How Your Yoga Practice Evolves And What To Expect Going Forward
If you are experienced in your yoga practice, it may be fun to cast your mind back to your early days on the mat. Maybe it would be to consider how your yoga sessions have changed since those early days and your experiences as the practice evolved.
How and Why Your Yoga Practice Evolved
Nothing stands still; not time and not yoga. But that can be a good thing. You are likely to be a different person now than when you first took up yoga practice. Many people feel that yoga increases their patience and their ability to accept life and overcome obstacles. This can look like either side-stepping them or just learning to go with the flow. Others feel that yoga has taught them an intrinsic connection with the mind, body, and spirit. You also know more about the practice of yoga– theory and practical application. Part of the journey would have been about testing out your body in the new postures and learning how inflexible you may have been then and the changes now. You may even take this for granted.
Appreciate the Changes
Yoga has become a large part of the journey for you. In many ways, maybe yoga was the catalyst for change or it became the journey on which you developed yourself as a result. Either way, if you have been practicing yoga for some years, it will have shaped you in ways that you may not have considered.
Spot the Changes
- Do you now feel more deeply connected to the breath?
- Do you monitor your posture and notice when you slide into an unhealthy seated or lying position, correcting yourself instinctively?
- Have you developed a greater awareness of self?
- Are you happy with the person you have become?
- How has your journey on the yoga mat changed?
- Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you look at the past compared to now?
When you first stepped onto the yoga mat, did you think that your yoga practice would become transformational? Perhaps you had great expectations right from the start? If in the early days, your body was tight and unyielding. Did you think that you might develop a new suppleness within days? Some people do have high expectations because the hype around yoga is considerable. But yoga takes time for the body to embrace these postures and for the benefits to be fully appreciated. The journey varies for different people but is always a personal one.
Your Yoga practice May Have Slowed and Become Less Demanding
Even if your ability to perform yoga at a high level warrants it, you may find that over time, you have actually slowed the practice down. This isn’t a bad thing. It just means you are comfortable being in the zone and you are not trying to compete with yourself or challenging your body to extend more. Now, with a new respect for your body, you can develop deeper sensations within the hold and that’s good. You don’t force your body to respond, you let it do so when it is ready. This is part of an inner development where you are less likely to injure yourself. When you achieve a deeper flexibility, it’s no longer a eureka moment, it’s a sign of achievement that yoga is working for you. There’s a maturity to the yoga practice.
When you are new to yoga, there’s a feeling and a need to experience it in its entirety. When you have been practicing yoga for a long time, you become more instinctive and less likely to respond to external pressures or distractions. You value the time on the yoga mat; it’s yours and yours alone. It’s time for quiet contemplation and of integrating the mind with the body. Your focus improves and concentration extends. You are in the zone until you ready to step off the mat.
Yoga is Life
There’s no doubt that the more you practice yoga, the more instrumental it becomes to the fabric of your life. It’s not you and your yoga practice; the two are intrinsically entwined. You don’t make time for yoga but instead, other things give way to the importance of your session. You don’t feel too tired or stressed to do yoga, you instinctively turn to the mat because you know it helps you to de-stress and to re-engage with the things that matter.
The yoga poses are as important to you as are old friends. If this sounds odd, consider the familiarity and the interconnection between the postures and your sense of peace and harmony as you practice. It’s like being home. Yoga becomes the foundation on which you have built your life. It becomes the structure in which you reside. It’s not a prison where you cannot step out of the confines, it’s your haven, a safety net in a world that is volatile.
Yoga Becomes Mindful
Many people start off practicing yoga because of the health benefits. While these are wonderful and nurture your body, you also recognize something more. Your yoga benefits transcend the physical mat. They become a part of every other thing you do. It’s how you move, walk, sit, and stand. Yoga helps you appreciate the life around you. You value others and are more helpful because you feel good and comfortable in your own skin.
You connect with nature because you are a part of it and are so aware of the thread of life that connects each aspect to each other. When you go for a walk, you are aware of each step and you relish the breeze on your face and your ability to run and leap and have fun. Yoga on and off the mat is a uniquely mindful experience. It means you live and breathe yoga, without expectation, drama, and stress.
If you are new to yoga, enjoy your journey. Enjoy your time on the mat and don’t rush to experience more challenging postures. This will come in time, so simply let yoga become an integral part of your life. If your connection with yoga continues to deepen, then you will learn to enjoy every sensation, every positive element, and every health benefit. Experience it in full and keep your yoga practice fresh. You really do reap what you sow.