I have a dirty little secret. The passion has gone from my practice.
After 4 years of getting up at 5 or 6am and practising 6, and sometimes even 7, days a week I’m fantasising about sleeping in or slipping back between the sheets with a steaming cup of coffee.
Once, I would go to bed excited and full of enthusiasm that as soon as dawn broke, I would unite body, mind and breath on my mat. What once gave me purpose and pleasure has become a pain in the arse. It’s like I was riding the prana wave and now it’s crashed into the sea shore.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Now I know that this is the point where I am supposed to exercise patience, to practice without judgment or attachment to the fruits of my efforts, witness how I’m feeling with curiosity, keep calm and carry on. But I can’t, there is something blocking me.
I’ve hit plateaus before. In the past I’ve simply needed to break a few rules and mix things up a bit. I’ve challenged myself with new postures, paused asana altogether and focused on pranayama and meditation, took a step back from my beloved Ashtanga practice and just let my body flow.
In the past, injury has also put me on the bench, prevented me from practising postures and caused me to question my relationship and attachment to the physical ritual. But this time is different.
I can’t help but wonder if my love affair with yoga has come to end.
What’s The Alternative?
Yoga has been such an enormous catalyst for change—I cannot imagine my life or myself without it, and so, I am afraid. I can keep getting up and putting myself through rounds of Surya Namaska, but if I’m bored and blind to the benefits and insights practice can bring, why continue?
Practice may no longer be about challenge, but rather acceptance and surrender. Yet there is no denying yoga and I have settled into a more familiar space. And like all relationships, there comes a time when you chose to commit for the long haul. For me, breaking up isn’t an option, so perhaps it’s time to spice things up to keep the love alive.
If you’re in the same situation as I am, here are a few tips to shake things up a bit and help you ignite your desire for practicing with patience…
- Take a break, but put a time limit on it. A week should be enough to simply break the routine.
- Change your practice. Chose a different sequence or style; if you’re used to a teacher-led class, try self-practice and vice versa.
- Challenge yourself with new poses you’d like to try.
- Keep your sense of humour and don’t expect too much.
- Seek new inspiration; a new book, a workshop, a new studio or different teacher can all bring a fresh perspective.
- Research the poses you do; understand them from a mythical, anatomical and therapeutic perspective.
- Consider going on a yoga retreat; perhaps everyday life has just become too busy and it’s been overwhelming trying to cram in your practice as well as everything else.
- Sleep! You might just be tired and this is your body’s way of telling you to rest for a while.
- Introduce music if you’re used to silence, or practice in silence if you’re used to using music.
- Be flexible. Maybe you’ve practiced for so many hours, so many times a week, that you need to give yourself some time to break out of the routine a little.
- Slow your practice down and do it with more awareness, look for subtle aspects you might have overlooked before.
The truth is, I cannot become a cabbage. I need to move and breathe and connect with my body and to feel balanced, well and alive. Before yoga, it was running, spinning and boot camp. I loved the challenge and I loved to move, but nothing moved me more than what I experienced on my mat. It’s the most intimate relationship I have. I’m not sure I could live without it.
So if you find your passion going out of your yoga practice, try the tips above – because if you love something that much, you should at least try and not just give up on it. Get your yoga mojo back and keep that fire burning!