Shaking the No-Yoga Hangover

Via on Jan 6, 2011

Like Elephant Journal’s favorite yoga humorist, Mark Kreloff, my yoga practice is far from perfect. But the problem doesn’t lie with my yoga studio or those that attend …

the problem is me.

During the times when I truly need yoga the most (traveling, moving, stressful work projects, family on the holidays … etc.), that is when my practice stops to a grinding halt, often for 2-3 weeks at a time. I allow the ensuing events to consume my being, focusing all my time & energy on accomplishing the goal at hand, while my personal health falls by the wayside (sound familiar?).

To make the most of a yoga practice, it has to be a practice - a consistent, progressive dedication to the mental and physical precepts that form the concept that we know as yoga. Why is that so hard? Why is rolling out of bed & stepping over to my mat, even for just 10 minutes, a roadblock I keep crashing into?

The problem is me, yet the solution is, also, me.

I am my own worst enemy, yet I am also my own greatest advocate. As I continue to stand in my own way, I also allow myself the opportunity to create a stronger sense of compassion for my choices, thereby encouraging me to make the choice to develop a dedication to my personal well-being.

This opportunity extends to everyone. We can all make the choice to practice yoga (on & off the mat), or the choice not to. In choosing not to practice yoga, we elect to put ourselves 2nd to the external world that threatens to consume us with its selfishness, consumerism, and vanity.

When put into context, the choice is clear. I choose to practice yoga, both on & off the mat. I choose to challenge my body physically, in order to improve both my health & mental clarity. I choose to be more compassionate & patient with myself and all those I encounter. I choose to open myself to the constant change & uncertainty in our modern world, maintaining a sense of pliability and genuine curiosity. I choose to participate in the journey of life, remaining apathetic to the possibility of a final destination.

How do you inspire a return to your unique yoga practice?

[Photo Credit: Kenna Takahashi]

About Victoria Klein

Introduced to Yoga in 2000 at a gym in Connecticut, my personal practice has taken me through a crippling post-high-school era of depression and anxiety, 3 cross-country relocations, + the general rollercoaster of life. In 2012, I fulfilled a major item on my bucket list by graduating from the True Nature School of Yoga 200-Hour program in Oceanside, CA + eagerly began teaching as an RYT 200. In 2013, I've continued my dedication to education by taking True Nature's 500-Hour program, progressing toward the RYT 500 designation. Also a professional freelance writer since 2005, my first book, 27 Things to Know about Yoga, was published in 2010. I previously worked the front desk at the well-known Yoga Tree studios in San Francisco + in the production department at Yoga Journal Magazine. In my spare time, you’ll find me cooking, running, taking lots of pictures, being a Marine Corps spouse, and infusing Yoga into my entire life. My Yoga classes are a dynamic blend of effort + ease, sweating + relaxation, with numerous opportunities + options given to make each individual class easier or harder, depending on how you feel that day. As a teacher, I strive to help my students find clarity, compassion, + patience, both on + off the mat. FYI: you should join my newsletter so you don't miss any of the fun! You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, + Pinterest!

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5 Responses to “Shaking the No-Yoga Hangover”

  1. Great advice, Victoria. In answer to your question, Yoga became most exciting to me when I started thinking of it a constant way of being, as opposed to a separate practice, just like you describe above.

    This isn't right for everyone, I realize, but I personally find the Bhagavad Gita to be my best overall guide for living, as described in some detail in Gita in a Nutshell.

  2. Thank you :) I like your idea of seeing yoga as an ongoing lifestyle, which is something I was trying to elude to in the post. The physical practice of yoga is one thing, but the spiritual & ethical concepts extend into every facet of our lives. Even when we aren't on the mat, we can "practice yoga" & still feel a deep connection to our overall practice.

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  4. ommarathonlawyer says:

    Being relatively new to yoga (7 months) and having practiced on the mat almost daily since, a week without being on the mat has been rough. Thank you for the reminder that yoga isn't only what is done on the mat, and that the solution is me. The reality is that I have practiced yoga, off the mat, but i feel that the physical element of the practice is essential.

  5. Shannon Sparkles says:

    I love being instructed by another- it has been 3 weeks since I have been to a physical class (due to vacation and a little laziness) and I can not wait to get back onto the mat this week and be told what position to go into! I make decisions all day long and I love the freedom a class offers my mind. I can't wait to get back on the mat! Whatever yoga is to me- I am very happy it is in my life. My life before it was not an inch on what it is now. Namaste! ♥

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