5 Ways To Deepen Your Asana Practice Off The Mat

Want to take your yoga practice deeper without more mat time?

Yoga can be a time consuming practice, but we don’t always have that time. However there are ways that we can live yoga all day. Living yoga doesn’t mean doing handstands in the parking lot. Yoga can also be a way of interacting, thinking and breathing that keeps us in the flow all day.

What we do and say has an effect on the world. We want to have the most positive effect possible. The more positive we are the quicker we grow into the person that yoga helps us to be.

These off-mat practices may seem easy on the surface, but they are constant reminders of when we are not being mindful and where we are blocked. With practice they become easier and we become happier. Try them a few minutes daily at first, gradually doing them more each day for the greatest effect.

Here are 5 easy ways how.

1. Practice poses all day

Yoga poses are about aligning your body for maximum health. If you only practice good posture when you are in class it will be much harder to progress. It is important to practice all day. Driving with a slump and pitching our heads forward while we are at the computer will take away from the progress we make in class.

2. Deep belly breathing

On the mat we watch our breaths very closely and feel very relaxed and free. Often after class we discard this awareness and go back to shallow breathing. It is impossible to breath deeply and smoothly and feel anxious or angry. Breathing this way at home, in the office and in traffic is a great way to keep the benefits rolling all day.

3. Smiling as our main asana

Feeling joyful is the reason we do yoga. If it made us feel grumpy and tired we wouldn’t practice. The effects of a good practice is a content feeling and a good attitude. This is often preceded by a smile. If we continue to smile it helps to remind us of the beauty we experienced in class and it changes our brain chemistry, flooding our bodies with happiness.

4. Treating others kindly

Karma is the backbone of yoga. Every cause has an effect and every effect a cause. If we want to have a strong body and feel happy we treat others kindly and teach them what we learn. If we help others make healthier choices and give them a slice of happiness each and every day, our practice will explode!

5. Watching how you think

This can be the hardest and most important practice. Many have it all; a healthy body, intelligence, beautiful family and money, yet they feel depressed and upset often. This is a good time to check in with your Self. Are you competing with others? Are you putting yourself down mentally? Are you guilty when you feel good? All these thoughts can hinder your practice and make it difficult to grow. Do your best to focus on what you have and be grateful. Gratitude will make all parts of your life better including your yoga poses.

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Word Smith

Word Smith has been practicing the esoteric/healing arts for twenty years. During this time he has delved deeply into Massage, Yoga, Qi Gong, Chinese Medicine, Buddhist philosophy and Internal Martial Arts. He holds a Doctorate in Medical Qi Gong, Bachelor’s in Philosophy, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, certifications in 5 body work styles, and 500 Hrs of Yoga Teacher Training. His teachers include Paul Pitchford, Michael Tierra, Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson, Geshe Michael Roach and Sri Dharma Mittra. He currently lives in Sedona, Arizona translating Chinese and Tibetan and travels the world teaching Yoga and Qi Gong.