You know those things that seem like they’d be so perfect for you?
The ones that are so synonymous with everything else you’re into that you trick yourself into thinking you like them?
I’m talking about the things that make sense for you to love, but that deep down you’re just not feelin’.
That’s me and yoga.
Yoga and I seem like a match made in heaven: I’m a wellness writer, I run a wellness blog, and I talk about meditation and energy and eating healthy food. I’m a certified yoga teacher for crying out loud! All signs point to yes for me and yoga, but after seven years of practice, I finally realized that I’m just not that into it.
Okay, so why am I writing this? Why do I think you care if I like yoga or not?
My reasons are twofold.
First off, just in case it needs to be said to any wellness lovers like me out there: it’s okay if you don’t like yoga.
Yoga is great and all, but it’s not for everyone. And while we’re on the subject, it’s also totally cool to not like green juice, smoothies, or any of the other wellness go-to’s.
Second, on a larger scale, I think it’s nice to look around sometimes and question which of your activities you are doing because you really love them, and which you are doing because you’re on auto-pilot.
The thing for me is, I don’t hate yoga. I wasn’t practicing it because I felt some sort of obligation as someone in the wellness community, like I had to do my Vinyasa practice or I’d be kicked out of the “club.” I just did it because it seemed like something that fit in with the rest of my lifestyle, and I didn’t really question it.
I started doing yoga when I was 20. I was in my last year of university, I’d been vegetarian for about a year, and I’d just started becoming interested in meditation. I wasn’t actually doing any meditating, but the idea of calming my mind was very appealing.
I signed up for a yoga class, and I have to say at the time I really did like it. It was the perfect gateway for me to enter into the world of personal growth and spirituality.
I liked it because it was so different from the cardio/weight gym classes that I generally made myself go to. It included stretching, which I loved, and it felt peaceful and rejuvenating, rather than draining like most of the exercise I’d done before.
A few years later, during a particularly confusing time in my life, I decided that since I didn’t know what to do and since I liked yoga, maybe I should be a yoga teacher.
My yoga teacher training was a truly amazing experience—one of the best of my life—but then I spent the next couple years trying to convince myself that I liked teaching, when in fact I really, really didn’t.
I’ve read so many stories from people who’ve changed their lives through yoga and who describe this amazing sense of peace and oneness that comes over them in their practice. This has never been my experience.
While I denied it for a long time, I finally had to accept that I get bored flowing through Vinyasa! And it’s not just Vinyasa—tried them all: Yin, Kundalini, Bikram, Anusara, Power, etc.
None of them help to bring me into a state of oneness or joy. Except for maybe a few moments in meditation, yoga has never moved beyond the physical practice for me.
A year and a half ago, I finally listened, and I stopped teaching for good. A few months later, I started asking myself if I enjoyed doing yoga, and the answer I got was no. This honestly kind of surprised me, but it also felt really relieving. I stopped practicing, and it felt so good.
I’ve realized that it’s not yoga, or any activity, that will change your life. It’s listening to your heart, following what engages you and lights you up.
So many people have found this through yoga, but I haven’t—it’s simply not where I find my sense of joy and connection. I find it in writing, walking, going to the beach. And on a physical/exercise level, I get a lot of joy from Pilates.
Saying no to yoga brought me into a new head-space that allowed me to get really curious about what I felt passionate about. I started saying no to more things that weren’t quite right and putting my energy into things that I love.
Is there anything in your life that you’re doing on auto-pilot? That makes sense to your mind, but not your soul?
The amazing thing about letting go of what isn’t right for you is that it makes space for what is right to flow into your life.
Author: Kate Horodyski
Images: Flickr/Khalid Albaih ; Author’s own
Editor: Erin Lawson