Friday, November 2, 2012

Just Hit the Mat - 5 Methods to Spice Up Your Practice

I have been trying to fit in more asana practice, but hit a short dry spell. My cure? Hitting the mat. Once I get there, it typically comes naturally. But there are times when I need a little extra boost. So here are my 5 favorite ways to keep my asana practice fresh:

  1. Change Your Pose - modify common poses. For standing poses, try modifying the placement of your limbs: place the back heel on the wall, take the front toes up the wall or take the toe mounds of the front foot up the wall, press your bent knee onto a foam block at the wall. You can also change the placement of your arms - take triangle pose with your arms reaching parallell to the floor, take your warrior poses in reverse namaste. Prop your back bends and forward bends.

  2. Hold for Longer - Try holding poses for longer. Instead of doing 10 poses, do five for twice as long. Time your headstands and shoulder stands and try doing them for 30 seconds to a minute longer next time you practice.

  3. Break Out the Chair - Yoga chairs are such wonderful tools. Don't have a yoga chair? No worries. Grab a regular folding chair. Experiment with poses using the chair. Support your standing poses, back bends, forward bends, twists. You will be surprised at the results.

  4. Do Inversions First - Many of us save our inversions until the end of our practice. Try placing the inversions at the beginning of the sequence for a more internal practice.

  5. Challenge Pose - Open up light on yoga and find a pose that looks crazy. Create a sequence that can build you up to it. Take your time. Create a new goal. You may not get to that pose today, next week, or even for years. Who cares? You created a new goal and got excited about something new.

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