A Little Goes a Long Way

Even small adjustments in your practice, and in your life, can yield really big results.

For exclusive access to all our stories, including sequences, teacher tips, video classes, and more, join Outside+ today.

You might not think about it much, but little changes on the yoga mat can have a dramatic impact, too. Just think back to the first time you tried yoga. If you’re anything like me, you were stunned when your teacher pointed out that your shoulders were up next to your ears and the knee that you thought was at a 90-degree angle was actually closer to 45 degrees. The first step to changing is cultivating awareness, and with yoga it’s often with the realization that you have a lot less awareness than you thought. That’s when the really interesting work starts—the nitty gritty of building awareness in individual poses.

My whole asana practice shifted when I understood my tendency to flare my ribs out every time I brought my arms overhead. This one little shift helped me to strengthen my core and made a whole host of other poses accessible to me. With each little, tiny change to my asana form, there comes a mental shift, too. I went from feeling weak to strong when I learned how to access my core in a deeper way. And with that, I started to realize that there were limitless possibilities to my asana practice and my life.

Lately I’ve been noticing what a difference a short, gentle asana practice each day can have on both my body and my outlook on life. In a few weeks, I’ve gained back a lot of strength I’d lost after giving birth. But even more important than that, I’m noticing what a difference that quick 10- or 20-minute practice can make in my day. When I make it to my mat I’m so much happier. I’m not as quick to get upset or flustered. I feel so much more capable of handling whatever might happen during the day. When I feel good, I notice the people around me feel better, too.

Yoga makes everything seem possible. The little things we do matter, often more than we even know. And just because something is simple or takes a short amount of time doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile.

What little adjustments have made a big difference in your yoga practice and in your life lately?