10 Ways to Maximize Your Learning Experience in Yoga
Whether you’re just getting started in yoga and attending your first class or you’re a seasoned veteran, maximizing your learning experience is a critical element to any practice.
In fact, your expectations of a great yoga teacher should be matched with defining expectations of how you’re going to show up as a yoga student.
What can you do to get the most of your time during each yoga class? After practicing yoga myself for almost 40 years, I’ve come away with several tried and true tips on how you can achieve the best from the time you invest in your yoga practice.
Being a great yoga student isn’t about being the most advanced in asana. It’s about being engaged in your yoga practice so you can get the most out of it – and learn the most you can from it.
10 Habits All Great Yoga Students Share:
Adopt these habits to gain the most benefit out of your yoga practice.
1. Define your goals
A critical step most don’t do. Although it will change over time, it’s still an important part of the process. Yes, you can “simply be” (perfect as you are) and still have goals.
What I’m professing is engagement, action, and ownership of your yoga practice and this starts with establishing goals. Then, let accountability be your superpower.
2. Consistency is everything
Forming habits takes time. Practice delayed gratification and become a habit guru. Why? Because great things take time. I’m talking about consistently showing up in yoga class, on time and ready to practice.
Consistently putting in the work (in and out of the yoga studio) will benefit you as a yoga student in the long-run.
3. Be comfortable
Shed the expectations of others. Move your mat around, wear comfortable clothing instead of worrying about fashion. Analyze how you’re empowering yourself to get the most out of your yoga experience.
Are you just checking yoga off your to-do list or are you expending energy into really learning and growing as a yoga student? Balance comfort with exploring your edge. Growth happens moving past your comfort zone.
4. Know your teacher
In my book, I devote almost an entire chapter to this subject. I can’t stress enough the value of sharing your goals, dreams, fears and friendship with a yoga teacher. They thrive when you do. The best yoga teachers point you in the right direction for you to come to your own insights.
5. Practice Safety
Safety is ever more critical now since many yoga classes are extremely fitness oriented. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), the number of yoga-related injuries treated in emergency rooms has nearly doubled over the last four years.
If you’re a new yoga student, ask your teacher if you are doing the poses correctly and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications if needed. Let your yoga teacher know if you have an injury or any health-related concerns that they should be aware of.
6. Focus on less – or one thing at a time
Practice concentration. Eliminate mind clutter. Be observant. Become hyper-sensitive to what is happening in your yoga class – how you feel, more than how you think. Self-awareness will translate into a great depth of consciousness.
This is key for both your yoga practice and your overall growth as a yoga student.
7. Leave your ego at the door
When ego is lost, limits are lost. Breathe and remember that to cultivate a beginner’s mind, remind yourself that each moment is an opportunity to practice presence authentically and get in touch with your vulnerability.
If you remain present, you’ll be open to learn and gain more from your yoga practice. Remember – as yoga students we are always continuing to learn and grow.
8. Be positive and vocal
There is no failure. Immerse yourself in positive energy and people, teachers will respond to you in new ways. If you need extra support, guidance, or love your teacher won’t know unless you tell them. There is no need to suffer in silence.
Everyone shows up a little nervous – you’re not alone. It’s a great community to connect with and enjoy all the gifts of the practice. When you engage, you gain the most as a yoga student.
9. Be flexible
Be open to trying new things. If you tried a yoga class and hated it, ask yourself why. What could have been better, and can you capture what you want from a different yoga teacher, class or studio?
10. Enjoy the present moment
The last thing you want is stress in your yoga practice – so don’t bring it. One of the many beautiful aspects of yoga is holding two opposing experiences at the same time with love. You can have goals, yet rest in the understanding that you have everything you need already.
You can have expectations, while remaining grounded in the awareness that you are either standing still or you are growing. Between action and reaction there is choice. As a lifelong student, celebrate each and every chance for growth.
Maximize Your Learning Experience So You Can Deepen Your Yoga Practice
We’re hardwired to strive. As yoga students, we’re in class with a goal in mind. Only in savasana are we instructed to just be instead of do. To be a great yoga student practice balance, presence and remaining open.
This ancient system of living will give a lifetime of joy as an eternal student, so drop into that space with a focus of getting what you need, every day.
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