11 Ways to Improve Your Yoga Practice

11 Ways to Improve Your Yoga Practice

Published on October 23, 2018

The tradition of yoga holds great depth and diversity, providing us with endless opportunities to explore and grow. While improving strength and flexibility are two obvious places to focus in order to progress in yoga, there are many other, more subtle, paths and tools that can help you become more proficient in your practice. This list of 11 ways to improve your yoga practice is not meant to be tackled all at once—working on just one or two of these areas at a time will be enough for you to see improvements.

1. Be consistent

Setting and committing to a regular practice of yoga is absolutely essential if you want to make improvements. You should practice yoga at least three times per week to start to see progress in your flexibility, strength, and focus. If you can’t attend studio classes that often, definitely adopt a home yoga practice and use yoga videos and apps to your advantage. Also know that while frequency is vital, the quality of your practice is ultimately more important than quantity. Carelessness and distractedness will not be effective, so approach every yoga session with intention.

2. Find the right teacher, tradition, and studio

Finding a teacher, yoga style, and studio that clicks for you will obviously be a huge boon in deepening your practice. Finding these may take years to achieve, so adopt an attitude of exploration and curiosity in your search. Trying out different classes and teachers has a benefit in itself; it lets you gain exposure and experience in all of the different ways to practice yoga.

3. Use yoga props

Using yoga straps, blocks, blankets, and bolsters will allow you to achieve a broader and more diverse experience of the asanas. Yoga props can be used actively to engage targeted muscle groups or in restorative yoga poses to release deeply held tensions and melt chronic stress.

4. Practice pranayama

One of the critical aspects of hatha yoga is to embody pranayama, or yogic breath. We all come to yoga with some type of dysfunctional or irregular breathing pattern, so reclaiming slow, deep, diaphragmatic breath can take about a year to establish. Once dirga pranayama becomes your regular breathing pattern, begin to practice the other types of pranayama to connect more deeply to your energy body and experience the flow of prana through the seven chakras.

5. Buy a great yoga mat

Performing yoga asanas on a crappy mat that bunches up and slips will distract you and hinder your practice. While many yoga studios do offer mats to use during classes, having your own mat will be more sanitary. Having a high-quality mat will give you a solid foundation on which to build a great practice. Plus, over time your mat will become infused with the effort, dedication, and intention of your personal practice.

6. Learn and practice meditation

While yoga can itself be a meditation-in-motion, establishing a traditional seated meditation practice will allow you to further develop and explore the mental aspect of yoga. The discipline you learn through regular meditation will help you focus and un-clutter the mind when you practice the more physical aspects of yoga: asana and pranayama.

7. Take workshops and attend yoga events

Taking a yoga class once weekly can only provide you with the fundamentals of hatha yoga, and the progression of your yoga practice will eventually reach a ceiling. To expand your knowledge and experience, you will need access to more tools, traditions, and techniques. Most yoga studios offer workshops on various topics and host traveling national teachers, or you can look into yoga festivals and yoga retreats around the world.

Workshops and events will not only help you refine your practice, but will also expose you to like-minded practitioners who can support you in deepening your practice.

8. Keep a yoga journal

Keeping a dedicated journal for your yoga practice is a great way to set and keep track of your intentions and goals. Taking a few moments before or after your yoga practice to reflect is a great ritual for developing insight into your work both on and off the yoga mat.

9. Take a private class

If you have been working with a specific teacher for a while, you may want to see if they offer private lessons. Taking one or more private lessons can help you better utilize your strengths and address weaknesses you may be unaware of. Private instruction will be particularly useful if you are in need of help with advanced poses.

10. Take yoga off the mat

As you explore and grow to understand the connections between your body, breath, heart, and mind on your yoga mat, you will naturally witness these connections in other contexts as well. Challenging yoga poses train us to approach difficult life situations with focus and strength. It may be rather easy to apply the Yamas and Niyamas while flowing through yoga poses, but applying these philosophical principles in our work lives and personal relationships is a very different experience. Learning to challenge yourself by finding opportunities to bring yoga off your mat and into your world is a fantastic way to strengthen your yoga skills.

11. Make yoga an essential part of your life

Yoga is not just another trendy exercise program—its philosophical foundations and principles were created thousands of years ago and are meant to be applied throughout your entire life. Do you regularly think about how you can bring more mindfulness, compassion, and awareness to your lifestyle, habits, relationships, diet, and work?

While you do not need to become a monk living in a cave in the Himalayas, there are many simple ways to align your life with the principles of yoga. For example, try eating less animal protein (or none!), declutter your home, be honest in all your communication, or create a daily practice of gratitude and kindness. Weaving yoga into the fabric of your life off the mat will in turn enhance your practice on the mat.

Share with


Our Latest

Yoga Articles
  • Benefits of Chanting Om

    9 Powerful Benefits of Chanting the Om Mantra

  • gratitude breathing exercise

    Elevate Your Spirit With a Gratitude Breathwork Practice

  • Hot Yoga at Home

    Can You Practice Hot Yoga at Home?

  • Saying Thank You to a Yoga Teacher

    12 Ways to Say Thank You to a Yoga Teacher

  • Yoga for Thanksgiving

    Yoga for Thanksgiving: 10 Asanas for Gratitude

  • Siddhis

    Siddhis: Definition, Types, Tips and Dangers

  • Spiritual Health and Wellness

    12 Yogic Ways to Cultivate Spiritual Health and Wellness

  • Bhakti Yoga

    Bhakti Yoga: the Yoga of Devotion

Remove Ads with a

Premium Membership

Viewing ads supports YogaBasics, which allows us to continue bringing you quality yoga content. Sign up for a premium membership to remove all ads and enjoy uninterrupted access to the best yoga resources on the web.

Explore More

Yoga TipsAdviceArticlesPracticesBasicsTechniques

  • yoga pose symbol

    5 Popular Yoga Poses And What They Symbolize

  • Home Yoga Studio

    15 Tips for Creating an Amazing Home Yoga Studio

  • Partner Yoga

    Partner Yoga: Tips, Benefits and Best Poses

  • choosing a yoga mat

    How to Choose a Yoga Mat

  • Tips to Expand Yoga Practice

    3 Paths for Expanding Your Yoga Practice

  • Staying In Love With Yoga

    9 Wonderful Ways To Stay In Love With Yoga

  • Meditation for Inner Strength and Grit

    7 Ways Meditation Cultivates Inner Strength and Grit

  • yoga breathing pranayama

    Keep Calm and Breathe On: The Science of Pranayama

  • yoga stretching exercise

    Yoga vs. Stretching: What’s the Difference?

2 responses to “11 Ways to Improve Your Yoga Practice”

  1. Jun Ware Avatar
    Jun Ware

    Thanks so much for all of these great ways of improving yoga practices!

  2. Esmee Roman Avatar
    Esmee Roman

    Thanks for the great tips!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Timothy Burgin Avatar
About the author
Timothy Burgin is a Kripalu & Pranakriya trained yoga instructor living and teaching in Asheville, NC. Timothy has studied and taught many styles of yoga and has completed a 500-hour Advanced Pranakriya Yoga training. Timothy has been serving as the Executive Director of YogaBasics.com since 2000. He has authored two yoga books and has written over 500 articles on the practice and philosophy of yoga. Timothy is also the creator of Japa Mala Beads and has been designing and importing mala beads since 2004.
Yoga Basics