Caley Alyssa is an international yoga teacher whose practice helped her transform her life and realize her dreams. Check out her class, 28 Days to Yoga Bliss: The Fundamentals, Breathwork, and Poses You Need to Know.
When it comes to yoga, what is progress? Gaining flexibility or being able to do advanced postures is a bonus of the physical practice, but it’s not actually a sign of progress.
The real measure of progress in yoga is seen in how well you can meet the resistance that arises in your practice both physically and mentally.
Progress means learning how to take a deep breath and making space to observe and feel what is happening in the body and mind in order to find the best way to respond to any kind of resistance that you meet.
1. Become an observer instead of a reactor.
Start to notice what comes up for you as you're moving in and out of postures. Are you focusing on your breath? Pay attention to what feelings come up for you, what sensations arise, and what thoughts come in and out of your head. Do this without reacting or responding to anything.
Learn to observe and be curious about the practice. Curiosity will drive you forward to learn and progress your practice in ways you didn't think possible.
Tune in and turn in. The more you can learn to sit with yourself, clear your mind, and slow down the chatter, the more you will be able to apply these techniques to your physical asana practice. Once you can do that, the benefits of the practice will unfold faster and more intensely than you may have expected.
3. Invest in a private lesson.
I can't emphasize the importance of one-on-one instruction enough. If you're serious about advancing your practice, the benefits of having a knowledgeable teacher to help point out areas where you can grow and guide you through that growth is invaluable.
If you start with a private as a beginner, you also prevent forming any bad habits right out of the gate. Do it.