Transforming lives for over 5,000 years, yoga is among the most holistic mind-body workouts. Its hyperbolic reputation is well attributed to its unique ability to deepen the connection between mind, body and soul, instill confidence and optimism and revitalize as well as strengthen the human body.
However, what is often overlooked is the fact that yogic poses or asanas, are part and parcel of an overall yogic lifestyle; one that requires yogis to live a life of compassion and consciousness. It involves the integration of the mind, body and soul in a way that leads yogis towards peace of mind, good health and ultimate liberty.
So, here are six things that you should do, in addition to your yoga practice, to embrace the true essence of a yogic lifestyle:
1. Unwind with a cup of tea
Yoga is all about gaining internal peace and tranquility, by acknowledging the blessings in your lives and being grateful for them. These blessings can be your family, friends, job and even the fact that you are alive and in control of your life.
So, alongside the regular practice of yogic asanas, try to take time out everyday for a soothing cup of your favorite tea. Doing so will provide you some quality time to unwind and be content with your life. Also, it will complement your yoga practice, which is inherently meant to help you relieve stress and supercharge you with positive energy.
You will see that as you breathe in the intoxicating aroma of your tea and sip its savory goodness, you will learn to be more appreciative of your blessings. Additionally, you will also find yourself experiencing renewed feelings of comfort, humility and serenity.
Moreover, having a few moments, everyday, to reflect on your life will allow you to identify people and things that are truly valuable to you. Consequently, you will learn to go the extra mile in order to show your gratitude to them when they are around.
2. Get adequate sleep
Many a times, a hectic and demanding lifestyle leads to unhealthy sleep patterns, which are manifested in the form of stress, moodiness, irritability, declined cognitive ability as well as weak immunity. All these factors work to counter the benefits of yoga and should, therefore, be avoided by getting 7-8 hours of continuous sleep every night. Doing so will enable you to experience the true essence of yoga as it will allow you to feel calm, strong and centered.
However, if you ever find yourself unable to get sufficient sleep at night, try to take a 20-30 minute power nap, anytime, during the following day. You might not have known this but even short naps, of around 30 minutes, have been found to relieve stress by reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels and improve physical as well as cognitive vigor. So, if you wish to make the most out of those soothing and empowering yogic asanas, be sure to get plenty of sleep on a daily basis.
3. Be mindful both on and off the mat
Yoga teaches us the invaluable art of mindfulness whereby we channel out our negative thoughts by steering away from our fears and worries and start living in the moment.
To achieve the same peace of mind throughout your day, try to remain mindful even after you’re done with your yoga practice. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is by taking a few moments to observe your breathing or use natural nutrition to take a relief from your stress stage.
Simply close your eyes and take in long deep breaths as it will bring you back to your center, which according to yoga philosophy is the core of your existence. It is recommended that you do this multiple times a day as it will allow you to be happier and more focused.
4. Consume a well-balanced and healthy diet
Yoga considers the body, mind and soul to be the three essential components of human existence where neither one can thrive without the other. It is for this reason that yoga and physical well-being form a consistent circle, such that yoga supports a healthy body as well as the other way around. So, in order to make the most out of your yoga practice, eat healthy foods that will cleanse and strengthen you from within.
Here, it is important to practice moderation by consuming a variety of foods that offer all the nutrients required by the human body. You can do this by utilizing the portion control technique, according to which each meal should consist of lean meats, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and fruit.
Also, be sure to stay away from fatty and processed foods as they place tremendous burden on your body, which is the root cause of countless physical as well as psychological ailments.
5. Keep yourself hydrated
A key part of yoga is the detoxification of the human body and mind and this is why it is important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Water, in addition to quenching thirst, is the most supple and effective means of detoxification of the human body. It does so by actively removing toxins from the body, regulating the digestive system and preventing stress from piling up by keeping cortisol levels under control.
So, be sure to consume eight glasses of water each day to provide your body with essential nutrients as well as to cleanse it from within. Similarly, you can also have herbal skin detox tea, at least once a day, to keep yourself clean and glowing from the inside out!
6. Be yourself
Most of our habits and actions are the product of our desire to blend in with society and have nothing to do with who we really are. However, yoga paves the way for self-discovery by helping us realize who we are once we peel off all the layers of social conditioning. It helps us unveil what makes us special and the things that truly give us joy.
So, once you step off your yoga mat, try to be true to what you’ve learned about yourself. This is the only way that you’ll be able to progress through the various stages of yoga to ultimately be one with yourself.
These habits will allow you to get the most out of your yoga practice as well as reap all the benefits of a yogic lifestyle.
Audrey Throne is a mother and a professional blogger by choice. She has completed her masters in English literature from the University of Birmingham. As a blogger she wrote quite a few posts on health, technology as well as management. Currently, she is associate with brainblog Team.
Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.