My Rollercoaster Relationship with Yoga | Why I Love It and Why I Hate It

Date

February 12, 2017
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I think it’s a fallacy that all yoga practitioners love yoga all the time or #everydamnday. The truth of the practice is that it’s constant and never ending as your body and mind change from moment to moment.

I have had a love-hate relationship with yoga since I started practicing in 1999. Admittedly, it’s been far more romantic and blue skies than it has been dark and stormy, but it’s an ongoing battle between commitment and boredom.

When you start something new – a relationship, a job, a hobby – there’s excitement. There’s newness. There’s the mystery of what’s left to be discovered. Once you’ve committed to something for an extended period of time, there’s boredom, laziness, redundancies, and excuses. It’s fair to say that these adjectives apply to most things in life, and yoga, being rooted in spirituality, is not exempt.

My yoga love affair goes in cycles. Every two years or so I start to get distracted and my eye starts to wander. I start flirting with other forms of exercise. I start sweating somewhere else. Then I totally break up with yoga, and I move on. I act like I didn’t even need it in the first place. Slowly but surely, my daily practice, my commitment, becomes a distant memory and my life is ok with my upgrade (whatever new flashy thing that may be at the time).

And then something shifts. I get invited to a class by a friend, a guest teacher, or someone I really respect, and I can’t say no (I’m a people pleaser). So I go to a class with low expectations because I’ve separated myself from yoga for so long, and then I’m immediately brought back. The memories flood my muscles, my heart, my mind, my limbs, and I’m filled with love and gratitude.

I’ve missed you so much.
I can’t believe I left you.
We were so good together.
Please forgive me.
I promise I’ll never leave you again.

The best thing about yoga? It always welcomes me back. It doesn’t hold grudges. It doesn’t bring up mistakes that I’ve made in the past. It just smiles at me with open arms, and it’s as if nothing has changed.

What’s the point of this piece? For me, I struggle with feeling guilty when I’m not immersing myself in the daily practice of yoga, because everything about it has become so commercialized and glam. This is not the yoga I fell in love with. I fell in love with the feeling of serving my entire being, and no one ever said that you have to love it all the time or else you fail. When I look at life from a macro level, this is the ethos I attempt to apply to all facets of my life. There is always love to be found in the places you nurture it, and the most incredibly positive things you dedicate time to will always forgive you and welcome you back without judgment or shame.

So, what’s your rollercoaster ride in life?

*These stunning photos were taken by Alex Maeland at The Aquila in Phuket, Thailand, booked via The Luxe Nomad.