THE BLOG
01/22/2016 04:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Tips to Create a Yoga Practice That Changes Your Life

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Whatever the reason for taking your first yoga class, the potential to go much deeper has always and will always be there. I practiced yoga for about five years before I really started to tap into its life changing properties. But looking back, I can now see so many moments, talks, relationships, experiences and books that lead me to these deeper elements.

The yoga practice has the potential to create a complete 180 in your life. Breakthroughs galore! But it can be challenging when you don't know exactly where to look. Below I am giving you the insider scoop on where to look, what to look for and what to do when you find it.

1. Align. Align. Align.

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Photo Credit: Nick Antony Photography

While this practice goes so much deeper than the poses, they are the best place to start. Your body is a vehicle for the bigger experiences to come. You want to keep your body safe and healthy. First thing to check off your list is alignment. Learning to come into these postures in a way that is optimal for your body will set you up for experiencing the deeper elements in the future. If you are unsure of how to learn proper alignment, look for yoga classes with titles such as: Align and Flow, Anusara or Iyengar. Also look for teachers who's training includes Iyengar, Anusara, Yoga Therapy or Yoga Anatomy. Beginners classes or workshops are also a great way to learn the ins and out of the basic postures. You can also check out my online course where I break down over 40 of the most popular postures in the Vinyasa yoga practice by clicking here.

2. Don't Get too Hung up on the Postures

I know, I am contradicting myself. Hear me out. Yes the postures are super important. Yes you need to be aligned and safe in them. And yes, this is a life long education. But if you get so attached to mastering the postures you will forget that the point of the postures is to take you into a richer experience of yourself. Have fun with the postures. Learn handstands and arm balances if you wish. Just hold space for what is beyond them.

3. Seek Yoga Teachers and Classes with Powerful Messages

Not all yoga classes are created equal. Some are all about alignment. Some are all about flow. Some have teachers that only call out poses and barely link the breath. And others have teachers that weave brilliant and beautiful messages that inspire you and even make you cry. These are the ones you want to look out for. In addition, look for teachers that link breath with movement, add some element of flow, leave plenty of time for Savasana and ask you to tap into how you feel. Chanting and talk of the Chakras is also a good sign. When a teacher can offer these elements in an open class you have a greater opportunity to use the yoga practice to grow and heal.

4. Find Books, Documentaries and Spiritual Leaders that Challenge you to Dig Deep

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Photo Credit: Fotolia

For me this part is huge. I think it is super important to move around and seek the opinions of many. And always keep in mind they are just opinions. You may agree with some things and other stuff you may not vibe with. This is good. It means you are being discerning.

Two of my favorite documentaries are What the Bleep Do We Know and I AM. Two of my favorite spiritual books are The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. And two of my favorite spiritual leaders are Osho and Danielle Laporte. Be sure to check them all out!

5. Learn to Meditate
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Photo Credit: Nick Antony Photography

Yes, meditation is necessary to expand your practice. It's all about turning in. All the good stuff you need is inside of you. Meditation is your one-way ticket. The good thing is there are tons of different ways to meditate. From guided meditations, to dynamic meditations, to dancing meditations to speaking gibberish for five minutes. There is a meditation that fits your style. Check out Osho's book, Meditation: The First and Last Freedom. This book gives you bunches of juicy meditations that are beyond just sitting still and trying not to think. If you want guided meditations you can check out my Meditation Buffet by clicking here.

6. Complement Your Practice with Healing Modalities

Healing practices are such a great compliment to your yoga practice and could facilitate healing on profound levels. Some of my favorite include acupuncture, herbalism, massage reiki and dance therapy. Do some research or ask your friends or yoga teachers and see what is in your area and what feels like a fit for you.


7. Find Ways to Give Back

For me, this one is really powerful. When we can serve others we create connection, learn about our own gifts and talents and create a greater sense of community. There are so many ways to do this. You can connect with a local charity doing work you love, create a fund drive for a cause you are passionate about, come up with your own project for an issue that is dear to you or research global service travel.

If you are interested in service work and travel in developing countries, I recommend Cross Cultural Solutions, Off the Mat into the World and buildOn. I've worked personally with each one and they all rock.


8. Work with a Good Therapist

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Photo Credit: Fotolia

The yoga practice can take you deep but often times there is more work to do to heal some of the even deeper layers. There are so many types of therapists out there. Some are traditional, some are more spiritual and some practice other modalities such as Shamanism, Tantric or Clairvoyance. If you are unsure where to begin, ask your yoga teacher or friends that are also on this path. I find that when we put our intentions out there the things or people we are looking actually find us.

9. Come Out of Your Comfort Zone
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Photo Credit: Nick Antony Photography

For me, teaching has become as much about taking people out of their comfort zone as it is about giving them the tools to heal. As one of my teachers once said, comfort is overrated. I couldn't agree more. When we are comfortable we aren't stretching our limits. We aren't growing. We are staying put. Growth and transformation is often messy. Finding ways to push your comfort limits will prepare you with the tools to handle your own transformation.

10. Take Your Yoga Home

A home practice is a great idea but I actually want you to think bigger. As you continue to practice, and apply the tips I have just given you, your awareness will grow. The more you can apply what you connect to and learn on your mat the more you will grow. With growth comes transformation. Bring your yoga practice (and the consciousness it brings you) into every single aspect of your life from your relationships, to your work, to your creative projects. Don't even think about compartmentalizing it. Share the love and you will get so much more back.

Want more? Click here to get my free video tutorials on how to avoid injury in 4 of the most misaligned postures in the Vinyasa yoga practice.