With the world becoming terribly obsessed with hustle culture, many of us have barely found a moment or two to pause and enjoy our life. The pressure to be relevant, successful and measure up with another is at its highest and we’ve lost the ability to be peaceful. But if somehow this blog has found its way to you then know that this is your sign to slow down a little. Turn to yoga to bring a little bit of rest and relaxation to your life.

Yoga is an ancient spiritual practise that originates from India. It promotes mental and physical well-being. Yoga can help you centre yourself, focus on your thoughts and strengthen your physical form. Even if you are dealing with an injury of some kind yoga will help you in the healing process. Slow movements, deep breathing, stretching can help ease pain, improve mobility and increase blood flow and warm up your muscles. So this International Yoga Day we reached out to Jenil Dholakia, a certified yoga, meditation & philosophy teacher for her tips on how one can master this age-old practice.

Here are 10 simple ways you can master yoga:

1. Lay strong foundations

Take your time to get the basics correct and build from the ground up. Understand the alignment of various poses and the techniques of breathing. You should have clarity in the objective of your practice so that you can evolve faster.

2. Stay consistent

Commitment and consistency will take you a long way. Don’t underestimate the power of simply showing up on the mat. Practice for an hour, 30 minutes or just 5 minutes. Do whatever works for your body and your lifestyle.

On days when you don’t feel like doing anything, simply roll out your mat and sit on it for a few moments. Stick to the commitment of showing up and not giving up mid-way.  

3. Have fun with yoga

Yoga practice does not have to be serious! If you fall, tumble or struggle to get into a pose, laugh it off. Enjoy your time on the mat, savour every breath and celebrate every little progress. Ensure to keep your face relaxed and not tense when you practice. When you relax the face and smile a little the body and mind will open up.

4. Listen to your body

The more you listen to your body, the more it will listen to you. Once you start becoming aware of your body, you will know when it’s time to push forward and when to hold back. Developing this inner dialogue with yourself will enable you to be fully present in your practice.

5. Breathe deeply

Make your breath your best friend in the practice. By breathing fuller, deeper breaths, you’re grounding more into your body and living less in your head. Breathing properly allows you to go deeper into a pose and hold a pose longer. It will also help you transition from one pose to another effortlessly.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others

You are unique and yoga allows you to be mindful of that, so move at your own pace. Your practice may look very different from your teacher’s practice or even from your fellow yoga mates. This is not a race to reach anywhere and the only person you have to be better than is you! Keep doing that without worrying about what others are doing.

7. Find a good yoga teacher

Practising under the guidance of an experienced teacher is very crucial to your individual progress. Find a teacher that you love, someone who inspires you to come to your mat and uplifts your consciousness. Be open to trying different teachers and styles of class until you find one that works for you in the best possible way.

8. Create a dedicated space

Before you even start practising, you should have enough space to practise yoga comfortably. Set aside a special place in your house where you can practice daily. A space that’s waiting for you, so you don’t have to figure out where you’re going to practice when you have to. Having a dedicated area also generates a lot of positive energy and becomes your sacred personal space.

9. Become a part of the yoga community

Connect with fellow yoga students, share your journey with each other and commit to showing up on the mat as a collective. A yoga community can motivate and inspire at the same time.

10. Don’t have unrealistic expectations

Meet your body where it is today and you will slowly become stronger and more flexible. Set small goals and make note of that progress. If something is not working, feel free to change some techniques. Don’t get swayed by the fancy poses you see on Instagram, you can definitely reach there, but one step at a time.

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