How to achieve your yoga goals this year

Guest post by Shelia Johnson

people doing yoga during daytimeYoga may be a practice, not a sport, but that doesn’t mean goal-setting is irrelevant for yogis. Goals are an excellent way to motivate yourself to practice yoga and overcome hurdles stifling your practice.

Yoga goals don’t involve logging repetitions or tracking your heart rate, however. Yoga goals should focus on deepening your practice, not fretting over fitness metrics. If you want to advance your yoga practice this year, these yoga goals are a great place to start.

Practice yoga 3 times a week

Developing a yoga habit starts with setting achievable goals. Rather than trying to become a daily practitioner overnight, set a goal of doing yoga three times per week and carve out a regular time for your practice. While some yogis prefer to practice in the morning, others find an evening session ideal for winding down after a busy day.

Sign up for yoga classes

If you plan to do yoga at home but don’t follow through, try putting money on the line. You can find yoga classes for any level, from slow flow classes for beginners to modern yoga styles like hot yoga, aerial yoga, and AcroYoga for advanced yogis.

Create a space to practice yoga at home

If yoga classes don’t fit your schedule or budget, commit to home practice instead. A dedicated space for yoga will help you get into the mindset and focus on your practice. A yoga space doesn’t need to be big, but it should have enough space for a mat, a way to play yoga videos and music, and no distractions.

Add props to your practice

There’s no shame in using yoga props. In fact, props like yoga blocks and straps can be exactly what you need to achieve new poses. You can buy yoga props online for home practice, but if you’re not sure what you need, book a private yoga class to discover the best props for your body.

Practice new poses using mobile videos

Is there one pose that consistently stumps you? Conquer your most dreaded yoga poses or learn a challenging new pose by following along with yoga videos on your phone. You can find progressions for a wide variety of yoga poses, from downward dog to handstands. If your phone is outdated, you may have issues downloading and playing yoga videos. If you’re in need of an upgrade, some providers allow you to trade in your old device for a discounted new model. And if you’re going to be practicing yoga outdoors (e.g., at the park or beach), avoid overage charges by signing up for a phone plan with unlimited data.

Practice breathing techniques

Breath control is a central aspect of yoga, but many practitioners struggle to breathe correctly during their yoga practice. If you have difficulty focusing on your breath while flowing through poses, strip away the movement and spend time practicing yogic breathing techniques.

Hone your meditation skills

Yoga itself is a type of meditation, but often people get caught up in the movements and the mindfulness gets stripped away. Renew your commitment to a meditative practice by learning other forms of meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a popular technique, but there are a variety of meditation styles to try.

Attend a yoga retreat

For many people, yoga is one small aspect of a busy life. Yogis who want to deepen their practice should consider immersing themselves in a yoga retreat. Whether it’s across town or around the globe, yoga retreats are an excellent chance to disconnect and focus on the mind-body connection without distraction.

There’s nothing wrong with being a casual yogi. However, if you want to advance your practice, it’s important to set intentions for yourself. Whether you’re a beginner trying to master basic poses or an advanced yogi looking to deepen your mind-body connection, make space for your yoga goals this year.

Image via Unsplash

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