NotSoZen YogaJen

Archive for April 2012

Something weird happened over the past several months. I got bored with yoga and never wanted to go. I love yoga. Going to class can make me feel on top of the world, and at the very least, better equipped to face it. So at first I didn’t understand what was going on. Was I just over yoga? Would I have to move on to like, pole dancing or spinning or Crossfit to add some more oomph to my workout routine?

I’m on a tight budget so I’d only been allowing myself to go to a donation-based yoga studio. There was a time when I loved these classes, vigorous and sweat-drenched and leaving me with a particular kind of post-yoga high. And I’m still grateful for the opportunity to practice yoga many times a week on the cheap. But it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

I started to sense that something was missing from my practice. There was no chanting, no meditation, no dharma talks. The classes were extremely athletic and all followed the same general sequence with little variation from day-to-day. I found myself checking-out during the familiar routine, when I go to yoga to check-in and wake up. And the classes were packed, leaving only a few inches of personal space on all sides of my mat.

Afterwards, I felt like any calm I’d attained during class went down the drain as I was elbowed reaching for my bag and smooshed against the wall as I tried to make my way out. The straw that broke the camel pose’s back happened one night when I was putting on my shoes in the crammed hallway after class. My bag was open on the floor next to me and I turned to see a girl wiping the dirt off her feet right over (and into) my bag. This did not feel relaxing!

I realized that I needed the entire yogic experience — not just the poses — if I wanted to fall in love with my practice again. The expensive studios I used to go to have the whole package — meditation, incense, chanting, spiritual teachings — but at about $20 a class, practicing three to four times a week (or even once a week) there is way out of my price range. So what’s a yogini on a budget who requires personal space to do?

After the girl dusted her feet off into my bag, I eased up on my strict donation-based classes only policy and decided to let myself splurge a little on yoga. Unwilling, though, to pay for expensive classes, I found a compromise — a moderately-priced studio that has a simple, uncrowded space and teachers I love. There are dharma talks and moments of meditation and I have plenty of space to spread out. I’m getting the benefits of the whole yogic experience, and I’m no longer bored. Now I can’t wait to go to class and I crave it like I used to. And I’m happy to have climbed out of my yoga rut, and fallen back in love with it again.

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Yoga and meditation

I wrote an article on TheFix.com about the benefits of yoga in addiction recovery. Check it out here:

“Sun Salutations in Sobriety”