I have almost never been able to uphold a steady and consistent yoga practice. Other than the year before my teacher training and the year and a half after, it's a constant love/hate relationship. And becoming a teacher was the strongest evolution. You learn a lot from your students. Especially the ones who keep showing up.
When it come to exercise I'm really quite lazy. Always have been. I remember my first encounters with it in my youth. Anytime we walked anywhere, I would always complain that I was tired or that my back hurt. I grew up in the suburbs of Vancouver, it was raining 98% of the time, so I watched a lot of TV and movies. I actually watched the film A League of Their Own three times in a row one day. Then my Mom took that as an interest in sport and signed me up for softball. I was sooooo annoyed. That would mean exercise. Hmmmph...
As it turned out, even though I complained about it relentlessly, I really did love playing softball. Even the exercise part. But let's be honest, softball is not the most physically demanding of sports. Two decades later and I'm still the same, I hate the idea of exercise, but once I'm doing it, I'm loving it.
If showing up to your mat is the hardest part, showing up to your solo mat is like trying earn a bachelor of science online by yourself without a teacher. Something about having your fellow yogis suffering beside you, is very motivating. It helps keep you accountable. Yoga is supposed to be challenging. How can you improve at anything if you don't push your boundaries? But if there is no one around to witness your struggle? It's kind of like that old "if a tree falls in the forest but there's no one there to see it" adage.
There is definitely no Bikram studio here. But I NEED to keep up my yoga. All of my students who have come to yoga later in life have told me, “I wish I'd started sooner, and kept it up. Don't wait until you start falling apart to get healthy”.
But still... I struggle. I'm doing yin most days, but I really miss my Bikram. It's just not the same without the heat and the teacher telling you what to do. Yes, I know I'm a teacher and that I know what to do, but when I'm practicing, I don't want to think about it. I want to take my brain completely out of the equation. I just won't work hard without the original recipe.
It's been over three months now, the longest I've gone without a Bikram session in over five years. My body wants it soooo badly, but my heart's just not in it.. Come on boundaries.. Puuuuuushhhh! My plan; make myself a plan! Follow the example of those beautiful students of mine who kept showing up to class, day after day, no matter how defeated they felt. Also, I've got myself an accountabilibuddy. Someone I need to text everyday whether or not I've practiced. A witness.
I think the most important thing is to approach your practice from a place of love and compassion. Some is better than none. We're all just doing the best we can. I've started downloading yoga videos to help motivate myself. I have to use a lot of mobile data to download, so there's another block, but I have to draw the line somewhere. It's mobile data or a downward spiral into sore knees, a stiff spine and my future self saying “I should have listened to my students!”...
Please leave a comment if you've found yourself to be a yo-yo yogi (or a yo-yo something else!) at some point in your life. What strategies have you employed to get yourself back on track?