I recently completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training course and am officially a yoga teacher! Exciting, right? Well, in the last few weeks of the course I found myself dreading practicing yoga! I panicked because yoga had been my love and passion for years and now I was sick of it! As I started confessing to my fellow yoga teacher trainees, they shared that they were having the same feelings. Whew! Not to be selfish, but it made me feel a lot better that I wasn’t alone. Each of us was just physically and mentally drained. It gave me hope that this feeling would go away.
However, I must admit I’ve had this feeling off and on before. Nothing quite as intense as it was this last time. But it happens, it is human nature, and it can be tough to stay interested in one thing all the time. So what do you do?
Give Yourself a Break!
One thing yoga has taught me is to go with the flow and not force things. Just like when you are in a yoga pose you can’t push too much into it because you may hurt yourself. Instead you need to breathe and do what feels right in that moment. If that means to modify the pose, you modify the pose. This lesson on our mat teaches us to do what feels right off our mats too. And if that means taking a break from yoga, take a break from yoga. So I gave myself permission to do just that.
But I couldn’t let go completely. Fortunately, yoga has so much more to offer than just a physical practice. In fact, in the Yoga Sūtra (an ancient text considered to be the foundation of the yoga philosophy and practice) there are 196 verses but only 2 verses are about the physical practice. This insightful text contains the 8 Limbs of Yoga, which is like a roadmap to guide us in our journey to live more soulful and meaningful lives. The physical practice of yoga, or āsana, is the 3rd limb of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. The other 7 limbs consist of breathing exercises, meditation and philosophical practices. While I took a break from the physical practice (āsana), I dedicated more time to other aspects of yoga. Here’s what I did to help get my yoga mojo back and I hope sharing my experience gives you a few ideas of what you can do should you get tired of yoga.
3 ways to practice yoga off the mat:
- Focus on a philosophical practice - There are 10 philosophical practices outlined in the first two limbs of yoga. Saucha, which translates to purity or cleanliness, resonated with me. One way to practice this teaching is to clean and de-clutter the space around you. It helps clear negative energy and invite new, vibrate energy into your home and life. I thought this would be helpful to get rid of my tired energy from working hard to complete my teacher training. So, I did some deep cleaning, cleared out desk drawers, got rid of dead plants and repotted a few. I spray painted a few things to brighten up some of the dark areas in the house and I moved out furniture to create more space for stagnant energy to flow. Wow! I love this practice!
Click here for a complete list of all 10 philosophical practices and choose one that resonates with you! Commit to practicing it for one week.
- Do Breathing Exercises - Breath work is so powerful! It can be calming or energizing and there are several prānāyāma (the 4th limb of yoga) techniques to choose from. I chose nādī shodhana, alternate nostril breathing. By breathing through each nostril, one at a time, it helps your mind stay focused, it calms the chatter and it is a great precursor to meditation. Here’s how you do it:
- Using your right hand let the thumb block your right nostril.
- Inhale slowly through your left nostril and exhale slowly out your left nostril.
- Then block the left nostril with your ring finger and remove your thumb from your right nostril.
- Inhale through your right nostril and exhale slowly out your right nostril.
- Repeat 5 to 10 cycles.
- Meditate - One of the best outcomes of my teacher training was that I developed a consistent meditation practice. Meditation, or dhyāna, is the 7th limb of yoga. Interestingly, to really reap the benefits of yoga, you must cultivate a daily meditation practice. That is why 4 of the 8 limbs of yoga are focused on meditation! I meditated for 20 minutes every morning during teacher training and made a commitment to continue that practice.
I did these practices for about 2 weeks and, sure enough, I found myself back on my mat and loving every moment of it! When you feel sick of yoga I hope this bit of advice helps you get back on your mat too!