So circumstances have pushed me towards cancelling my monthly subscription at my local yoga studio, a decision that, for the time being will allow me to focus some more time and energy on neglected responsibilities – Which if I’m being honest has left me an empty shell of a human being. Dramatic and lacking perspective I know, but these are the feels.
I was frequenting the Shala at least 3, sometimes 5 times a week and I felt like a piece of the furniture, attending workshops and all the various offerings available. Thoroughly addicted I would say. So naturally, leaving has been difficult. I’ve felt these feelings before – The insecurity, the irritability, the emptiness, the void.
I’m not sure if this is a healthy relationship with my practice, I suspect this notion because I’ve historically had unhealthy relationships with other things in my life; Drugs come to mind, particularly the phenethylamine family (but that is a tale for another time.)
This is about yoga, which on the spectrum of addictions you could place it at the less destructive end. Nevertheless it is still a common pattern in my consciousness, a pattern that has its own desires and needs, with a familiar sense of autonomy.
Those who have a regular practice will understand where I’m coming from and many I’ve encountered freely admit they are addicted to yoga.
But I’ve been pondering lately what exactly it is about yoga that I am addicted to, having the added benefit of detoxing from a structured yogic environment this has left me in an uncomfortable malaise.
Now, don’t get me wrong this isn’t life threatening nor world shattering, it’s an emptiness that was previously filled by teachers and peers. Having lost that for the time being, I am faced with the challenge of teaching myself.
It is really nice having somebody conduct your practice for you while you bliss out with eyes closed – It is not so nice being confronted with only you and your thoughts at home with a yoga mat. I’m certain those who claim to have a strong home practice are embellishing at least a little bit. Home is so distracting, the mind is so damn repetitive. Especially when alone.
Having someone there to hold you accountable and guide you through practice is invaluable, even if the only value is from focusing on the curated sequences from the teacher at the front of class. You kind of don’t have to think for yourself in this situation, as long as you follow along, an entire 75 minutes is responsibility free.
I remember watching my mum when I was a little kid, she enjoyed painting a lot and is quite gifted at it. But she would demand of herself perfection in her environment well before any paint touched canvas. She couldn’t start until every little bit of housework and things to be done were done. Which, as we all know is impossible.
I feel this whenever I settle into practicing at home, I can see chaos and distraction in my periphery and minds eye and I find it extremely difficult to focus on my yoga. I’m waiting for the perfect circumstances to arrive before I even begin practice.
Having said that though, once I do begin and really fall into my breath those bit of chaos and distraction seem to disappear, apart from the choice anxiety that comes from inventing ones own sequences.
Losing the comfortable environment of class has been a challenge. If I’m being truly honest I’ve practice only 2 or 3 times since I left the studio 2 weeks ago.
I think I was addicted to the human connection and not the practice itself. Yoga people are nice people. Crazy, but nice. I miss the place dearly, but I feel like this home practice thing is something that I really have to dive headfirst into, I think I’ve learnt enough basics to get me going over the past 2 years. I believe it’s possible, anything is possible. I would like to come back to the Shala with a healthier relationship to it, a sense of personal fortitude knowing that I don’t need the place any more than it needs me thus breaking another cycle of addiction in my life.