What you can do to improve your practice that has nothing to do with yoga

Burned out on yoga? Need to get away from the studio and that teacher who won’t stop talking about herself? Want to actually experience summer? Then try these tips to improve your yoga practice with without stepping on a mat or getting into Luon.

Practice yoga off the mat by being nice! OMG! Ideal opportunities include not bitching at the person who cut in front of you in the movie line, or spending time with family. Remember, you can always say, thank you.

Exercise. You knew I was going to say that. Walk, run, jog, lift weights, bike, hike, swim etc. Especially work your core strength. Nothing will improve your yoga practice like endurance and strength, and nothing will ruin it faster than ignoring it. In some cases, watching the Olympics on the couch may also burn calories and increase aerobic capacity. But please try to stretch afterward.

Get Unstable. For some of us, how could we be even more unstable? Well, it’s possible. I tried SUP -- Stand Up Paddleboard – this summer, and it was great. We are used to rooting down and finding solid ground. But when the ground isn’t solid, you have to find strength and stability within. The same goes for surfing, skiing, ice-skating, and rollerblading.

Improve nutrition. Many yogis these days are gluten-free, but guess what? I feel better when I cut gluten out of my diet. The same goes for all the bad stuff you already know about. And increase your greens. However, this list doesn’t include ice cream, because ice cream gets a hall pass in summer.

Limit alcohol. Right? This is so horrible that you have to be devoted to your yoga practice to even consider it. But it does mess with your sleep and your balance. The same goes for smoking – ANYTHING. Anything which restricts your breath and impedes the lining of your lungs will diminish your practice.

Increase sleep. It’s hard when the days are longer. But if you don’t get enough sleep it shows up in your practice. However, if the reason you are not getting enough sleep is that you are increasing your endurance and strength by doing non-sleep related activities in bed, then you get another hall pass.

After all, love improves yoga too. I hope George Clooney reads this article and can help me out, because as you know, I really need to improve my yoga practice.

 Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. Michelle is the author of “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga,” and a Columnist for Elephant Journal and Origin Magazine.  She is an E-500 RYT with Yoga Alliance and teaches Aligned Vinyasa in Denver, Co. Even though she is uber-fabulous, she is NOT an Ambassador for Lululemon, and has been promised she will never be one. She is, however, an Ambassador for Kiragrace, yoga clothes from a company with a heart. You can take Michelle with you on your computer or I-thing by downloading her classes from www.yogadownload.com.