomach rising up while your upper chest stays calm. This means you are correctly activating your diaphragm.
The benefits of diaphragmatic breathing include reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and increased oxygen circulation in your blood.
Yoga can be a transformative experience for those looking to live a healthier lifestyle.
Too often, we become disconnected from our bodies. The world is full of attractive distractions that keep our minds engaged almost 24/7. The only form of restoration that the average person gets is their daily dose of sleep.
Studies have found that people who incorporated yoga into their daily life experienced benefits in multiple areas of life. These include lower levels of stress, anxiety, healthier cardiovascular functioning, and greater flexibility.
Remember, the benefits of yoga only compound the more you learn to practice it effectively. It can be practiced from your home with little to no expense. All it requires of you is a bit of time and dedication.