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Top 5 tips for a successful yoga practice

by Arundhati Baitmangalkar
“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” Sri. TVK Desikachar
We have compiled our top 5 tips to help you experience a rewarding and successful yoga practice at home, a yoga studio, or just about anywhere. It all starts with making time to practice yoga. Once you have that, these top 5 tips will guarantee you a better and more joyful yoga practice!
Be okay with not being okay: Yoga practice is challenging. If you have done some amount of yoga practice  you will remember having rather discouraging thoughts in your asanas especially when you are a beginner to yoga. If you manage to get over that, the rewards are tremendous. During the practice of  yoga postures, we begin to journey towards building a unique relationship with our body and facilitating the much talked about mind-body connection. It starts right there – when you fall out of virabhadrasana 3 or collapse to the floor in chaturanga dandasana during yoga practice. Learn to step onto the yoga mat, be okay with be being vulnerable. No one is judging you but yourself. No one is even noticing as they are too busy getting their own yoga pose right. So if you manage to stick with the practice rather than giving into the discouraging thoughts in your head, it will become worthwhile. You will make progress slowly but surely. A big part of yoga is stepping out of your comfort zone.
Make it a non-negotiable: We are leading busy, rushed lives and many different things eat away at our day constantly. To commit to yoga or anything, we need to compartmentalize it as a non-negotiable.  What that means is, no matter what it has to get done. For some of us, spending time with our kids or spouse is important. For others, their morning cup of tea is a ritual. If it matters, we end up making time for it. Similarly, to experience a rewarding and successful yoga practice, put your yoga class or home yoga practice on your weekly calendar. Block that time off as personal time including commute hours. Set yourself up for success by packing your yoga bag the previous day so you don”t need to come home to change after work hours and get your yoga mat. While this seems simple and easy to do, it will be tremendously helpful and saves time.
Find a teacher with a good personality: Invest your time and energy in finding a good yoga teacher, yoga studio, or yoga community. Be clear on what get’s you rolling. Do you need a great instructor or do you thrive because of the yoga community? Do you need individual attention and go deep into your yoga practice or just go to the closest or most economical yoga class near you? Finding a consistent teacher whose teaching style resonates with you will add to you being regular in yoga class. Let’s be honest here, not all yoga teachers are great. Take time to find one that you truly enjoy practicing with, who makes you smile, understands the needs of your body, and encourages you to practice regularly.
Be clear of what’s at stake: I heard this recently on a podcast that I listen to regularly on productivity. Before you begin anything, make sure you know whats at stake for you. In the short run as well the long run. For example, skipping yoga class tonight and to finish up a work project before the deadline will make you  feel good about getting it done. In the short run this won’t really do much damage but in the long run, you are choosing work over your own body and being. If we give in enough number of times, quitting becomes a habit. Practice not for how you want to be today or tomorrow, but for how you want to live and thrive 10 years from now.
Find a yoga buddy: Find a spouse, neighbor, friend or even recruit a buddy in yoga class. This is one of the simplest ways to make sure you get to yoga class on a regular basis. Ask your friend to hold you accountable and in no time you will notice that your yoga practice will become steady and consistent.

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