by Ava Johanna: I first felt this notion when I discovered yoga…
It was a remembrance of how easily I could be attentive to the present, without worry or stress about the past and future. It was pure bliss—the sweat, the fluidity, the breath…all of it.
My practice intensified over the years following. I went through various yoga teacher trainings, began teaching, spent more time in yoga pants than in jeans. I was hooked.
But then something shifted.
I stopped craving yoga. I felt pain throughout my body after practicing, and I couldn’t tune in to my internal world quite like I had before. As much as I loved the practice, I began to predict what poses were coming next, and instead of being present in my body, I found myself daydreaming and caught up in thought. I dreaded stepping on my mat and soon realized that what I was experiencing was boredom.
If you’ve felt this before, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon to hit a plateau in your yoga practice. In those times when you feel like you’ve hit a wall, rather than stepping away fully, use it as an opportunity to redirect, shake things up, and find a new relationship to your body.
Ready to spice things up? Here are four ways you can switch up your yoga routine.
Squat it out.
How often does your yoga teacher cue three minutes of squats in the midst of your yoga flow? The next time you’re on your mat, turn on your favorite pump-up song and squat it out for the length of the song. Adding in a quick burst of HIIT to your yoga practice will get your heart rate up and get you rooted in your physical body.
Bring in a resistance band.
Grab your weights.
I love chaturanga dandasana just as much as the next yogi, but sometimes I want to kick things up a notch. If you’re looking to work your arms and shoulders, there’s no better way than grabbing your light weights and adding in a few exercises targeting the upper body. Try alternating bicep curls and rows in chair pose for an added challenge.
Fire up your core.
Let’s be honest: The core is crucial in all yoga poses. Whether you’re in mountain pose or a crescent twist, the core is always engaged, so adding in a core section during your yoga flow is only going to enhance all of the other postures you flow through. The next time you’re practicing, add in a 60-second core sequence of bicycle kicks and crunches to ignite your center line.
Above all, get creative!
It’s easy to get stuck in the same Sun A and Sun B flow, so next time you’re on your mat, allow yourself the freedom to explore all shapes and movements that feel good in your body. Close your eyes and move without the expectation of arriving anywhere. Focus on your breath, your intention for practicing, and be creative in developing a practice that is uniquely your own!
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