The Journey of your Yoga Practice may surprise you.
I ran into a student the other day at my local coffee shop. I had not seen her in months and she began to rattle off a list of personal and business challenges that she felt were shifting her journey with yoga from go to slow.
She finished with the statement “I really need to get back to class because my yoga practice makes me feel so great, but I am going to have to start all over”.
I could identity with her and what she was feeling because I have been there myself.
I realized after our conversation how easy it is to get caught up in thinking that our yoga journey is linear.
We begin to think… “I’ll start my practice, and just like clockwork, I’ll get better and better as each day goes by. I’ll advance in my postures and then sometime rather quickly in the future I’ll reach some form of “full expression”!
[tweetthis]It turns out that the journey of a yoga practice is far more circular than linear.[/tweetthis]
If I were to map it out, I think it looks more like the following:
Tipping Point – Your first yoga class generally follows some kind of event that motivates you to try a class. A new studio opens near you, a friend nudges you to join them in class, you change jobs, you get into a new relationship or your doctor tells you to add yoga to your lifestyle.
Euphoria hits – You take a couple of classes and you start feeling better, you sleep better, you loose weight and you gain clarity about everything in your life. Next thing you know you are telling all your friends and family members about this great new thing in your life and want them to join you for class.
Falling down – Something interrupts your schedule. You get busy at work, you face a personal challenge or you go on vacation. The next thing you know it has been longer than you want to admit since you have practiced yoga.
Getting back up – This is hardest phase because you feel like you are starting all over. In fact, the feeling and/or the belief is what keeps us stuck in this stage for so long.
Cycle repeats – Accept it! This is most likely what your yoga journey will look like over time!
Back to the coffee shop…
[tweetthis]”You will repeat this cycle many times if not all the time. The key is not to stay stuck in it and not to beat yourself up after falling down!” [/tweetthis]
When your practice deepens, you will still go through the cycle, but you’ll recognize it and move through it much more quickly and with much less self-judgment. Your body will remember what it has learned previously and it will bounce back sooner than expected.
As my yoga guru once said, “You fall out of a posture as are human. You get back into the posture as a yogi”. So true, for when you can master the cycles of your yoga journey you can more effectively manage through the personal and business cycles of your life.
That is what I like to call “full expression” of a yoga posture.