Practising yoga on a regular basis will help you build your strength and maintain a good posture. It also relaxes your body, which helps you sleep better at night.
You can also use yoga to change dysfunctional habits, such as unhealthy eating or smoking. One of the yoga’s greatest strengths is its tapas, or self-discipline that you develop through regular practice.
Focus on Your Breath
Yoga is a practice of mindfulness and deep breathing techniques that can help you calm your mind. It also can help you build body awareness, which means that you become more aware of your muscles and where they are in space (for example, if you are slouching or rolling your shoulders).
Many yoga poses require a lot of focus on the breath, helping you to control your inhales and exhales. Breath retention — holding your breath for a few seconds — helps strengthen and improve lung capacity, which can also lower your heart rate.
Yoga can increase hemoglobin and red blood cell levels, which can lower your risk for heart attacks and strokes by lowering the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. It also can help you build endurance and improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise.
Stay Quiet Before Class
Often, students are noisy because they have a lot of pent-up energy that they need to release. This can be an easy fix by letting them shake, jump, run in place, or another quick physical activity before beginning class.
One way to prevent chatter is to give a loud, clear signal when you are ready for students to be quiet. Make sure your quiet signal is consistent throughout the day and that it is something your students can recognize.
Another great tip is to play music when you need students to lower their voices. This can be anything from classical to soft jazz or even yoga pieces. Kids will quickly learn to lower their voices in response to the music and you can remind them that their voices cannot be louder than the music.
Be Prepared for Injuries
Everyone is susceptible to injury, regardless of whether you play sports, lift weights or just go about your daily routine. But yoga can help balance the imbalances that your other activities may bring about. For example, a runner may have legs that can run for miles but a weak upper body that is prone to injury. Yoga can add balance and strength to the upper body while strengthening the lower body, helping make the runner more efficient in their sport.
Back injuries are common in yoga, usually as a result of rounding through the spine in poses like forward fold and downward dog. For this reason, a teacher should guide students on proper form to prevent injuries. Props like blocks, straps and blankets can also be useful to avoid injuries and allow people of all levels of flexibility to practice yoga safely.
Listen to Your Body
Many yoga instructors use the phrase “listen to your body.” This can be a cue that encourages students to honor their individual physical limitations and not push too hard. However, this can also be a confusing and misleading directive.
It takes time to develop proper body awareness. In the beginning, it may be easy to confuse muscle soreness with pain. Eventually, you’ll learn to differentiate the two and understand that pain indicates injury while soreness is a sign of healthy muscle growth.
It’s important to find a class that is suitable for your level of expertise. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the most out of your practice while minimizing any unnecessary risks. For instance, if you’re a beginner, look for a vinyasa practice that links poses together in a flowing sequence.
Take It Off the Mat
Yoga can be a powerful stress-management tool. It teaches you to focus on your breath, stay calm and take things in stride – skills that can easily be taken off the mat in situations that would normally overwhelm you.
For example, if you fall out of a balance pose in yoga class, you can learn to accept the experience instead of getting upset. You can then apply the same internal non-judgmental witness to other stressful situations in your life – like a traffic jam or an argument with your partner.
Yoga also teaches you to listen in order to understand and respect others. This skill can come in handy in work meetings, parent-teacher conferences or even a difficult conversation with your child. And of course, yoga builds core strength and improves balance. This can help reduce accidents on the road or at work.