January 6, 2011

Shaking the No-Yoga Hangover

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]
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