Yoga is amazing. At a yoga class, you can stretch and strengthen your muscles; calm your nervous system; experience moments of life-affirming clarity; and make friends with open-minded people.
It’s a practice that improves your wellbeing in very obvious ways, and in less obvious–but equally valuable–ways. When you’ve been practicing yoga for a while you might reach a point when you ask yourself: How can I get more out of this?
Ask yourself these 6 strange questions during your next yoga class, and they might just help you to go deeper into the potential of your practice.
1. Am I Feeling This?
If you’re holding an intense posture and your muscles are heating up, your immediate answer to this question might be YES of course!
But are you sure?
Are you feeling the posture, or the movement, or the stillness, in the whole body? Are you feeling the breath? Are you feeling your heartbeat, and the sensations in your fingertips?
2. Am I Here?
Your body may be on the mat, but are you really here? Are you concentrating on what you’re doing, or are you distracted? Cultivating the ability to be present, in the moment, adds great depth to your yoga practice.
3. What Do My Eyelids Feel Like Right Now?
Take a moment to notice your eyelids. How they feel; how they move; when you blink. Is each blink conscious, or involuntary?
Do this with other parts of your body too.
4. Do I Want to do This Posture?
It’s a misconception that to develop your yoga practice and to ‘go deeper’ always means to enter or hold a posture. It’s often even more important to be in tune with what does and does not feel good to you in the moment, and to respect your physical and emotional boundaries on any given day.
Saying “You know what, I don’t want to do this posture today” and taking a few breaths in balasana (child’s pose) instead can be empowering. Learning to respect yourself in this way on the yoga mat can help you to ask similar questions in other areas of your life.
5. Am I Steady?
Rather than moving into the most challenging variation of a posture as soon as it’s offered by your teacher, take your time.
Sthira, or steadiness, is an important component of a strong and sustainable yoga practice. Are you steady where you are? Could you stay here for longer and allow your body time to build strength and steadiness before you move into more technically challenging variations?
Your physical practice will benefit from slow and steady development. And you’ll get to experience the emotional benefits of slow progress as well.
6. Am I Different From Everyone Else?
We spend lots of our time trying to set ourselves apart from the crowd. In one way or another, we want to be unique – and we’ve been told since we were very young that it’s important for us to tread a fine line between ‘fitting in’ and ‘being ourselves’. The thing is that we are unique; but we’re also the same. Yoga gives us the opportunity to let go of striving to stand out and embrace our oneness with everyone and everything else.
In your yoga practice, you can be you without trying; and you can enjoy feeling connected with everything outside of you.