More stress is probably the last thing most of us need in our lives, but one anxiety-busting strategy used by millions may actually be increasing your tension: yoga. While not every yogi is looking to relieve stress—some practice to build strength, improve flexibility, or correct a slouching posture, among other things—yoga is one of the first things many people turn to when they need relaxation.
But don’t let this news stress you out: Once you know why time on the mat can rack your nerves, you can take the steps to make sure you’re getting all the mind-easing benefits you want from your practice.
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Unlike other fitness classes, you cannot show up late—many studios even lock the doors—but speeding to get to yoga can ruin the serenity you’re about to experience. “If I had a dollar for every time a student told me she almost got into a car accident rushing to get to class, I’d be a rich woman!” Santas says.
It sounds obvious, but giving yourself plenty of time to get to class will make it more beneficial in the long run, plus possibly prevent a fender-bender! “Mentally schedule a class 15 minutes before it actually begins,” Rajendran advises. Hopefully you’ll wind up early and can give yourself those extra minutes to check your distractions at the door and sit, center, and connect with your body.