When Yoga Gets Boring—How to Revitalize Your Practice
Losing Steam Is Normal
The first thing you need to know is that there's nothing wrong with you. You're not a “bad” yogi because you haven't done yoga in six weeks or the thought of doing another session sticks in your craw the wrong way. If you've felt like this since the beginning, then maybe you just don't like yoga. That's fine. Not everybody likes yoga, horse riding or Peruvian Pig Catching. However, if you once enjoyed asanas and meditation but things fell flat, then know what you're experiencing is perfectly normal. Nearly every yogi wakes up one morning and, after many enjoyable sessions, suddenly doesn't really want to take the yoga mat out of the closet. Alas, to know it's very normal doesn't swat boredom.
Remember What You're Fighting For
This isn't a carnival-level fun tip but nevertheless, a powerful one. Chances are, yoga's benefits attracted you to try it in the first place. If you're still new to this ancient art, perhaps the promised improvements aren't happening fast enough—a common reason newcomers feel bored and even disillusioned. Are you intermediate or advanced? Whether you've done asanas for a few months or a few years, you must've experienced positive changes, both physically and mentally. In either case, new or salted yogis can regain their determination by remembering their goals and any past benefits gained from correct practice.
Record Your Achievements
A notebook holding positive feedback from your yoga sessions can prove invaluable. Of course, not every pose or session is perfect. Some will downright suck. However, this kind of “positivity journal” where nothing bad gets recorded isn't an incomplete way to track your progress. If you want the full picture, with the good and the bad, then keep a separate journal by all means. The purpose of this one is to return inspiration. When boredom or discouragement strikes, flip through the pages and see what amazing changes yoga had already brought into your life, even if it's just better flexibility or one kilogram lost.
Change the Scenery
Another culprit is a stale environment. It could be that you've been practicing in the same place for too long. The human mind likes new things and the same four walls, garden or class at the gym can become a little too routine. This can even happen when your yoga studio is a Zen dream.
Changing the scenery can be as light as adding flowers or art to the room—to a complete location shift. This may not be practical when you've paid in advance for yoga classes at the gym but at home, switching things up can be fun. Choose another room or place in the garden, make it yours and bask in the freshness of the change. The important thing is that the new space must feel right. It needn't be perfect, but must hit the emotional spot of wanting to twist into a pretzel there. Don't do yoga on train tracks, the roof or a crocodile pen. That's just all sorts of wrong.
Try Different Places
If you're an old hand, you already know that yoga is mindfulness. What exactly is mindfulness and how is it yoga? This one's for the green beans. Mindfulness is to be fully aware of a specific moment. A lot of what we do happens on autopilot and just going through the motions with asanas is asking for boredom. It's important to become aware of how muscles stretch, the body feels and the mind responds during a single asana than to rush through as many poses as you can.
There's an inherent joy in becoming aware of a stretching muscle, the fluidity of one's body in a hold and to gently explore one's physical limits. For the purpose of revitalizing a stale yoga journey, focus on joyful sensations in the muscles and mind during a pose. This is a progressive skill; start small and soon you'll be amazed how sensitive one becomes to good feelings, both mental and physical. This can make yoga a little addictive!
Make It Musical
But, won't music distract from mindfulness? Talk about doing a full boomerang. Well, let's be honest; yes, it might. On the other hand, the experience could relax your inhibitions enough to make connecting with physical sensations easier. There's no specific song or genre to suggest, since every person is uniquely affected by music. Choose whatever gets your flow on; something vibrant for energy or tone it down to relax. Needless to say, hardcore rock may not be the best choice. Headbanging has its place but not while you're doing a delicate balancing asana. Or any other, for that matter.
Join a Class
Make It Social
This may not be the answer for everyone, but it made the list for several reasons. Practicing yoga with an instructor or group can be fun and holds you responsible to showing up. Often, boredom is just a phase that needs to be endured and social yoga can help with this in spades. Did you know that there are asanas designed specifically for two people to do together? This may require a little research on your part but it's a great way to bond with a spouse who also likes yoga.
When All Else Fails...
Bring out the super antidote—new stuff. Not just in the way you think! Sure, new equipment always makes yoga better. A beautiful mat, workout clothes or trinket to decorate your sacred space; they all refresh a practice. However, new goals are super boosters as far as inspiration is concerned. That's the wonderful thing about yoga, the levels are almost endless. There's always another pose or a greater challenge to take on.
When bored, decide where you're headed next and get excited about it. You can design your own challenges; daily, weekly, a routine or take on a difficult asana plainly because it looks awesome. Go for it! Just always remember to set achievable goals to avoid discouragement. This is not cheating or slacking off; you'll advance faster with determined baby steps than a leap every other blue moon.
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit