Yoga casts its charm over us with all its flexible and tranquil poses. Especially in the beginning, during our honeymoon phase with yoga, we live in this haze of yogic enchantment. However, as it often happens, as time comes in as a spoiler, we learn to master the simple asanas and the head and handstands, this enchantment diminishes and yoga, becomes a monotonous routine. This is especially true for many yogis who practice the art at home.
As our yoga regime becomes more and more a part of our predictable routine, sooner or later we may find our practice dwindling. Why? The clear culprit for this lack of motivation is boredom!!!
The human mind craves creativity – repetitive routines make yoga teachers shirk their practice and push students to drop their memberships. This lack of interest and concentration also increases risk of injuries.
So, how can we get out of this rut and continue with our healthy routine without feeling apathetic? To help you find your answers, Yoga With Sapna brings to you valuable expert advice from renowned yogis from around the world. These yogis have “been there, done that” and come out victorious in their struggles. Let us hear what they have to share with us.
Reconstructive Yoga at Home
When we practice yoga at home, we usually do it alone and that is why the process eventually becomes mundane. But, as Mary Badon, director of SOMA Movement Studio believes, it does not have to be so. Mary believes-
“Yoga practice at home or in the studio can be completely transformed by turning down the lights or practicing by the rosy glow of candle lights or a salt lamp. New age, relaxing music, or chants coupled with an essential oil diffuser can also help our minds drift into a state of meditation. We can also take our practice in another direction with rhythmic drum beats. Some Yoga Studios are even offering classes lit by back lights complete with techno music and glow sticks for a more energetic and party like atmosphere.”
At other times when we practice yoga at home, doing asana sequences
can get confusing. Hence,Nancy Gerstein, yoga teacher and author of Guiding Yoga’s Light advises-
“Use YouTube to find hundreds of Yoga routines and teachers. It is one of the best free resources on the planet to learn anything. You can search for routines according to teacher, posture, length of class, or yoga level. YouTube has everything from creative 10 minute level 2 Vinyasa routines to Yoga Classes for a broken heart. Go ahead and find them.”
Take Your Yoga Outside
Practicing yoga indoors, on a daily basis, can make it a dull routine. One small room can also feel restrictive, the eyes cannot look out into the distance. So, take a step outside in nature, and let your energy flow, and your breath synchronize with the fresh air. Mary Roth, yoga practitioner of 18 years and certified yoga teacher of 10 years, of MaryRothLiving, has the same to say-
“Take it outside. Roll out your mat in your yard, on your patio, or in the park. Breathe in fresh air and enjoy nature that surrounds you. Nothing is more grounding than letting your feet touch the earth. Practicing in nature can shift your perspective in a way that you can’t experience indoors.”
Amanda Bonfiglio Cunningham, senior Yoga Medicine instructor also shares her valuable advice on the same thought –
“According to the forest bathing organization, Shinrin Yoku in L.A., being among the trees offers both physical and mental health benefits. From lowered stress levels to an increase in mindfulness, fervent believers are boasting rave results. So if your practice feels monotonous, take it on a date! In this active form of meditation, tune in to nature’s ability to awaken your senses. Allow the breeze to cool your skin and the birds to be your music, let mother nature reignite your passion for the practice. “
Practicing yoga outside can transform a stagnant routine into a heightened experience and spending time in nature can replenish depleted energy. Give this rejuvenating experience a try.
Find a Yoga Buddy.
Find a friend who loves yoga as much as you do and can synchronize their time with you. Mary Roth advises that practicing with a friend can help keep us accountable and energized. “Friends that yoga together stay together!”
However, if you are someone, who prefers practicing solo, then try connecting with other students at your Yoga Studio. Get sociable. Often we are too busy rushing in and out with little or no human connection. So, go ahead, introduce yourself to your teacher and get to know the names of the other students. It will help build your sense of community which keeps you coming back.
Tune it Up To Your Style
Research shows that music, when used for yoga, can increase focus more than silence does. If music is used correctly it can enhance our yoga practice as well as uplift our energies instead of our mundane daily routine.
“Play meditation music or chanting during your practice that helps awaken you into awareness. If you are listening to music that connects you to peace, it will automatically turn your Yoga practice into meditation.”
However, Ysmay Walsh, yoga teacher, business coach, and founder of 42 Yogis, suggests a different approach from the normal yogic meditative music. Here’s what she has to say.
“You don’t have to listen to ‘yoga music’ to do yoga. I’ll listen to Snoop Dogg, Fedde Le Grand, or Taylor Swift, all depending on my mood. Yoga is still yoga even if you’re listening to music that isn’t commonly found in a yoga studio.
If you are thinking of going ahead with this plan and it does not disrupt your practice then you can even start creating a playlist to time your yoga practice. Additionally, the playlist can also be theme based to spice your sessions. You can do it just the way Jenny Giblin, therapist & international yoga instructor, does it. –
“Make your own yoga playlist. I like to go on Spotify or Pandora and browse for inspiration. You can add any songs you want…it doesn’t have to be what we traditionally would call yoga music. I am actually known for my fun playlists and practice to everything from mantra music to the Weeknd. Find your favorite songs and flow.”
Try a Different Time and Pace
Kate Hamm, founder of Anam Bliss advises to try a different time of the day to practice your yoga routine in order to break the monotony. Kate also believes that slowing down the movements and breath help in warming up the muscles especially if we practice first thing in the morning. She suggests getting a metronome or app to try and lengthen the amount of time it takes to move from one pose to another.
In the words of Jessa Mehta, registered yoga teacher and strength instructor-
“Shake up how long you hold poses. If you’re used to a Vinyasa-style, faster movement, try out Ashtanga. You can also simply dedicate yourself to holding or moving through poses at a slower or faster clip than normal. The length of time you spend in an isometric (static) pose, different ways muscles will activate.
“Adding various elements of Pranayama both into your Asana Practice, and at home can be an interesting addition to the practice. Breathwork is subtle, but can be incredibly powerful, and can be done anywhere. Ensure that you have a skilled teacher to walk you through a pranayama practice at the beginning as there are many different practices that one can try like Ujjayi breath, Kapalabhaati, Nadi Shuddhi, or the alternate nostril breath.”
Erica Barth, co-owner,
Harlem Yoga Studio and Ridgewood Yoga Studio
Visit a Retreat
Take a break from your usual place of practice. Look for yoga events or retreats in your town or community and in the process also get to meet like minded people. Practicing outside of a regularly scheduled class can help reignite our passion and also spark our reason for doing yoga
“Break up the monotony of everyday yoga workouts, by signing up for a weekend workshop or a yoga retreat. So much can change for your practice when you enter an immersive environment as opposed to rushing in and out of a noon power hour class between work and lunch. When you have a longer period of time to really focus on the work, your practice will deepen. And with a deeper understanding of your body and breath, your quickie lunch break classes will become more beneficial!!”
Scarlett Redmond, Yoga Advisor,
Spice Your Style
There are many ways to spice up your Yoga practice. Depending on your personality and goals, there are many paths you can take to add variety to your workout.Now, more than ever before, there are many styles and schools of Yoga. Find out a new style to practice.
“Stimulate your senses with aerial yoga, a blend of aerial silk performance and yog, involving the use of fabric hammocks to support our body in poses. These practices are more restorative where the hammock is close to the ground allowing us to recline our body or limbs against it. The Savasana/ Corpse Pose is especially rewarding as we are suspended and enveloped in the fabric like a cocoon. “
SOMA Movement Studio
Try taking different types of Yoga Classes to mix up your practice, and keep it interesting and challenging both physically and mentally. Your body can get used to certain poses just as it can get used to the same routine at the gym. So, it’s nice to incorporate different practices and lineages.
Jenny Giblin, in this case again advises to mix up the style or studio where we practice. She usually recommends finding a studio/style that we love, to deepen our practice. So, if we always practice hot power yoga, we can now try a more restorative or gentle flow. Often studios have the option to attend a class for free.
It was Yoga Master B.K.S Iyengar, who introduced the use of props to help him enhance and assist his practice of yoga. Today, props are used to help students shift poor alignment habits, develop strength and awareness, and experience asanas more deeply. However, other than that, props can do more, like adding some fun into the practice. Let’s see what some of our yoga experts have to say about their uses.
Erica Barth loves the yoga ball work, to start exploring the fascia in the body that surrounds the muscles and links directly into our parasympathetic nervous system. She suggests the use of yoga tune-up balls or tennis balls to explore an area of tissue in a more detailed, different way. Use of the ball work can often help us experience the functions of the muscles and fascia and learn how they link different parts of the body.
Other than that Erica also suggests using all props possible, be they blocks, straps, bolsters, blankets or chairs.
Other Things You Can Do
“As a yoga teacher, I incorporate other movement disciplines into my classes such as martial arts, dance, pilates, ballet and fitness to break the monotonous yoga routine. Currently, I am in the process of creating my own style that fuses these arts together. I often create my own signature poses and sequences to make the class interesting and intriguing. You can add any element of fun to make yoga interesting. Think of all your passions and combine them with yoga. I’ve even seen some people combine painting with yoga. They cover their hands and feet with non-toxic paint and practice yoga on a large art canvas. With each and every movement, they create a painting with their limbs as brushes”
Andrew Lee, registered yoga teacher (RYT) 200,
Andrew Lee Yoga
“Create a list of 30 themes for an entire month, and each time you go into your yoga practice let that theme be your intention. Perhaps day 1 is compassion, day 2 is creativity, day 3 is excitement- see how you can integrate the theme into your asanas. Let’s say you chose excitement one day, each time the yoga teachers offered a pose your intention would be to get excited about it, see what you could find that lights you up about something you have potentially done a million times. You can have fun with this and create a little yoga calendar for the month where you write your themes on each day. This can also lead to journal prompts as well as part of your daily yoga routine.”
Sarajean Rudman, Kripalu trained yoga teacher,
“One of the best ways to break out of a monotonous yoga funk is to try a different method. If you are used to hot yoga, try kripalu. If you’ve been devoted to ashtanga, check out Iyengar. If you like the method you have been practicing, you can always try a new teacher. Every teacher is different and different approaches can dramatically change the way you practice. I also recommend exploring the yoga sutras, and adding a pranayama practice to your regular yoga practice ,if you haven’t already. Yoga can be so much more then all about the physical postures. Adding to your knowledge about the eight limbs of yoga can greatly enhance your practice, and make it more fun.”
Alena Gerst, mind-body focused psychotherapist and yoga instructor
Alena Gerst therapy
With all these amazing tips from our experts we can now motivate ourselves to doing our yoga routinely. In the end, as a yoga practitioner and teacher myself, I would like to add a few words of advice too.
It is true that sometimes our practice might not be serving us and the feeling that we are unable to find a practice, sequence, or routine that we can better connect to, makes us feel aimless. But, as modern yoga and wellness representatives, we should always try to take fitness to the next level and explore not only physical but emotional and dietary well-being as well.
The solution to not feeling this apathy, is to be open to feeling everything more, even the monotony. Find hidden feelings inside ourself, that we might have denied and buried deep within. Avoid indulging in self-criticism, for this can numb and kill our perceptions, forcing ourselves to well on the same thoughts over and over again.
It is necessary for us to feel everything that comes our way, deeply, without drama or identification, whether it is a waning interest in yoga or any other aspect of our life. This way we will discover what we have been missing, return back to the present moment with awareness making relevant shifts, so that our life purpose is clearer and our yoga practice can continue to benefit and change us.
Happy Yoga to you.