Simple Ways to Optimize Your Yoga Practice for Greater Health
Yoga has several health benefits, including weight loss, increased muscle strength, improved energy, and heart health. Yoga is much more than balancing on your toes or twisting into pretzels. It’s a holistic mind and body activity for people of any shape. From trying new poses to arming yourself with the right accessories and props, there are many ways to make yoga more comfortable for people who are facing obesity. Here are a few tips to help you squeeze the most out of your regular yoga practice.
Practice Yoga at Least 3 Times Per Week
Practicing yoga once in a while is a great way to calm your mind and relieve tension in your body, but practicing 3 or 4 times a week is even better. Yogatown suggests that beginners develop a regular yoga practice, so their bodies can get used to moving and stretching in new ways. Practicing more frequently may provide greater benefits, but it’s important to do what feels manageable to you. On the days when you don’t practice yoga, take a couple of minutes to do some light stretching or deep breathing.
Try New Poses and Apps
Another great way to boost your yoga practice is to try new poses. Since trying new moves can be a little intimidating, follow along with a yoga session on your phone. You can download all kinds of yoga apps that will guide you through new routines and poses. Also, try searching for yoga videos online—there are several great plus-size yoga routines out there that can introduce you to new poses within your reach.
Before using your smartphone for yoga, consider if it has the capability to download and run the apps you need. If not, you may need to upgrade to a newer model that offers higher performance and increased storage. The latest line of Samsung phones, for instance, have a speedy processor and superb display, and they’re resistant to water (water spills and sweat have the potential to cause irreparable phone damage!). If your preference is for an iPhone, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has Super Retina XDR display and excellent performance.
Take Advantage of Props
Whether you’re experimenting with new poses or getting comfortable with the fundamentals, yoga props can be extremely useful. Props like blocks, straps, and bolsters can help you personalize any yoga session to fit your body type and flexibility level. Also, props will take the struggle and strain out of your poses, so you can breathe more deeply and quiet your mind. Many people use props in restorative poses to enhance the mental health benefits of their practice.
Practice on an Empty Stomach
According to Gaia, practicing yoga right after eating can interfere with your session and cause discomfort. Poses based on twisting or working the core muscles can cause digestive problems and nausea if you have food in your system. It’s a good idea to give your body about an hour to digest any food before beginning your practice. This will also prevent your yoga session from taking energy away from your body’s digestive processes. Consider eating a light snack an hour or two before your yoga class to supply your body with energy and reduce the distraction of hunger. Fruit, nuts, and oatmeal are excellent options.
Communicate with Your Teacher
A great yoga teacher can help you get even more out of your sessions, so make sure you feel comfortable communicating with them. If you’re completely new to yoga, tell your teacher before the class starts—they will keep an eye on you and help you stay safe. You should also tell your teacher about any injuries or physical limitations that may affect your practice. Your yoga instructor will help you tailor poses to accommodate your capabilities. During class, don’t be afraid to ask the instructor to repeat instructions or offer alternative poses.
Anyone can benefit from a regular yoga practice. To make the most of your sessions, be gentle and forgiving. Go at your own pace, take advantage of props, and feel free to modify poses to suit your own body. In the end, yoga is all about moving in ways that feel good!