5 Tips to Make Your Yoga Practice More Peaceful and Transcendent

November 23rd, 2021

By Mia Barnes

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Yoga classes come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s a style to suit every preference and fitness level. However, finding a studio that offers a vibe that fits like Baby Bear’s chair takes patience, trial and error.

You are ultimately in charge of creating the overall experience you crave. Here are four tips for how to make your yoga experience more peaceful and transcendent, whether you’re at home or in the studio.

1. Get the Right Gear

You can practice yoga with nothing at all — anywhere you can find a six-by-two rectangle of space, you can strike a pose. However, some forms, such as Iyengar yoga, utilize various props to help you achieve the perfect form and alignment.

Your ultimate gear guide starts with your mat. What should you look for? Seek materials such as jute that increase their sticky grip as they get wet. Doing so is particularly vital if you practice a vigorous, sweaty style like Ashtanga or Bikram.

What else should you get? A cushion provides added spinal support for meditation or seated poses if you have injuries that make sitting on the floor problematic. Folded blankets also work for this purpose or for covering yourself up during savasana to protect the heat generated by your practice.

Blocks and straps can help you achieve poses you otherwise couldn’t by providing a gentle assist. Look for those made from sustainable materials such as bamboo.

2. Pick the Best Style for You

A quick internet search reveals scores of articles about the various yoga styles — there are probably more than can fit in a simple list. Some of the most frequently seen versions are as follows:

  • Vinyasa yoga: If you prefer a workout that keeps you in motion, this yoga style is for you. Vinyasa yoga unites breath and body movements, inhaling as you stretch toward the sky and exhaling as you bend into a forward fold, for example. This style evolved from the earlier Ashtanga style, but it doesn’t follow a set schedule of poses — your instructor makes your routine unique every time.
  • Kundalini yoga: If you are more spiritually-minded, this practice might be for you. It includes tons of breathwork to help your spirit unite with divinity. Although you do some poses, you spend considerable time chanting and meditating, too.
  • Hatha yoga: This category has become somewhat of a catchall over the years. It refers to any yoga style where you hold static stretches for a time. Classes vary in intensity from active power classes to more meditative restorative flows.
  • Ashtanga yoga: Ashtanga yoga is a strict and energetic style. There are six tiers to this practice, but most yogis never advance beyond the primary or intermediate stages — levels three through six involve pretty heavy-duty gymnastics. The primary series follows the same 41 asanas or poses each time, holding each pose for a 5-count with a vinyasa in between.
  • Yin yoga: If you need to relax, yin yoga is for you. This style focuses on holding poses for anywhere from three to five minutes, sometimes as many as eight. You won’t work up a sweat. You might not even get off the floor — but your muscles and connective tissues will thank you for the sweet relief.
  • Bikram yoga: This style of yoga will leave you dripping. It takes place in a room heated to 105° Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. It follows many of the same poses held in a traditional Ashtanga class.
  • Iyengar yoga: This yoga form focuses on perfecting your alignment within each pose. As such, you’ll use a variety of blocks and straps to help maneuver your body into position.

Even within the above categories, you’ll find significant differences between instructional styles. If you don’t vibe with the first guide you try, don’t give up on the practice. Simply try again. YouTube is a glorious resource for trying new classes without having to spend a dime.

3. Create the Right Atmosphere

Starting your yoga practice is stepping into a sacred space — you should treat it as such. Even if your classes take place in a traditional gym setting, you can do things such as adjusting the thermostat a few degrees warmer for slower, restorative-style classes to maintain participant comfort and dimming bright overhead fluorescents in favor of natural light or candles. You can pick up inexpensive electric versions at most dollar stores if your facility doesn’t allow real flame.

If you practice yoga at home, set the mood for your practice. You might create a special meditation corner, using a divider to set off a corner of your living area if you have a roomy studio. Even if you only rent a single room that you use for every purpose, you can make your mat-time special by lighting a few candles, putting a relaxing scent like lavender in your aromatherapy diffuser and blessing the space before beginning your flow.

4. Set an Intention

Your intention for your practice sets the overall tone. It helps to speak it out loud. What should you say? It depends on the mood that brings you to the mat.

For example, you can’t go wrong with statements like, “I honor myself by taking the time to nurture my body, mind and spirit.” However, sometimes you come to practice with a world of trouble weighing on your mind. In such cases, your intention might be something along the lines of, “I clear my mind to give the wisdom of the universe space to enter.”

5. Remember, Yoga Means “Union”

Finally, remember that the word “yoga” translates to “union” in Sanskrit. This definition applies both to the coming together of your breath and body movements and your connection with your fellow human beings and divinity.

You don’t have to espouse any particular spiritual belief. What matters is generating the feeling of oneness with all of life’s creations in your body as you move. If you are an atheist, you might focus on how your practice enables you to be the best human you can in treating each interaction with another with kindness, patience and love. If you are a believer, you might dedicate your practice to honoring your creator.

Upgrading Your Yoga Experience

Yoga is the ultimate mind-body activity, and there is a style to suit everyone. Make your experience more peaceful and transcendent by following a few thoughtful guidelines.

About the author:


Mia Barnes is an online journalist and Editor in Chief at Body + Mind.

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