Did you know that I once had a Yoga Existential Crisis? Does that sound familiar to any of you? For me, as a long-time teacher and practitioner, there came a point where didn't know where I fit in and where I wanted to take my yoga. I had started practicing yoga in 1999 in community halls and basements. And when I started teaching in 2003, yoga teachers were not celebrities (at least not that many of them) yoga studios were small, and social media was still years away.
As yoga became huge and what was being sold as yoga didn't quite look like what I was teaching, there came a point where I had to decide between what the popular culture demanded or what felt true to my heart.
Do I go down the path of popular yoga and teach people asanas that I know are potentially causing them harm in the long run because that was what was selling at the time? Or do I do what isn't as sexy, but teach in a way that I know is sustainable and supportive of my students?
It was hard and I even considered breaking up with yoga completely. But I couldn't walk away, but instead, walk my own path and fill in the gaps of what I felt yoga needed on my own. So I went outside of the yoga world for further study.
I learned from brilliant teachers about biomechanics, the nervous system, anatomy and movement science. And what I learned validated what I intuitively felt about some of the missing pieces in yoga. And when I filled in those pieces with this exciting new information into my practice and teaching... everything changed. Because creating a more integrated practice brought a deeper sense of wholeness and awareness of my mind/body/spirit like never before. My students felt the difference right away and it's been an amazing process ever since.
What is really exciting is that I have been connecting with people all over the world who have had similar experiences with yoga in their life. I wasn't alone in my yoga existential crisis! Other teachers, along with long time practitioners and even newcomers to yoga, all were coming to similar conclusions.
I would love to hear your story. What have you struggled with in yoga? What are you looking for more of?
We can all learn from each other and sharing our stories is a powerful process for us all. If you don't feel comfortable sharing in the comments, send me a PM.
*I originally posted this on my Heart & Bones Facebook page and the response from people was amazing. So many thoughtful responses from people all over the world who have felt very much the same thing. I've created a private Facebook group to further the conversation. You are welcome to join it. You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/heartandbonesyoga/
Thank-you for co-creating this community of passionate people who are not afraid of innovation, integration and always learning more. I can't wait to hear your story. xoxo