Whether you are just starting out or have been practicing yoga for a long time, it is important to keep things interesting. Yoga, after all, is supposed to be enjoyable as much as it is a discipline. With that in mind, here are some ways to mix things up in your yoga sessions.
Fun ways to fully enjoy your yoga practice
1. Set your intentions
As with any other meditative exercise, intention setting is an important step in yoga. You don’t just put your body on a mat and do poses. Your mind and your body should be in sync towards a specific intention or goal.
Do you want to relax your mind and body after a long day at work? Do you want to strengthen yourself for an upcoming hike? Intention setting will not only guide your session but will also maximize the effects of the movements. Try it out and see how it improves your focus throughout your practice.
2. Treat your yoga mat with essential oils
Treating your yoga mat with essential oils can elevate your yoga sessions. Yoga is a full-body experience, and using scents can make it more enjoyable. You can slather coconut oil or cocoa butter on your body; then treat your mat with ginger or lemon oil.
Some of the other oils have been listed by the Elephant Journal, with the site also including lavender which reduces irritability and calms the nerves. Aside from adding a ritualistic feel to your session, it also helps to immerse you in the moment.
3. Put on your preferred music or sounds
Yoga is about ushering in peace, but that’s not always easy to do. Ironically, too much silence can actually distract some people when you’re trying to get in the zone. If you’re one of these people, try listening to some music – preferably repetitive and ambient tunes – but anything you feel comfortable listening to for long periods of time can work.
4. Invest in quality gear
When you practice yoga, you don’t need a lot of gear. But for the gear you do buy, it’s worth investing in quality gear – both for the short & long term benefits. You will be using your yoga mat regularly, so look for a quality one. Rubber, cotton, and jute mats are usually thicker than PVC mats, but they will make it hard for your heels to connect to the floor, meaning poses such as the tree pose may be more difficult to hold. For beginners, the advisable thickness of a yoga mat is ¼-inch, but more experienced yogis can choose mats based on their own preference.
Wearing comfortable clothes will also help. For your yoga gear, look for a combination of cotton and spandex. The yoga pants on Woman Within show you how these kinds of materials provide a great balance between comfort and functionality. You can also wear any loose-fitting (preferably cotton) pants or shorts. Being comfortable during your practice will help you fall deeper into your yoga and avoid distractions from ill-fitting clothes.
5. Don’t push yourself too much
If there is one thing that differentiates a yoga practice from any of my routines, it is that yoga is supposed to be enjoyed. Unlike a traditional exercise where you are rewarded for the amount of punishment you put your body through, yoga itself is the reward. And this is something that can’t be emphasized enough, as many people still tend to think of yoga as a fitness fad.
While yoga can indeed be used as an exercise routine, you are defeating the purpose of yoga if you look at your yoga mat and get reminded of the difficult times you have when using it. To continue enjoying yoga, just do what feels good, without pushing yourself past where your body will comfortably allow. There’s always tomorrow to try taking your stretch a little further!