Every now and then everyone gets to that point where they just don’t want to roll out the mat.
You may stare at that rectangle in disdain or maybe you can only think about the thousand other things that you would rather be doing? We all get there sooner or later, but the trick is out to get out of it. As yogis, we strive to be aware and dig into ourselves. How do I feel? Why do I feel that? What is the meaning? Sometimes you may not even be aware you are in a rut until epiphany – a rut! Below are some suggestions on getting un-stuck:
Try a different style: Get out of your routine and try a different type of yoga. Try the newest yoga trend and see what the buzz is about. If you have been going to solely one style of yoga, try Kundalini or Hatha or any other style! Advanced yogis may want to go back to a beginning class where you can refocus on the details of the poses (see below in Get down to the details). There is always room for adjustments and improvements! You may just fall in love with a new style of yoga.
Mediate: Meditation can be a very powerful tool. Take a few minutes (or 30) to meditate and clear your mind. There are many, many benefits to meditation! For this problem, meditation has been shown to help the mind open and be more creative, or in other words, puzzle solve. This meditative space may help to solve the rut itself or a stress in your life that is causing the stagnant feeling. You may find that it is just the thing you needed.
Change things up: (timing, flow, etc.) If you always go to the same class at the same time in the same spot with the same instructor you may be feeling bored. Try changing the time you practice as your body and mind will respond differently at different times of the day. Switch up the studio(s) you attend or go to a different instructor.
Every teacher has their own unique way of teaching and their own flow. Challenge yourself to novel and ever-changing classes! This may bring you more balance from constantly surprising your body and mind.
Bring a friend: If you are feeling in a rut, especially if you typically practice at home, try bringing a friend. A new energy in the room may change your own energy. A friend can make the class more fun and social. You can share your love and interest with someone else and that may just re-inspire you. Plus you can grab a (healthy) bite afterward!
Talk to your instructor: Your instructor most likely has been practicing awhile and has probably gone through a rut or two of their own. They can give you advice about what they’ve experienced and how they got out of it. Instructors can also provide you feedback on what they see in your practice.
Get down to the details: Focus on every minute detail. As you get more advanced you may make less tangible progress as you attempt more and more advanced poses. When you first start there are noticeable differences from week to week, but this slows as time and practice goes by. This can be very discouraging to some.
Remember, that it’s not about advancement but about awareness and focus mentally and physically. Make adjustments and corrections to your poses (see Talk to your instructor for advice). A slight adjustment to your hips or a twist here or there can make a once easy pose, now challenging again.
Take a retreat or workshop: Try a retreat or a workshop! This can combine quite a few of the above qualities such as getting out of your routine, seeing new places, new instructors, but can also be very inspiring. Exploring new places and cultures can be eye-opening. Visiting historically and spiritually rich places may present a great feeling of connection.
Going to these specialty trips or workshops lets you meet fellow yogis. Seeing someone else’s passion and connecting with someone can be inspiring all on its own.
Head in the clouds: So maybe a retreat or workshop is off limits for you. How about just changing up your space and perspective? Take your mat outside! There is beauty in nature all around us! Find some place that you are comfortable and get into a flow. Yoga doesn’t have to be done inside only and sometimes we get stuck in our mentalities. This change of space can also change your perspective.
Pause: Take a vacation from yoga. Explore other hobbies and passions and soon, in a few days or weeks, you’ll be thinking about yoga again! Sometimes a vacation is all we really need. Take the time to relax and refocus. You’ll find your rhythm again.
There is no right or wrong way to get out of a rut, but out you must climb.
These are just some suggestions to get out of a rut. Perhaps one or a combination of them will help. Focus on what makes you happy and healthy and you’ll find your way out.