3 Master Tips for Elevating Your Yoga Practice

It’s the time of year when some us start thinking about the new year, and maybe even new year resolutions. If you are reading this, I think there is about a 90% chance that one thing you would like to do in the new year is get more out of your yoga practice. If so, me too! Twinsies! So to help us both with our goals, I have prepared this little list of master tips that I believe will help you elevate your yoga practice.

(1) Pick a day and time, and stick to it.

If you come to my class or have read any of my previous blog posts (shameless plug: Why Good Enough is Better than Perfect, 3 Signs You’re Ready for an Advanced Yoga Class, Dear First-time Yoga Student, I Promise it Gets Better), you know I’m a huge fan of consistency and sustainability. I think the reason why most of our attempts to grow in any way become a struggle or ultimately fail is that we aim way, way too big way, way too early. Long lasting change happens in small, accessible steps.

Long lasting change happens in small, accessible steps.

So if you want to grow your yoga practice, I honestly believe the best thing you can do is pick one class a week, and just show up. You may be surprised how much you get out of just being in a space that encourages you to breathe, move, and be mindful.

And if you are already relatively consistent with your practice, stop beating around the bush and just sign up for teacher training already- and I promise that’s my. last shameless plug for now.

(2) Give in to the night out, the dance party, the late night board game, or midday snooze.

Go out on a Friday night and dance your butt off. Take the nap. Hang out at the beach all day. Stay up playing risk, or guitar. Your yoga practice should not be the only thing in your life. It needs to be a part of your life that you cherish, and it’s hard to cherish something when you are burnt out on it. Balance out your Yoga practice with other methods of play (especially if you don’t consider your practice a form of play, in which case, let me know, we need to have a little chat). And don’t forget to R-E-S-T.

I know we live in a culture that encourages us to play hard and work hard, but we also need to rest hard.

Play and rest are both essential parts of a healthy lifestyle, and without them it is hard to excel at anything. Real talk. I know we live in a culture than encourages play hard and work hard, but we also need to rest hard. Yoga can be a place to rest if you’re doing restorative practices, but if you are doing any other type of yoga, it is a form of work. It’s a self-care type of work, but it’s still work, and that needs to be balanced out, my friends. And yes, if that means you can’t make it to the yoga class you committed to take every week once in a while, that is totally fine.

(3) Feed your body and soul.

In yoga, and it’s sister science of Ayurveda, health can only be achieved by the balance of giving yourself what you need and avoiding what you don’t. One of the most powerful ways to do this is by examining what’s on your plate- both literally in terms of food and metaphorically in terms what you spend your time and energy doing. While there are many useful diet tips out there (and I’ll be offering some of mine in my January blog post, so stay tuned) the basic rule of thumb is eat well 80% of the time and give yourself permission to slack off about 20% of the time.

When you eat well, your body and mind functions at it’s optimal potential. So not only will you notice your Yoga practice improves, you will probably notice you are just better at being a human, too. And who doesn’t want to be the best human they can be?

When it comes to feeding your soul, the same 80%/20% rule applies, too. About 20% of the time we are going to have to do things we’d rather not- you know, taxes, airport security lines, icing a sprained ankle. That’s inevitable. So in order to stay sane and really enjoy this life, we need to spend 80% of the time engaging with our lives in a way that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

So sing at the top of your lungs when you’re stuck in traffic, go to all the concerts, re-watch your favorite movie, grab happy hour with your bestie instead of putting in yet another hour at the office (because let’s face it, you were probably IG stalking someone instead of doing work anyway). And maybe most importantly, allow your yoga practice to be something you look forward to. You don’t have to kick your ass on the mat.

Being on your mat is designed to help you feel some combination of energized, relaxed, present, focused, and open in the end.

In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret, yoga really isn’t designed to do that. If you want a good old-fashioned ass-kicking, maybe try CrossFit instead. Being on your mat is designed to help you feel some combination of energized, relaxed, present, focused, and open in the end. That’s what your soul wants, need, and definitely deserves.

Is there more you could do to become a super-yogi? Of course there is. There is always more. But if there is one thing I’ve learned in the decade plus I’ve spent studying and teaching yoga, it is this: more is not nearly as beneficial as enough. True mastery is not in doing more, it’s in doing exactly what you need.

True mastery is not in doing more, it’s in doing exactly what you need.

You may also be surprised to find that focusing on just these three tips may be more challenging to do than you think. So in spirit of tip #1- let’s keep it simple for now. Let me know how it goes. Blessings.

Daniela Kent: E-RYT 500 YACEP San Diego.jpg

Hello, I’m Daniela

I’m 30-year-old literature and philosophy geek turned full-time yoga teacher. I am passionate about living a wholehearted life that honors and allows me to enjoy the gift that is the human body, the power that is the human mind, and the beauty that is the human spirit. That’s how and why I practice and teach Yoga. I’m into making awkward jokes and being radically honest all in the hopes to bring light to truth, and connect. I aim show up in the world, both as a teacher and a human being, in a way that empowers us all to be the best versions of ourselves (most of the time). When I’m not in class, leading Yoga Teacher Training, or traveling, you can find me catching a Chargers game, binge-watching Survivor, or dancing and singing alone in my room to Pepper albums.