A lot of people won’t commit to a contemplative or physical practice because they don’t yet feel “good enough” to invest (time, money, energy).
Let me explain:
They aren’t good at meditating, so they don’t want to try.
They are “out of shape”, so they want to somehow first (magically) get “in shape” before they join the gym.
They won’t be as fit/strong/capable as others in the yoga class – so they stay away.
I get it – I really do.
These days I am a daily yoga practitioner. But for many, many years I went in and out of practice. I’d sign up for month-long challenges, work my butt off, complete those challenges – then I’d take a break off the mat. One day turned into two days turned into three weeks turned into months.
Don’t get me wrong, I was more committed than most. For example: post-Covid we had precisely ONE weekly yoga class here in town and I was there, every week. Many weeks, I was the only student there. I shared about the class on Facebook and Instagram in hopes more would attend, because I knew it was unreasonable for the teacher to keep teaching with just one person there! Eventually she stopped. I am still so grateful for the time she gave me.
But I digress.
All this to say: the stop-and-start yoga approach is really, really typical.
(And nothing to be ashamed of.)
So what happened, to make me a daily practitioner? (And a daily meditator!)
In late 2021 I started really thinking over my desire to become a yoga teacher. I love yoga so much and my favorite thing about it, is the way we can share. I also have had a taste of a yoga community – and it’s wonderful. I knew that if I took the training, I could start building that community.
I also knew if I started teaching classes, I’d bring my A-game – and I’d actually practice more.
I was right – about all of it.
I hacked my own system – my drive to be consistent and quality in everything I do – because I knew I would commit to practice more deeply.
I also built the yoga practice I wish we had here in Grays Harbor. I longed for a consistent teacher who left fitspo and fatphobia at the door. I wanted a group that dedicated itself to all the teachings of yoga – instead of treating it like another workout modality. I didn’t want anything to do with “wine yoga” or “beer yoga”. And frankly, while yoga helps a great deal for physical strength and mobility – I didn’t want a fitness-oriented approach.
Yoga is so much bigger than that!
What I wanted – and what I still experience, and what I bring to the mat – is for people to feel joy in their practice!
When we feel joy in something we do, we are sure to return it.
I am proud to say every week so far, I’ve had at least one student in class. I wish I had a minimum of more like five students, as that would help me cover expenses and pay myself a living wage.
But I am also very patient!
I know I’m a good instructor.
So: why is attendance so low?
Part of this is the summer. People fall off their programs, during the summer (and also during the holidays).
But a big part of this is:
People don’t think they’re worthy.
If they commit to yoga once a week, they are committing to looking at, feeling, and experiencing their bodies in a deep way.
Many people just don’t want to.
They know they want to feel better –
but they don’t want to start at Square One, and become a beginner (again!) and stick with it.
Because if you don’t commit to practice, you can keep that fantasy that well, the day you DO commit to practice, you’re going to rock it and all your dreams will come true!
It’s easier to live in that fantasy – counter-productive as it is – to be curious about the reality.
It’s easier to be a strong yoga practitioner IN THEORY/in a fantasy future – than to start where you are, today.
And yes, I get it.
No judgment here.
I am not here to talk anyone into adopting a consistent practice – yoga, meditation, or otherwise.
I am only here for two things:
- to remove the barriers that are keep you from doing what you already want to do; and
- to share how much yoga as benefitted me, personally
To some people, it will seem like I’m trying to talk you into class so I can make a living teaching.
But if you know me – you know that’s not true.
I am regularly sharing many other practitioners’ mindful and joyful movement classes!
Because I want you to find what’s best for you.
But I also want to tell you: no one will do this work FOR you.
You have to seek it out, and you have to commit to extended practice – to know what benefits you may reap.
I am so, so glad I found committed practice in my life.
My yoga and meditation practices have helped me more than counseling, more than medication, more than book clubs, more than support groups.
(all those things are wonderful AND I’ve used or continue to use them all!)
But as far as benefits; yoga has helped me the most.
Yoga is one of the only times I get a guaranteed respite from self-absorption, from worry, from obsessive thoughts.
Yoga is always there for me. If I can breathe, I can practice.
Yoga never lets me down.
I have always felt better after I stepped off the mat!
Meditation is trickier – it took a lot longer for me to consciously experience benefits. (I’m grateful I stuck it out as long as I did!) I plan to write a lot more about meditation this year. I hope you stick with me!
And in the meantime:
I’m here, if you want to join me.
I’m ready when you are!
It’s the adventure of a lifetime!