Confession time. Sometimes your yoga teacher gets sick of yoga. SHOCKING, I know. But come on guys, let’s be real. If you practice long enough, you’re destined to run into a rut.
My girl Rebecca Pacheco wrote about this phenomenon (yoga burnout) last year and I’ve def been feeling these sentiments in the last few months.
Maybe New York is making me jaded, but I don’t think it’s it. Let’s call it yoga fatigue.
I’ve been incredibly frustrated lately with the scene. Yoga generally attracts people who want to improve their lives and find happiness. There’s nothing inherently wrong about this, but this leads to a lot of misguided effort, especially when you factor in how commercialized yoga has become.
Because there’s this push in the yoga world to make everything seem PERFECT. So you can struggle through a 90-minute vinyasa class but still be wearing matching spandex and listen to boppy pop music so that by the time you get to back bending, you can let go of all your ex-boyfriends and shine your heart to the heavens and ponies and rainbows and kumbaya. And then post an Instagram a cool poss you can do and the green juice you had for breakfast and the vegan-gluten free-raw kale salad you had for lunch.
I know I’m being Snarky McSnarkyPants here and I also know I am TOTALLY guilty of everything I have just poked fun at. But here’s the thing: I’m not frustrated that yoga people are peppy; I’m frustrated by lack of sincerity. And yes, I’m sick of the smugness and blind-leading-the-blindness in yoga that no one seems to want to address.
I’m all for being happy, but please: be genuine. Be committed to your positivity knowing that you have made the choice after living The Struggle. I like to think that my life and writing reflects this. We all know I’m a fan of being positive, optimistic, and hopeful. But I’ve worked really effing hard to get to this point and it comes from a completely genuine place in my heart. So yeah, I’m gonna sing that sh*t from the rooftops and I’m not even close to being sorry about it.
But this also means that I’ve honed my bullish*t meter, which makes it really hard for me to stomach when people peg yoga as this magic peppy cure-all for everything in life that causes strife.
Because it’s not. Yoga is hard, man. Having a spiritual practice is hard. They call it faith for a reason. I’m all for celebrating our joys, but let’s be real and own our struggles, too. Because there wouldn’t BE any yoga without them.
And this is why I’m taking a wee break from being 100% all yoga, all the time.
I’ve committed to studying yoga for my entire life. There is a certain comfort in this. It takes the pressure off of having to be #fairlyclassicyogagirl all the time. The teachings of yoga philosophy ring more true to me than any other religious or philosophical system I’ve come across. And because I’ve absorbed these teachings, I know that my personal practice has little to nothing to do with anything that is going on in the mainstream yoga world. And because I’ve made a long-term commitment to following my yogic path, I know that taking a break from yoga can be just as beneficial to my practice as being completely immersed in it.
This circles back around to what I think is the most pervasive issue in the modern yoga world: asana has taken precedence over all other aspects of yoga. So we are confusing yoga classes with yoga practice. We are confusing platitudes with philosophy. We are confusing popularity with wisdom. We are confusing sweat with spirituality.
In all of these classes all over the country that encourage people to find themselves on their mat, I think there is a concerning lack of encouragement for students to really ask themselves why they practice.
Because when you’ve committed to a long-term nitty gritty yoga practice, you know that your blogs Facebook likes and the amount of time you can hold a handstand has nothing to do with your practice. And this is why I’m taking a little break from the scene. I want some introspection. I want some space. I want to mix things up a bit and enrich my non-yoga life, as Rebecca says. So here’s to a summer of less yoga and more Pilates (oh, the HORROR), more hiking, more poetry writing, more museums, more traveling, more anything.
The beautiful thing is that I know these things are just part of my practice. Learning about myself, taking cues from myself, and trusting my innate wisdom is yoga.
And when I’m ready to go back full-force, I will. Because yoga is as committed to me as I am to it. I’m in it for the long-haul, and there’s nothing better than reuniting with an old friend when the time is right.