It is estimated that over 300 million people worldwide now practice yoga, and no matter how they first found yoga, it’s not uncommon to find yoga boring initially or after a while. So what do you do if you know yoga is good for you but lack a feeling of excitement for it?
If you find yoga boring, there are many ways to make it fun and engaging and thus keep you motivated to continue your practice:
- Get clear on what you want from your practice
- Try different styles of yoga
- Discover other yoga studios and teachers
- Practice yoga in nature
- Set yourself the goal of mastering one pose
- Join yoga workshops
- Practice one of the other 7 limbs of yoga
- Find a yoga buddy
Let’s discuss each of these eight tips in more detail, but before we get there, let’s look at why people practice yoga?
Undoubtedly everyone started yoga for different reasons. While some people pursue yoga as a spiritual practice, others use it as a form of exercise or a way to destress.
In addition, some people come to yoga for a more specific purpose, perhaps to ease lower back pain, as advised by a medical professional. What’s more, many athletes nowadays use yoga to aid recovery and prevent injuries.
Get clear on what you want from yoga practice
As previously mentioned, you started yoga for a reason. Perhaps someone recommended it to you, or you read about its benefits. However, if you found yoga to be different than you expected, it’s natural to feel disheartened and think that yoga is not for you. But remember that this is a normal feeling to have when starting any new activity and it’s challenging to learn the poses, sequences, and terminology used in a yoga class.
Don’t give up if you don’t enjoy yoga as much as you thought you would. It could be the case that the specific style of yoga you have tried is not suitable for you. Remember why you started doing yoga and keep coming back to that intention. Don’t let your first impression put you off.
Alternatively, you might have enjoyed yoga initially, but now as time passes, you are starting to feel bored with it. This is normal too, and it doesn’t mean that yoga is no longer for you. As a yoga practitioner of 9 years and a teacher for four years, there have been times when I have felt bored with yoga. However, these moments are always temporary. Therefore, keep your mind focused on the benefits you know the practice gives you and incorporate some of the other tips on this list. You’ll soon start finding yoga fun again.
Try different styles of yoga
With at least 8 traditional yoga styles and endless newer types and hybrids, you cannot really say you find yoga boring unless you have tried them all. In fact, most people claim yoga to “not be for them” after trying just one style.
The problem with this is that yoga styles can be VERY different. For example, if you had an image of yoga being a slow stretching session but attended an ashtanga or vinyasa class, you would probably be surprised at how challenging it is. Yoga can range from passively holding stretches for 3 minutes to moving dynamically with jump backs and low planks (known as chaturanga).
So before you write off yoga, get clear on the differences between the styles. I recommend going through the schedule at your local yoga studio and booking a session for each class type offered.
Traditional yoga styles
- Hatha – In Sanskrit, Hatha means sun and moon, which relates to its purpose of balancing the opposite forces, such as the yin and yang energy. It is one of the oldest styles and is the foundation for many newer yoga styles, so it is a great style to start with to learn the basics. In a hatha yoga class, you’ll warm up with gentle sun salutations before moving into standing, seated, and reclined postures.
- Ashtanga – Ashtanga is a structured yoga style consisting of specific asanas practiced in a particular order (known as a series). There are six series in total, but you cannot advance to the next one until you have mastered the previous series. The style is physically demanding, so it is ideal for those looking for a challenge or for regularity.
- Vinyasa – Vinyasa is essentially a combination of Hatha and ashtanga. It features asanas from each style but links them together in a “flow,” making it a fluid, dance-like practice. There is no set sequence to follow, so vinyasa can vary between a slow flow and a fast one. As each class is different, vinyasa is excellent for those who like variety.
- Iyengar – Iyengar is the yoga style that most emphasizes proper technique and alignment. Iyengar uses lots of props to help you reach the desired shape, and you hold the postures for some time, building body strength. It’s well worth doing at least a few Iyengar classes, as knowing the correct alignment will help you in other styles.
- Yin – Yin is a passive, meditative practice consisting of floor-based poses, primarily focused on the lower body. There are no sun salutations or flowing sequences to be found here as you hold each stretch for 1 to 5 minutes. Yin yoga stretches the body’s deep connective tissues and is linked to TCM (Chinese medicine) as the postures are said to stimulate the meridians.
- Restorative – As the name suggests, restorative yoga is relaxing and nourishing and ideal after a physical workout or stressful day. It features similar postures to yin, and you hold them for an equivalent length of time. However, the main contrast is that restorative yoga uses many props to create the most comfortable hold.
- Bikram/Hot – Like Ashtanga, Bikram yoga follows a set sequence. However, what’s unique about this style is that it is performed in a sweltering room, typically set to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. Therefore, Bikram feels like doing yoga in a sauna, which people love or hate. The benefits of doing hot yoga include weight loss and toxin release.
- Kundalini – In Sanskrit, Kundalini translates to “life force energy,” which is believed to reside at the base of the spine. The purpose of kundalini yoga is to awaken this energy and bring it up the spine to the crown of the head to elevate your consciousness. A Kundalini class includes ‘Kriyas;’ dynamic postures paired with specific breathing techniques.
Fun yoga styles
If you find the traditional styles boring, you’ll be interested to know that there are now many “fun” yoga styles. However, while they can be fun to partake in, these “trends” focus on the physical body only. Therefore, they do not carry the traditional styles’ spiritual element or Eastern philosophy.
- Aerial – In Aerial yoga, you practice asanas in a hammock suspended from the ceiling, giving a sensation that you are floating/flying.
- Acro yoga – Acro yoga is done in pairs and consists of yoga and acrobatics. Most postures include someone at the bottom as the base using their strength to hold up the other person, who focuses on balancing.
- Puppy yoga – If you love animals yet find yoga boring, puppy yoga might be for you. A puppy yoga class involves doing traditional asanas while cuddling with the adorable puppies who wander around.
- Goat yoga – It may sound like a joke, but goat yoga is a real thing. This funny, light-hearted class takes place in the presence of goats that may interact with you as you hold the postures.
- SUP yoga – If you live close to a lake or calm ocean, you might see SUP yoga classes advertised. A SUP is a stand-up paddleboard, so as you can imagine, SUP yoga involves holding asanas while on the water, a real test of balance!
Yoga-fitness hybrid styles
If you’re a fitness enthusiast who finds yoga too slow or not challenging enough, you might like to try a yoga-fitness hybrid class. These classes are solely physical-based, though, and lack the essence of yoga.
- Yogalates – A combination of yoga and Pilates,
- Yoga Barre – A workout technique that combines elements of ballet, yoga, and Pilates and includes high repetition weight and cardiovascular training.
- Budokon yoga – Yoga with martial arts-inspired moves and transitions.
Can you mix yoga styles?
If you try many different styles of yoga and find a few you love, you may wonder if it’s ok to practice all of them regularly. It’s fine to mix yoga styles, and doing so is an excellent way to prevent boredom from creeping in and get a well-balanced practice. This is because one yoga style can compliment another one. For example, Ashtanga or Vinyasa will help you work on building strength, whereas Yin or Restorative focuses on increasing flexibility.
Discover other yoga studios and teachers
Along with testing different styles, it’s also worth trying classes at various yoga studios and venues.
Shop around your local yoga studios
Every yoga studio has its own vibe, so it’s only natural to dislike some and resonate with others. In addition, your current yoga studio may only offer a couple of yoga styles, so you might find yoga boring because you have not had the chance to find your favorite yoga style.
Research and reach out to your local yoga studios. Most venues will offer a free (or at least discounted) trial, and many have a special one-month membership for new students. There is nothing wrong with jumping between studios. In fact, this is something I do whenever I move to a new city. Once you find the “one,” you will know, but until then, enjoy a “yoga buffet.”
Experience different teachers
Just as every yoga studio is different, the same is true for every teacher. Yoga instructors bring their own personality to their teaching, giving their class a very different vibe from another teacher teaching the same style. As a result, you will gravitate towards some yoga teachers’ energies and struggle to resonate with others.
This is totally normal as there is no one yoga teacher for everyone. However, finding the right yoga teacher can make you view yoga differently and take your practice to the next level.
Try online yoga
If you live in a small town or village, you probably don’t have a wide choice of yoga studios or teachers within driving distance. However, the good news is that you can still practice with some of the best yoga instructors no matter where you live, thanks to online yoga.
You will find a ton of different yoga classes on Youtube. One of the most well-known yoga teachers on Youtube is Yoga with Adriene, who has a vast library of yoga classes of different lengths, for different levels, and with different focuses. Or, if you are looking to learn the Ashtanga yoga primary series, I recommend checking out KinoYoga.
Practice yoga in nature
Are you a nature lover who enjoys spending time outdoors? If so, this could be why you find doing yoga in a studio boring. While some yoga studios are beautiful and airy with large windows and cozy furnishings, others can be uninspiring. If you’re practicing yoga at a gym or leisure center, the setting is likely even less desirable.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm country, you will likely find outdoor nature classes in a park. Or, if you live nearby a beach, why not practice by the ocean?.
Practicing yoga on the grass or sand helps you connect the earth’s energy, and being in nature is instantly calming for the mind. Therefore, you might find doing yoga in nature a much more profound experience and, thus, more enjoyable.
Set yourself the goal of mastering one pose
If you’re someone who thrives on challenge and competition, you might find the non-competitive practice of yoga boring. However, if you switch your mindset to progress rather than competition, you will likely gain more interest in yoga. In addition, by becoming mindful of the changes and shifts happening in your body and mind, you may notice how you progress in some way in every class.
You can focus on progress further by setting yourself the challenge to master one pose. Track your progress during each stage of the progression by taking photos. Witnessing yourself advance in this way will give you continuous motivation to continue with your practice, and the challenge aspect will keep it from feeling boring.
If you’re brand new to yoga, choose a beginner-level posture such as warrior III (Virabhadrasana III). When you first try this pose, you’ll likely struggle to lift your floating leg while lowering your upper body without losing balance. However, once you master it, you’ll be able to create that visibly perfect letter T shape with your floating leg and upper body in one straight line parallel to the floor.
If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you could challenge yourself to master a tricky arm balance like the crow pose. It is difficult to find the correct weight distribution to hold the balance and can feel painful on the wrist on the first try. Likewise, the pose requires a certain level of flexibility in the hips. However, once you develop the strength, balance, and flexibility required, you’ll be able to achieve the correct placement of the knees resting in the biceps as you balance on your arms.
Join yoga workshops
You might find yoga boring if you do not know enough about the practice. One-hour yoga classes can only cover so much, barely touching the surface. However, you were called to yoga for a reason, so why not commit to learning more about it by signing up for a yoga workshop?
Most yoga studios put on regular or at least occasional workshops. These are often themed to a specific topic, such as a particular body part, group of poses, or health benefits. For example, common workshop topics are alignment, anatomy, backbends, or inversions.
The world of yoga is incredibly vast, and there is always more to learn, regardless of how long you have been practicing. So if you start to feel bored, explore a particular topic that you are not so familiar with. It doesn’t have to be asana-related either, as workshops around Ayurveda, yoga Nidra, breathwork, or meditation can complement your practice and help bring the excitement back.
Practice one of the other 7 limbs of yoga
Most beginner yogis do not realize that the physical yoga poses (asanas) are just one part of yoga. For example, there are 8 limbs of yoga, one of which is asana, which at least 80% of western yoga classes consist of. Therefore, if you find yoga boring, there is a good chance that you actually find asana boring, not the entire yoga practice.
Learning and practicing the 8 limbs of yoga will significantly increase your enthusiasm and enjoyment of yoga. So aside from the physical postures, what are the other limbs?
The yamas (moral disciplines)
The first limb is a set of five principles (known as the Yamas) about how we behave towards others and in the world. They are guidelines on how to treat others and the environment. They include Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (proper use of energy), and Aparigraha (non-greed). These can be applied both on and off the yoga mat.
The niyamas (observances)
The second limb is a set of principles about how we relate to ourselves. They can also serve as guidelines on maintaining self-discipline in our practice to advance in our spiritual journey. They include Saucha (cleanliness), Santosa (contentment), Tapas (discipline over desire), Svadhyaya (self-knowledge), and Isvara Pranidhana (surrender to the divine).
Pranayama (breathing techniques)
If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, pranayama may be a familiar term. You have likely practiced these breathing techniques within your yoga classes. However, pranayama is an entire limb of yoga coming directly after asana, which shows how vital breath awareness and control are.
So, if you find practicing yoga postures monotonous, direct your focus to learning the different pranayama techniques such as Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) or Kapalabhati (shining skull breath).
Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
The fifth limb refers to drawing your attention away from the external world and redirecting it inwards. By getting in touch with your inner being, you can become aware of bad habits, negative thought patterns, and unhealed emotional pain. You can practice this multiple times a day by observing when your mind is fixated on external stimuli and consciously drawing the attention inwards.
Dharana translates to concentration, the next step to experiencing bliss after Pratyahara. Concentration allows our minds to slow down the thinking process and connect deeper. To practice this limb, fix your attention on a specific object like a candle, a particular energy center or body part, or a repetition of a mantra.
Dharana makes the next limb of Dhyana (meditation) easier as the mind is already settled. With Dhyana, you experience an uninterrupted flow of unforced concentration where you cannot be distracted by thoughts or external stimuli. Dhyana is the aim of many long-term meditators looking to gain control of their mind.
Finally, the last limb, Samadhi, refers to enlightenment, which according to some traditional styles of yoga-like ashtanga, is the goal of yoga. It is said that you have to master all previous 7 limbs to reach this state of bliss, which shows there is much more to yoga than making our bodies flexible!
Learning about the 8 limbs of yoga can feel a bit overwhelming at first. However, you don’t have to practice them simultaneously. Although ancient yogic texts state that you should master them in order starting with the Yamas and Niyamas, this does not apply to modern-day life. Instead, focus on the one that most resonates with you first, and then slowly explore each one, finding the aspects of yoga you connect with the most.
Find a yoga buddy
Experiences are best shared with others, so if you find doing yoga boring on your own, try enlisting a friend to join you. You can hold each other accountable by setting yoga “dates” one or two mornings a week where you go to class and then enjoy brunch together after.
Having a yoga buddy and knowing you don’t have to do it alone will make it easier to sign up for new classes, try new studios and join workshops. In addition, you can help each other stay inspired and motivated while deepening your friendship. Once your interest grows, you could even go on yoga retreats in different countries together.
Despite yoga’s many benefits, it’s natural to feel bored from time to time. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up the practice.
Remember that yoga is a very personal experience and the key to creating a lasting routine is to make it work for you. So, whether that means trying a new style, switching studios, or attending a yoga workshop, try the tips in this article and bring more enthusiasm and excitement into your practice.