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1. Follow your teachers instructions during class, but do your own thing at home. Did you learn the “proper” way to sequence a class during a workshop or teacher training? Try it that way for a while (so you know you understand how to protect yourself from injuries), then throw it out the window. There are no absolutes in yoga. Experiment and find out what works for you.
2. Practice a lot! Practice at home. Practice at work. Practice in your car. Practice at the grocery store. Practice while you do dishes. Practice at the dog park. Practice at the beach. Practice before you fall asleep at night. Practice… well…you get the point… Eventually, you’ll find your own rhythm, breath, and style, but it takes TONS of practice.
3. Modify, modify, modify… and then modify some more. Sometimes, I feel like being super lazy during my practice. Other times I need to build heat and challenge myself. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally doing a pose at 10 percent of your ability when you’re not feeling it. And there’s also no shame in going to your edge when you need to.
4. Write it down. For some reason my co-workers don’t seem very interested in the fact that the left side of my rib cage seems more pointy than the right side when I practice Bridge Pose. And the nitty gritty details of your personal practice are rarely appropriate for a group class dynamic. So when I have questions, epiphanies, and ideas I write them down so I can remember to bring them up with a yoga friend who might actually care an/or have some idea what I’m talking about. If that time never comes, it usually all becomes very clear later when I look through my notes. Over time, these notes have revealed much about who I am as a yoga student and what I need from the practice.
5. Make it fun–your way! Some people take yoga very seriously. I am one of those people. But if yoga weren’t fun for me, too, I wouldn’t do it. So I need to incorporate a lot of poses that I find just plain ol’ fun.
How do you make your yoga practice your own?