From the moment we roll out our mat, the energy below us becomes the soil from which our yoga practice will blossom. As we begin to breathe with more awareness, the mat becomes the terrain from which we will cultivate the seeds that will bear fruit to savor during the flow, and even after the practice is complete.
The energy cultivated during yoga can be so powerful that it keeps you elevated until the next time you return to the mat. This may be the status of your yoga for a while, especially during the early stages. Recall when you were excited to soak yourself in anything yoga and embraced each opportunity, always learning and deepening your practice.
If you have been doing yoga for a while, at one point it may have become a bit stagnant and less inspiring than usual. You may feel a lack of motivation, and when you do reach the mat, you are even less engaged in the postures, feeling as though your practice has reached a plateau. This can happen to everyone, especially those who have been practicing yoga for years. The problem arises when the very reason we began has been long forgotten, our passion and inspiration having faded with time.
But do not despair! There are things we can do to revive our yoga spirit and regain those blissful moments. The practice of yoga can be compared to gardening. How we choose to begin a practice will be the stage of planting a seed. What we do next helps cultivate this seed, so that our yoga will blossom inside of us as we are inspired.
These 6 suggestions should help re-inspire your yoga and elevate your practice:
1) Begin with an intention. Setting an intention allows you take control of your life by deciding which path you will take. The power of intention in yoga is that it gives our practice a focus to maintain during the whole flow. First, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why am I here on the mat today?” Close your eyes, breathe, and meditate on your intention. As you start to move your body, let this intention be your guiding force.
2) Read a spiritual teaching that takes you deeper inside your heart and mind. Yoga is much more than just postures. It is also a tool for calming the mind, opening the heart, developing gratitude, and reaching self-realization. Investing time to study ancient and contemporary texts that teach eternal truths can transform our attitude and perception of the body, breath, and soul relationship. Next time you do yoga, try reading a powerful teaching, and let its contemplation be an inspiration for your flow.
3) Practice being fully present in the poses. We often lose touch with the moment and forget what it means to fully be present in what we are doing. We may be here physically, but not internally. When this happens during yoga, we become disconnected from the poses. Don't just do yoga, feel how it touches you internally. Ask yourself, “Can I go deeper? Am I feeling the pose in my body, mind, and heart?” As you connect to the poses with more presence, observe what is being felt in your body. Notice your breath movement, and make sure it corresponds to your body.
4) Take time to reflect on what your body needs. We are all unique in the way our bodies move with breath and energy to give us life and creative expression. Rather than forcing yourself into routines or poses, practice listening to what your body is asking for. It may need a more gentle and softer flow. The best way to better our yoga is often by simply slowing it down. On the other hand, you may feel that your body needs to move into a more rigorous practice. Whichever direction it is, we need to be in tune with our body. It is always a great idea to diversify your yoga and introduce a variety of poses.
5) Meditate first. The art of meditation is focusing the brain to transcend the flow of thoughts that circulate the mind. The mind can have trouble concentrating due to emotions and senses, but focus can be achieved simply by meditating on our breath. Ask yourself: “What does it feel like when a breath comes in and goes out? Is it short or long? Am I breathing from my nose?” Meditation can be practiced with open or closed eyes. Contemplating on a meaningful idea can deepen it in your mind, and directing your mental abilities into exploring it can energize your practice. Meditation is very beneficial to yoga, and can be performed by sitting in stillness, lying down, or calmly and steadily moving through a sequence of postures.
6) Participate in workshops, seminars, and retreats to keep your practice inspiring. We are all moving through different levels of being in the flow of life as we develop more wisdom. “To live is to learn, and to learn is to share.” The practice of yoga gives each of us the opportunity to live, learn, and share as we evolve. When such occasions arise sign up and take advantage, as this will inspire your yoga practice. The more you learn about the body, postures, their alignment, sequencing, breath work, and the soul, the further you will transform yourself, awareness of your body, and your yoga practice. It’s not just about learning yoga, but also sharing what you learn. Sharing is powerful, since it forces us to always be reading and studying, and going deeper inside ourselves. Disconnecting for a few days, a week, or more to immerse yourself in yoga training is an experience that will revive the yoga high in your life.
Yoga is like planting seeds. The more we care for our yoga practice, the further it will grow, evolve, and blossom. There is so much to learn and be inspired by, we just need to start making changes, and begin savoring the fruits of our yoga practice.
Audi Gozlan is a passionate teacher who fuses Vinyasa yoga with the cultivation of spiritual intention. Audi is an RYT 500 member of the Yoga Alliance. He is a Prana Vinyasa teacher and is assistant to international yoga teacher Shiva Rea. He is the founder of Kabalah Yoga®, a unique style of Vinyasa that offers deep wisdom in the practice of flow yoga.