5 Ways to Make the Most of Your In-Studio Yoga Practice

“In-Studio” because I will be sharing another bunch of tips for home practice.

Practicing with a room full of bodies moving in sync and having someone telling you what exactly to do and when exactly to breathe is a beautiful way to reenergise your body and mind. It offers company yet space, guidance yet freedom. Here are five ways that can help you make the most of your practice:

1. Arrive early and don’t skimp on the breathing and grounding at the start of your practice.

It gives you time to clear your mind and catch your breath so that you can easily.

2. Check in with your energy level and work with that

Take time to feel how your body feels – which areas feel tight, which areas feel like they would like some work and how you are breathing.

3. Take only cues that serve you

Give the cues that your teacher offer a shot. If they feel right, take them. If you feel pain (especially sharp pains), don’t take the cue.

While cues are great, not all bodies are made the same so do take cues with caution especially in a large class. If you are unsure about certain cues, ask your teacher after class – most yoga teachers will be happy to share more.

4. Remember that it is not about the postures

The purpose of coming to your mat is to feel great in your body and mind, not to force your body into a certain shape that it is not ready for. Here’s what happens when you stop chasing postures.

5. Always acknowledge your achievements

Taking time out to step onto your mat, commuting to the studio and having the resources to allow you to do that are great accomplishments in themselves. Taking the entire class asana by asana should not be undermined as well. Thank your legs for carrying you, your arms for enabling you to embrace your loved ones, and your mobility that enables you to enjoy movement.

Extra bonus if it was a hot class – here’s a list of what you MUST after hot yoga!

What to Do If You Cannot Sleep

1. Lie in bed and relax

Lie on your back, start relaxing each part of your body from the toes to your face. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to fall asleep.

2. Read an inspiring book

Read something that feeds your soul, but not stimulate your brain too much. Check out this list of 15 books that have inspired and left deep imprints in my life.

3. Take a warm shower

A warm shower or bath relaxes your muscles

4. Breathe in some lavender essential oil

Famous for its soothing properties

5. Stretch in bed

Lie in bed and do some gentle stretches.

Finally, do take time to make sure that your room is conducive for sleep and rest. Here are five easy ways to zen up your bedroom.

The Best Time to Meditate?

The best time to meditate is when you are rested, not when you are exhausted.

When you are tired, Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) will be ideal – 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 4 hours of sleep!

You will get the most benefits from meditation when you are fully focused and awake. If you sit down in quiet contemplation with a specific sankalpa (resolve/intention) you can clear your mind and settle your emotions, thus allowing you to see your thoughts and situation in a much clearer manner, without the disturbance of overwhelming emotions and distractions from the mind.

I’ve curated various meditation exercises under my Be Here Now Mindfulness Series. Pick one and stick with it for 30 days – you’ll find yourself being more present with the people you love, and you might just stop forgetting where you left your phone and keys!

Five Easy Ways to Zenify Your Bedroom

“What you surround yourself with, you become.”

We spend a third of our lives in our bedrooms, so shouldn’t our bedrooms be given high priority when it comes to design and feel?

I spent a few weeks experimenting on how my environment affects my inner world – my mental and emotional state. It was not a controlled test but there was one major turning point that convinced me that our immediate environment directly affects the inner world that we live in.

For a week, I kept my room clean by sweeping, mopping, wiping but I allowed clutter to pile up. I left endless things on the table, clothes on the shelf, bags outside the cabinet, and books at random places. At the end of the week, I had a strong urge to clear everything. After spending something close to two hours de-cluttering, I felt immensely light emotionally and mentally.

The moment I cleared my surroundings of clutter, my mental state immediately went from disorganized and frenzied to light and in control.

On top of using simple exercises like this 3-step meditation to clear your mind, here are five easy ways to turn your bedroom into your Zen haven.

1. Use earth colours

Shades of brown, light green, white, and blue.

2. Declutter, declutter, DECLUTTER

Throw away things you don’t need. Give things away. Have as little things in your room/house as possible

brown
Photo by Junkazamah on Flickr

3. Have minimal items on surfaces

Clear your tables of files, books, electronics etc. and keep them away in organized drawers.

4. Use soft lighting, play with dimmers

You know how yoga teachers dim the lights as we cool down towards the final resting pose, Savasana? That’s the calm and relaxed ambience that we want to have in our bedrooms.

5. Keep things simple and neutral

Avoid loud, colourful displays and decorations. You might also want to avoid having pictures that could evoke emotions in your room.

clear

Zenifying (this word doesn’t actually exist, I just made it up) your bedroom is a nice start to a more zen life. You could even add in some short and simple meditation techniques to start/end your day in your bedroom to enhance your mental and emotional wellbeing.

If you have other titbits on how to zenify your bedroom and life, please feel free to share 🙂

I’ll leave you with this beautiful, beautiful song: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, by Will Blunderfield

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”