10 Tips for a Better Yoga Practice

10 Tips for a Better Yoga Practice

If you guys are new to the Kayli Wanders rodeo, you may not know that I fell in-love with yoga last year. I’m not one of those ya-ya raindancey types, so I mean this in the most sane way possible: yoga has done more than physically alleviate my pains (I’m 20 going on 80 with my back pains, you guys). It helps relieve my stress, center my inner voice + remember all of the good that my life holds.

I’m not going to lie though, sometimes it can be hard to get in the groove– your neck is sore from sleeping wonky the night before, your mind is all over the place with your over-extended todo list and the last thing you want to hear is your instructor correct your downward facing dog one more time.

Alas, on the days I force myself to go, I leave feeling like I can take on the world, ready for a good nights rest and thankful for all that I have– and all that my body is able to do.

Here are 10 Tips to help better your yoga practice and get into your groove a little bit quicker.


1. Disconnect a hour before class

Ditching the phone/iPad/computer will help your body recognize it’s time to calm down + help you forget some of the troubles that the day may have caused and unnecessary stress that may come from being connected online. You won’t be able to dwell on that awful Facebook picture your friend tagged you in if you never saw it!

2. Stretch

Stretching will help your body limber-up and physically prepare you for the class ahead. Even 10 minutes does the body good and you may be hurting a whole lot more during Warrior 3 if you don’t.

3. Set an intention

Setting an intention for the class will help you stay focused and let go of the negative thoughts you may have stuck on the brain. Take 5 minutes before you practice to write down your intention– what it is, why you chose it + the good it will bring into your life. If setting an intention isn’t your thing, make a gratitude list! Then, focus on the elements you wrote down during class.

4. Stay hydrated– but don’t gulp the water down

Drink a tall glass of water one-hour before your practice. You want to stay hydrated for any form of exercise and yoga is no different! Don’t drink too much, however, or you may find yourself cramping-up.

5.  Listen to calming music

I like to play some calming music on the drive to my yoga studio. It helps me calm down and start to get relaxed for my upcoming practice. Rap and KissFM can wait until after!

6. Remember that you’re a student of the Universe

Remember that you are always learning and no one– not even your instructor who can get into Scorpion pose in, like, one-second — is done being taught. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you’ll find yourself open to the instructor’s corrections and the sooner you’ll find yourself having better practices. You might even get into a headstand one day! (A girl can dream, right?)

7. Use mat cleaner

Yep. It will literally stink when you finally get to sink into Savasana and realize that the nasty smell that’s been bothering you throughout class is your mat. You can buy a cleanser here for cheap or make your own! Side note: This especially applies to those of you that practice Bikram! Don’t be that guy.

8. Eat a protein bar

There’s seriously nothing worse than getting side-glances in class because your stomach is being Mr. Grumbly. Don’t fill-up on a whole meal before class, but having a protein bar will help sustain any hunger and also give you an extra blast of energy.

9. Bring a friend

Bringing a friend with you can help motivate you to do your best + having an accountability partner to-go every week (or day or weekend or…) is even better. The best part? You have a built-in partner to grab wine a juice with you after!

10. Do deep breathing

Pausing to take some deep breaths throughout the day will help you find your center and prepare you for the class to come.

Do you have any tips for bettering your yoga practice? 

Photo Credit: Sara Bishop Photography
  • thealishanicole

    Great tips!!! I really need to get back into doing yoga regularly. I loved doing it right before bed!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      My night classes are my favorite! So relaxing to work your body a bit before bed. :)

  • http://heleneinbetween.com/ Helene

    I really need to get into yoga- i keep telling myself this! these are excellent tips!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Thanks, Helene + yes, totally get into yoga!! Let me know how you like it. :)

  • Valerie

    Great tips! I agree with all of them although I still need to work on a few like #1 for example. For me, it’s really about breathing deeply and trying to stop my mind from wandering around during class. I try to stay in the “now” and make the most of my yoga session :) xx

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Yes! I think trying to breathe is definitely an area I need work on as well. :)

  • http://www.ollivandermo.com/ Mo Olivas

    You and I still need to go to Yoga together! :) Such great tips by the way!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Yes! Next time you’re in Phoenix let’s go!

  • Brooklyn

    I have fallen in love with yoga these past few months. I may or may not be getting a yoga mat for my birthday this week ;) This post actually made me want to start doing yoga right this second.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Ah, yay!! How exciting. Do you have one chosen yet? :) If not, I LOVE Optimistic Elephant on Etsy…they are SO cute.

  • http://www.GoldenStateMom.com Maryann Peik

    Great tips! I need more time in the day to exercise. :(

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      I totally agree, Maryann! Was just telling my boyfriend that I think I’ll have to will myself to wake up an hour or two earlier…tough but worth it!

  • http://www.oliveandivyblog.com/ Chelsea

    Awesome tips, thank you for sharing! I’ve wanted to do yoga classes for a while now but was too scared to go alone, haha. I have two friends moving right near me next month so hopefully we can go together!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      How fun– yoga with friends is definitely a blast!

  • http://www.awhimsiclelife.com JoAnn Madden Crohn

    Thanks for the tips! Especially the one about the mat cleaner. I need to check into that :-)

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Definitely do! It’s so important to keep your mat sanitary :)

  • http://www.lipstickandlullabies.ca/ Rebekah

    These are fantastic tips. I’ve just started PiYo (pilates / yoga beachbody workout thing) and it has done wonders for my aches (31 going on 80, I feel yah)

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Ohhh, I’ve heard amazing things about PiYo! You’ll have to let me know how you like it. :)

  • http://www.tobethode.com/ Stefany @ ToBeThode

    I second every one of these tips, especially the bring a friend. Going to yoga is just not as fun without someone to do it with. My best friend and I giggle throughout the poses we aren’t ready for and it is a great time.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      I wish I had someone to go to my regular classes with! I recently started taking yoga for college credit in a classroom setting with my BFF, and it’s fun so far!

  • http://www.thedallassocials.com/ Betsy

    I haven’t tried yoga before but would love to get into it. Thanks for these great tips!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Of course, Betsy!

  • http://www.estherandjacob.com/ esther julee

    Great tips! I have not gone to yoga class before, but I’ve done kickboxing class.. and some yoga at home through p90x. :) I’m not sure what it is about the class setting that is intimidating for me though..

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      I was so intimidated my first class but I truly think that it’s all about the studio– I felt comfortable in a matter of minutes!

  • Michelle Chouinard

    I love the idea of setting an intention for the class. Not just for that honestly, but for m whole day…

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      I agree, Michelle! I think it’s so important.

  • http://www.workathomewisdom.com/ Christen

    Great tips. I truly love yoga.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Me too, Christen! So happy you enjoyed the tips.

  • http://www.willowberryroad.com Alisha H.

    I have never done yoga, but I want to try it. I want to do it at home though; I can’t stomach the thought of a class; it makes me too nervous.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Try it at home + then try a class, Alisha! I was so intimidated when I first went in but felt comfortable within’ the first 10 minutes– find a good studio! :)

  • http://www.glamour-zine.com Glamour-Zine

    I really need to start doing yoga again, I use to love it!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Do it! You won’t regret it. :)

  • Karissa Ancell

    I’d love to start doing yoga. Great tips, maybe I will give it a try.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Definitely do, Karissa!

  • http://www.myrabev.blogspot.co.uk/ Mia Myrabev

    Thanks for the tips, miss my yoga days it was blissfully painful but I did get the much needed sleep

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Yes, sleep is a great thing. :)

  • http://teamwiking.com/ Jessica at Team Wiking

    Great tips, I love those pants !

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Thanks, Jessica! I got them at Target on sale. :)

  • http://www.feltwithlovedesigns.com Felt With Love Designs

    I’ve used to do pilates regularly but I haven’t done yoga yet. I’ve heard wonderful things and want to try it! Thanks for the tips!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Thank you for reading, my dear!

  • songbirdsandbuttons

    Awesome tips! I am starting yoga tomorrow! Can’t wait!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Ah, how exciting!! Enjoy. :)

  • Lynette Brown (Blinc Pics)

    I really really need to start Yoga again, I used to love it, was so good for the mind, thank you for this, you’ve inspired me to start again

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Great, Lynette! :)

  • Neely

    I love yoga these are great tips!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Thanks, Neely! I do too. :)

  • http://www.hellorigby.com/ Jenn

    These are some great tips! I didn’t know the one about the yoga mat, good to know before I try a class!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner


  • http://www.celeryandcupcakes.com/ Jemma Andrew

    Yoga is so great. Thanks for sharing your tips.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Of course!

  • http://jesslovesthislife.blogspot.com/ Jessica Angeles

    Great tips! I just got into hot yoga and it’s totally a life changer!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Ah, yes! Bikram was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but it made me feel incredible.

  • Deidre Emme

    I struggle with yoga… I cannot balance for the life of me. Which is sad since I am a dancer. You think it would come easier for me, right!?

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Haha, I totally get you! My balance is zero.

  • http://www.alyssadawsonblog.com Lyssadawson

    Man, I’ve wanted to start going/doing yoga and I think this really helped. It seems so intimidating, and I’m not very flexible or anything!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      I am SO not flexible- it’s nice because you never feel like anyone is judging you…seems to me like they’re all too busy trying to improve their own positions!

  • http://tanejasbride.com Shipra Taneja

    Yoga is a great exercise! I used to do a lot of yoga AND cardio, but now, I only have time for cardio. :)

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      I definitely have to step-up my cardio…I dread it!

  • http://www.beawarriorqueen.com/ Raewyn Smith

    I absolutely love going to yoga and feel so much more centered after classes! It’s been awhile since I’ve done it but m friend just started a Youtube Channel so I am going to get in on that! I always eat a protein bar before yoga!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Awesome! What’s her channel? I’ll have to check it out!

  • http://www.pinkonthecheek.com/ Lauren

    I am a huge fan of yoga. My muscles were less sore and I loved sweating it out on the mat.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Same! Have you tried Bikram? Talk about working up a sweat!

      • http://www.pinkonthecheek.com/ Lauren

        I go to a hot yoga studio but it isn’t bikram. It’s more of a power yoga.

  • Renée B.

    Great tips! I really like the one about writing down your intentions – what a great way to reinforce them with yourself.

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      I totally agree, Renee! It definitely helps keep me on track. :)