Under the Bodhi Tree (Yoga)
Yoga can be a mystical and enchanting love. For some Yoga is an experience of love at first sight, and yet others have to spend time cultivating their yoga love affair. What happens when you fall out of love? What happens when you no longer have the same zeal for the practice? When all of your favorite teachers bore you? When you no longer have the desire to practice on your own? Have you stopped loving Yoga?
Many Yogi’s suffer from the idea that Yoga is a panacea. I agree that Yoga produces a multitude of physical, medical and energetic benefits. However when all you do is Yoga, all the time, you can get too much of a good thing. Yoga fatigue occurs when Yoga is your only physical practice, spiritual outlet and extra-curricular activity.
Space is key. In every relationship there must be space – between partners, between the creator and their art, the athlete and their sport, the professional and their craft. If there is no space then the relationship is out of balance. When you take space form the activity, person, or behavior that you love then when you come back to it, you are able to approach it with a fresh perspective and renewed interest.
For 48 months I did Yoga, and only Yoga. I learned Yoga Asana, I taught Yoga, I studied Yoga text, I had Yoga meetings, I got involved with Yoga organizations – my life was consumed by Yoga. About 5 months ago I started to lose some of my zeal for Yoga, I had too much of a good thing. I was of the strong opinion that if you practice Yoga regularly then you don’t need any other daily exercise. Yet, I couldn’t deny that I was just not having as much fun practicing Yoga anymore. I knew I needed to take action, but the only action that came to mind was to – take a break from Yoga.
I sat with this deep, frightening truth. It was beyond my comprehension that I could already be burned out. After sitting with the reality that confronted me, I realized I needed to vary my daily physical activity; in short I needed to diversify my exercise. Once I accepted what I was feeling, the resolution presented itself rather quickly: It was time for me to start running. But, was I going to break up with Yoga?
Running is wildly different from Yoga. I was attracted to the speed, quick satisfaction, jock culture and the challenge. Running was like a mistress I was cheating on Yoga with, all the time I spent running I thought about Yoga. As I ran I would sequence my ideal Yoga class to compliment the trauma a runner’s body experiences. The more I was drawn to running the more I was called back to the mat. The space I allowed myself brought me back to the mat.
Allowing myself the space to be honest, take time away from yoga, and be open to other pursuits helped to reinvigorate my love of Yoga. I was able to look at the practice & its benefits through a new lens. Yoga was no longer my only choice, but rather a foundation from which I could create an expansive, safe, varied psychical practice with avenues for spiritual exploration and energetic release.
Love Yoga, Love yourself, love your options. Remember you can have too much of a good thing. Until next month…..