How Long Does It Take To Get Good at Yoga?
Scrolling through your social media feeds, you'd likely find someone performing single-arm balances and handstands against stunning natural backdrops, such as mountains and beaches. For those who aren't devoted yoga enthusiasts, even doing a simple downward-facing dog pose can be quite challenging. But rest assured that you don't need to be the most flexible person to enjoy the benefits of yoga although you might still ask: how long does it take to get good at yoga?
How long does it take to become good at yoga?
No single correct answer exists, regardless of your yoga goals.
Numerous factors influence how practicing yoga can enhance flexibility, aid in weight loss, or facilitate mastery and teaching. The only universal truth in yoga, regardless of your objectives, is the necessity of dedicated effort. Thus, your attaining your #goals hinges on the effort invested.
While there's no definitive answer, more frequent practice, such as three times a week, will lead to better progress compared to just once a week.
How To Get Better At Yoga
Yoga is not inherently challenging. As you continue to practice, you will be able to achieve remarkable feats.
The mental strength and concentration demanded by meditation may seem daunting to outsiders, but with gradual efforts, the once-unattainable becomes possible.
So here are some practicable tips to help you be better at yoga:
Let go of expectations and redirect your focus.
Yoga goes beyond achieving perfect splits or deep backbends. While setting goals can be beneficial, they occasionally limit our progress.
For example, once you've achieved a handstand, the question that arises is: "What's next?" Instead, concentrate on ongoing growth. Recognize that there is always room for further improvement in your practice, and remember that there's no such thing as a perfect asana. The ideal approach involves doing what's right for your body and aligning with your current needs to honor both yourself and your body.
Listen to your body.
It's vital that you listen to and honor what your body's telling you.
If something causes discomfort, go for a modification or exit the pose. When you're feeling exceptionally sore, engage in a gentle restorative flow for rejuvenation.
Yoga demands mindful awareness of our physical and mental condition, enabling us to meet our current needs effectively.
Focus on getting the right form of a pose before doing any fancy variations of it.
Prioritize a solid foundation for your practice, ensuring constant attention to proper alignment and body positioning during each movement. Avoid sacrificing your form to push yourself further into a pose.
While it's oh so tempting to imitate the beautiful and elegant yoga poses we see on our social media feeds, remember that those incredible poses that yogis do for Instagram, Facebook, Threads, or X are the result of patience and years of dedicated practice, so take your time to progress. Once you can perform beginner variations with ease and correct alignment, gradually advance and expand the asana.
Always do a warm-up.
Begin your practice with a gradual warm-up and take your time, and then conclude it with seated and supine poses to cool down. Here are two simple warm-ups you can do before your actual yoga sesh:
Neck rolls and shoulders offer a good start. Remember to switch half way to the opposite direction.
Cat cows also make great warm-ups.
Begin on all fours, inhaling to arch your back, dropping the belly while lifting your seat bones and gazing upward, drawing the shoulder blades together, and optionally tucking your toes.
Upon exhaling, untuck your toes. Initiate the movement from the pelvis, and create a fluid motion, arching the spine in the opposite direction as you engage your abdominal muscles to draw the belly button in, and lower your gaze toward your knees.
Continue this fluid cycle at your own breath's pace, which includes stretching your wrists by placing your palms down with fingers toward your knees, leaning back into your hips, and then proceeding to take several sun salutations.
Practice savasana - the corpse.
"Savasana," derived from Sanskrit as "corpse pose," serves as the concluding resting position at the end of a yoga practice. Allocating 2 to 10 minutes to this pose is beneficial because it facilitates the full integration of your practice and provides an opportunity for meditation and momentary detachment from the physical body.
To incorporate it into your routine, you can simply lie on your back, allowing your body to adopt its natural position. To recharge your energy, place your palms facing up, or choose palms facing down to release any unwanted energy.
Do proper breathing with every movement.
To enhance your practice, mastering breath coordination with your movements is crucial.
In general, remember to inhale during back bends and exhale during forward folds. This synchronized breathing can deepen your poses and promote mind-body connection and heightened awareness.
Stay steady and calm.
Enhancing your ability to calm the mind is essential for successfully navigating challenging poses and sequences that test your strength and flexibility.
Consistently reassure yourself that you're safe and not in danger, even if you're encountering mild discomfort during your yoga practice. This mental reassurance encourages your body to release tension and persevere.
It's equally crucial to differentiate between discomfort and actual pain. If you ever encounter the latter or have an injury or improper form, it's wise to ease off and seek guidance from your teacher.
Practice makes perfect.
While attending just one weekly yoga class is acceptable, it's crucial to apply what you've learned on the remaining six days, and ideally practice daily to foster growth, strength, endurance, and flexibility, with the option of incorporating a rest day when needed.
Even if you can't dedicate a full hour, spending 20 minutes on your mat is still beneficial. The crucial step is simply starting your practice. Often, the initial hurdle can be the most challenging part.
Practice various styles of yoga.
You may naturally prefer specific yoga styles. But to have a well-rounded practice and keep pushing your boundaries, it's advisable to explore different styles and vary your practice routine.
To maintain a challenging and engaging practice, it's essential to avoid repeating the same routine every day. Instead, diversify your routine and explore new classes at local studios.
Engaging in power flows enhances your strength, endurance, and hones your discipline and willpower.
Yin yoga helps release the myofascial matrix, which is the supportive webbing for our muscles.
Vinyasa offers a comprehensive flow that strengthens the body, opens the hips and shoulders, and relieves tight muscles.
Aim for a balance of passive and active stretching.
Passive stretching, as the name suggests, involves stretching your muscles by assuming a position and allowing gravity to facilitate the stretch, such as in a split or forward fold.
Active stretching involves engaging specific muscles to stretch opposing muscle groups, as seen in a standing split where the gluteus medius is activated to open the hip and stretch the posterior chain.
Create asanas from the ground up.
When transitioning into each pose, start from the ground up. Remember the foundational aspects, ensuring proper foot placement, alignment, and weight distribution. Then gradually progress to the legs, hips, torso, chest, arms, shoulders, and head, and ultimately focus your gaze.
Remember to do a cool down.
Just as we warmed up, we must also cool down.
After dedicating a substantial portion of our practice to warming up, generating sweat, and flowing through vinyasas, transitioning to seated and supine asanas on the floor offers a seamless progression that prepares us for savasana and enhances the overall flow of our practice.
Following an intense class, it's common to roll into fetal position on the right side after savasana for a cooling effect. But for yin yoga, involving deeper stretches, rolling onto the left side is preferred because it stimulates and gently warms the body after a calming session.
Let Baleaf Help You Achieve the "Ohm" in Style
The time it takes to be good at yoga varies based on your commitment and frequency of practice.