by Ryan Glidden | February 10, 2018 5:42 pm
I teach a lot of yoga. About 300 classes a year for the past seven years. Teaching that much you experience ebbs and flows. Sometimes you feel a little dry, and you know you’re going through the motions. Other times you’re excited to teach and genuinely feel inspired. Ideally, you have many more excited days then “going through the motions” days. But how?
The same thing can happen as a practitioner. We all know that it’s great to make yoga a part of our daily or weekly routine, but sometimes we can put it on autopilot. We find ourselves going through the motions on our mats, maybe even feeling a little bored.
January is over and New Year’s resolutions may be starting to wane. Here are five ways to stay inspired with your practice without having to spend a fortune on expensive trainings.
1. Take a Trip to the Bookstore
It’s an easy way to learn from new teachers. Most bookstores will have a health and fitness section where you can find all kinds of info on yoga, functional movement, Ayurveda, anatomy, and more. Or, you can head over to the religious and spirituality section where you might find new inspiration from some of the great spiritual teachers of the past and present. I love bookstores. Not only are they a wealth of further information, but many of them also have a place to sit, relax and read.
Between online platforms and brick and mortar studios, you have a multitude of options to choose from as a practitioner. Workshops are a great way to deepen your practice in the desired area without having to spend too much money. Many workshops will also provide handouts or online material to take with you to refer back to at a later date. If you have a particular teacher, who inspires you even better. See if you can find a workshop that they are offering and attend.
3. Pick a New Peak Pose
It may be time to challenge yourself with a new peak pose. Some of us have more strength and others more flexibility. Think about a pose that you’d like to learn but aren’t currently capable of right now. Then break it down into its simpler parts. Ask yourself, what muscles need to strengthen and what muscles need to stretch? Use your practice to work towards mastering this new peak pose.
4. Change it Up
There are a lot of different styles of yoga. If you’ve only ever practiced Vinyasa, maybe it’s time to give Yin, Restorative, or Hot yoga. Check with your home studio to see if they offer any other styles. If they don’t, but don’t want to go to another studio, check out a new teacher. Every teacher brings their unique style and voice to their teaching. You might find that you enjoyed the same class regarding the poses or style but taught in a new way.
5. Contemplate the Big Questions
I once heard a teacher talking about their journey with yoga. They said that they went to their teacher once and said, “I’ve been practicing this sequence for a long time now, and I’m getting bored.” Their teacher said to them, “If you were contemplating God you would never be bored.” We know asana to be a physical practice, but it can be much more than that. Using your time on your mat as an opportunity to contemplate the big questions can add a whole new dimension to your experience.
I teach in my classes that yoga is a practice of coming back. We walk the path of life and yoga together. From time-to-time, we get pushed off of our path. We run into an obstacle, a dark day, a rough time, or maybe we merely feel less inspired to practice. It’s ok, that’s part of life and thus part of yoga. We can accept when this has happened and do our best to bring ourselves back. One day, one practice, one pose, one breath at a time.
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