Tip Tuesday is a weekly feature where I offer a few yoga tips that have worked for me in the hopes that they can help you too.
You might be a yoga robot if…
…Your body is on the mat, but your mind is floating elsewhere
…You aren’t at all aware of your breath during the practice
…You don’t ever consider taking a variation, modification, or deviation of any pose
…You do the poses just to do them without looking at how they feel in your body.
…Yoga is an item you cross off on your to-do list
Robots are not all bad. They are usually good at doing what they are told and getting automated tasks done. But a robot can’t go beyond their programmed behavior. Yoga robots will get their practice done, but miss out on the chance to experiment, fall, challenge, and sometimes having that juicy breakthrough on the mat.
Ways to de-program your robot:
Breathe. When you find your mind wandering, focus your breath into where you feel the pose in your body. If it’s a hip-opener pose, direct your breath into your hip. Feel for how much space you can create with your breath.
Find your feet. Press into the balls of your feet and lift and spread your toes. This little action will help ground you and re-focus your attention back to your body.
Take a variation. If you’re in downward dog, try a 1-legged dog, shift your hips, pedal the feet, send the leg out to the side. Play with different movement and see what it feels like. Don’t worry if it’s not the traditional “right” pose. You could stumble upon a creative new variation you’ll want to repeat.
Try a mantra. A short chant or phrase can help keep your mind focused and calm. It can be as simple as “inhale” and “exhale”. Even humming along to music during your practice can have have a centering effect as you experience the vibrational effect of the notes. Who knows, it could even be this song: