I love yoga. It is a big part of my life. It provides so many benefits–mental, physical, emotional. I feel lucky and grateful to have the opportunity to make one of my greatest passions my career.
But, I’ll be honest, sometimes at the end of the day, I’m sick of yoga. In the past, feeling yoga’d out meant that I often went days (or sometimes longer!) without exercise. I mean sure, I still walked Lola for 15-20 minutes or got in a few poses while teaching, but I would just go long periods of time without really moving my body, simply because I didn’t feel like doing the one thing I thought I had committed to.
When I found yoga, I felt like I finally found a form of exercise I could commit to, that worked for me. Despite the fact that I’ve done a few distance events, I never really liked running. I could get myself on the elliptical, but it wasn’t that much fun. But, yoga. Yoga had it all. I could sweat, I could stretch, I could strength train, and I could alter my perspective on life. I could let go for an hour or more and just tune inward.
Once I became a teacher, this started to change. I would be mid-pose and think to myself, “wow, what a great sequence, how can I build this into my class later?” Once I became a studio owner, it changed again. I would me mid-pose and think to myself, ” oh my gosh, look at that dustball in the corner. I need to clean the floor immediately after class, ” or, “I have to do this pose ‘perfectly’ because everyone in the class expects me to.” Of course, I really knew that nobody expected my poses to be perfect. But, by making my passion my career, it had inevitably changed my experience.
Recently, I found myself accepting that yoga may no longer be the epitome of exercise for me. I opened myself up to branching out. And, I found running. As mentioned above, I had never enjoyed running before. I always felt like I wasn’t good at it, that it was boring and that it hurt (I got shinsplints pretty easily). This time, with my yoga practice deeply ingrained in my brain and my body, I took a different approach. Much like I did with my yoga practice, I allowed myself to start as a beginner. I ran slow. And, I enjoyed it. I didn’t expect to run an hour, or even a half hour, the first day. Much like I wouldn’t expect a beginner student to be able to immediately do a headstand. Instead, I allowed myself to walk as much as I needed to. And, as my love and desire for yoga grew the more I practiced, the same happened with running. More often than not now, when I wake up in the morning I feel like running.
I realized that my “commitment” to yoga was actually preventing me from practicing. I wasn’t allowing myself to be where I was, but was instead, resisting my present due to focusing on where I felt I should be. My yoga practice isn’t gone, either physically or mentally. In fact, by allowing myself to branch out, I feel more strongly rooted in the principles of my practice than ever.