tl;dr: After practicing too much I fully dropped my practice for 7 weeks - to come to a point of rediscovering yoga in a healthy and sustainable way.
In the past 6 years, I’ve pretty much practiced asana (the kind of yoga most people know - breathing and moving your body) 7 days per week. And it was amazing! I kept loving it more and more. I explored my body and new depths of my soul. Yoga was my true love. If I could commit to anything in my life, it was this path I chose to follow.
But as it is with life, my yoga journey took an unexpected turn - once again.
A couple of months ago, at a time when I would practice 2 hours every day at sunrise, I traveled to Chiang Mai. There, I was finally going to study with the teacher I consider the highest master alive when it comes to Thai Massage, Mister Anjan Pichet. Thinking I was well prepared, I put myself in a state of being an empty vessel, ready to re-learn and soak up all the knowledge I could get.
And on day one, to my surprise, Mr. Pichet picked me right away as a teaching tool and explain to the other students what my body needs work with. Without knowing a word about me, he diagnosed: “Too much yoga! Need stop!”. He told me (and everyone in the room) that my body was overstretched, tightened up from all the exercise and inflamed around the hip joints. Most things were no surprise to me. How is that possible, you may wonder? If I was aware of the soreness - why did I keep practicing?
You have probably heard of the idea that we live in our own “bubble” - and mine was the yoga bubble. The place where everyone eats healthy and we practice regularly (more than our bodies like, often). Having sore muscles is a given. ‘Going deeper’ is a valued practice we like to follow consequently on many levels. Including the physical one.
What I hadn’t been able to find is the balance between exploring depth through self-restraint, and listening to my body’s needs. So I followed my teacher’s advice and dropped my practice to heal and restore.
More often than not in the past years, my practice would structure my days. Flexible work hours allowed me to adjust my working time according to my class schedule. Without being so aware of it, I identified very much as a yogin.
Dropping this fully pushed me to ask: What am I really, then? Without asana practice - what is left? And once again: Who am I?
Starting to practice again, I see it’s been an incredible time. I learned to chill the f*** out! I explored indulging, rest and new forms of movement (dance!). I realized that for me, asana practice is mostly about breathing consciously for 90 minutes daily (while demanding my body to hold and lift me) and getting closer to myself.
I am curious to see how my recent experiences will influence my teaching style. Look forward to more individualized instructions, and even more playful and explorative classes! :)
If you have experienced something similar, or this resonates with you, I am always happy to receive mail!
Love & light