A Life Lesson to Mixing Up Your Practice, Part Two
Earlier I wrote about the merits of committing to the same yoga practice and how it can inform your life off the mat. Now, I'm offering some tips on why it's nice to do a different practice whenever you step on the mat. Sometimes we feel in a rut with the activities in our lives-- we eat the same foods, wear the same five shirts each week (ahem....or three shirts if I'm being honest!), drive the same route, watch the same shows...you get where I'm going with this. Doing the same yoga practice repeatedly may feel like it is hindering your creative spirit. Here is where you can tap into what Erich Schiffman calls "Freedom Style Yoga" and move according to your spirit's desires. When we find stillness within, we can then discover the movements our bodies, minds, and spirits crave. Perhaps you notice your back wants to expand into a forward fold or your thighs want to ground in strong standing poses. You cannot know until you give yourself the space to explore.
If Freedom Style Yoga seems too open for you, try subscribing to an online streaming service and follow a teacher you enjoy. You will find a variety of classes taught in a style that resonates with you. Or buy a monthly pass at a local yoga studio and try several different teachers, styles, and even times of day to practice (if your schedule allows). Every teacher has a different approach to beginning class, building a sequence, and closing class-- how do you feel as you explore different teaching methods? What do you learn about yourself? How does the way to talk to yourself about these differences teach you how you approach change in the world?
When we mix up our yoga practice, we encourage ourselves to be flexible. We can either tense up or soften and improvise. Maybe you discover you thrive in routine, which, in that case, points to following the same yoga sequence daily (see Part One of this discussion). The way you react on the mat probably mirrors your approach to life off the mat. If you want to be more flexible and spontaneous in life, try practicing different yoga classes by different teachers and see what you learn about yourself, yoga practices, and your behaviors in daily life.