The good, the bad and the ugly of yoga — not necessarily in that order.
January is coming to an end and so is our month of yoga. As we’re about to embark on the next month-long ‘challenge’, I’d like to spend a minute or two, pondering what practicing yoga on a daily basis has taught me. The good, the bad and the ugly, not necessarily in that order.
- The Ugly.
I REALLY want to move to a sunny(ier) place and become a full-time yoga teacher.
This is the thought that January 2018 is leaving me with.
Now, where does that really leave me, commuting in a packed train to work every day, dealing with not always nice and chirpy Londoners, thinking about work when on holiday, and stressed-out by landlords or property agents more or less consciously trying to take advantage of me?
It leaves me in a very dissatisfied spot, to say the least.
And I guess this is the ‘ugly’ part of practicing yoga on a daily basis — it’s bound to make you question your life choices and, quite likely, all of them all at once (but then, maybe it’s a good thing?).
Don’t get me wrong, listening to happy-go-lucky, beautiful Adriene, telling me that I should love and prioritise myself, and go with the flow of the ever changing current of life, definitely was a relief. My friends could see a drastic change in my mood after I’ve done my daily yoga practice — I was much calmer and relaxed thanks to it.
But it also left me thinking: ‘ah, if only all I had to do all day was practicing yoga, putting yoga sequences together, teaching yoga, and drinking healthy green vegan smoothies in between, I surely would be a much happier — and quite likely slimmer — individual’.
And yet I know — because at times I think realistically, but mostly because other, wiser people told me — that the ‘if only…I would’ formula almost never works… it never fixes things permanently.
Big changes, like those associated with reducing stress or bringing more happiness into our lives, never happen due to quick fixes. They come through dedicated work, mindful tweaks in many elements of our lives, and through really determining what does and doesn’t make life worth living for us.
And I know myself well enough to be sure that quitting my job, moving to Bali and becoming a full-time yoga teacher, would probably make me happier for a couple of months at best. I’d start missing home, my friends, the crazy yet exhilarating London, and — last but not least — my challenging and fulfilling job.
So, yeah… I’m not going anywhere, but what I am definitely going to do next month is trying to determine what it is that, at times, makes me want to pack up and disappear somewhere far, far away.
2. The Bad.
Yoga is supposed to be relaxing and restorative and yet what I sometimes found myself feeling was overwhelming stress and pressure.
Oftentimes my day would leave very little room for yoga or I’d simply want to take a ‘day off’, but I wouldn’t let myself…because I promised I’d practice yoga every f***ing day and I’m not a quitter!
We’ve got a lunchtime yoga practice in my office on Wednesdays and I’d always attend it instead of doing the online course. However, one week my lunchtime practice got cancelled and I hadn’t done yoga in the morning and already made plans for the evening.
Boy, oh boy, you really wouldn’t want to be in the same office with me that day — it really threw me off balance! I even pondered about ticking off my practice in the office toilet, only to realise that it was far too narrow for me to squeeze in a downward facing dog.
I managed to do my practice at 11:30 pm on that day, after coming back home absolutely knackered, so I won after all… but it’s not the type of stress I want to put myself under, moving forward.
3. The Good.
Overall, however, practicing yoga on a regular basis was a true blessing, and probably the main reason why I survived this month without killing anyone in the process.
January has been one of the craziest months in my recent history — I completed a massive multinational project while managing my other clients; I moved all my stuff out of my old flat to a storage at the opposite corner of the city, put my old flat back in order, and became homeless for 1.5 weeks (I still am…), while waiting for my new flat to become available; I went on a week-long business trip; had some more-or-less serious health stuff to sort out and a bunch of difficult property agents to manage…
To say the least, yoga (and a couple of very supportive people) have been the only stable thing in my life this month.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that on some days my 20–30-min practice was the only time I would actually find myself breathing fully and really connecting with myself in a state of flow.
So even though sometimes waking up at 6 am and practicing yoga half-awake with my eyes still half-closed, was a bit of a struggle, it was more than worth it; And I’ll definitely make it a point to practice yoga as often as possible in the following months. Hopefully every day, but without the stress of having to do it every day.
Let’s hope that practicing yoga for 31 days will have ‘done the magic’, making it easier for me to stick with it in the future.
Aaaaan a bit of a teaser for the month to come… looking at the photo below (of a purchase I made yesterday), can you guess what we’ll be doing in February?