When I first started practicing yoga, I would do so at home with VHS cassettes and DVDs. When I got older and moved my practice to yoga studios, I never was able to feel comfortable. I realized that I was more worried about my outside appearance or I was rushing to class frazzled after work. I never took the time to physically or mentally prepare for my practice, and in response, I developed a pre-yoga routine. This quick and easy five-step routine can be adopted by anyone to help create a more mindful, centering practice.
1. Get Clean
One of the guiding principles of yoga, saucha, is cleanliness as a spiritual practice. While saucha is more than just physical cleanliness, it does start my pre-yoga routine. Regardless of whether I practice in the morning or evening, I wash my face, apply deodorant, and brush my teeth. While this may seem excessive, it means that I am able to focus on my practice instead of worrying about offending anyone with B.O. or bad breath.
2. Drink a Big Cup of Water
Traditional yoga practice would include fasting, and while I don’t necessarily subscribe to that, I always make sure I am hydrated before I even get to class. Stopping momentarily to get a sip of water would often make me miss a pose or cue, and it would always take me a few breaths to get back into my flow. So, I make sure to drink some water before class (as well as after) so I can stay focused.
3. Wear Comfortable Clothes
I used to buy flashy yoga pants, tops, and sports bras, and I would spend precious time thinking about how I wanted to look for class. This, of course, is not what yoga is about and took a lot of unnecessary time. Now, I focus solely on my practice and wear comfortable sweats, shorts and tank tops.
4. Wipe Down My Mat
I used to be bad at remembering to wipe down my mat (I know, gross). I’ve since made wiping down my mat part of my pre-yoga routine to ensure I am not practicing on dried sweat and bacteria. If you want to add a bit of extra calm, try spritzing your mat with a deodorizing spray like this one.
5. Arrive Early
I am notorious for being late, but when it comes to yoga, I refuse to compromise. When I was late, I would often rush in, throw my mat down, and jump right into whatever pose. Without centering at the beginning of class, I never prepared my mind for yoga, which would make for a rather unsettling practice. Getting there on time allows me the headspace to mentally prepare.
If you like this routine, you can follow it yourself, or create your own! The goal is to create an environment and mindset where you can focus on nothing but your practice. Since starting my pre-yoga routine, I’ve found that my yoga practice has been more centered and mindful.
Written for P3 Pure by Kami Guiden. Kami is lifestyle blogger based in DC. When she's not writing, you can find her doing yoga, enjoying caramel lattes, or playing catch with her dogs.