Techniques to make yoga more enjoyable

As my students enter the yoga classroom, they take off their shoes and place them by the door. They unroll their mats and lie down. I dim the lights.
Yoga has immensely improved my life, and I enjoy showing others how it can improve theirs, too. I’m a yoga instructor, and have practiced this ancient Indian technique of poses, breathing and meditations for more than 20 years. I’m also an oncology nurse and breast cancer survivor.

I ask my students to come to a “comfortable seat.” This is a phrase we yogis often use. It helps students transition from their busy lives to a more meditative state.

For some, it’s difficult to find their comfortable seat. In fact, it can be excruciating when done wrong. A comfortable seat in yoga feels different than sitting in front of a computer or behind a steering wheel. When done properly, the pose takes advantage of the natural curves of our spine and can feel effortless.

There are sighs of relief as my students find their comfortable seats. Some are athletes. Others have physical limitations. Others are recovering from illnesses and injuries.

Yoga has so many benefits. It can help relieve the chronic pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. It also can help ease depression, anxiety, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

One thing I want students to know is there’s no right or wrong way to do yoga, only different techniques to make each pose feel comfortable. One of the thrills for a yoga instructor is helping each student find their comfort in a pose.

The shape of each pose is a suggestion and you have endless choices for each pose. Let’s take a look at four common yoga poses and explore how to make them more comfortable for you.