I did an experiment...no yoga

I recently realised the effects of doing almost 30 hours of yoga a week. Something dawned on me that I may have forgotten. With my crazy teaching schedule plus personal practice, my expectations of what people can do sometimes exceeds their reality.

My solution, albeit a little extreme, was to cut back on my mat time during a recent month long holiday. Cut back to what many people would do, one class a week. My intention was to emulate a more ‘typical’ body and mind and just see what happened.

Week 1.

I happily lapped up my first 40 minutes of yoga then firmed my resolve to not practice yoga again for the rest of the week. After two days of no yoga I felt achy, my back felt ‘sticky’ and I had a crappy night sleep. Stay strong – no more yoga for the week.

Then something happened I wasn’t prepared for. After five or six days, I noticed a mental shift. Lazy crept in, lethargy took hold, inner calm started to waver.

Week 2.

Another surprise. As I was still operating in lazy, lethargic mode, I had to almost force myself to do yoga this week. Now here is the crazy part, I went for a 20 minute run AND I DIDN’T STRETCH AFTERWARD. If I was going to do this experiment I was going to do it properly and I know so many people run, don’t stretch and do yoga once a week. My knee now hurts, really hurts. I had to buy a knee brace-thingy.

Week 3.

I did my hour of yoga this week and felt amazing. The rhythmic sound of my breathing was calming and reassuring. I had to modify a lot of postures on account of my knee but it felt good to be on my old faithful mat. I struggled to sit cross-legged, again on account of knee so my meditation practice felt a little interrupted.

Week 4.

Knee getting worse and starting to become concerned with studio opening soon and unable to sit comfortably cross-legged. Perhaps my quest for wisdom was misguided. Since 1st December I have done one class of yoga a week and run for 20 minutes. Crazy hey?

What made these four weeks so valuable to my teaching ability were the observations and reflections on how most people live. My body became like a beginners and my mind fragmented and unfocussed.

After a week of teaching, I am right back to where I was. My approach to life has once again became calm, my creativity has exploded, my quality of sleep is refreshing and revitalising.

Knee brace-thingy gone.

“Do not suppress it – that would hurt you inside. Do not express it – that would not only hurt you inside but cause ripples in your surroundings. What you do is transform it” (Peace Pilgrim)

Yoga for me transforms anger, impatience, ungratefulness, fear, stagnation and injury into something positive I can use to evolve.

Observations and reflections…

  • Most people have very low expectations for wellness and how good their body could feel.
  • Amidst the craziness of daily life, we all have a calm and peaceful centre. We just pay more attention to the crazy than the calm.
  • It doesn’t take long to lose it but it doesn’t take long to get it back.
  • Our bodies are designed to move.  Movement equals freedom.
  • Inner peace requires some stillness and inward awareness everyday.
  • Improvement doesn’t require a big hit of massive effort. It requires consistant and committed effort. Everyday.
  • Yoga makes a huge difference. Simple.