Stuck in a Rut
I’ve been practicing yoga for a long time and although it brings me much joy, makes me feel infinitely better when I consistently practice and clears my mind, sometimes it feels like one more thing I need to do in my day. I hate for yoga to feel that way, because I know its effects are so much greater than my time on the mat. But, with a busy schedule and limited time to practice, that’s unfortunately how class had started to feel.
A few weeks ago I realized the slippery slope I was impeding on. Begrudgingly going to class without much thought for what I actually needed out of a class. Going through the motions, choosing the same classes, the same teachers, the same studios. I was so familiar with the teachers, their cues, their sequences, with my post-yoga feeling, that everything had become more of a reflex than a practice. I suddenly realized I was losing interest!
This just wouldn’t do. It was time to take matters in my own hands, shake things up, release old patterns and find the fun in yoga again.
On a Mission
I started close to home. My sister in law is an avid yogi and had been recommending a class to me for months. Being stuck in my ways I’d been brushing her off, too afraid to venture into anything new. But the time had come. I walked into this new class and was greeted by an energetic, gregarious and personable teacher. His first question to the group was, “why the serious faces?” I knew right then that I’d found the shake up I was looking for.
His sequence was creative and kept me on my toes or more correctly on my hands. Every few minutes he’d say, “looks like we’re in need of a perspective change, let’s get upside down.” There were no requirements for what inversion we should practice, if you felt like a headstand, handstand, forearm stand that was your path. He was all about an intuitive practice and I started to realize that although prescriptive classes were giving me some of what I needed, they weren’t allowing me to tap into what I desired.
Somewhere in the middle of class, we also had five minutes to move in whatever way served us best. We were encouraged to close our eyes, tap into our bodies and go! Nothing was off limits, the girl next to me spent all five minutes in pigeon while the guy two mats over cycled through more vinyasas than I thought were possible in a five minute period. Our teacher proceeded to crack jokes, sing and laugh throughout class. It was so refreshing that it made me question why I was taking my own practice so seriously.
With this newfound lightness, I spent class trying postures I’d never dared before, I smiled in my poses and laughed when I fell out of dancer. As we settled into savasana I felt a deep peace set in, as though every ounce of my being had released and opened up. After class I felt an amazing sense wonderment. Stripping away all the seriousness and allowing freedom and fun to rule, left me with added clarity and energy. I felt like a little kid on a playground who couldn’t wait to spring into a handstand or a backbend or simply spin around in the grass for the sake of spinning.
For What it's Worth
By stepping out of my usual routine I remembered what fun simply being in the moment and doing what feels good can have. Sometimes it just takes a shift in your own perspective and sometimes you need a lighthearted teacher to remind you of the joy of the practice. If you’re feeling stale or uninspired by your own practice, I encourage you to go looking for the fun as well. You won’t regret it.
Lisa Horvath left the world of advertising last fall to pursue her passions for yoga, running and writing. She is a certified yoga instructor, specializing in vinyasa and power yoga. She lives in Denver where she can currently be found, teaching yoga, hiking, running and blogging about health and wellness. You can read more from Lisa on her blog, Quinoa, Kale and Exhale where she writes about vegetarian, gluten-free meals and the power of the exhale. Follow her on Twitter.
Images via: Stone Turtle Yoga