What do you love? Yoga? Running? Painting? Hiking? Horseback riding? Awesome! But, does it consume you?When your passion, or hobby, keeps you from seeing friends, taking trips, or experiencing other things…it may be time for a change. Let me see if I can explain this.
When I first started my practice 4yrs ago, I was on my yoga mat 5-6 times a week. I had just got out of a 2.5yr relationship, and he was still living with me for a month until he found a new place. I wanted out of the house. I mean, why wouldn’t I keep myself that busy?? My life at that time was work, yoga, eat, sleep, and repeat. It sounds really dull, but it was what I needed in order to maintain my sanity for that full month, and for a while after that. I’d rather be exhausted from a long day of work and yoga, rather than arguing with my ex about something petty. Yoga gave me an outlet to release my tension and worries. It went on like that for many months after my ex moved out. I used yoga as almost like a crutch, to mend my unhappiness. I remember sometimes, I would take two yoga classes, back to back, after a 8hr work day; only to go to my teacher’s house later that evening, for a private. I became somewhat obsessed. After being a bad situation for such a long time and you find something that really makes you happy, you want that feeling to stay around as long as you can. I didn’t know what to do with all of my sadness, other that take 5-6 classes a week. I didn’t know any other way. I just knew it kept my mind off of my troubles. However, it did do the trick.
When I moved back to Los Angeles, I was in better spirits, and happier overall. Which, in turn meant, not as many yoga classes (3-4 a week). I slowly started to realize that yoga couldn’t solve all of my problems. I also started to realize that I was saying “No”, or “I can’t” , very frequently, to invitations from friends, coworkers, even dates. In my head, it became another job where I was required to be on my mat 3-4 times a week, without fail. This probably makes no sense to a lot of people, but try to understand…
With the exception of countless bumps and bruises, nothing bad has come from the 4yrs that I have spent on my yoga mat. Nothing. I have met some amazing people, and have done some incredible things because of yoga. So, my thinking was, “Yoga has been so great to me. Therefore, I owed yoga my time, energy, and full attention. I needed to be on my mat at least 5 times a week, consistently, every week, without fail.”
“Hey Justin! You want to take a ride to Malibu, lay on the beach, and grab dinner afterwards??”
‘Nah, I’m good. I’m taking a class around noon, and by the time I get back and dealing with traffic, it’ll be late.’
Nowadays, that seems a little silly to me. Over the past year, I’ve learned to slow down, relax, and experience new things off of my mat. The yoga studio will be there if I skip a day or two. It has been so far.
It finally dawned on me that the one thing I was extremely passionate about, was hindering my social life. I’ve learned to find the balance between my practice and my life off of my mat. I will continue to practice yoga as long as possible to stay fit, and use it as a location for “me time”. However, I won’t let it rule my life either. Sometimes, I don’t want to rush out of my apartment to take an 1.5hr class. Maybe I want to sleep in, have coffee and a nice breakfast? Or, just simply be at home. Or, no, I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars to take an immersion with a well known teacher. At this point in my life, I feel as though I am reaping all of the benefits from my practice. I may be taking fewer classes a week lately, but I’m getting the same results I was getting when I used to take 5-6 classes a week.
Plus, for me, there is more to life than yoga (yes, I said it).
It is a part of my life, but I will not let it control me. I hope you guys understand what I’m trying to get across here. It is so great to have something that you are passionate about. But, you have friends and family who love you; and they want to see you too. Go to the beach, go to the movies, see a friend, take a trip…give yourself a break from your passion/love. There’s a whole world out there, and people who care about you. There is something that I have learned from all of my inversions, downward dogs and backbends. I may love them, but I’m not going to miss out on new and exciting things, just to go to a yoga class.
Yoga will be there when I get back.