Not every yogi will admit it, but it can be really hard to love yoga sometimes. Whether we’re struggling to fit a regular practice into our busy schedules or feeling frustrated about not making progress in our strength, flexibility, or even mindfulness efforts fast enough — the reality is that yoga can honestly seem like a total pain in the butt (both literally and metaphorically) when we get to certain points along the journey.
It’s okay to not feel like we love our practice all the time. Even this is a sign of change and growth.
We can’t force ourselves to love something when we’re just not feeling it, but we can, however, adopt certain habits that help us cultivate more love for our practice in ways that benefit us from the inside out when we need it most.
Surrender to Resistance
If you’re not loving your practice, you may be resisting something about it that’s currently not work for you (even if it worked for you previously). Surrendering to what you resist doesn’t mean giving up — it means you should change something.
For example, if you’re finding it extremely difficult to stay mindful and engaged after 15 minutes of your 90-minute hot flow practice, you may need to try a different style of yoga and shorten your practice to 20 or 30 minutes. That’s not giving up. That’s looking for alternatives that work better for you.
Wonder What Your Body Can Do
You’re not the only yogi who has ever found themselves being blindsided by their ego, struggling to to do everything they can to strike the most impressively perfect pose (and maybe take a photo of it to post on social media later). Maybe you have certain expectations for yourself, but your strength, flexibility, and calmness of mind aren’t there it.
Instead of thinking, “this is what I need to make my body do,” shift your thinking to ask yourself this: “I wonder what my body can do.” That small shift restores the connection between your mind and body so that you can cooperate with your body, avoid pushing to far, avoid getting injured, and embrace growth rather than results.
Make Connections in Class
Yoga is a very personal practice, but it also brings people together. Making an effort to talk to your teachers and socialize with other yogis in class can help you find like-minded friends so you’re not always alone along every step of your journey.
You may find it feels so much better to talk to someone who can relate to you about how difficult some of those hip openers are, or how clueless you feel about your alignment. Ironically, sharing what you don’t love about yoga with other yogis might just be the key to helping you love it more.
Find Ways to Track Your Growth
You’d probably be lying to yourself if you said you didn’t want results from your practice. The journey itself is of course the most important part of all, but all yogis want to know they’re getting somewhere.
Pick a pose, commit to practicing it for a few minutes daily for at least 30 days, make sure you start slow, and take photos on day 1 and day 30. You may just notice a good amount of progress by day 30. If you have the budget for it, you could also sign up for private classes, which many yoga studios offer and is a great way to maximize your growth and notice results in a faster amount of time.
Remember that yoga is not all rainbows and sunshine. It’s meant to be a beautiful, loving journey, but beauty can’t exist without ugliness, and we’re are all bound to experience the ugly side every now and then. Embrace it, because it’s all part of the process!
Image (edited) via PBS NewsHour