Elena Brower on How to Keep Your Yoga Practice Fresh

Posted on April 26th, 2012 by in Yoga

How can we keep our yoga practice fresh during seasonal transitions?

Elena Brower, yogini extraordinaire, gives us some tips.

One of yoga’s keenest gifts, Elena notes, is that it makes us aware of life’s transitions, and how we approach our practice on the mat can guide us in how we welcome life off the mat as we open up to spring. Even when the impulse of awakening strikes, starting our practice slowly helps us find our way into greater freedom and deeper intuition as spring begins its journey toward full bloom. Backbends, with their emphasis on heart-opening, seem intuitive this time of year and, as the season starts, we can mirror nature’s journey by gently encouraging our own physical flourishing. With that in mind, she recommends opening the heart with baby backbends, such as Small Cobra. Going within and noticing the delicate balance between growth and surrender allows the process of springtime to unfurl at its natural pace.

Elena also notes that it’s important to keep the fragility of the blossoming process in mind, and to approach our yoga practice with attention to small details. “We can practice our yoga with a precise care, which lends real spaciousness to our interior experience of the practice.”

Of course, nothing says “spring awakening” quite like reveling in nature, and bringing our practice outdoors can help create new perspectives. The season’s vibrant imagery—the colorful flora, bright sunshine, and hints of lush green landscapes—can act as a powerful complement to how we attune to the energy of renewal in our yoga practice

“We have the opportunity to tap into the real alchemy that occurs In our own bodies during this season of transition and growth,” Elena says. “That helps us see that healing and renewal is happening all around us, as much as within us.”

Elena also suggests going outside to meditate, and meditating with open eyes. “Looking at nature with a soft gaze allows the colors and shades of spring to sink into our awareness,” she says. “Take in as much light as you can, and feel its nourishment.”

Taking stock during transitions can be a powerful practice because the openness of the new season can allow us more space to be open to ourselves. Springtime creates an opportunity to connect to the fourth chakra, the heart chakra—Anahata—as we emerge from winter’s cocoon. “Love is the source of everything,” Elena says. “Just look at any springtime vista—you can see Love is shimmering in everything. When you feel that Love, it makes us want to hold it sacred. To connect to the Love that’s in all of us, to practice keeping our attention in our hearts, is a great place to start, and it’s exactly where we land when we practice yoga.”

Join Elena here at Kripalu.

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About Jonathan Ambar

Jonathan relocated from Brooklyn to the Berkshires, which enabled him to finally earn his driver’s license at the tender age of 34. When not maneuvering winding country roads with great aplomb, he’s writing, editing, performing, and spending an inordinate amount of time upside down (which he’d like to think doesn’t get in the way of his ability to stay grounded). Jonathan is also a certified yoga teacher, having earned his 200-hour certification through OM Yoga Center.
  • LT

    Thank you for the eye open, spring meditation- I have been working on sound meditations but this has all be inside. How great it will be to hear and see spring come alive!

  • http://somaventures.com/ Jean Fraser

    I imagine Elena is a lovely person, but I wish, for the sake of yoga teachers everywhere, we could delete the cleavage. I am of the opinion that it detracts from the message.
    Thank you,
    Jean Fraser
    Minneapolis

  • climblaughlive

    I feel lucky to live in an area that has fantastic weather nearly all year round and outdoor yoga classes are common. I love her references to Spring…it is a time of new energy, the blossoming of new life, relationships, energy, love, change and all is so precious and new. I can totally relate to reveling in nature and how that transforms my entire awareness of self and helps to transform me and how I function in the world. (always for the better).  Great blog post!