Optimize Your Yoga Practice by Reframing It


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As Psychology Today explains, setting goals is a great way to improve at any task, yoga included. However, sometimes the ways we set goals for ourselves can hold us back. Goals that are too vague can leave us unsure whether we’ve ever achieved them at all, diminishing a sense of accomplishment. When they’re too strict, however, they can feel impossible to reach or sustain.

Cultural Society wants to help you achieve the results you desire. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can reframe your yoga goals to achieve a more peaceful, effective path forward:

Focus on Consistency, Not Perfection

As you follow your path towards a goal, one of the most powerful tools you can give yourself is forgiveness and understanding. No one hits their goals every single day; Lifehack points out even the most successful people fail sometimes. Expecting yourself to be perfect is a hindrance to progress. Reframing failure as a natural part of success stops you from beating yourself up when you inevitably slip up at some point.

Instead of seeking perfection, seek consistency. Many of us struggle with consistency in our busy world, but you can use technology to help. You can also use an app like Way of Life or Coach.me on your phone to set a daily, weekly, or monthly goal. A useful tracking wearable like an Apple Smart Watch can help, too, as you see progress both in the moment and in general.

Reviewing your journey also reinforces that one missed or lackluster session isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. This is a particularly effective way to see that consistency is the main driver of success.

Think Small

It’s easy to make over-ambitious goals like, “I’m going to do an hour of yoga every day.” These goals feel great when you’re making them. However, the glow comes crashing down when you realize that you can’t possibly fit it into your daily life.

Instead of big goals you might struggle to reach, make small goals that you can often surpass. Instead of “I’m going to practice for an hour every day,” try something gentle and specific. For example, you can set yourself a goal to do yoga every day, even if it’s just resting in a comfortable pose for five minutes. Most days, you’ll do more than just rest. But the days you need it, you’ll appreciate the space you’ve made for hitting the minimum.

The Right Teacher For You

If you have friends who practice yoga, there’s a good chance they have a strong opinion about the teacher they follow. However, just because that teacher is right for them, doesn’t mean they’re right for you. In yoga (as in all things) there is no single best instructor.

Different teachers will suit different learning styles and attitudes. For example, if your friends’ favorite yogi focuses on fast-paced flows, but you’re interested in a slow, meditative session, it’s a bad fit. This doesn’t make the teacher bad, just wrong for you. Try plenty of different instructors until you find one you trust who focuses on goals you share.

Stay Mindful

A great way to keep your yoga practice fresh is to stay mindful during every session. Unless you make an effort to build mindfulness into your yoga practice, you may find yourself spacing out while you move through your flows. This reduces the impact yoga can make in your life.

When you’re not practicing in your studio, find a space at home with positive energy (decluttering, increasing natural light, and burning some sage can help). When you feel your mind wandering during yoga, gently bring your focus back to how your body feels. Paying attention to your movements will not only allow you to practice more effectively, but it will also train your brain to be more mindful overall. Forbes explains the benefits extend your time spent in session: Mindfulness practice has been linked to reduced stress and improved overall health.

Check your yoga goals to see if there are ways you can make them gentler and more achievable. By finding a balance, being specific, and giving yourself permission to fail, you can peacefully move forward with your practice. Everyone’s journey is unique, so respect the pace your journey takes.

About the Author: Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book