I was recently in a serious rut in my yoga practice and have been able to break out by changing my routine.
I couldn’t practice for more than a few minutes. It started with an injury I sustained in early June. I hit my head hard on the bottom of a pool, compressed my spine, and dislocated a rib. I made the decision to not do any physical exercise for a while to let myself heal. At the same time, my duties at ILANTUS became more demanding, so it was easy to just wake up and work, instead of my usual habit of doing some yoga first thing in the morning. In retrospect, this was not a good decision.
I didn’t practice any yoga for almost two months. None. Didn’t even break out my yoga mat. That’s the longest no-yoga stretch since 1996 for me. When I realized I needed to get going with yoga again, I began each attempt at practicing the same. For the past many years, about 90% of my yoga practices begin with the same set of standing asanas (yoga poses) – a set of warrior poses, and warrior variations. It was this same set of asanas that I started doing again this month, when I needed to startup yoga again. The problem was I couldn’t stay engaged for more than a few minutes. My mind would distract me, my body would feel resistant – it just didn’t feel good.
Then, I decided to try a different start – a sun salutation series. The sun salutation series moves through multiple poses quickly, one move for each breath. In the warrior series I had usually been doing, I hold each asana for many breaths before moving to the next.
When I do the sun salutation series to start, I am able to stay in the practice. And sometimes I then move to the warrior series, and sometimes onto other asanas. I’ve been doing this for a week now. My body still feels tighter than it did before the injury, but at least I’m moving and starting to loosen up. It feels like I’ve broken out of my rut, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I didn’t change my routine.