DO IT DAILY OR DIVE DEEP?
by Amy Leonard-King
We talk about Yoga eventually becoming a daily practice, and I’ve written and talked about this idea a lot before (see previous YC Blog The Yoga Challenge), but what happens when things get stale, when you lose momentum or feel like you’re getting stuck? It happens with everything, yes even your beloved time on the Yoga mat, the dreaded ‘rut’ can sneak up, and you may find yourself feeling out of sorts – but I thought Yoga was magic and perfect and my true love! Don’t worry, it still can be, but like with anything, there are peaks and troughs, and there are ways to navigate this life-long relationship with your Yoga practice…
A daily practice is best, my teacher Sharon Gannon says, “like brushing your teeth or taking a shower”, it works best if you commit to it every day. Every day we encounter many different experiences, people, events, thoughts, emotions and physical stresses, and the practice of Yoga serves to help us process all of these through it’s systematic approach of asana, pranayama, meditation, cleansing practices, etc. So you could think of your daily practice as a being a shower for your whole ‘being’, not just the outside dirt, but all the subtle layers including the mental, emotional and energetic.
You feel it yourself, right? The cleanse that occurs during your practice leaves you feeling more clear, lighter, more connected to your true self, and on a good day, truly blissful. You could do it once a week, and the effect might even feel more profound on that day, but the work will generally be more difficult, and as we chip away day by day with our practices, our body and mind begin to remember much more easily, the way towards balance, harmony, peace and bliss.
So what happens when you’ve been practicing daily for a while, and things feel like they are grinding to a halt, or that you’re not progressing, or you lack the motivation to get onto your mat? Is that it? Have you reached all that you are going to reach on this path and you’ve got to find a new way to feel good…?! Hell no…! It may just mean that, like with anything else, you need a sea change.
Enter the world of workshops, immersions and retreats. I myself remember the days when I felt intimidated to sign up to a ‘workshop’. It sounded like you needed to know what you were doing before you should join one of those things – ‘Am I good enough?’ – was the foreboding question.
““Yoga is not for people who are interested in staying the same.”” — David Life, Founder of Jivamukti Yoga
Once I had plucked up the courage and started stepping into the world of workshops, immersions, retreats, and finally teacher trainings, I never looked back. I realized that it was in these precious settings, where a focus was placed on deeper learning, breaking things down, and taking it further than otherwise may have felt safe or supported in a regular yoga class, that the magic really began to unfold, and my practice began to blossom into something else entirely.
Immersions and retreats were a way, not only to deepen my own practice, learn more, and have a chance to explore new territory in my practice and myself, but also a place and time to fill my cup right back to the brim again. I’ll never forget the feeling of returning to London (where I was living at the time) after a Yoga immersion retreat in Morocco, and feeling as though my head was floating high above all the morning commuters on the underground, the feeling had stayed long after that final Savasana!
And so, we find that there is a place for all types and forms of practice, and that although daily is best, that we also sometimes need a boost, a refresher, and time to really dive deep and fill ourselves all the way up again. It’s from this place of a much richer and fuller experience, such as time away on retreat or an immersion or workshop, that we take our practice to another level, and refuel that fire and passion within us that we remember feeling in our very first and most potent experiences of the Yoga practice. Just like any relationship, the honeymoon period may fade, and it takes commitment and work to keep the fire alive. But if we look at it from the other side – that ‘work’ required is to take the opportunity to spend a little more quality time on our mats, perhaps away from the day-to-day of our regular lives – doesn’t sound so bad, right?
And so, as Yoga teachers, we offer these experiences to our ‘students’, to anyone who is willing and eager to learn, to take their practice to the next level, to enjoy the longer lasting benefits of their practice (think hours of Savasana bliss long after you’ve left the mat!), because we’ve been through it all ourselves, and because we desperately want for everyone who is on this path, to have the chance to reap the amazing array of benefits that the Yoga practice offers us, trickling into all aspects of our lives.
So are you ready to take the leap? Are you eager to learn how to start living a more uplifted life on all levels? Join us for a workshop, immersion or retreat. We always welcome all ‘levels’ of experience, and all walks of life. There is no judgment on the yoga mat, and the practice and its benefits are there to be experienced by all who have the strong desire.
See you on the mat,