22 May How to Take Your Practice to the Next Level
“The goal is not necessarily to think of progress in your practice as ‘moving up’ to the next level. Instead, we encourage you to find what inspires, challenges, and allows you to feel good.”
A lot of yogis will say, the more you know, the less you know. Often the more yoga we do, the harder the practice gets and the more room we feel we have to grow and develop. The beautiful thing about this practice is it’s constantly growing and evolving. In different ways and rates for each and every one of us.
There are times at all stages of this growth where we can feel like we’ve hit a plateau. And it’s at those moments that we can look to deepen and expand where we currently are. Here’s how we move out of those plateaus.
Try new poses, variations, and transitions
Often in classes, we find ourselves in the same shapes, moving into them in the same way, and holding the same variations. This uses the same muscles and same patterns of thinking. The moment we try a new variation, or come into a shape in a new way, the whole process is different. It can teach us about our bodies but also about our approach to a shape.
Try new classes and styles
Just in the same way that similar poses, variations, and transitions can keep our practice from moving forward, so can doing the same classes with the same teachers time and time again. When we try new styles of yoga or new teachers, automatically things will be different.
Slow things down
Have you ever held Warrior II for a minute? We can tell you that it makes that shape a lot stronger. Often we find ourselves moving quickly in and out of poses in the hope that it creates a stronger practice. But actually, when we stop and pause, we have to engage the right muscles to hold the shape and suddenly the body starts to kick into gear and everything is engaged. Try slowing the breath and slowing your holds in shapes and notice how the body feels and you’ll also learn about where the mind goes in the midst of challenge.
Go back to basics
Habits form very quickly in the body. At yoga, we can think we’re in alignment in a shape, but when we allow ourselves to go back to the fundamentals, often we fall into positions or habits in a pose because it’s easier on our bodies. When we go back to the basics of a shape, we can learn new ways of being in them that actually works us a little harder. Then we can develop more strength than will help us in other shapes down the track.