I recently moved from my hometown of Los Angeles to San Francisco, and anyone who has ever moved cities or gone anywhere unfamiliar will agree that you are never more present than when you are in a new place. While routine is good and necessary to provide structure and stability, it’s easy to become unconscious and quite literally sleep walk through life.
Have you ever walked into a friend’s home or somewhere you’ve been numerous times and noticed a painting for the first time, only to be told it has been there for years? Suddenly, this place you had come to know so well looks totally different. How much do we miss every single day and yet we continue to think we’re bored or need change?
The more present we are the more spectacular life can be. We yogis call this a “beginner’s mind”. It means approaching every moment as if it were the first, because technically it is the first of that moment. On a cellular level we are transforming by the second. Though days may feel and appear outwardly similar, nothing is ever the same.
Therefore, we don’t have to move hundreds of miles to spruce up our routine. Tiny changes have a profound effect on helping us cultivate presence and bring excitement back to the everyday.
Here are 5 simple ways to freshen up your yoga routine this Spring:
- Relocate your “spot”: I know, I know. I had an early Saturday morning class where everyone would get there almost at dawn to vie for “their” spot in the back row. But what if you tried practicing in a different area of the studio. What do you notice? How does it effect your practice? Are you able to focus more or less? You may like it!
- Practice at a different time of day: I always tell my students that a 6am body is very different than a 1030am or 430pm body. Everyone is unique and while you may have gotten into a routine of doing yoga in the evenings, perhaps a morning practice would better suit your constitution. For a full month, try practicing at a different time than usual. This is not something that will have an effect with one try. Be consistent. Notice the effect it has on the rest of your day, mood, and sleep.
- Start with left leg: How many classes do we go to where we lead with the right? Do a home practice where you start entirely with the left leg. It is not possible to fall into auto-pilot when working hard to concentrate. Also, pay attention to if you tend to favor one side, holding longer or feeling stronger. Try to emphasize the opposite. In this instance it is ok to have two left feet and definitely a sense of humor.
- Explore different styles of yoga: Are you a Vinyasa devotee? Or die-hard Ashtangi? Each method has its benefits, but some practices only work in certain planes of movement. If you no longer get sore from your practice, this is a good indication to try a new sequence or routine. Athletes strength train different body parts and yogis are no different. Trying different styles not only opens the body, it opens the mind.
- Try a new teacher: We teachers do our best to stay creative and keep things fresh, however there is a pacing and languaging specific to each instructor and students start unconsciously predicting where the class is going. When you go to a new teacher, it requires paying attention. It may feel awkward at first (as does anything different!), but you will always learn something new. And hey, if you are in the Bay area and have not taken my class yet, come check me out at YogaWorks and Yoga Tree! Or, practice with me from anywhere online with myyogaworks.com.
Sarah Ezrin, E-RYT-500, is an energetic and humorous yoga teacher, writer, and YogaWorks teacher trainer based in Los Angeles. With a profound love of travel, Sarah runs around the globe leading trainings, workshops and retreats. For Sarah, yoga is not about the tricks or the postures; it is about finding one’s center amidst the challenges and chaos of the world. She believes that life is short and that it should be spent laughing, with the people and animals we love, and doing the things we most enjoy, like yoga! Practice with her at YogaWorks and Yoga Tree, or online with myyogaworks.com. For more information on Sarah, visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.