When our yoga practice feels dull, many people simply stop practicing or revert to shopping. A cute new pair of yoga pants may make my routine more exciting. But you don’t need to buy more things to amp up your practice (and you certainly shouldn’t stop doing yoga). Here are three tried and true ways to refresh your practice.
New Instructor, New Experiences
Taking classes with new instructors has given me the insight needed to spice up my practice. I’ve learned to improve basic poses, learn more challenging variations, and even learn a few new asanas. If any of you are feeling like your practice has become a bit stagnant, find a few new teachers, Even if it means putting your studio membership on hold for a few months and signing up somewhere else, it’s worth it! It will make appreciate what you have, give you a new perspective, and open the door to new approaches.
I had the pleasure of meeting a few new instructors at MF Yoga that showed me new ways to challenge myself as I work from basic to early-intermediate practice.
Irina Burlack has a million certifications in everything, all that barre-Pilates-yoga-limbering-centering wonderfulness. Because of that, she has a different way of arranging flows and explaining the benefits of poses. She has recently co-founded a new yoga studio, Lift Yoga.
I’ve learned a lot of new vocabulary from classes with Bonita Butler, who likes to give two or three names to every asana. Her classes are excellent for travelers who may drop into different classes throughout the world because you’ll get used to hearing different names.
Don’t be fooled my Katie Golloher‘s gentle manner and soothing voice. She will make you hold side plank until you perish–or get stronger. You will feel the burn so I recommend her class for anyone wanting to seriously tone up and take on a challenge.
Their different styles and personalities kept my practice fun and exciting all summer.
Close Your Eyes
This won’t need much explanation. If you want a greater challenge during your practice, simply close your eyes during the flows and the balancing poses. So much of our stability depend on having a drishti and a visual sense of place relative to other objects. Once we take those features away by closing our eyes, we really have to rely on our concentration and core strength to stay steady and fluid.
When I first tried this, I was horrible at it. Don’t get frustrated like I did! Start off doing a few poses with your eyes close and build up from there.
Forget the Clock
If you’re accustomed to practicing at the same time, switch it up. Your muscles react differently throughout the day: think about how fresh your mind feels in the morning in contrast to the stiffness of your body, or how wired your body feels compared to the weariness of your mind in the evening. Changing the time of day for your practice may encourage you to tap into different areas.
There are also other factors that change throughout the day that may help you feel fresh. The position of the daylight, the energy of nearby friends and family, the fullness of your belly. Take in the differences and enjoy your practice made new.