Optimize Your Yoga Practice By Using A Timer

There are many benefits to practicing yoga. It is a great way to relax the body after a stressful day or learn how to move your body in new ways. Yoga poses can help you gain flexibility, balance and strength. Some people who practice yoga have almost unlimited amounts of time and energy, but most would benefit from using a timer to help them improve endurance and move each side of the body equally. Using a timer also helps most people focus and surrender control while they meditate.

Objective Feedback
Timing your yoga moves is a great way to see if you are making progress. A person who is experienced in yoga may challenge themselves to see how long they can hold the warrior III pose. This pose requires a great deal of balance and focus. Using a timer each time you perform this difficult pose will allow you to measure the amount of time you are able to hold the pose against the amount of time you were able to hold it one week ago. You can easily track your improvements and may choose to hold the pose for a longer amount of time when it becomes easier for you.
The timer can also be an incentive to hold on when you’re working on poses that require a large amount of stamina and endurance. Just knowing that the timer will be beeping in a minute or less will likely give you the stamina you need to hold the pose until the timer beeps. This is an excellent strategy when you are working on difficult poses such as salamba sirsasana, the supported head stand. Many people have to work up to holding this pose for three or five minutes, and knowing that the timer will be beeping soon helps them hold on longer than they would otherwise be able to. Beginners usually rely more on the timer than those who have practiced yoga for years because your body builds endurance with time and repetition.
Working Each Side of the Body Evenly
Most people are naturally stronger on one side of their body than the other and you probably won’t hold poses for the same amount of time on each side of your body without a timer. Time feels like it is passing slower when the moves are more difficult, so holding a pose for two-minutes on the stronger side of your body may feel like ten-minutes on your weaker side. When doing poses like vasisthasana, the side plank pose, it is essential that you work the muscles on each side of your body for the same amount of time. Some people choose to work one side of the body for a longer period of time than the other side, and the timer will help you work each side of the body for any amount of time you choose.
Setting Intervals
Having to count intervals without the help of a timer or a teacher causes most people to focus more on counting than their body. This doesn’t allow the body to relax and unwind. Intervals allow you to try new poses with a commitment of only 30 seconds or one minute. They also allow you to move through a series of poses without having to count the amount of time you spent on each pose and make sure that you are exercising both sides of the body equally. You can go deep into each move, knowing that you will only have to hold the move for a short period of time. This is especially important for balance moves such as the tree pose, the half moon pose and the king dancer pose.
Minimizing Distractions
One of the most important elements of yoga is meditation. Many people practice yoga simply because it helps them relax their bodies as well as their minds. Using a timer helps you minimize distracting thoughts because you can push them away until the timer beeps. If the time feels unusually long when you are doing ten-minutes of sun salutations, you can quickly glance at the timer and know that the time is passing and there are only a few minutes left.
Using a timer also allows you to surrender control when you are doing restorative poses at home. Many people depend on their yoga teacher to tell them when to change position or get up off the floor. Unfortunately you probably don’t have a yoga teacher in your home, so the timer can act as your teacher and let you know when your session is over or it’s time to stop meditating. It may seem like using a timer would make you feel more restricted, but most people feel more free when they are able to depend on something else to keep time for them so that they don’t have to.
About the Author
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