From Doing To Being Yoga – 5 Secrets To Let Yoga Bliss Spill Into Your LifeLuke Coutinho
The clock is ticking five. You get into your yoga wear, roll out your mat, set an alarm for 30 minutes, perform one asana after the other, throw in a couple of deep breaths, a minute or two of forceful meditation, and lastly Shavasana. Then, as the alarm goes off, you give a sigh of relief, roll up the mat, and move on with your day. And this is the story you repeat every single day and wonder why yoga isn’t bringing in the magic so many people vouch for!
Where is the yoga bliss people rave about?
What can you do more to make yoga feel less mechanical and more magical?
As yoga experts with years of self-practice and experience in handling clients across the globe with medical conditions, there is one thing we have learned. That is – “doing” yoga is one thing, and “being yoga” is another. Most people only “do” yoga, and that is why they miss out on the true power of this ancient practice.
Practicing asanas, pranayamas, kriyas one after the other is fine and may benefit you to a certain extent. But if you want to level up its effectiveness, it takes a few extra steps beyond what we already know about yoga.
Yoga is not another to-do list in your day. If that is how we take it, then the benefits are limited to the time spent on the mat. Yoga is what happens beyond that mat. How well are you able to take the teachings of yoga and apply them to your daily life? How mindful are you about your breath and how composed and grounded are you when life throws curveballs at you? How kind are you to yourself and others? How well are you able to handle challenging situations and people with equanimity?
Here’s sharing our five favorite secrets to make your yoga practice more powerful and let its awesomeness spill over into your life too!
1. Start with a “Sankalp”
Sankalpa is a potent yet ignored part of yoga. Also called intention or resolve, setting a Sankalpa is everything when it comes to yoga. Yoga is a very mindful practice in itself, but setting an intention even before beginning your practice helps heighten this awareness by bringing your intentions back to the mat. The intention you set towards the start of your practice serves as a direction or guide for what follows after. It helps tap into your innermost true desire.
Sitting on your yoga mat is one thing, but bringing your mind and body on the mat is another. How to set an intention? It’s simple. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, drop your shoulders slightly backward, tuck your chin in, keeping your neck nicely elongated, and join your palms together close to your heart or heart chakra. Now, set an intention.
Ask yourself –
- What do you want to gain out of this class?
- How do you want to feel after this practice?
- What do you want to give your mind, body, and soul?
- What was your intention behind returning to the mat?
Whatever answers come to you, seed that intent in your subconscious mind. Affirm how you would like to feel by the end of this practice. Once done, open your eyes and surrender the outcome. You are now prepared to proceed!
The power of setting an intention with not just yoga, but various other aspects of life — eating, drinking, working out, taking your medicines is immense. Learn more about intentions here.
Find it difficult to set an intention? Do not struggle too hard. It can take time and practice to find the right intention for you. Let it come to you intuitively.
2. Where focus goes, energy flows
This needs a constant reminder, but it is so powerful. While practicing yoga, divert your focus and attention to the parts of your body that are engaged in the practice. For eg. When in Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), shift your focus towards your neck being stretched, lower abdomen pressed against the ground, hands and lower back lifting your upper body.
In addition to that, bring focus to the part of your body you are trying to heal. If it is the prostate gland, you want to create the mental imagery of healing energy flowing to your prostate gland when in Mandukasana (Frog Pose). Similarly, if it is your thyroid gland, you want to shift your attention towards your thyroid gland, and visualize prana flowing to that part when in Ushtrasana (Camel Pose), which is one of the best poses for thyroid health. Being mindful and drawing your attention to the part of your body engaged in a particular asana can make all the difference.
3. Take a moment
Slow down in this fast-paced world. And when on the mat, slow down even more. Take a minute or two to check in with yourself and feel how the asana leaves you feeling before you move on to the next. You do not want to make this a mindless practice, so step back and take a moment. We often get so engrossed in doing one asana after the other, one pranayama after the other that we forget how what we did makes us feel.
4. Wear A Smile
What’s with the straight long face while practicing yoga? Set your smile free! Even let out a little laugh of relief if you want to. It is the asana for happiness. All your practices will be more effective if you wear a pleasant smile on your face. Even if it feels like a stretch on some days, fake it and trick your brain (because of chemical release).
So often in our yoga sessions, we see people pushing themselves to get into that “perfect” position and having strained expressions on their beautiful faces. Relax and be kind to yourself. You are practicing yoga, and not fighting a war. Loosen up, down your guards, soften yourself and let your positivity radiate through your smile. Smiling will help unfold your yoga practice to the next level.
Still not convinced? Smiling stimulates the release of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Plus, it can boost your immunity, balance hormones, and stabilize blood pressure.
5. Just BE
Just pause and BE as often you’d like along the way during your practice. The space in between your yoga practice, where you just be in that moment is extremely meditative. You will feel a sense of nothingness and this is exactly what mediation is. A state of nothingness. This is best experienced right after pranayama. Once done with pranayama practice, rest your hands on the lap, keep your eyes closed and just be. There is nothing to do and nowhere to do. It’s pure bliss to experience this state.
We can do yoga for years, but it’s only when we infuse its teachings to the ups and downs of our lives that we become attuned to the potency of yoga’s transformative powers. Following these 5 secrets will give life to your practice. Give them a try! Namaste.
Want to create an extraordinary yoga practice for yourself that is personalized to your needs and goals? Work one-on-one with our yoga experts. Connect with us on 18001020253 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about yoga consults.
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