I go in and out of yoga kicks and I'm on one now, thanks to a Two Weeks for Twenty Dollars promotion I'm trying to wring every penny of value out of. I went five times last week, which is a personal record for any type of physical activity besides walking and breathing. Every teacher does it a different way and I'm fairly unappreciative of the 'yoga voice' - that breathy, steady voice talking about the third eye and namaste-ing with a lilt. But a few tidbits of advice stick with me and I have tried to keep in mind:
1. Your feet are part of this pose
It's really easy to half-ass it in yoga. You can flow through poses without really doing the poses (or being the poses, as one hippie teacher loves to point out). In order to get the most out of it, every part of your body is part of the pose. Sometimes its job is to relax, or help provide alignment. Pointed toes or flexed feet or heels twisted in or out a certain way change the experience with a pose entirely.
2. When you find your mind wandering, gently bring it back
No need to berate yourself, just remind yourself that the constant review of what that annoying coworker said, the nagging list of to-dos, or sense of pathetic self that you're not actually so good at yoga aren't doing much good. Part of moving forward with anything is emptying the brain and going with the Flow (the yoga flow, not the river flow, or wherever that saying came from).
3. Follow your breath
Much like feet and thoughts, breathing intentionally can make an enormous difference to the experience on the mat. I had a boyfriend in college who would always what sounded like sigh all the time and every time I asked him what was up he'd say 'I think we just don't breathe enough.'