Is there a yoga help desk that you can call up when you hit a yoga slump? We all hit the yoga doldrums for one reason or another - when we feel our motivation or discipline is slipping away: work is too busy, it's winter, I've already missed 3 classes - what's one more? I'm a bit preoccupied right now, I'll start up again after my holiday/birthday/deadline....sound familiar? When someone tells me they love yoga and how it makes them feel but they haven't been to class for ages - I always wonder why? The one true constant I can always bank on is when a student returns from a ‘yoga break' - they always report how great they feel to be back on the mat (and in their bodies) and can't believe they let it go for so long.
If you're in this situation you're probably asking yourself the same question. Perhaps you're resistant to practice because your routine is stale, you've hit a physical plateau or you've achieved your original objectives. Maybe your life has changed but you haven't adjusted your yoga practice to fit your new circumstances. Regardless of your scenario, assess the situation. Why are you losing interest now? What are your priorities and how does yoga fit into these goals? Try to recall your original passion. Seeking answers will guide you towards renewal. After all, you self-confessed love it and you know how great it makes you feel physically, mentally, emotionally - you'll find a way of re-prioritising it in your life. Yoga is about awareness, and practising it is a conscious decision. With that in mind, yoga isn't really any different from your touch footy game, your love of weekend newspapers or your performance at work.
Take some inspiration in these ideas:
- Set attainable goals
If it's unrealistic for you to consistently get to an early morning class, don't berate yourself for not doing it. Let yourself try an after-work yoga class instead.
- Listen to your body
Is it tight? Tense? Tired? Craving a little TLC? It will tell you what it needs. Listen to it.
- Change your routine
If you just can't get away from your desk at night to make a class why not try an early morning class instead? It's a wonderful way to start your day with energy, clarity and focus. Perhaps you've been practising yoga for a while and need a yoga change. Why not downgrade from an advanced class back to an open class? It's kind of like going from a full-on pressure point massage to a soothing Swedish massage - allowing your body to enjoy the same benefits with that extra TLC factor. It will also bring you back to basics & refresh your knowledge about the theory behind the postures and practice. Perhaps contrarily you've been attending an open class for a while and have plateaued. Consider an advanced class to challenge your progress and improve your practice your strength and flexibility.
- Talk to your instructor
We also hit yoga slumps and have many and varied ways of moving through it.
Perhaps the key here is to honour where you're at in your life and with your yoga practice with calm acceptance. Focusing on the negatives will inevitably keep you in the negative.
Here are some spontaneous comments from my students:
“…My body always feels great on Friday because of yoga the night before…"
“…I used to find downward dog pose difficult and awkward. Now my body relaxes into it…"
“...The wrist pain I've had for years with RSI has decreased significantly. I can feel my wrists getting stronger with yoga…"
“…I used the ‘whispering' (ujia) breathing on my morning walk the other day. It really helped me regulate my breath and focus when I was doing the stairs. It also has really helped me get over this bronchitis…"
“…I noticed that after starting yoga my chronic back pain pretty much disappeared. But after all these weeks without yoga, I was telling my partner the other day that it started to come back a few weeks ago…"
Written by Mitch Gibson, a Yoga Expert and instructor at Yogabowl