Yesterday, my day at the Berlin Yoga Conference was full of meditation-heavy, slow classes that caused me to reflect on how my own yoga practice has changed since I started practicing. While I started out with a very difficult, sweaty flow when I first started practicing yoga, I have since moved away from that in favor of a more peaceful, restorative flow.

This morning, I decided to step outside of my current comfort zone and attend some sweatier classes and see how I feel afterwards. Let’s just call it a case study of one.

Getting sweaty

This morning I wanted to get back to my roots. I haven’t had a sweaty, super active yoga practice of my own for the past year or so, and I wanted to make sure that I could a) still do it, and b) still enjoy it. And I am happy to report that I can do both.

I started my morning with Katonah Yoga taught by Andrea Sauter. Her style of teaching and the practice itself challenged me to be playful and to have fun with my practice. There are so many postures from her class that I would like to take home and incorporate into my own practice. She also showed me that when I teach or take a yoga class, that there are many different ways to build heat besides your standard Sun Salutation. Even Cat and Cow can build heat!

It’s important to remember that you can play with your practice. It doesn’t always have to be set in stone with a specific sequence every single time. Keeping your yoga practice playful is what can keep you on your mat in the long run.

Getting sweatier

Straight after Andrea’s workshop, I decided to get even sweatier with a Jivamukti workshop from Olga Oskorbina. I’ve only taken one Jivamukti workshop before, and while I know that I enjoyed it, I was hoping that i would enjoy it just as much the second time around.

As it turns out, I did. Jivamukti helped to remind me of the spirituality and challenges involved in a yoga practice, and I know I’ll be returning home with a renewed vigor for my personal yoga practice.

All in all, I think one of the best parts of attending a yoga conference is stepping outside of your comfort zone and challenging yourself and your yoga practice. When you constantly do the same things in the same way in the same places, as can happen with a yoga practice (and has definitely happened with mine), it’s easy to lose sight of why you enjoyed it in the first place. It’s easy to fall into the same patterns and ways of doing things, and I have found that trying new things is the best way to rejuvenate and breath new life into a potentially stagnant practice.

Plus, there’s really nothing better than building up a bit of a sweat.