3 Tips for Practicing Yoga

I want to give you 3+ tips for practicing yoga:

1. Be true to yourself. First be true to your own body. Don't force or push in any areas of injury or chronic/acute discomfort. Learn ways to move that don't stress places that are already working hard, that are doing their best to function well for you.

2. "If you can breathe, you can do yoga." ~ attributed to Krishnamacharya, an inspired Indian teacher that influenced many skillful yoga teachers in America

Get used to noticing your breath from the beginning of your practice. Align yourself and your practice with steady, relaxed breathing throughout.  

If you already do this, then sit for three to five minutes at the end of your practice, every time you practice. Sit comfortably on a chair or the floor. This is time to focus gently on your breath. Feel your breath, mind and body settle into their own natural rhythm again. Appreciate the wholeness you feel that is intrinsic, part of you.

3. Consider how you want to strengthen your capacity to live in more balanced ways. For example, reflect on where in your life, work or relationships you would benefit from: more calmness, more kindness and compassion, more clarity, more openness, more confidence. Dedicate your yoga practice to growing courage and strengthen the areas where you need support. 

You can notice whether your yoga/exercise/movement practices have stayed the same but your body has aches and pains, or you're facing a tough time, and your needs aren't being addressed. Maybe you are worried about a change in work or health. Maybe you have a recent diagnosis.

You and me and all of us are invited to seek out and notice those places of doing the same old, same old. Now is the time to reclaim your ability to move your body, shape your nervous system and your mind in new ways - all life long. It's an important lesson that consulting with seniors and elders for 24 years, taught me.

Become aware of the ways you've adapted, innocently, to challenges in your life. Walking with a limp when your knee hurts. Not breathing in a full, relaxed way because of stress at work. No judgment, just compassion, doing the best you could. Now though, it's a new day, maybe there's a new possibility for you.

4. Claim your strengths and accomplishments. For example if you've been focused on a goal and achieved it - maybe you found a practice to care for your low back to relieve pain. You've been diligent, attentive, and now don't have the low back discomfort pain anymore. 

It feels good to do your best and benefit from your effort. Honor the disappointment when you don't get the outcome that you hope for. At the same time, really take inthe gifts of your dedicated practice and effort. You are making a stand to do/be your best. That's incredible.

Maybe you've begun a daily 5 minute practice of sitting and breathing consciously. This is a simple, life changing practice. You're developing the ability to settle down. That's a huge step forward in becoming more and more self-aware. Well done. Keep on going.

It's an accomplishment to come back to a practice that has dropped off. 

It's important to exercise in different ways. Bring a yogic sense of honoring your body to whatever you practice and celebrate how you're applying more wisdom in self-care.

I wish you well in your practices. And hope to share yoga with you.

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