After you’ve been practicing yoga for some time, you start to find favorite poses and sequences that make you feel good and come back to them time and time again. While there’s nothing wrong with picking favorites, repeating the same poses each practice might start to feel dull and monotonous, and land you in a rut: the dreaded yoga burnout. If you are a yoga teacher or have a home yoga practice, avoiding or minimizing yoga burnout is especially important. I’ve found that the most effective way to keep my spirits lifted and stay inspired to practice yoga is to surround myself with visual inspiration. Infuse your practice space with artistic and spiritual elements that inspire you, like altars, intention cards, artistic yoga mats or rugs, mala beads, crystals, and yantras.
When infusing your space with artistic elements, choose colors and materials that evoke the mood you want to create in your practice. Don’t feel like you need to decorate it all at once, either. Take your time and add pieces at your own pace, always remembering that just like you, your space is a work in progress.
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1. Create a yoga and meditation altar
Temples and shrines use altars, statues, and other artworks to invoke feelings of awe and devotion. You can activate a similar emotional state in your own home or yoga practice room by creating a simple tabletop altar. The act of creating and maintaining an altar is a form of bhakti yoga and can be very soothing and meditative in itself. Once your yoga altar is set up, it can be your focal point for prayer, expressing gratitude, and setting intentions, as well as a visual reminder of the goals of your practice.
2. Choose and display intention cards
Working with intention cards is a simple yet powerful way to clarify the goals and purpose of your practice. Selecting one or more intention cards before you practice, then displaying them on your altar, on a nearby table or windowsill, or at the top of your yoga mat can remind you to stay aligned with your higher goals. There are many beautiful yoga card decks you can purchase, or if you have a crafty side, try creating your own!
3. Use or make an artistic yoga mat
Adding inspirational visual elements to your yoga mat or practice rug is another great way to energize your yoga practice. If you’re feeling uninspired in your practice, consider purchasing a yoga mat with designs printed on it next time you shop for a new one. If you’ve got a crafty side, a thriftier option is to modify your existing mat with an inspiring quote or some artwork—perhaps a mandala—using acrylic paint or fabric markers.
4. Wear some mala beads
Wearing and using a set of mala prayer beads is a great way to be reminded of the intentions, goals, and benefits of your yoga and meditation practice throughout the day. Place your beads at the top of your yoga mat when you practice asana as a visual reminder of your intentions, or count them as a way to focus your attention as you meditate. The energetic properties of the material of the beads, like wood, seed, or gemstones, can also transmit good energy to the surrounding environment.
5. Set up a crystal grid
A crystal grid combines the beauty and magic of crystals and gemstones with the power of sacred geometry. Since crystals and gemstones are known to radiate specific healing vibrations and spiritual energies, skillfully setting up a geometric arrangement of crystals will be more powerful than using a single stone or crystal. Placing a crystal grid at the top of your yoga mat, on your altar, or another nearby flat surface is an amazing ritual for focusing your mind and invoking your intentions. You can also create a crystal grid that surrounds your entire yoga mat, making the crystals accessible to place on your body during Shavasana.
6. Display a yantra
A Yantra is the yogic equivalent of the Buddhist Mandala. Yantra translates as ‘machine’ and is made from geometric arrangements of triangles, squares, circles, and lotus petals to symbolize a specific mantra or deity. Yantras are used as a point of focus for meditation, so place them in your yoga room to create a powerful drishti (focal point) for your asana practice.
In addition to the spiritual reminders and symbolic meanings of altars, crystals, yantras, and more, sometimes just a small change in environment can reignite your practice. Keeping something beautiful in view might just be the prompt you need to see your inner beauty.