Mature Your Practice In The Simplest Ways
One of my favourite things about yoga is the "work in progress" aspect. I am always discovering, rediscovering and fine-tuning the work, delighting in the sheer vastness of it all. One day I have it sorted, the next I am humbled with how little I know. It can feel very complicated, and that's ok. On the other hand, it's quite simple: breath and body, quieting down, getting to know each other.
As my practice matures, I find the enhancements and deeper learning to be in this simplicity: show up, put good things in my body, take rest, be kind and patient. If I want to enhance something, I give it attention, a notion that goes a long way in my yoga practice.
Here are some other ways I have learned to compliment what happens on the mat.
Eat Nice Things
You are what you eat, and everyone knows avocados are really good at yoga.
But actually, we all know the greatness of green things and it makes a huge difference when you put nice things in your body. It is easier to practice with and empty belly (one of my teachers says "poop before you practice!") but the nourishment you provide yourself with when you're not on the mat will really lend to how you show up there.
It is amazing to feel bright and clear from the food you eat; think of the energy around your meals and what your food is actually doing for you!
I always include these wonderful helpers in my yoga practice and my body sings with joy when I am kind in this way! Sometimes I notice a little glimmer of ego flare up when I offer a block under a student's seat or a strap to give more reach, but what feels better than comfort? You are enhancing your practice when you listen to what your body needs. You can find the juiciest places in your body when you get out of your own way and have a bit of extra support. Props are heavenly. My favourite place to hang out is with a block under my sacrum, legs extended, belly to the sky, arms relaxed overhead. Give that one a try.
A jaunt in nature is one of the simplest ways to enhance life in general. Like a magical reset button, fresh air and beautiful skies (which we are spoiled with in this province!) are the ticket to feeling like an absolute boss. Even better? Yoga outside! Personally, my yoga practice is not all rainbows and sunshine - things get stirred up and sh*t can feel messy. Know when to take a break and surrender to that which is greater than us: sweet sweet nature. Hell, go hug a tree. They hug back.
Exactly as it sounds: put in the work. Be there. Practice practice practice. By far the biggest way I've enhanced my yoga practice is by doing it, dedicating to it. Again, if you want to see something flourish you need to actually look at it, give it love and attention and be there with it. There aren't any shortcuts. This is the work and it's so good. Find your teachers, find your versions of the postures, find your challenges and be with them - work through them and move on to the next. Show up, just for you, with you, because of you.
What are some of the ways you've enhanced your practice? How do you practice your yoga off the mat and what are your favourite ways to show up for yourself? I always love to chat. firstname.lastname@example.org
See you soon, yogis!