5 Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice

Meditating with Mala Beads

1. Attend a retreat, workshop or teacher training.

Okay, lets start with the most obvious way to deepen your yoga practice. Go on a retreat, participate in an immersion program, or attend a teacher training with a favorite teacher. Maybe try a new-to-you style of yoga like Bhakti Flow, Yin, or Ashtanga. If you feel ready to move deeper into your practice read my recent blog post about what it’s like to attend a yoga retreat. Yoga retreats and teacher trainings are life changing, practice changing, wall breaking awesomeness.

2. My favorite: Begin a meditation practice.

For those that are new to meditation begin with 5-10 minutes a day. There are many different types of meditation, explore them all: Mindfulness, Concentration, Transcendental, Japa, Mantra etc. Don’t limit yourself to one type. They all have benefits. To begin a meditation practice all you need is a comfortable seat. The most simple meditation technique is to simply witness the gentle tide of your breath. I like using the Insight Timer App for my meditation practice. Insight Timer has guided meditations (helpful if you’re feeling distracted or overwhelmed) and also a timer. Insight Timer also has a pretty substantial and involved meditation community.

3. Get familiar with Patanjali’s Yamas & Niyamas

Yep I said it. The yamas and niyamas are a guide to living a moral, yogic lifestyle. In layman’s terms the yamas are things not to do, while the niyamas are things to do. These are the first two limbs in Patanjali’s eightfold path as laid out in the Yoga Sutras. It takes a lot of courage to really look at ourselves and our lives as they relate to the yamas and niyamas. Don’t be afraid to shine that light. It will only bring you growth.

The Yamas (Restraints)

  1. Ahimsa: nonviolence
  2. Satya: truthfulness
  3. Asteya: non-stealing
  4. Brahmacharya: non-excess ie. moderation
  5. Aparigraha: non-attachment ie. non-greed

The Niyamas (Observances)

  1. Saucha: purity
  2. Santosha: contentment
  3. Tapas: self-discipline
  4. Svadhyaya: self-study
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana: surrender

4. Begin a Home Practice

Create a sacred space in your home for your practice. I live in a 1000 sq. foot duplex that I share with my husband, two dogs, and a cat… and I work from home when I’m not teaching yoga. Let’s just say it’s cozy. In our guest room I have created a space that feels almost sacred…. to be honest most days it needs a little to a lot of help, but it’s a work in progress. I ALWAYS have a mat down and props available. The room gets great natural lighting, I keep essential oils handy and I’m in the process of finding a small table to use as an altar.

Create a space for your home practice anywhere… even if it’s in your living room with your toddler running around or your pets sleeping on your mat. Only you know what you need when it comes to your practice, so give yourself the space and the time to explore.

5. Create a practice of gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is an absolute gift… and maybe one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Don’t get me wrong my life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but I do make it a point to practice gratitude multiple times a day and now it has become a habit. When I’m making dinner I find gratitude in the fresh, healthy produce in front of me and my wonderful partner that helps me prepare meals, the sweet puppy cuddles and kisses that I graciously receive everyday, my healthy, strong and capable body, the many teachers I have in my life (yoga instructors, friends, acquaintances, students, my partner), the list goes on and on. Tips for adding in a bit more gratitude: Anytime you’re by yourself take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for: in the car, brushing your teeth, in the shower, walking to work, beginning/ending your yoga practice, cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, doing laundry.

I hope you find these tips to deepen your practice helpful. I’m always here to support you if you have questions or need guidance.

Namaste!

Autumn

Autumn Adams
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Autumn Adams

Owner, Founder, & Retreat Leader at Ambuja Yoga
Autumn founded Ambuja Yoga in 2014 to share her love of adventure, yoga, and travel with her fellow yogis. Ambuja Yoga has morphed into more than she could have ever dreamed and she is thrilled to have a "job" she loves. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to facilitate personal growth and self love through yoga while taking yogis to off-the-beaten-path destinations worldwide. Follow Autumn on Instagram @autumnadamsyoga.
Autumn Adams
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Gratitude

Hafiz Quote

 

I first heard this quote at a Kirtan event with Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda at Backbend Yoga this spring and it has stuck with me ever since. Unconditional love and gratitude!!! I’m so thankful for every opportunity I have had to learn and grow. I cannot express how much gratitude I have for the people who have supported me, guided me and challenged me. I am a better person because of you.

What Does Ambuja Mean?

purple lotus

A beautiful lotus in full bloom at the Tanah Lot Temple in Bali.

How did I ever settle on the name Ambuja Yoga? Well, it kinda fell in my lap. I had my heart set on a different name and I really loved it, but that name was not meant for me. So I searched and I searched and eventually I found ambuja. It’s typically an Hindu girls name and I LOVE that it means “born from the lotus.” It’s so symbolically beautiful. The fact that we can rise out of the mud to become our best selves.

“One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.”
— Bhagavad Gita 5.10

Ambuja simply translates as lotus in the Sanskrit language, but it is commonly seen as meaning “born from the lotus” and it’s associated with the Goddess Lakshmi. According to the Hindu tradition Lakshmi is the mother of the universe and she is the embodiment of Param Prakriti, the divine feminine capable of purification, empowerment, love and support.

The lotus appears extensively in Buddhism and it symbolically represents our ability to evolve and grow out of the muck and bloom into a beautiful flower and into enlightenment.

The roots of a lotus flower extend into the mud and the stem grows up through the water and the flower blossoms above the surface. In Buddhist thought, this pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment. Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water, it is only the lotus which, owing to the strength of its stem, regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface” (www.religionfacts.com)

Each color of lotus has a different meaning, but to keep it simple, since our lotus is blue, the blue lotus is symbolic of the spirit’s victory over the senses. And it is often associated with wisdom and knowledge. The blue lotus reminds me that life is our greatest teacher and reminds me to always live with conscious awareness and to be open to learning from all that is new and different. Everyday I remind myself to practice gratitude because I have learned from every struggle and every joyous moment.

 

Autumn Adams
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Autumn Adams

Owner, Founder, & Retreat Leader at Ambuja Yoga
Autumn founded Ambuja Yoga in 2014 to share her love of adventure, yoga, and travel with her fellow yogis. Ambuja Yoga has morphed into more than she could have ever dreamed and she is thrilled to have a "job" she loves. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to facilitate personal growth and self love through yoga while taking yogis to off-the-beaten-path destinations worldwide. Follow Autumn on Instagram @autumnadamsyoga.
Autumn Adams
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