Practicing yoga can be incredibly restorative and beneficial for your mental and physical wellbeing. By taking up a practice, or even a single class, you have taken a huge step toward improving the area of your life that brought you to yoga in the first place. So, you’ve taken a class and now it’s over; what next? What you do during class is important, but taking some mindful steps after class can deepen your practice and enhance the benefits you receive.
Many of us are guilty of simply rolling up our mat and going about our day, but mindful self-care post-yoga is important to nourish an open heart, engaged mind, energized body and peaceful spirit. To enhance your wellbeing even further after a yoga session, try incorporating these three simple steps into your routine – they may be small, but they will help you find balance in mind and body long after leaving the studio.
Drink Lots of Water
Post yoga class is the perfect time to take advantage of the way our bodies cleanse themselves. When we practice yoga, we release toxins and energy blockages in our bodies which can then be flushed out. To facilitate this process, we need to be properly hydrated. The postures of yoga stimulate the flow of vital energy, known as prana, for stress relief and cleansing. To maximize these benefits, proper hydration is essential.
Imagine a river filled with debris, blocked by leaves, branches, and litter. Without enough water, the debris clogs the river, and nothing can flow through without difficulty. The river becomes slow-moving, stagnant in places, and dirty. But when the river is full of water, it can flow more freely and push the debris downstream. Similarly, proper hydration allows your body to flush out what it doesn’t need, leaving you refreshed and revitalized.
I was a person who found it difficult to drink a lot of water. Then I went through an episode where I would become dehydrated very easily, and my blood pressure would drop to levels low enough to cause me to pass out upon standing. I learned then how important water is for the balance and flow in my body and began consciously incorporating it into my routine. I started monitoring how much water I drank per day to ensure I was getting enough, but I found that, over time, it became more natural.
Yoga classes end in savasana, or corpse pose. Many instructors will tell you savasana is the most important pose, because its purpose is focused reflection and appreciation of the energy flowing through us.
After going through the poses of class and paying attention to our body, our movements, and our breath, savasana allows us to completely let go, release any remaining tension we may be holding, and reflect on how the class has changed the way we feel.
Savasana is a chance to cool down and relax after practice, and to appreciate the good we’ve just done for our bodies and minds. I once took a yoga class where, while in savasana, the instructor encouraged us to do something that made an abstract concept more tangible to me.
While lying on our mats, relaxing our breath, she asked us to imagine as if we were our own skin. It sounds strange, but while lying there after an incredible class, I could actually feel the energy I had just created vibrating from my skin. It was an incredible feeling, and for me, confirmation that this mystical ‘energy’ I was hearing about is a very real thing. Take time during savasana to honor the sacred practice you’ve just experienced.
Sign Up for Your Next Class
Long-lasting benefits of yoga come with consistency. If you are new to yoga, it is important to understand that results are gradual, but when they come, they are life changing. Sticking with your practice, and expanding as you feel comfortable, is what will create profound changes in your holistic health. Over time, you’ll start to notice you feel stronger, more flexible. You might notice decreased pain, or an increased capacity to handle difficult situations. You might notice that you feel calmer and more peaceful and are less susceptible to irritability.
Making a commitment to incorporate yoga into your life with some level of regularity is the best way to ensure your practice has lasting results. Making yoga a regular part of your life can be the most difficult part when you’re first getting started. After a class, you will feel refreshed and motivated, so take advantage of this time by signing up for your next class. If we’re already signed up and expected at class (especially if you have a yoga buddy!), we’ll be less likely to back out.
Here are a few other helpful things you can do after a yoga class:
- Meditation – Even a few minutes of meditation after a yoga class (or before!) can help enhance the benefits of your practice. Take time to reflect on the class, and to fully relax before going back out into your day.
- Journaling – Ironically, yoga can stir up a lot of thoughts and emotions. Journaling is a way of releasing our thoughts and the energy they hold. It can lead to insight and clarity, especially after a yoga class.
- Posture reflection – The goal of yoga is not to necessarily improve our postures, but to fully understand the way our body responds to them. Think about the poses that were difficult or uncomfortable for you, and see if you can consciously release tension in that area next time.
By incorporating even a couple of these tips, you can experience greater benefits and rewards out of your yoga practice. Taking the time to unwind and restore is an investment into your overall physical and mental wellbeing. Wrapping up your practice with mindful intention, setting a few intentions for your future classes, and expressing gratitude can help hold you accountable and create positive transformation over time.
If you’re ready to take back control of your health and embark upon the journey of self-love and acceptance, let us be part of it! At Inspiring Actions, we design classes tailored specifically to meet our student’s needs. We hope you find something that fits in with your lifestyle so that you can ease yourself into sustainable wellness practices. Let our classes bring out the best version of yourself by scheduling a session today! Visit our schedule to sign up for classes – we’d love to have you!