If the idea of practicing downward dog gets us downright annoyed, then maybe it’s time to step away from our mat.
We’ve all been there—and it’s okay. Sometimes we get sick of the practice because we need to shake it up—either in life or on our yoga mats. So here are five ways to get over those yoga blahs.
1. Cheat on your mat.
I’ve been practicing yoga for 18 years. You know what else I’ve done for 18 years? Ski ‘til my heart’s content on my Nordic Track. The ’90s called and they can’t have it back. I also still love working out on my spinning bike. It doesn’t make you less of a yogi if you have other fitness interests, hobbies or teacher certifications (yes, I got spin-certified a couple years ago). It makes you well-rounded—and personally, other activities remind me why hopping on my yoga mat is always my favorite.
So you’re a yoga die-hard through and through. Great! Mix it up. Go to a gentle class if you’re a hard-core power yogi, or try a challenging Vinyasa series with a qualified teacher if you need help upping your game. Anyone would get bored with the same routine over and over, and there are many styles of yoga. Don’t be a yoga snob, try something new. You might be surprised to find your bliss waiting for you over a different yoga rainbow.
3. Do some digging.
Are you uninterested in a lot of your favorite activities besides yoga? Ignoring depression or other personal crisis is a surefire way to have things blow up in your face. I often use my yoga mat as a tool to get in touch with the inner me—including those revelations that sometimes feel best left alone; they’re not. Make sure that you’re addressing the real issues in your life rather than just the symptoms.
4. Practice yoga off of your mat.
We often get so caught up in the false reality that our yoga mats are where yoga happens. Trust me, they’re not. If this is a new concept to you, then expand your yogic consciousness—off of your mat.
Are you hard on yourself when you can’t easily access a pose that you think you should be able to do? Are you obsessed with how a pose looks, rather than how it feels? Do you not push yourself hard enough because you fear failure? If your yoga mat is not your personal space for experimentation, self-love and good ol’ fun, then what is it? Remember that our mats are where we challenge and prepare our bodies—because they house our souls. Be kind and gentle, yet adventurous, with yourself—on and off your mat.
Taking time off of your mat isn’t always a bad thing.
Often, it can be a way to explore other aspects of yourself so that ultimately you have more to offer in your practice. So, if you find yourself really not wanting to get on your mat, think about why. Then use these tips to explore other options—so that you can’t wait to answer the next time your mat does call your name.
Editor: Terri Tremblett