4 Simple Ways To Amp Up Your Yoga Practice

Explore ways of refreshing your asana practice when feeling stuck in a yoga rut. Grow and expand your yoga practice, gain new inspiration and learn appreciation for your body on the way.
Jenné Marley is a yoga and meditation teacher.
Jenné Marley is a yoga and meditation teacher.

Yoga, at least the physical asana practice, is an ever-evolving game. Over time, the practice itself can see many seasons, phases, and styles. Some periods of life (days, weeks, months) call for strenuous heat-producing power vinyasa flows. Some times call for restorative yin posted up on a bolster.

Sometimes our yoga practice is vigorous and inspired. But other times, the urgency to practice asana fades. We can get stuck in a yoga rut and lose the inspiration to practice altogether.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or contemplating starting a yoga practice for the first time, here are a couple of simple ways to revamp and make your yoga practice shine!

How To Revamp Your Yoga Asana Practice

1. Change Up The Tunes

It’s pretty easy to put on a “Zen meditation” playlist and get some basic stretches in. But hey. We’re amping UP our practice here, not chillin it down. So turn up the beat. Try out some non-traditional yoga music. 

I like to play African drum beats, silly hip-hop songs, classical music, electronic, reggae—pretty much anything but Zen meditation music. Why? Because Zen meditation music is meant for just that: sitting to meditate. You need the monotonous tones and subtle soothing sounds. But in asana practice, you need inspiration for movement. 

Choose songs that excite you and make you want to dance around and sing. Play eclectic music from different genres and mix it all together. This way, you never get too stuck or lost in thought. The constant change and generally upbeat nature of the music help keep it fresh and fun. The more fun you are having while on the mat, the more you’ll want to get back on it. 

Play whatever music you like, there is no one type of yoga music for your home yoga practice. Zen meditation music has its function. So does cheerful, inspired music.

Read more: Explore how to deepen your awareness in asana practice by setting an intention, and bringing awareness to your body, breath and mind.

2. Get Off The Mat

There’s a conception that we must conduct a formal yoga practice on a mat for it to actually be considered yoga. Wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Our yoga practice transcends the borders of a mat. Yoga is a state of mind, not a pose. Yoga is discipline. It teaches the ability to remain present and focused no matter what situation you find yourself in—whether a complicated pose or a life obstacle. 

Yoga is happening all the time. You can sit in meditation on the train. You can take a tree pose anywhere you are standing upright. Do Sun Salutation A at your desk to refresh the energy in your body. Practice a few handstands while lounging on the beach. 

Yoga will meet you wherever you are with however much or little space (and time) you have. Bring awareness to the breath, practice presence, and you are doing yoga. Boom. Ditch your yoga mat. Improve your yoga practice.

Read more: In your practice, do not feel limited to one medium, like your yoga mat or gratitude journal. Discover how to expand your journaling practice and start living a life of gratitude.

3. Use Props

Although yoga props are (sadly) often viewed as a handicap or crutch, yoga blocks, straps, blankets, and bolsters actually serve powerful functions for our bodies. 

Blocks bring the ground to you. Straps expand your reach and accessibility. Blankets lift you up. Bolsters support your body into postures. Even the wall is a fantastic ‘prop’ acting as a still point of support.

Everybody is different and every body is different. Physical anatomy differs even from one side of our own body to the other. In this way, props can help us to ‘even the playing field’ of the limitations of the body. Props improve our asana practice, not take away from it. 

Using yoga props properly is actually the sign of a well developed, self-aware practice. Knowing how and when to use yoga props allows you to deepen and develop poses in ways you may not otherwise be able to. Skillful use of yoga props indicates that we are aware of our strengths and constraints. It also indicates that we are capable of accepting support from tools and resources when necessary (both on and off the mat).

4. Face Your Fears

One big factor that can keep us from ascending and growing our asana yoga practice is fear. 

Advanced asana postures can be intimidating and downright impossible—at first. But just like all things, with time, experience, discipline, and yep: PRACTICE, they become easier and more accessible. 

Want to improve your yoga practice? Choose a few advanced (for your level) poses and set them as ‘goal poses.’ Work towards them a little bit every day. Try to break up the monotony at work with a headstand or sit in lotus pose while you fold laundry at home. 

While in formal practice, take the options for core strengthening and conditioning. If you feel warmed up, take a new variation of a pose to get outside of your comfort zone! 

Maybe you’ve got even bigger dreams, Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana or Inverted Staff Pose, for example. Not something you can just do by your desk (or can you?). Carve out time to face the fear. Make it a priority. Take baby steps. 

Bottom line is, the more we face the fear, the more it disappears, in yoga and in life. With exposure and practice, intimidating yoga postures become simple ones. With exposure and practice, our life goals more achievable. 

What are we truly afraid of? Falling down? To improve your yoga practice, face the fear. Allow yourself to fall—there’s not that far to go.

Read more: You’re three breaths into a deep chair pose, wondering how much longer, when your yoga instructor asks you to “embrace the discomfort.” Explore the importance of discomfort along the journey to personal and spiritual growth.

How To Refresh Your Yoga Asana Practice

Like one of the great yogis who popularized yoga in the west, Pattabhi Jois, said

“Practice and all is coming.”

If your yoga practice is feeling lackluster, don’t give it up altogether. Rather, give yourself the opportunity to refresh. Use these simple tips to revamp and AMP IT UP! 

The biggest secret to attaining yoga goals and real-life goals is to practice. Want to improve your asanas? Practice more. Make your practice an integrated experience. Play some inspiring music. Get off the mat. Grab blocks and blankets. Do what scares you! 

This is the path to a stronger yoga practice and to liberation in eternity.

Find out more about Jenné Marley.

Meditation. Free.