"Make it Simple but Significant"
- Don Draper
Practice on an empty stomach
Yoga is different from conventional exercise and there are a host of reasons why eating before yoga is bad news … not least because you’ll spend quite a bit of time with your head below your belly … hello downward facing dog! So unless you want to regurgitate this mornings bagel you’ll want to make sure not to eat anything heavy 2-3 hours before practice. If you really need something, quickly digesting fruit is best. On a philosophical level this is the practice of sauca, one of the 5 niyamas (guidelines) of yoga practice ... to create the right environment for your asana practice to clean and purify body and mind.
Prepare to stay hydrated
Ditto for the water situation. Especially if you're doing a dynamic practice with inversions, try to hydrate before class and take water in little sips if really needed to avoid sloshy belly syndrome!
Layer it up!
A few thinner layers of clothing work well for yoga depending on what climate you’re practicing in. You can take layers off as your warm up finishes and trap the heat in by layering back up for savasana. Much more space efficient in your yoga bag than a big jumper!
Make your meditation practice a treat for your body too! Pop on your hair mask / foot moisturiser / face cream before you start - 20 minutes later you’ll have a rejuvenated mind and super smooth feet ;)
Keep in simple
Fancy yoga leggings made from plastic bottles, performance wicking materials and £100 price tags. Great if you have the budget … I’m all for recycling but really a pair of basic cotton leggings is more than enough and lets skin breathe. You’ll also be less pissed off when you inevitably rip holes in the crotch!
Keep a journal by your bed
Write down 5 things you’re grateful for every day as you wake up. This is the single most powerful part of my personal yoga practice and a reminder to be grateful
Pay to lie down
It’s not all about ‘getting your money’s worth’ by going only to full power vinyasa classes. Most of us in western society need restorative yoga more than anything. Schedule yourself in for a more ‘yin’ style class as least once a week and see stress levels reduce
Use your holidays to deepen your practice
My holiday checklist goes like this … is there a roof terrace / meeting room / poolside deck I can use as a yoga space? No? Ok where is the nearest studio? Being away from the stresses of home is the perfect time to fall in love with your practice.
Find your tribe
The yoga community is growing all over the world and is there to support and inspire you! Don't just rush out after your studio class and back to your sofa, take time to chat to fellow yogis, grab a post class coffee, and connect with like minded people.
The only thing you need in your yoga bag - shower oil, moisuriser, hair conditioner, teeth cleaner, and muscle rub - you’re welcome ;)
One 2 Ones
Practice plateauing? Book a focussed one on one session with your yoga teacher specific to your needs. From tips on how to backbend safely, to finding a truly comfortable seated position in meditation, the session will be tailored to your individual practice
Connect deeper to your practice
Invest in yourself and make your next holiday a yoga retreat … probably the most invigorating and life affirming week of your life. Retreats typically combine daily meditation, philosophy, yin and yang style practices, specialist workshops, treatments and abundant healthy food … everything you need to establish or deepen your practice in a small group setting.
The secret to improving flexibility? Yin yoga and foam rolling combined. This really is a magical combination. Just 10 minutes of foam rolling before exercise is proven to increase range of movement and reduce muscle soreness. Follow this with the long held stretches of yin yoga to open and stretch ligaments and tendons for increased flexibility
Practice multiple yoga styles
Ok so I get that you’re a self confessed vinyasa groupie but there are so many different styles out there to keep things fresh! Personal favourites at the moment are Budokon, Animal Flow, Acro Yoga and Sound Healing Music Meditation
Cant / don't want to go to yoga class?
Group classes aren't for everyone and what if you live somewhere rural without access to a studio? Yogaglo is an amazing online yoga platform with world renowned teachers and literally hundreds of classes. They have a 30 day free trial on right now
A daily yoga practice doesn't have to mean a full 90 minute session. Everyone can make time for 10 sun salutations each morning. It takes approximately 15 minutes and encompasses forward and back bends, core strengthening, hip opening and hamstring lengthening all in one flow. If you have a bit of extra time, add a couple of seated stretches and always make time for a 5 minute savasan - aaaaaah