Love Your Practice 💓May 26, 2021
Do you ever just feel like you’re sick of everything?
I think we can all agree that it’s been a long year. And I, for one, am so sick of everything.
I was at the grocery store the other day looking at the hummus section and thinking how sick I am of hummus and of eating all the same things. I ended up getting a curry hummus, to add a little spice. I was talking to my mentor this morning and telling her how sick I am of being online (and yet here I am writing this blog post). And honestly? I’m even sick of my yoga practice. Some days, it just feels boring.
The truth is, it’s hard to keep going when everything feels predictable, or when life feels like Groundhog Day and you’re just stuck doing the same thing over and over and over.
So I asked myself a big question, that I think applies to all yogis and really to any practice: How do you keep loving your practice? Even when you are bored, or injured, or unmotivated? What are the most important things to remember so we can keep ourselves going? And here’s what I came up with:
1. You’ll go through phases. Impermanence is the number one lesson in yoga, and that means that what you’re feeling right now will pass. With every relationship, there will be ups and downs—that includes your relationship to yoga.
2. Every time you practice is a rediscovery of yoga. It might feel like you’re doing the same thing every day, but remember that you are always changing—your body, your thoughts, your feelings—and that means your practice is always changing.
3. If you’re getting bored with your practice, change it. You have the power. If a particular technique, tradition, or series is no longer serving you, move on! You can always come back to it. Focus on the subtleties of your breath; try practicing at a different speed; reengage with a seemingly impossible pose; hit the yoga books. Yoga is deep. There are countless different ways to practice. There’s nothing wrong with switching things up.
4. Fall in love with your practice—again. It’s easy to forget what it felt like to be a beginner, but try to go back there. Not to your hamstrings feeling like cables, or the nausea of waking up at the crack of dawn, but to that time when you were awestruck. When you were like, “I don’t know what that was, but I want more.” The longer I practice, the more I forget what it was like to be a beginner, but sometimes I get that feeling back and it is absolutely magical. Try to remember what it was about yoga that captured your heart, and try to rekindle the flame. Loving yoga is all about having a beginner’s mind, so try to remember that beginner’s love. Remember what inspires you. Write it down if you have to. Put a post-it note on your mat.
5. Get curious. Get curious about what the body is trying to tell you, about how you’re feeling and what you’re feeling. Get curious about yoga. What would happen if you brought your chaturanga a little lower, took a longer stance, breathed slower, exhaled up, inhaled down? What if you did whatever you could imagine? What would happen if you took your practice as a chance to explore? To engage with your body, your mind, your breath a little differently? Lose whatever stories you tell yourself, shift your perspective, and get curious about what it is that you are practicing.
Perhaps the most awesome gift that yoga can offer is that there is no limit to what it can teach you, to where it can take you, or to how it can transform you. Learning yoga is learning yourself and the fact is that that is something truly limitless. But it’s up to you to do the yoga.
My yoga practice has truly been my major long-term love affair for almost my entire adult life. These are the ways that I personally have fallen in love with yoga again and again. This is how I have sustained a long-term relationship. I make it fun every chance I get, I remain open to growth and change, and I focus on the joy every single day. And that’s what keeps me falling in love with it. It’s a love that grows with you and changes with you, and that you can grow and change with. Even when you’re sick of everything.
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