3 Ways to Stay Present in Yoga Class

We’ve been covering the 8 Limbs of Yoga and have finally reached the “tip” in the iceberg of yoga, the physical body postures we all know and love! (Still catching up? Here are the posts on Limb 1 and Limb 2!)

How many times have you practiced yoga? A hundred? More? Let’s explore how we can move the body on an even deeper level to fully find this limb of yoga.

tree

The practice of moving the body into various postures has a multitude of benefits, which on the surface improve our health, strength, balance and flexibility. Under the surface, on a significantly deeper level, the practice of asana, which means “staying” or “abiding” in Sanskrit, is used to quiet the mind and move into the inner essence of being. This is a complicated way of reminding us that the goal in our practice is to dive in mentally, not just physically, to the postures.

The challenge of the poses helps yogis explore and connect to their underlying emotions, intent, and connection to higher powers. It’s meant to be the connection between the matter we inhabit (body) and the spirit (mind and soul). Asana is a way of physically controlling our mental attitudes and strengthening our will. How many times have you taken a rest in yoga class – not because you are in physical discomfort but because you are mentally giving up? Practice noticing these small habits and watch your asana grow tremendously.

manhattan beach yoga classes

As we spend time practicing asana, it should grow to be an instant quieter of the mind. It is the preparation for meditation – a vehicle to expand your consciousness throughout your entire body. Although we may not connect on this level each time we step onto our mats, yoga is ultimately all about that bliss state and the deepening of awareness, of connection, of peace within ourselves.

So how can we all drop in a little more? How can we step away from the craziness of everyday life and be more present? Small steps! Here are a few ways – that take only moments before class – to prepare you for this out of body experience!

3 Tips for Better Focus in Yoga Class

#1: PRACTICE ON AN {ALMOST} EMPY BELLY

Any internal sensation, including hunger or fullness, will impact your ability to drop in to your mental zone. While emotional turmoil can be released through the physical practice of asana, how you are physically (on the most primal level), can definitely hinder your practice. Try to plan your classes, or your meals, accordingly!

#2: LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN THE CAR

How many times have you heard a phone vibrating in the back of the room? Giving yourself 60, 75 or 90 minutes to go mobile-less is a beautiful thing! Resist the urge to check texts, Facebook or voicemails during class and maybe even for an interval afterward. Unless you are an on-call physician, pilot or new mother, the world will keep turning if you miss a few calls – and it may just be a better place now that you are blissed out!

#3: SET AN INTENTION

Yes, your teacher guides you here in the beginning of class. Yes, you “set” your intention each time you come to the mat. But are you really, deeply, setting up a space that you can mentally check into? Ask yourself “Why am I here?; What do I want from this?” Maybe your goal is to find your bliss, maybe it is just to sweat. Be honest with yourself and take time before class to explore what you truly need and that space will be easier to find!

manhattan beach yoga instructor julie rader

It is on the most basic levels of consciousness that we find our mental space. I urge you to take an extra second before your practice to allow yourself to find this place.

What tips and tricks do you already use to “drop in”? Anything that helps get you in the zone? 

Join us in class and practice these tips! Here’s our yoga class schedule in Manhattan Beach and Berkeley. Can’t make it? Try our online yoga classes – you can test it out free for 5 days!

 

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