5 Good Reasons Why You Can't Get Back to Your Yoga Practice
I was at a party last night and chatting with someone who sheepishly stated “I really need to get back to my yoga practice.” This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last time that someone who had been devoted to yoga seemed to be carrying shame about having left their former yoga practice behind, like it was completely their fault as a human for not finding the discipline to return to the time in their life they felt the most grounded and together. And no longer doing yoga regularly anymore made them less in some way.
As we continued to talk, she explained that she has a serious hip injury that had happened during her more vigorous yoga practice days. So, her future plan was to participate only in restorative and ‘safer’ yoga. Yet she hadn’t found her way back to the studio she used to practice at several times a week. It was like listening to someone at a confessional.
As I listened to her describe the severity of that hip injury and how the only way the pain went away was when she stopped her yoga practice at the time, I reflected back what I found to be her body’s intelligent way of keeping her safer, not the laziness or lack of discipline that she carries every day and every time she thinks about not ‘getting back to her practice’.
For her, yoga had become the path to learning to relate to her body in a kinder and more mindful way. Her previous relationship with movement had been so punishing and driven to the point her intense workouts left her even less in touch with her body and her whole self, feeling even more depleted. So many people find their way to yoga to do just this, relate to their body through movement in a more compassionate and present way. So, the mindfulness of yoga was exactly what her body needed at the time.
Yet, her body grew out of her yoga while she tried to ignore signals from her hip that something was terribly wrong. And, the reason she found so much healing in yoga in the first place was negated after her hip injury.
The reason many people can’t get BACK to their yoga practice is because their body needs them to move FORWARD and evolve.
Here are my top five reasons why it’s awesomely body intelligent when people CAN’T get back to their original yoga practice:
1) Our bodies are in a constant state of evolution and this needs to be reflected in an evolving movement practice. What once can be a saving grace can become a cage later on if there is no true evolution and meeting the needs and complexities of a whole person as we are changing.
2) The resistance to returning to a former yoga practice might a type of immobilization response, on a spectrum of the freeze response, our bodies and brains automatically do for us to help us avoid further harm, threat and to keep us safer.
3) Any movement practice that starts involving a greater focus on avoidance of injury versus exploration of new possibilities has lost its healing capacity. In fact, a heavy focus on avoidance of harm can exacerbate traumatic stress because the attention in practice becomes heavily weighed on potential threat of injury. This feeds the negativity bias in the brain.
4) When our bodies feel pulled towards a movement practice, this is not only about what our bodies want. The pull is also what our psyche’s are asking for in terms of coming into fullness, expression and truth. Instead of looking at what people think they should be doing, I try to guide people into greater curiosity about what they truly feel pulled to exploring.
5) You’re not the same person you were when you first found yoga. You are in a constant state of becoming. Movement that challenges us out of our current state into a more liminal state can be an incredible vehicle for psychological development.
There’s always a place for yoga in anyone’s life in my opinion. How we define what yoga IS is a whole other conversation and loaded as hell. These thoughts are more geared towards people who are struggling returning to their past yoga practice. Any yoga practice can evolve and diversify and should be a true reflection of how we all evolve. AND then there is a whole world of movement that doesn’t call itself yoga at all that is exciting and new and makes us learn new things through our bodies. Creates amazing brain farts, helps us see what else is possible that we thought was out of reach and can continue to bring our spirit to life.
Because it’s not like we just wake up one day and we are done. Movement that habitually challenges us, pushes our edges outwards, and even involves pleasure, play, relationship to other in movement through our bodies and brings the kid in us back to life, that’s my love.
Yoga helped me through several really hard times in my life. It’ll never leave me. But, sometimes i need to leave it and come back to it with new eyes and an evolved spirit. My movement practice today is what it is because of the shifts that being on a rectangular mat in a room full of people breathing together offered me.
So, if you want to return to A yoga practice, try to think about moving forwards instead of backwards. Find the teachers that are focused on evolution instead of hanging on as tight as they can to what used to be.
If you’re stuck and don’t know where to go to evolve your movement practice, you can book a free consultation here: (in-person or online). I love using imagination and somatic emotional awareness to lead you into a movement practice that will continue leading you into greater personal development and awareness.