Updated: Jun 7
Yoga is not exclusive to the yoga mat. Yoga is a philosophy of life that can be practiced by everyone, regardless of age, gender, or physical abilities. In this blog post, I want to share with you a few yoga practices you can adopt anytime and anywhere for more peace of mind and more joy in life.
As much as I love joining yoga classes and the physical element of yoga, one of my favourite things about this ancient, transformational practice is how broad it is, and how everybody can find something within it that aligns with their values, preferences and lifestyle.
Yoga is not dogmatic, nor is it prescriptive. You don't have to believe in specific things to be a yogi, or practice it in the same way as other people do. So even if you're not so attracted to the physicality of the practice, or you're scared to try yoga because you believe you're not flexible or strong enough, trust me when I say there is still plenty within this philosophy of life that is going to be helpful and support your wellbeing.
So today I wanted to write about 5 of my favourite ways to practice yoga beyond the yoga classes.
#1 - Practice Gratitude
More than a feeling, I believe gratitude is a practice, and something that is a solid part of both my morning and evening routines.
We start all our yoga classes by expressing our thanks, so taking this off the mat is a great way to elevate your practice and help you cultivate a more positive mindset.
I have to say feeling grateful did not come easy to me, but as I've made the conscious effort to appreciate the good things I have in my life more, I experience more abundance and generosity.
Practising gratitude also has a very interesting energetic effect in the body, positively impacting our Heart Chakra, a powerful energy centre in the body that if in balance, plays an important role in our capacity to give and receive love.
# 2 - Listen before you speak and consider the intention of your words
One of the most important, if not the most important, principles of yoga is Ahimsā, which means non-violence, non-harm.
The principle of Ahimsā should be present in all our actions and words so we avoid causing harm to others. This means we should consider the weight of our words and the impact they may have on the listener.
Honesty is another important principle for yogis, so it's important to reconcile the two by sharing our ideas, opinions and beliefs but not before considering the intention of our words - as in, whether we mean well and come from a place of love and care, or not.
#3 - Slow down and take time to rest
When society pushes us to work harder and go faster, yoga calls for stillness, presence and peace. After all, life happens in the present moment, in the now.
So take time to rest and connect within. This will not only obviously help reduce stress and prevent burnout, but will also help you become a better person.
When we're well rested, we're calmer, more balanced and able to react to situations with less drama and more objectivity. This is turn, will help us stay level-headed and come up with solutions to our challenges, as well as solve conflicts more effectively.
#4 - Appreciate the small things in life
A big part of the philosophy of Yoga is about awareness and presence.
Presence and awareness bring more colour to life. When we're fully present and immersed in what we're doing, reality takes on a new dimension and we're able to experience things with more intensity, more joy and also more peace.
So as you go about your day, remind yourself to take little breaks and appreciate the little things in life, like the sun shinning on a blue sky, or a flower that has bloomed, bringing your awareness to the present moment and experience more joy and peace.
#5 - Take time to get to know yourself deeply
You could say Yoga is a systemised approach to human development. Also, another important yogic principle is Svādhyāya, which means self-analysis and self-study, so the understanding of the self is an incredibly important part of our yoga journey.
By getting to know yourself more deeply, you're able to identify triggers and patterns of behaviours you can then start to heal and overcome. You can also start to discern what is really you and your inner voice, as opposed to other people's expectations, judgement and conditioning.
All of these principles, concepts and practices I've described, are things we explore in yoga classes, but they are not restricted to the mat, and their meaning and relevance go way beyond the physical part of yoga.
So whether you're a complete beginner or a more advanced yogi, I hope this post inspires you to understand yoga beyond the class setting and apply these teachings in life for more joy, balance and peace.
And if you're into yoga philosophy and these ancient powerful teachings, I think you're going to love my recently launched podcast about yogic teachings for every day life.
About the author
Hi! I'm Cat, the founder of Yogaful Studio. My mission is to support you calm your busy mind and guide you towards your best, most authentic life - with less stress, more purpose, joy, and love. So if you have a demanding job and a hectic life running miles an hour, Yogaful Studio is the place for your to find rest, balance, and peace.