Beginners often think that the poses and the breathing are all that one needs to master in a yoga class. Seasoned yogis know that what we practice on our yoga mats is only the tip of the iceberg. As students begin to discover the many different and profound aspects of yoga, they soon discover that yoga is a way of life. It can be amazing to see how applying yoga principles from the mat affects our asana practice. There are many simple ways to incorporate a yoga lifestyle into your daily life to deepen your yoga practice and add benefits to your everyday life.
Goals of a yogic lifestyle
A yogic lifestyle promotes a conscious change in our attitude towards life and our view of the world around us. The intent of choosing a yogic lifestyle is to approach a place of spiritual connection, oneness, equanimity, and inner truth. Ultimately, we want to fill every moment with mindfulness and let every action be derived from yogic principles.
Benefits of the yogic lifestyle
A yogic lifestyle is very beneficial for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It expands your spiritual energy, brings balance, creates positivity, improves health, and increases your overall happiness. When we study and incorporate the philosophies of yoga, our chakras become better aligned, our self-esteem expands, and aging slows down. These life principles also encourage strong bodies, a compassionate heart, kindness to others, and gratitude for all we have. In short, it helps us to be better, healthier, nicer people.
Commitment to a yoga lifestyle
Living a yoga lifestyle doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can make a few small conscious changes that are easy to incorporate into your daily life. Begin your yoga lifestyle by making the simplest or most motivating changes for you. A few small changes will eventually add up and make a big difference to your mind, body, and spirit. Over time, these decisions will become natural and instinctive, and it will be easier to live the yoga lifestyle. Wherever you find yourself on this journey, be aware of your goals and the steps you are taking to achieve them.
Tips for a successful yoga lifestyle
- Make healthy food choices
A yoga-friendly lifestyle means taking care of your body by choosing healthy foods. The easiest way to do this is to eat more vegetables and eat more fresh fruits. You may want to consider a vegan diet or another plant-based diet. Even becoming a vegetarian a day or two a week can dramatically improve your health. Breakfast is often the best place to make changes in your diet.
- Hydrate properly
It's very easy, but are you getting enough water? Drinking 8 glasses of water a day seems like a lot, but it's the best way to keep your skin and body healthy. Drinking water also helps wake you up in the morning and keeps you going all day. Proper hydration is especially important when taking Bikram or hot yoga classes.
- Establish a regular yoga practice
Engaging and frequent practice of yoga is essential to support and encourage all of the different ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life. While breathing exercises and postures create a calm mind and a clear heart, other yoga paths are equally powerful and supportive. Raja and Jnana Yoga are deeply meditative, reflective and contemplative. Bhakti and Tantra Yoga evoke devotion and are more ritual based. Karma Yoga promotes selfless service and humility. Whichever path you choose, you will find a way to establish and maintain a regular practice throughout the week.
- Stay active
Your daily asana practice can result in all kinds of health benefits, including better sleep, better circulation, heart rate, blood pressure, and better mobility, muscles, and balance. Yet hatha yoga typically doesn't provide enough cardio and strength training for optimal health. Try adding other types of fitness and exercise – all it takes is just 20 minutes three times a week. Staying active is also a fantastic way to reduce stress and improve your mood and energy.
- Practice meditation
If you are new to yoga, you may find it difficult to meditate at first. Before your morning yoga session, try five or ten minutes of meditation to get yourself into the right mindset. Or after your yoga, try to relax and prepare for the day with a clear head. A daily meditation session is ideal for ensuring an even level of peace and tranquility throughout the day.
- Use natural health and beauty products
Slowly switch from heavily commercialized products to buying more organic, cruelty-free items. Try using aromatic oils as a fragrance and simple natural ingredients in beauty products. By using natural and organic products, your body uses less energy to process toxins.
- Minimize waste and consume consciously
Investigate how your purchases, including your yoga pants and yoga mat, are affecting the health of the planet. Reduce your consumption whenever possible and recycle as much as possible. Try to buy your clothing and yoga props from conscious manufacturers who use environmentally friendly materials and processes.
- Reduce stress and find relaxation
Stress will ruin your best attempts at establishing a calm and conscious yoga lifestyle. Allow yourself ample opportunity for complete relaxation and be sure to incorporate stress-reducing yoga exercises such as Yoga Nidra and Shavasana Pose.
- Create a positive and mindful social life
Social media and office politics can be exhausting and energetically disruptive. It's surprising how much negativity you can pour into your social life without even realizing it. Since yoga is about making your daily life more attentive and conscious, it is important to create a more engaging, supportive, healthier, and more positive social circle. Let go of toxic relationships. Cultivate positive interactions by making eye contact, complimenting others, and practicing kindness. Look for other ways and means to positively influence those around you.
- Be true to yourself
Personal honesty and accountability are the keys to living a more mindful life. Continuously check in to yourself to make sure your actions align with your values. Make personal vows to study and incorporate the Yamas and Niyamas. Make an effort to be generous, kind, compassionate, and honest with yourself. Always try to be true to yourself and be content with what you have.
- Develop positive mental habits
In order to develop mindful habits, you need to work on your mind. Avoid negative self-talk to stay positive. Take the time to be with yourself. Try a daily gratitude exercise or journal reflection before going to bed or waking up. This can help you reduce stress levels and learn how to think more positively and improve overall mental health.
- Relax and cleanse
Mindfulness is about mind, body and soul, but also about taking care of your space. It can be difficult to have a daily meditation or yoga practice in your home when your house is dirty and crowded. Taking a minimalist approach to your home decor can help you focus on the essentials and be present. Instead of buying things that you don't need, think more about what is important to your lifestyle. Make sure you debug regularly, and remember to donate items you don't use instead of throwing them away!
- Create a yogic home environment
The environment in your home affects your mind and soul. Begin to notice how the colors, textures, and the placement of furniture affect your inner being. Opt for a mindful and simple decoration with calming colors and appealing lines. Keep things close by that promote a healthy and relaxed environment, including green plants, scented infusions, crystals, candles, and some great artwork that you really love.
Daily mindfulness and a more yoga-friendly lifestyle don't have to be complicated. Ideally, it should be as simple as possible. Making a few simple changes to your lifestyle can help you feel focused, peaceful, and healthy, and can help you progress along the path of yoga.
A yogic life is not just about doing your morning poses and mastering mindfulness with meditation. A balanced and mindful lifestyle requires a lifelong approach. But how do you maintain that feeling of mental and spiritual well-being that you get with yoga all day every day? What do you do to keep your life balanced? Make a list of the changes that support you best and let us know in the comments below!