The Benefits and Joys of a Consistent Yoga Practice
I have been thinking about this word “Consistency” as it factors into our yoga practice. As YOGA SOL nears its first birthday, I have noticed that many of our members who first came to yoga just last September, have now truly embraced a consistent practice. Many began with a day or two a week and are now practicing several times a week; incorporating a variety of higher physicality classes along with a balance of tranquil/meditative classes. Students are also finding great value in the workshops – expanding their knowledge about a particular aspect of yoga and thus deepening their practices.
This August, our student of the month is recognized for just this advancement in a consistent yoga practice. Kathleen Anthony earned YOGA SOL’s highest attendance rate this summer and we honor her commitment and passion! She tells us that she has been practicing for ten years, but has truly embraced a consistent practice this year. She says that it is easy for her to take so many classes because of all the benefits that she receives.
Again, focusing on this idea of advancing consistency in our practice, we thought it might fun to feature a Summer Blow Out Challenge at YOGA SOL. We challenge you to simply take at least 12 classes from now through Labor Day and we’ll acknowledge you, you’ll feel that wonderful sense of accomplishment and we’ll even present you with a Yoga Sol embroidered eye pillow as a gift (hand crafted abroad courtesy of my sister Janice’s coordination).
I am reminded that yoga is a life-long practice. A healthy consistent practice helps keep the mind and body tuned for a life time of practice. The benefits and changes achieved with yoga do require patience, respectful observance, and consistency.
Here are a few tips to create a consistent yoga practice and enjoy its powerful benefits:
• Learn the fundamentals – breathing/alignment/safety. Whether you are a beginner or have been practicing a while, ask yourself if you truly understand the fundamentals of proper alignment and safety. Be honest with yourself. Listen to your body. Don’t rush to the Vinyasa Flow Intermediate class without the foundation of solid alignment and safety principles. Starting off (or returning to) high level practice without prior experience can shock the musculoskeletal system by going past the desired effect and into injury. Know your appropriate level, ask questions, and monitor how your body receives the gradual increases in practice depth.
• Be purposeful with your practice – plan your time for yourself. Consider planning your yoga practices for the week ahead – booking your classes on line – carving out that time for yourself. Make your yoga practice a true priority.
• Apply the concept of cross training. Consider trying a variety of classes and styles to always allow the body to progress. One of things that I am most proud of at YOGA SOL is that all my teachers bring a creative vibrancy to every class. Even the same day and time class will be different each week – working muscles differently. I also encourage you to vary the specific classes – appreciate adding in Candle Light Restorative. Adding changes and variety will also offer inspiration and motivation that will promote better consistency.
• Rest and Modify as necessary. When we continuously work the body, we need to also schedule consistent rest periods or modify the yoga practice routines so key muscle groups and joints receive recovery time. Without this rest period, the tissues can develop overuse/chronic injuries, prolonged fatigue, and atrophy (muscle loss). With yoga, consider how you can schedule your daily/weekly classes so they target key structures while also giving proper rest.
• Bring a Friend or loved one. I am thrilled to see so many students bringing friends, wives bringing hubbys, mothers bringing daughters, etc. to YOGA SOL! So nice to add the social element and support of someone that you care about. You can also encourage each other, both moving to more consistency.
• Stay inspired! Read and open yourself to new workshops and other available programs that will introduce new, interesting concepts to your yoga practice. Yoga is about learning and growing. Students are often amazed at how a simple, new technique or application can readily transform their motivation and exploration. Consistency again is key to your yoga program. Through this consistency, you develop greater body awareness and you notice changing dynamics in your body. Positive change requires regular application and patience. Time is on your side when focused intention and harmony are brought into your yoga practice.
• Remind Yourself of the Benefits: Just reminding yourself about the benefits, helps inspire!
o Normalizes Weight & Increases Weight Loss
o Tones & Builds Strength
o Improves Balance & Flexibility
o Increases Vitality & Energy
o Reduces Stress, Sharpens Memory, Concentration, & Mental Clarity
o Boosts Immune System
o Helps in Illness & Injury Recovery
o Reduces & Prevents a Wide Variety of Physical Ailments: back pain, arthritis, insomnia, etc.
o Stabilizes Emotional Challenges: Depression, Anxiety, etc.
o Improves Mood & Sense of Well Being, Improves Productivity & Creativity
o Inspires The Process of Personal Growth
…but Most Importantly, Here at YOGA SOL, We Enjoy the Journey!