Yoga has been practiced in Asia for thousands of years, but has only gained popularity in the West much more recently. According to a 2015 survey by the National Institutes of Health, 9.5% of adults practiced yoga in 2012, up from 6.1% in 2007 and just 5.1% in 2002. Whether you’ve been doing yoga for a while or are just starting to get into the practice, here’s how you can get the most out of your yoga class routine.
Make Time for It
Just like any other fitness routine, the one you’ll enjoy is the one you’ll commit to. Set an alarm, write it in your calendar, or somewhere else you’ll remember it. Especially if you’re new to yoga, this can help you start making it a habit. Another great idea is to practice some poses while you’re doing something else. Take a shoulder twist or forward fold if you feel like you need to get up from your desk.
Be Gentle on Yourself
Not many people can do a head or shoulder stand when they start doing yoga, or do the King Pigeon Pose (which is challenging even for advanced yogis). Be gentle on yourself, and take those Instagram images of people doing Crane Pose on a mountain with a grain of salt. Odds are they’ve been doing yoga for years or had someone help them set up the pose.
Track Your Progress
Yoga isn’t just gaining in popularity, it’s also been proven to offer health benefits. Some of these include: improved flexibility, reduced stress, and injury prevention. Track your progress in your practice and see how your body and mood are responding over time. You might surprise yourself when you see how much you’re improving.
Yoga has become popular in the West as more about its benefits are being understood. You can also get the most out of your yoga routine and reap its rewards by following these tips.