photo by liewcf on flickr.com
As yoga teachers, we ride the seasonal waves of classes that are full of enthusiastic yogis or virtually empty – apart form the three stalwarts that make it rain or shine. New yoga teachers often take this personally. I know that I had a hard time with it when I started teaching. But over the years, as I have seen students come and go, and often come back again, I have learned to see it as part of the natural rhythm of teaching. In fact, it is the natural rhythm of life.
I also recognise that whilst a might be top of my list, for many people it is just one of the many things that fill their lives.
We all know how life happens. And it happens at such a pace, and with so many demands upon our time and attention that sometimes, the weekly Yoga class might just be the first thing to make it into the trash folder.
I thought it might be interesting to look at some of the reasons that I have been given over the years, and break them down, to see if we can’t just give ourselves a little extra motivation to make it to yoga. So the next few blog posts will be devoted to this topic.
#1 I’ve just been too busy
It’s a common mantra. I use it myself all the time, and sometimes I even believe myself. The truth is that if I really decided to, I could make space.
We are constantly switched on these days. Most of us carry a Smartphone which keeps us connected via phone, text, e-mail and social media 24/7. And this gives the illusion of having to do things all the time, so that there is never a point during the day when you are not available to work. If you are self-employed then I am guessing that this is even more the case.
E-mails arrive and demand our attention when we could be having a little downtime. Sometimes, that e-mail will ping into your inbox ten minutes before you are due to leave for your yoga class, and before you know it, you’ve missed class- again. I know how it goes, I’ve been there. Thankfully, as the teacher, I have the imperative of having to be at class, because it IS my work. How many of us have lost an hour, two hours, more – or Facebook or YouTube and the like? We all know how these things suck us in.
I read a lighthearted blog post recently, by one of my favourite bloggers/teachers, Leonie Dawson. It was about how to make your creative ideas take shape but it can be applied to life in general. In fact, I have been applying to my life as much as possible over the past week or so.
“…And while we’re at it” she writes “Get the f*** off the internet. No last Facebook checks to see if anything significant in your life (or anyone else’s) has changed. You have work to do…”
So if it helps – you can say to yourself “Get the f*** off the internet, you have Yoga to go to” Lightheartedly, of course!
This is my belief. And I know from my own practice that it is true. Firstly, we often sacrifice the very things that are good for us, before we sacrifice anything else in our lives. I am not going to even try and unravel the psychology of this, but it has a lot to do with the difference between the feelings of immediate comfort and gratification, and the benefits of long term physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. For example, my favourite comforter is hot, sweet soya-milky chai. And I could easily spend a yoga class’s worth on chai in a day, not to mention the hours sitting browsing Facebook in cafes…
Secondly, if you make time for yoga, you will be less busy. Really. Because busy-ness is a state of mind. If you have a deadline, if you are working on a presentation, if you feel pressured to spend an extra hour in the office, if you just want to go home after a busy day and collapse on the couch with a glass of Pino Grigio, then COME TO YOGA instead. I guarantee you will feel better, less busy, less pressured and more able to tackle whatever it is that made you feel busy in the first place.
In the next instalment – reason not to come to yoga #2 “I can’t afford it”