5 Ways to Improve your Yoga Practice (Without Actually Doing Yoga)

Posted by Valka Yoga on

I just finished listening to one of the most interesting interviews ever. It was Tim Ferriss’ conversation with Hugh Jackman on Ferriss’ podcast. The Tim Ferris Show is an endless source of wisdom for many areas of life. I've been an avid listener of the podcast since 2015. Hugh Jackman needs no introduction. He is widely known as one of the most versatile and iconic actors of our era. The most interesting parts of his conversation with Tim Ferriss, however, are not related to his professional skills, but to his charisma and tremendous knowledge of other topics such as meditation, well-being and physical performance. Jackman, like many actors, has to adapt to the physical demands of the different roles he performs, and is known for his ability to reach extraordinary levels of fitness.

Hugh Jackman on the Tim Ferriss podcast

In this interview, Hugh Jackman mentions the "85% Rule" which he applies to everything in life, particularly when training. According to this rule instead of going all out, aim for 85% expenditure of energy, or at least create that perception in your head. As our perceptions of effort and tiredness have a large mental component, so this is more about feelings and sensations than actual energy. A 15% decrease from 100% might seem little, but it has more to do with our mental models than an actual quantifiable amount.

You should strive to feel like you are performing at a steady pace, always with this tiny bit of room to breathe, not like you are constantly catching up or struggling. This will enable you to avoid exhaustion from pushing the throttle too far. This approach will help you improve your yoga practice and that brings us to our first point.

1. Don’t take it too seriously

Mother and daughter playing while doing yogaStruggling to hit that pose you’ve wanted to for ages but just can’t seem to do it? Take a deep breath and lighten up a little bit. Remember - 85%. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Self judgement can actually slow down your progression.

Also, the more joy and laughter you can take into the things you do, the more fun you will have and the faster you will actually progress!

2. Get that beauty sleep

Deep sleep for a better yoga practice

Sleep. And sleep deep. We all have to do it, but some of us are better at it than others. Yes, we know you have lots going on in your life, but trying to sleep less to fit it all won’t make you any more productive. In fact, it will have quite the opposite effect.

Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. 8 hours is better. Develop a routine. Don’t just go from staring at your phone to then turning off the lights. Even better, practice some mindfulness. If you tend to get anxious or stressed and feel that is what stops you from getting a good sleep, meditating before bed might just be the best solution. There are several apps out there to help you relax before bed. We think the best app is Headspace.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others

Dancer pose in sunlightEvery looked at someone that is further along in their yoga journey and compared yourself to them? Perhaps even becoming a little jealous and self critical? That's okay and it’s completely natural. But what you need to remember is that they have been through where you are now and without going through that, they wouldn’t be where they are.

Growth comes through experience and without it, nothing would change. Instead just try to be a little bit better everyday. Growth and progress can be seen in many ways - perhaps it can be holding the same pose for a longer period of time. Otherwise it can also be holding a more advanced asana. You can also do more repetitions of the same pose. Embrace the process, trust in it and enjoy the journey.

4. Don't be afraid to reach out

Community yoga classIf you’re already experienced or even if you’re new to yoga and you know someone that is struggling to start a practice or maintaining their practice, reach out to them and offer your support.

Community is everything and you will be surprised how supporting others will end up supporting your own practice, especially in times like these where the social connection and sense of community of a yoga studio might be missing.

5. Pause to look back on your journey

Lady writing in her journal

Who are you now? Remember the reasons why you started yoga and look back at the person you were. Did you start to overcome stress, change your physical appearance or mental health? Perhaps you were simply looking for a new challenge.

Change is inevitable, but sometimes it happens over such a long period of time to us that we don’t notice it has happened at all. Grab a pen and paper and take the time to write out how you think your journey has changed you. Speaking of pen and paper, why not take up journaling?

Fitness Health Lifestyle Productivity Yoga

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