This post is sponsored by Honor Yoga Princeton. All opinions are my own.
We’ve all been there. The instructor softly says clear your mind and you start doing calculus in your brain. Ok, maybe not calculus but definitely running through your to do list, which includes sending that email you just remembered about.
“Take a deep breath,” your well-toned yoga teacher prompts, and your thoughts fly to the world of will-my-muscles-ever-look-that-good?
Fact is fact. Yoga is hard, because most of the time your body and mind don’t want to cooperate. You are feeling tired, and cranky. You just can’t wait to send that email; so your mind doesn’t want to quit its assassination on your yoga time right at this minute. And damn, that girl next to you has nice alo yoga pants, which immediately makes you want to run out of class to the studio’s boutique shop, and and see if they have them in your size.
No! You say to yourself, I am here to be one with myself, be one with my mind, be one with those pants, (which I’ll definitely buy right after class), but that must wait! Now, I will just breathe. Inhale, exhale, because I’m going to tell you, HOW TO STAY FOCUSED IN YOGA:
- Listen to the music — many times yoga teachers will prompt some sort of melody to softly play in the background just at the right volume. Start paying attention to what that melody is. See if you can imagine yourself in Northern India where yoga originated and where you’ve never been, or in the studio like our yoga instructor, Evan Madeo pictured.
- Actually listen to your instructor — when he says move through a vinyasa, go for it instead of dilly dallying in downward dog. You know your arms can use the exercise.
- Breathe — he or she usually prompt you at just the right time to breathe. If you follow their instruction, you know you’ll come out feeling better than when you came in. Not to mention, it really helps when you are holding Virabhadrasana (Warrior 2).
- Evaluate the beauty of an object in the room — that lamp that’s illuminating your practice or your brand new yoga mat, or your old yoga mat that used to be clean.
- Don’t think, “Wow that guy is flexible! He can reach his nose all the way to his shin while I can’t.” — It’s not good for your health or your yoga practice to be jealous of people who are freakishly bendable.
- Finally, don’t think the person in front of you is holding that pose longer than you. She can do that, because she must be deep in thought about that email SHE forgot to send.