Yoga is such a personal practice it's difficult to say there are five experiences that every practitioner should have. With that in mind, I've decided to put together my own yoga "bucket list" - some are things I've already done and benefited from (and can't wait to do again) others are things I'm dying to do someday!
1. Study with your teacher's teacher. Most yoga students think their teacher is amazing. But as much knowledge as your teacher brings to the table, the teacher that came before him has much to offer, too. It's also incredibly interesting to see how your teacher translates the teachings (just think how differently Iyengar, Pattabi Jois, and Deskichar interpreted the teachings of Krishnamacharya!).
2. Go on a yoga retreat. I've never been on a yoga "retreat" exactly, but I've had many opportunities to get away from my everyday life and immerse myself (day and night) in my yoga practice. With the right mixture of asana, meditation, study, and rest it can be life changing. I can't wait to do it again ... at an ashram in India next time, maybe?
3. Set a goal and stick with it. Whether your goal is to master a pose, commit to a daily practice, learn to use pranayama in your daily life, or simply to feel more calm and centered in general, it feels amazing to meet a goal. Of course yoga isn't about results. The lessons I've learned from meeting challenges are more important--that you (with the help of yoga) have the power to change your body, your mind, and your life.
4. Fall on your face. I have learned so much more from falling down than I've ever learned by getting a posture just right. We all make mistakes. It's not that big of a deal. Don't get rattled by it. Just get up and try again.
5. Find new ways to share with someone you love. I used to think that sharing yoga meant standing in front of a class and explaining the nuances of Triangle Pose. Now I know that's only one way to share yoga. It can be more meaningful to talk about the philosophies with a friend who is distraught over a break up or a co-worker who freaks out over a missed deadline. Sharing yoga through your words and actions I've found that I get back more than I give.
What's on your yoga bucket list?