When you first start practicing yoga, you fall in utterly and completely in love with it. You can’t get enough. You get into a routine with your favourite classes, your yoga mat is permanently in its ready position in the living room. You can’t imagine a day without practice.
But somehow one day things change. Jon Moult talks about this in his class a lot – the yoga honeymoon period is over. It happens to all of us. Just when you think yoga’s done all it can for you, that’s when you’ve got to keep at it. Consistent and persistent practice is the key, but when you’ve lost the spark, it can be pretty difficult to bootstrap yourself back into practice.
Yoga is such a huge part of my life – teaching, writing and constantly talking about yoga’s awesomeness to anyone who’ll listen – that I guess I’d assumed I was somewhat insulated from falling into that lull. But lulled I was, I realized recently. My practice had stagnated, I wasn’t making as much effort. I was in a completely safe, completely boring comfort zone.
Then summer happened, and with it the exodus of yoga teachers off to teach retreats, or on their own annual holibobs. Cover teachers to the rescue – I ended up attending classes and workshops with new faces, new voices, new philosophies.
The first Wake Up Yoga class with Nicola Cassidy opened up a new perspective on awareness of my hip movement. Instead of the common instruction to square the hips (which we’ve all heard and I’ve personally used myself hundreds of times), she’d cued us with subtly different words: Bring the bent knee level with the straight leg knee in tree, and draw the front hip down and back in warriors. My legs never felt so energized!
Claire Hatchell taught me that Ashtanga doesn’t have to be the severe and rigid practice it gets a bad rep for. Her suggestion to see the postures and movements in between as a dance – fluid, graceful and emotionally expressive – has completely transformed the way in which I approach the postures. And Matt Jones (circus artist extraordinaire, and not a yogi) reconnected me to the philosophical heart of my own practice when he said that our bodies are the only thing we ever truly own, so how we use them and celebrate them is the most valuable and important thing.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple phrase that resonates within and changes everything. If you’ve lost your mojo, you may just need to find a fresh perspective. Your narrative may have gotten stale, the same old words mean the same old story. Find a new way of describing your experience, of framing your life and your practice. You may just find that your motivation, your spirit, even your hips – suddenly and subtly shift into harmonious alignment.
Need more help getting out of a yoga rut? This delightful piece with illustrations.