Keep Your Yoga Fresh and New (when you’ve hit a wall)

lincoln nh yogaRepetition can be the death of any new activity.  I tend to need stimulation to keep my brain engaged.  The same can be said of something as refreshing and rejuvenating as your personal yoga practice, exercise routine or even Stand Up Paddle-boarding!   It is important to keep a renewed sense of wonder and excitement about all the various techniques, positions and benefits of this great practice.  Here’s a great article from our friend Cathy Cox, over at MindBodyGreen that I think you’ll enjoy!

In my 16 years of teaching, and nearly 20 years of practice, I’ve realized it can happen to anyone: even the most disciplined student or teacher hits a wall with her practice.

There may be an elusive pose that is simply unachievable for your body, or you’ve advanced in your asana practice to the place that there seems to be nothing else to try for.

You may be a teacher running from class to class all day long, teaching everywhere from a company boardroom (where you have to move chairs and tables before practice), to a gym (where you must shout instructions over the clanging of weights), or even (hopefully)! a real yoga studio.

Teaching in corporate gyms after work, I frequently faced rows of yawning students. In gyms, students came and went as though the class were another weight station. Lately, students texting in class makes me want to walk out of the room … and I’m the teacher.

What do you do when your practice or teaching goes stale? There are many ways to rekindle your love of yoga that don’t involve buying a new outfit or a new mat. Here are some of them:

1. Get back to basics.

Teach beginners a real beginning class, or attend a beginner class and do the practice. We sometimes lose our connection to the basics in pursuit of the cooler, advanced poses. Warrior 1 is a deceptively challenging pose, make that your newfound focus.

2. Get curious about your favorite pose and try all its variations.

If you’re a student, ask the teacher to add your favorite pose. One student has told me he loves side plank, we do it every time he comes to class.

3. Acknowledge your least favorite pose by trying all its modifications.

Ask your teacher to break that pose down in class. There is nothing more rewarding than learning something new.

4. Recharge.

Boost your energy with meditation and pranayama. Get a massage. Take a week off. Try a new studio, or a new teacher. Take a workshop on something outside of your usual comfort zone. If you can, go on a retreat and get far away from your normal schedule to indulge in your yoga.

Being a little sick of yoga is seldom fatal to your practice. It’s good to notice the beginning symptoms of boredom or envy of another student’s practice, and shake up yours!

What do you do when your yoga goes stale?

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