|“Just doing yoga won’t ever be enough for me”. I remember saying these exact words when I first started to practice yoga regularly my freshman year of college. I liked yoga, I quickly grew to love to yoga, but it was always something that came in tandem with another activity. It was a cool down after a sweaty 30 minutes on the elliptical machine or a warm up before a kick boxing class. My need to always be moving was powerful. I had tons of energy and spent a lot of time getting rid of it, until I was finally exhausted enough to relax. This ‘don’t stop until you’re asleep’ motto was modeled in my home and stories were often told of my grandmother not sitting down until 11 pm at night when she would finally fall asleep after being on the go all day long.
My relationship with yoga changed when I got sick during my junior year of college. I was tired and weak. I didn’t have the energy that I was used to and couldn’t do all that I wanted to do. At first, I was really annoyed – I wanted to go for a bike ride, hike or get to the gym, but my body wasn’t in agreement with my mind. My body needed to rest. After struggling with this perceived “set back”, I gave myself the space to accept that “just yoga” would have to be enough (for right now anyway). But something shifted within me once I accepted that yoga was enough – I began to crave my yoga practice. When I was feeling antsy, anxious, busy, sad, angry, overwhelmed, I would get on my mat and the practice would fill me up – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Do I still hike, bike, walk and stay active outside of my yoga practice? Of course, but I what I learned about myself during this time was that I used those activities to escape from my body and shut off my mind while yoga brought me in union with my body and helped to quiet my mind without numbing out. Yoga gave me a space to tune in to what I was feeling and sensing so that eventually when I did return to my other activities I could do so with more awareness and steadiness to avoid burnout and fatigue.
“Elisa, I hope you find a way to bottle your energy and sell it one day. You’ll make millions”. This was written by 8th grade English teacher in my yearbook. Short of making millions, yoga has done just that for me – it has allowed me to utilize my energy so that I can be steady, balanced and calm in all of my daily activities. Slowing down is still a challenge for me, but I remind myself every day that I have permission to rest. Stillness and rest – both within my yoga practice and as a part of my day have deepened my connection to BodyWisdom. When I am in tune with BodyWisdom, I move, eat, relate and live more intuitively.
I would love to know how your relationship with yoga as changed over the years. Did you also feel like yoga would never been enough? Maybe you still feel that way? The awesome part about yoga is that the practice itself can adapt to what we are needing (vinyasa for when we have energy to be released versus restorative when we need our energy contained.)
Whether yoga alone is enough for you these days or it’s a complement to other activities, please respond to this email if you’d like access to my next audio yoga class, “Slow and Steady”.
PS Interested in trying a BodyWisdom Coaching session? I have slots available for a FREE BodyWisdom Coaching session next next Tuesday and Thursday (Sept 26th and 28th). Please email me by Sunday the 24th to claim your spot.