Wow, a blog post! Last time I made one of these was last Fall, as I was sidelined with a knee injury. Time flies.
I looked at the calendar recently and realized that Spring is almost here. Yes, the Vernal Equinox happens on March 20th (which is tomorrow)! Spring is always a time of renewal and new hopes, and our spirits soar as the weather warms. It’s a good time, in my opinion, to take stock of your yoga practice as well.
For me, the Winter consisted of injury recovery as I slowly worked my way back into a regular yoga practice. New Year’s Day saw me doing 108 sun salutations. I was really sore, but it was wonderful! It really jump-started my practice and I’ve settled into a solid routine. I practice three or four times a week and have a set schedule of times that I usually go.
I’ve come to realize that this might be a problem. I love my teachers, don’t get me wrong. But it’s the same teachers, in the same time-slots. Sure, each practice is different but every teacher has preferred ways of doing things and poses that they prefer to teach over others.
I was also reminded recently that a lot of people who practice yoga are at times intimidated about trying something new.
A couple of us were practicing some poses, and another person there just watched us. That’s fine, but I sensed that there was fear in trying something new.
Over the last two weeks I also ran across teachers who are very good at what they teach, but they were hesitant about styles of yoga that they haven’t practiced. They were skeptical of these different yoga styles.
We can get into a rut, even in our yoga practices. We have our favorite teachers, our established time slots, our specific styles of yoga that we do. I know that I certainly have these patterns. For Spring, I’m going to challenge myself not to be in that routine so easily. I’m going to take classes from different teachers. I’m going to explore different yoga styles. I’m going to look for a new goal pose. And I’m going to see if I can shake up my schedule a bit and try to take classes at different times. Sure, it will be a little disruptive, but this will be a great way for me to learn and advance my practice.
I think one of the most important things is to learn from different teachers. I am constantly amazed at the different experiences, almost all of them good, that I have with different people teaching. Even if you stay with, say, Ashtanga, a different teacher could give a new perspective on a pose that’s been particularly challenging to you. I’m not advocating leaving your favorite teachers either. I know you couldn’t drag me away from mine. Still, variety can be really useful and beneficial. When I was first starting yoga, about two months in, I had a substitute teacher instead of my regular one and that was the first time I saw vasisthasana taught. That class has stuck with me and it was one of the first to show me the benefits of shaking things up from time to time.
Whatever you do for Spring, I hope that you find ways to advance and deepen your practice. Enjoy the flowers and the warm weather along with your yoga. Don’t be afraid to try something new from time to time either.