Are you ready to take it to the next level?

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on December 9, 2013
A regular yoga practice can be a powerful tool in bringing health and wellbeing to your life. Yoga strengthens the muscles and joints, improves bodily processes and boosts energy levels. It also clears mental clutter and enhances concentration. Many people who practice yoga regularly say that their practice helps them to feel more comfortable in their body as it also enables them to live life with greater enthusiasm.


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It is common for yoga practitioners to classify themselves according to levels, usually based on the duration of time for which they have been practicing yoga. Those who have recently started yoga practice are likely to label themselves as beginners, while those who have years of practice behind them may refer to themselves as ‘advanced’. When deciding your “level” of yoga, it is better to base your progress on your ability to hold various poses and not on the time period for which you have been practicing yoga.

Unlike other forms of exercise, you do not need to fulfill any standard expectation or goal in yoga. Your body sets the limits for each session of exercise and so you are the best judge of whether you are ready to take it to the next level. If you no longer feel a boost in energy or that deep sense of grounding which is typical of a wholesome yoga session, then you are probably ready to challenge yourself some more. When you can handle your yoga poses effortlessly and flawlessly, you can take on more exacting poses. Here’s a quick look at how yoga poses are usually classified, based on physical strength and flexibility:

  • Beginners’ poses are those that help to build basic endurance and flexibility such as stretches, bends, standing and seated poses.
  • Intermediate poses, such as inversions and balance exercises, require more flexibility and strength. Some of these may not be too tough while others take a while to master.
  • Advanced poses can be quite challenging for the body and involves intense inversions, bends and balances.

Here are some basic tips that you can use to improve your yoga sessions:

  • Start by increasing the time you spend on the mat during each session. Maybe before you move on to more advanced poses you can increase the time you spend on your current routine. Holding poses for a little longer than you’re used to can help to boost endurance.
  • If you’ve been practicing a certain style of yoga for sometime, it may help to experiment a little. There are a variety of styles to choose from such as hot yoga or power yoga. You may experience noticeable changes when you practice a different style.
  • Instead of focusing on the end result, bring your attention to the process. Yoga is an endless journey and you will find that your body is capable of continually surpassing limits. Staying focused on the present is a great way to keep your practice interesting, regardless of the goal.
  • Before you move to advanced poses, it may be useful to evaluate your basic alignment. This will empower you to tackle difficult poses quite easily.
  • Always include a session of restorative yoga in your practice. This helps your body relax and refuel for more vigorous sessions.

There are different aspects to yoga practice. The physical poses or asanas help to improve strength, flexibility and boost body functions. There is also breath awareness that contributes to increased focus. Meditation, another integral part of yoga practice, helps to ground the practitioner and enable him or her to become deeply rooted in the present moment. Sometimes meditation can be the most challenging part of yoga. Try to meditate daily as part of your routine.

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