If you’ve got a solid home practice and feel a little stuck then here’s a bunch of ways to up your asana game. Because, let’s be honest, making shapes is fun. Seeing our bodies grow and evolve through the practice can be rewarding and draws us deeper into a relationship with what’s going on inside our tissue. It gets us more interested in how much potential our bodies have and also asks us to question why we want to improve in asana, specifically.
For me, developing my asana practice has gone from the handstand grail to going super deep into my bodily experience and moving so slowly that I am holding present to as much of the movement as possible. A tuning in as much as a tuning up. And the desire to ‘up my asana game’ comes from a return to classes, a long journey into my own asana laboratory and the sweet remembrance of humility. That I will always have so much to learn.
- Get stronger
If you want to move into more advanced postures, you will need to develop a strong core, glutes, quads and upper body strength. It seems obvious but we can trundle along for years in our own practice without necessarily getting stronger.
- Practice 4-6 times a week
Whether that’s going to class or practicing at home. Make it regular, consistent and listen carefully to what you avoid and what you fall into. Mix it up and commit to your desire to grow. If you can get on your mat every day then do it but 4-6 times a week is entirely reasonable.
- Watch videos
Get inspired. Watch yogis who inspire you and witness their commitment to the practice. Some of my favourites to watch are Dylan Werner, Laruga Glaser and Meghan Currie.
- Be patient and kind
Take your time. Come to understand your body’s strengths and limits by working attentively and intuitively. Don’t push it. You’ll get there when you’re good and ready.
- Let the practice lead
Listen. The practice is asking you to listen inside every shape. Find your edge and dance upon it by letting the practice lead.
- Mix it up
Go to vinyasa, hatha, body pump, boxercise, crossfit, pilates, swimming, cycling. Just doing asana is great but mixing things up can bring a whole new dimension to your practice.
- Go to classes
And go to different ones. Visit different cities, try new teachers, taste a different studio and be a student (especially if you’re a teacher).
- Have a home practice
Marrying your own practice with a good mix of regular classes means you can move on your own terms then get something you didn’t know you needed. Double win. Here’s a link to a whole host of different ways to develop a home practice and you can also practice here with me any time.
- Don’t have a goal
Sometimes having a goal can become an obstacle. It’s probably not what your life coach is telling you but goals can blind us to the presence of the process. Stay inside your practice, moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and the results will come.
- Don’t forget about yoga
If you’re focus is asana then that’s a wonderful thing but it’s not always yoga. Yoga is a state of being, not a shape you make. Keep asking yourself what your asana practice is teaching you about yourself.