BY JORDAN COHEN
5 Ways to Re-Charge Your Practice This Autumn
Fall is here. Suddenly. Borne upon the green wake of summer. Fall rains light and sweet sprinkle the loamy earth. Trees are generous with their tawny and gold leaves before the subdued winter palette descends. All the earth conserving and storing, preparing for shortened days ahead.
Maybe you also sense subtle changes in your energy. Are you surprised? How do you respond? Do you resist? Or can you move in harmony with changes? Resistance is common as we often can’t recognize that the natural world is not “out there,” but exists within us and that our perception of “separateness” is just that, a perception.
Shiva, the Creator of Yoga, says that yoga is unity between the individual soul and the cosmic soul, the unity between our heart and the cosmic heart, the unity between oneself and the Other.
As the seasons change, we change with them. Perhaps this fall is the time to explore this idea. To stop resisting and to simply allow things to take their natural course. They will anyway, right? Take this opportunity to look at your yoga practice differently. Explore new ideas and concepts with an eye toward adapting your practice to you and your changing energies.
The following are some ideas to get you started and are by no means exhaustive. The branches of yoga extend in many directions and the fruit borne by those branches is sweet. Partake!
Read a Book on Yoga
Fall is for curling up with a good book. Yoga books abound and can not only be enlightening, they can be entertaining. Yoga extends well beyond asana practice and understanding the rich history and philosophy of yoga only served to inform and deepen your practice. There are also books on the poses, their names and the mythological basis for them. It can be incredibly enriching to contemplate on the ideas gleaned from these sources while practicing the postures.
Take a Yin Yoga Class
I know how much you love doing 50 chaturangas in an hour class. Who doesn’t. But this fall consider slowing things down and exploring other types of yoga. After all, as Krishna says, “all paths lead to me.” Yin yoga focuses holding ground-based postures for long periods of time [4-6 minutes]. Rather than actively stretching, in Yin you use the breath and attention to move deeper into the poses. While the stretches are passive, a Yin class is challenging in others ways, requiring focus to maintain stillness and quiet through the duration of the pose. At Pura Vida Yoga we offer several Yin classes throughout the week to complement our Vinyasa classes. >> More on Yin classes.
Sign up For a Retreat
Imagine yourself immerse in the practice of yoga in an exotic location. Signing up for a retreat next year can re-charge your practice right now. Having a retreat on the horizon can really motivate you to do things to prepare for it now. Retreats not only immerse you in the practice of yoga, they introduce you to new and interesting cultures and allow you to build community with other retreat participants. Don’t be surprised if you make lifelong friends on your next retreat. At Pura Vida we offer retreats throughout the year. We have held retreats in Costa Rica, India, Cuba, Bali and most recently Iceland. Check our website for upcoming offerings. Check out our upcoming Retreat to Bali.
Bring a Friend to Yoga
Think back to the first time you went to a yoga class. Chances are you were dragged to class by a friend that couldn’t contain their excitement about how they felt after a yoga class. This fall share yoga with others. Yes, you will hear all the excuses! Don’t let “I’m not flexible” stop you. Part of the joy of yoga and its very existence today is the sharing of the practice with others. Pura Vida Yoga is a safe space where we offer classes for all levels, shapes and sizes.
Set a Yoga Challenge for Yourself
Goals are great and can really re-focus your practice. Accomplishing a goal or completing a challenge can really re-charge you and your practice. In setting goals or creating challenges the key is to make them achievable. If you commit to practicing yoga twice a day for five years, you are likely not to meet that goal. I cannot tell you how many goals I have set for myself in moments of inspiration that I couldn’t realistically complete. The key here is to start small and build. Maybe commit to practice yoga 3 times a week for 3 weeks; or maybe set a goal of practicing 5 times a week for a week. The type of yoga isn’t important. Whether you practice at home or at a studio is not important. The idea is to complete the goal and build from there. Guess what? BINGO is coming back in January. Spread the rumor!