5 Ways to Enhance Your Yoga Practice:
Both On and Off the Mat
by: kellee rich
All yogis have a rhythm and a flow, a pattern of practice and learning that is truly as unique as their individual anatomy. And as yogis, we understand that inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and even from places quite unexpected.
If you have been practicing for a few years or more, you begin to notice or discover a pattern in your practice: your progress shoots up the first couple months of practice, and through time, after the initial “honeymoon phase,” your practice shifts and begins to plateau. You feel yourself in a rut. You need some serious inspiration.
Discovering a yoga muse, may help enhance your practice. Below are five ways to enhance your yoga practice, and I encourage your to try one or more. Regardless if you feel a lull in your practice, these approaches will bring inspiration to you, both on and off the mat, and will invigorate your yoga practice.
Take a 30-Day Challenge. By setting realistic and attainable goals in your yoga practice, you may both challenge and surprise yourself. Studio Tahoe is currently offering local newcomer’s an introductory package of $30 for 30 Days of Yoga. Consider starting with a weekly yoga goal, then a monthly, or whatever works to get you on your mat for consecutive weeks. Currently, 10 or more regular Studio Tahoe yogis and teachers are encouraging one another while completing a 30-Day Challenge, 30 days of yoga in a row! Making a commitment means you are serious about your yoga.
Find Time to Meditate on Your Mat. Meditation has shown to alleviate many of life’s stresses, and did you know that you only need to set aside a few minutes a day to accomplish serenity and bliss? Show up to class early and find a quiet spot to relax and meditate before yoga, or stay after class a few extra minutes and slip into stillness. If you’re interested in trying Yoga Nidra, as defined by wikipedia.org, “Yoga nidra or “yogi sleep” is a sleep-like state which yogis report to experience during their meditations. Yoga nidra, lucid sleeping is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness.” Meghan Ruiz, a teacher a Studio Tahoe, offers a Mellow Flow yoga class, immediately followed by a guided Yoga Nidra session, every Sunday afternoon at 4:30 pm. Relaxation awaits you!
Quite the “Monkey Mind” with Pranayama Breathing. Cultivate peace and stillness of the mind by activating pranayama breathing techniques, such as Uiiji and Lion’s Breath, two techniques taught at Studio Tahoe. These deep breathing tools elevate your yoga practice when combined with movement, thus creating asana, or yoga postures. Next time you’re on your mat, try one or more of these exercises in breath: work with, not against, your natural breathing rhythm and flow; exhale to go further and deeper into a pose; and use your breathing patterns to bring you into, and keep you aware, in the present moment. Also try off your mat!
- Attend a Workshop at Your Local Studio: Coming this November to Studio Tahoe are some fun and exploratory workshops lead by community healers and yoga teachers alike. Beginning Sundays, November 2nd, 9th, and 16th, Studio Tahoe teacher, Kellee Rich, will be offering Yoga 101: An Intro to Yoga Basics from 1-3 pm. Offered at only $40 for all three 2-hour session, this is a deal, and a great way to uplift your practice. Also, frequent workshop guest and goddess, Kali Cathie, will be offering Revealing the Goddess Within to help you invoke the female energy within all of us! Don’t miss out on these innovative and affordable ways to invigorate your yoga practice.
- Engage in the Arts, both On and Off Your Mat! Bringing poetry, music, and even writing to your yoga practice can enhance it dramatically. These crafts blur conventional lines, meaning the beauty and musings create a universal human language, one that can be understood by many, rather than a few. Bring a small journal and pen to your next class, and pen some after-yoga thoughts. Incorporate your favorite music in your next at-home session. Enjoy a poetry book on yoga postures or philosophy anytime. Inspiration is all around you, and remember, there is magic in repetition.
Yoga is a moving meditation, one that can accompany you throughout your lifetime, if you so wish. It’s up to you to motivate, inspire and enhance your practice in times of lull and frustration. Don’t get the yoga blues, get inspired!
Yoga will move you, like the ebb and flow of the ocean, into new areas of discovery. Find your yoga muse, and your body, your mind, and your spirit will thank you.
About: Kellee Rich. A yoga teacher and mom, in her hometown of Truckee, CA, Kellee enjoys spending her time outside the studio with her family and friends by paddleboarding, kayaking, snowboarding, and anything athletic and outdoors. Kellee is a Lyme Disease and Stroke survivor, and is currently working on a memoir about living with and surviving Lyme, and how yoga saved her life. Poetry and yoga go hand-in-hand in Kellee’s world, and she brings this eclectic mix of inspiration and empowerment to her students and in her classes.