5 Tips to Take Your Yoga Practice to the Next Level
I often joke that yoga is my religion. And yet, as much as I love yoga, sometimes I find myself searching for fresh inspiration to re-energize my practice.
Here are 5 ideas that have helped me bring new energy to my yoga practice and my life...
1. Practice gentle breathing exercises (pranayama).
Breathing is foundational to your health and wellbeing. Since oxygen is the fuel for the human body, when you practice a variety of breathing exercises, you are actually oxygenating your cells, creating an amazing sense of rejuvenation, relaxation and naturally reducing stress.
So, as you begin to practice different forms of breath work in your yoga practice, think of yourself as energizing yourself in every level of your life; body, mind and spirit.
There are a many forms of pranayama (gentle breathing exercises) to incorporate into your regular yoga routine. Some of my favorites are: Alternative Nostril Breathing, Kalabhati breathing, Channel Cleansing Breathing, Shitali Panayama, or Bellows Breath.
With breath work, take it slowly; giving permission to build up your breathing practice day by day. Enjoy the process of developing your pranayama and meditation skills and embodying all the benefits that deep breathing offers.
2. Practice new poses.
The thing that I love about yoga is that no matter where you are in your practice, you can always learn more. When you are ready to practice new poses, prepare yourself by starting with gentle and strengthening preparation poses. I always recommend that you take the to prepare your body and mind, both physically and mentally, so that when the time is right you can effortlessly glide into your new poses.
Some of my favourite poses to practice are variations on Crow (Bakasana), Headstand (Sirsasana), Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana).
Another lovely way to go deeper with your yoga is to experiment with gentle backbends. These will enable you to build spinal flexibility and find more space through your back and spine (and in your life!)
3. Change your style.
When you are looking for inspiration to go deeper with your yoga practice, look at what you already enjoy doing in your practice and see where you can incorporate more of this on the yoga mat.
For example, try changing the music that you use to practice. Try pop music, sounds from nature, or even classical music. It has been said that silence is golden, so one day try practicing to the sound of silence and see if that works for you.
Other ideas to help you change your style include the use of lights. Try using colored lights, dimming the lights, or even turning off the lights off and practicing yoga in candlelight. You can experiment and play with smells and fragrances; try using incense, scented candles, or even modern aromatic fragrance diffusers.
4. Try out a new location.
Consider setting up a home practice, trying a new style of yoga, or practicing with a different teacher.
When you continue to innovate, you embrace the quality of change on your yoga mat. This way you can create a more joyful, lighter and playful connection with yourself and in your life!
5. Take a step up.
Have you noticed that your yoga practice is often a mirror for your life? When you are ready to embrace a bigger challenge or transformation in your life, it's interesting to see how this can show up on the mat, as well. You may find yourself wanting to practice a new pose.
Have the courage to take a step up with your yoga practice. If you feel intuitively drawn to a yoga course, retreat or teacher training, listen to that feeling. Even if you have no intention of taking your yoga further, yoga training in any form is a powerful way to grow your confidence and self-esteem.
Plus, attending a yoga retreat or yoga training gives you an opportunity to meet other like-minded, supportive and encouraging people. Being in this type of environment will help you heal and reach deeper levels of transformation.
Reinspire your yoga practice and keep growing…
Keep invigorating your yoga practice with new ideas and it will always be a source of inspiration and growth.
I hope to meet you one day soon and I wish you much magic on your yoga journey. From my heart to yours, many, many blessings.
Photo Credit (Headstands): Shutterstock
To learn more about yoga, check out The Complete Guide To Yoga With Tara Stiles.
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