Simplify Your Yoga Practice: The “No Extra” Rule

Over the years I have found ways to eliminate distractions in yoga class and streamline my practice. My thoughts are much less erratic while I practice. My focus has drastically increased. And not surprising, my postures and life have improved. I use a simple rule I call “no extras”. It’s a way to simplify and avoid extra distractions in class that pull you away from your postures, your focus, mediation and healing.

Try this in your yoga practice — No extra…


Whether there are mirrors are not in your yoga studio, jewelry and watches are a distraction. Especially if you look in the mirror during your yoga practice. Take off your rings, remove your earrings, leave the watch in your locker and enjoy the beauty of just seeing… you.


Bring the water that you will need for class, no more and no less. If you need to ask the teacher to get you water, chances are you need to bring more water to class next time. Avoid pouring and transferring water from one bottle into one with ice cubes, this is simply a distraction to you and your fellow yogis. In fact, cold water makes your hot yoga practice harder! Finally, be mindful of how much you drink water during class; when you feel overwhelmed instead of going for your water bottle, try sitting out a posture and and focus on regaining control of your breath and heart rate.


I used to bring a hand towel into class to wipe my face, hands and ankles. Leave this towel at home, not only will your practice improve (you need to work through sweaty grips in order to build your hand strength), you will save on laundry. If you practice hot yoga you can purchase a Breathe Mat, which is a towel and mat in one, removing the temptation to adjust your towel on top of your mat. Letting the sweat run down your face is a great thing, you are detoxing your body of unwanted chemicals. If the sweat gets in your eyes, rest assured this is temporary. With a consistent practice your posture will naturally correct itself and you will no longer have sweat stinging your eyes. Pretty cool eh?


Not all thoughts in yoga class are bad. I tend to have a lot of creative ideas for life and work during my yoga practice and I used to think that was a bad thing since I heard it was best to have a clear mind. I have found that creative thoughts that come and go during class are a gift because I’ve wiped away all the unnecessary or “extra” thoughts. Try to release extra thoughts that do not serve your practice like: negative self talk, annoyance with the teacher or your fellow yogis, righteous thoughts, or distractions from the room like smells and heat.


Away with the fidgeting! Extraneous movements between postures take away from your recovery. It’s so easy to work your ass off in a posture, feel your heart racing and in between postures you feel kind of crazy and want to move around. Try just breathing and look at yourself with soft eyes in the mirror. This will help you take advantage of breaks – even the short ones – and allows your heart rate to slow down. If you focus on no extra movements, you will notice class is much easier. Relish those small breaks and use your breath to dissipate the crazies.

Give the “no extras” rule a try and let me know what you think.

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