We are all happy when our practice seems to be progressing nicely: We learn quickly, our understanding evolves, our abilities increase. On the other hand, we all have periods of frustration, when our efforts seem to bear no fruit, either physically or mentally. Even more infuriating can be periods when we are unable to practice at all due to busyness, injury or some other force.
During these periods of frustration, it is important to remember: yoga practice is an ultra-marathon, not a sprint. In the scheme of our whole practice and our whole life, having a bad week, month or even year is a small thing. What is significant is that we regain our determination and continue.
Believe it or not, yogis burn out as often as they fizzle. We begin with such passion and vigor that we practice too much and too hard. At first this leads to tremendous progress in a short period of time, but it is unsustainable. We trim our practice back to an ordinary amount and become frustrated by the slowness of the progress. Practice loses its excitement, and we are too worn out to continue.
We recently asked one of our teachers (Swami Shambhudevananda) about this. He reminded us that yogic burnout is common. The remedy is to rest, recover and revisit your inspirations. Don't be derailed by the ebbs and flows in your practice. If we practice long enough, ups and downs are to be expected. They are simply a sign of a mature practice.
Don't lose hope, and certainly don't stop the practice!
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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- The Art and Skill of Teaching