These are some habits of body and mind to help you get the most out of your practice.

●     Smile; it’s free therapy. Smiling immediately releases endorphins in your brain, changing your mood and relieving stress.

●     Try to let go of any expectations. Expectations lead to frustration and heartache. Try not succumb to yoga peer pressure and feel like you have to do all the poses or that you have to do them a specific way.

●     Use visualization to heal your body. Picture the parts of your body that need healing. Imagine those parts releasing tension and relaxing. When you notice yourself moving back into stress or beginning to feel increased tension, send healing thoughts and energy to specific places you know need attention.

●     Stay focused on your breath. It will keep your mind calm and keep you present. As soon as you notice your thoughts drift, catch them, and bring your attention back to your breath.

●     Don’t be afraid to modify. To modify simply means to make variations on the poses that give you more stability or avoid putting pressure on an injured spot. Gently move your body out of jamming or forcing.

●     Never skip final relaxation also known as Savasana. The body, mind, and spirit need this five minutes of stillness to absorb all the healthy work you just did for them. It’s recovery time. When we blow off savasana, we are reinforcing hurrying and rushing, and our bodies won’t have the chance to heal. If you have to leave class early, take your savasana five minutes before you have to skip out.

●     Be open to different styles and teachers. The yoga world is vast; keep experimenting until you find the style that fits you. With all the different styles and teachers out there, there is something for every individual. The beauty of yoga is that nearly every single pose can be adapted and modified to your level. A good teacher will encourage you to take things at your own pace.

Starting a new yoga practice, like starting anything new, can be intimidating. Some ways to overcome resistance, which arises in the form of excuses, are to start slow, try out different studios and teachers until you find the right fit, increase practices per week gradually, and keep the focus on the breath, having fun, and enjoying your beautiful practice by focusing on taking care of yourself.

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