How to Make Yoga Easier

Have you ever wondered why yoga looks easy but yet feels super difficult? Have you ever been in class and felt like the teacher or other students weren’t struggling at all? Meanwhile, you’re doing the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life and trying not to fall over? Have no fear, you are not alone here. Everyone struggled in their first yoga class, even yes, your teacher. Yoga can be an intense practice, often physically taxing and can be difficult when you start as the body will be unfamiliar with the movements and poses that often combine strength with balance. There are a few reasons why the seasoned yogi might look more relaxed, and even, *gasp* seem like they are enjoying themselves. Follow these tips:

The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Just with anything else, time takes time. The more time you spend on your mat, the stronger your body will become, and the more comfortable you will become. Suddenly you won’t be looking around every two seconds to figure out how the other students are standing and wondering if you’re doing it right, it will just FEEL right. 

Relax areas that don’t need to be putting in work.

Often people will scrunch their face, or pull their shoulders up to their ears when they’re in a pose like warrior II. When you’re working hard and concentrating, often the face will show it, but what we’ve learned is that by engaging muscles in your face or shoulders takes away precious energy that could be directed to other areas of the body. Careful, if you smile, people might think you’re enjoying yourself!

Focus on the breath.

Wasted energy can come not just in the form of engaging unnecessary muscles, but in the form of a wandering or anxious mind. Your teacher might cue a specific type of breathing such as ujjayi breath, or even if they don’t we recommend focusing on a slow inhale and exhale through the nose. When you notice that your mind has wandered to that thing your boss said, or when lunch is, redirect your thoughts back to your breath, over and over again. Pretty soon you’ll start to train the mind along with the body. 

Let go of expectations.

The saying goes: expectations are resentments waiting to happen. We recommend going to class with an open mind, and asking yourself to let go of any expectations. This includes, but is not limited to: expectations of the class itself, expectations of your body, expectations of the teacher, expectations of the heat or lights or music… etc. When we let go of expectations it is so much easier to be present, and able to enjoy ourselves and the journey we’re on.