Many hope to achieve targets in yoga practice within a short time. For example, some individuals hope to do advanced yoga poses or long hours of mediation within a week.
That is unrealistic. If you wish to do advanced yoga poses, do not set a timeline for it. Here are some reasons:
1) With a timeline, you might be aggressive in your yoga practice. That increases your likelihood of injuries. Even with mediation, you might be upset if you are unable to concentrate for long hours.
2) With unrealistic targets, you might lose confidence or even be frustrated with yourself if you are unable to reach the targets.
3) The main purpose of yoga practice is to train our self-discipline, inner heart, and mind. The ability to do advanced yoga poses is secondary.
4) Some individuals might stop yoga practice after achieving their goals. That is not what yoga is all about.
My point is that regular practice improves self-discipline. In turn, this would improve your body and abilities. In fact, your body changes so slowly that you are unlikely to notice it. With that, you can achieve the true purpose of yoga practice.
When someone is stressed, angry, or having shortness of breath, tell the person, “take a deep breath, relax, and calm down”. The act of taking a deep breath – extending on inhalation and exhalation – calms us down and stabilizes our emotions.
In fact, breathing helps us regulate important functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can also reinforce proper body mechanics that puts less stress on your body during movement.
Breathing affects the pre-Bötzinger complex (or preBötC). In turn, neurons in this structure affect breathing (in a bidirectional manner) and emotional states. The preBötC also affects the locus coeruleus which controls arousal (alertness or anxiety). Unsurprisingly, breathing has the potential to reduce anxiety and stress.
The impact of yoga pranayama on our body operates using the same principle. Pranayama is the ancient practice of controlling your breathing (timing, duration, and frequency). In doing so, pranayama stimulates the vagus nerve, which is the main component of the parasympathetic system. This system oversees a vast array of crucial bodily function such as mood regulation.
A lot of people have told me, “I like yoga and I know it is a very good for my health, but I cannot practice yoga regularly because I am lazy, busy, or I cannot find the momentum”.
These are some common excuses for people to skip or delay their practice of yoga. I would like to share some tips on staying committed to a regular yoga practice.
1) Set smart goals which stand for Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, and Timely
Some yoga beginners have told me that they are stopping their practice of yoga since they are trying to conceived. I was surprised. This is because most people actually practice yoga to assist with conception and delivery of the baby. In other words, it is safe to practice yoga even if you are trying to conceive as long as you are guided by a qualified yoga instructor. Just remember to take it easy and pace yourself to avoid injuried.