Keep Your Yoga Practice Fresh

I recently had a reader respond to my weekly emails and she thanked me for bringing new nuggets of wisdom to 14 years of Bikram yoga. Fourteen years? How inspiring! In return I was inspired to write this piece about how I keep my yoga practice fresh – I hope you enjoy.

Release mental thought patters

During class I often think “this side isn’t as flexible as the other side” or “I always struggle with this posture” or “I’m really good at this one“. These kinds of thoughts will keep your practice stagnant. By pre-judging your practice you can easily hold yourself back, get bored, or feel let down.

Before your postures try taking a deep breath and completely release all thoughts. I like to imagine my head as completely clear, void of any noise, thought or distractions. Then I simply let my body respond to the words the teacher is saying. By having a practice where the teacher verbally takes us through the postures, we have the ability to turn off our thoughts and just let our bodies do what is possible for that day. When I do this, I am amazed at how much deeper I can go in any given posture.

Take breaks

Have you been practicing consistently for years and does the thought of taking a break from your practice create a little anxiety? Then this tip is for you! Think of taking a break from your practice like giving yourself a long savasana. Don’t worry, you won’t gain a bunch of weight or “lose” all of your postures, you will gain the ability to come back to practice without pre-judgements. I’ve taken breaks that range between one and four weeks. It can be very liberating to know that you can grow from a break and help release some of those thought patterns I described above. Your mat, studio, and practice is always available to you.

Try other forms of yoga

Are you a hatha junkie? Ashtanga devotee? There are so many varieties of yoga, it’s nice to try on a few for size. If anything, this can reinforce why you prefer your discipline of choice, and most likely, it will give you an appreciation for the different types of yoga out there. Chances are you will learn a little more about yourself in the process and can bring new teachings to your practice.

Add weight training to your routine

Weight training and yoga is one of the most magical combinations. As we age our muscles become weaker and weight training is a great way to maintain strength and vitality. This will also change your yoga practice and allow you to build both flexibility and strength along the way.

Explore new studios

Are there other studios in town that you’ve been meaning to explore? Why not take a break from your current studio for a week (that’s all it takes!) and go somewhere new. New teachers means new energy, which brings me to the next point…

Don’t look at who is teaching class

This is a big one: If you’re constantly deciding when to take class based on who is teaching, you’re missing out on some major growth opportunities. Sure no one likes to take a bad yoga class, but I have learned more about myself in classes where the teacher is horrible, than in classes I love. These can be a real test of your mental discipline and are a great way to mix things up. If you don’t know who is teaching until you show up, you are less likely to skip classes based on the teacher.

Change your route to yoga

Do you live 3 miles away and always drive to class? Try biking. Or simply drive a different route to class. If you’ve been going to the same studio for years you would be amazed at how changing your route to class will help freshen things up. You’ll see different homes, businesses and think about different things along the way. All of these small details change what we think about inside and outside yoga class.

Try morning/night classes

Easier said than done, but if you always practice in the morning, see what happens if you practice at night a few days a week. Our bodies and minds are in such different places in the morning and evening, it can drastically change how your practice feels. This will give you a new sense of variety and change the structure of your day.

Practice in a different part of the room

Are you one of those people that always needs to practice in the same spot? Back row? Front row? Mix it up for goodness sake! Where you practice in the room changes your experience; sometimes I need to practice in the back row, other times I push myself to practice right up front next to the teacher. And if you practice hot yoga the heat can be vary based on what part of the room you are in. Getting over these superficial changes in your practice will be liberating.

At the end of the day, keeping your yoga fresh is about changing up your thoughts, environment, body and attitude. A consistent and sustained yoga practice is an incredible gift to give yourself, keeping things fresh will ensure that your practice will last a lifetime.

Never miss a post and join my mailing list.

Related posts

Sustainable Athleisure Brands

It’s the weekend and you’re on your way to the farmer’s market or yoga class…
Read more

How to Naturally Combat Headaches after Hot Yoga

Do you get headaches after hot yoga, or find it hard to replenish after an intense spin class? I…
Read more

How to Find Your "Perfect" Version of Standing Bow Pose

Let’s be real honest here, Standing Bow is one of the hardest postures in the Bikram/Hot yoga…
Read more

Sign up for Weekly Digest, tailored for you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *