You know the drill. At the beginning of any hobby it’s all new and fresh and exciting. You buy the gear, you learn the words and you really commit. But fast forward to a few years down the line and suddenly the very thing you loved no longer brings about the same benefits.
Maybe it’s not as challenging physically. Or maybe you’re so comfortable with the classes you start to tune out? When it comes to a yoga practice, it’s really easy to hit a plateau, especially if you return to the same class time after time. Of course there are benefits to repetition and discipline when it comes to your practice. Regularly repeating the same poses enable you to measure the improvements you experience, both mentally and physically.
Whereas your thoughts may drift when you first try yoga, you soon witness significant improvements in your ability to focus and still your mind. While the consistent practice of the same sequences enables the body to physically strengthen in a truly profound way.
However, it is extremely valuable to open yourself to different approaches to yoga. Especially if you find yourself hitting a plateau or becoming indifferent.
So, here’s our top three yoga hacks to ramp your practice up a level.
Focus on a body part
It’s very tempting to focus on large muscle groups such as the hips or upper back when putting together a yoga practice. Yet, there are many profound benefits that come from exclusively placing your awareness and focus on a not-so-obvious body part.
So if you’ve been focusing heavily on your hamstrings during a sequence, try to change your mindset and concentrate on what’s happening in your shoulders during the same poses. Doing this will enable you to inhabit your physical body in a whole new way, allowing you to derive new benefits from the same routine.
Use a prop
And get over yourself! There’s an awful misconception in yoga that props are only for beginners. But when used with imagination the humble brick can bring a whole new level to any practice.
For example while in Tadasana (mountain pose), place the brick in between your upper thighs. This requires you to grip the brick tightly with both your quadriceps and outer thigh muscles and is a great reminder of just how much work is required from the legs during this pose.
When going into Trikonasana (triangle pose), you can hold the brick with your upper hand, adding some resistance to the pose and thereby making it more physically challenging.
Try a different style
One you find a yoga class you like it can be very tempting to stick with it. You can feel yourself progressing and you like the teacher so why change? Well because nothing grows in a comfort zone! By trying out a new style occasionally it forces both your body and mind to adapt.