by CASSIE MCINTYRE
You might think “yogis” wake up each day with a sunshine worthy personality, green juice in hand, and a confident sense of self-awareness.
But truthfully not everything is always unicorns and rainbows.
There can be days, weeks, even months where we struggle to find the motivation to do anything and I’m sure that goes for more things than just the yoga practice.
In many cases, those periods of low-energy are the result of a burnout and sometimes require time and space to heal. That’s time away from distractions like social media in which we, more often than not, compare ourselves to what we see online.
There has been time where I have lost the desire to practice all together because I was scrolling away on my phone thinking, “Wow, I would be a better yogi if…” and “If I could do that then I would be…” and fill in the blanks.
At some point, I finally realized I was putting so much unnecessary pressure on myself that I took a step back, took a deep breath in, and took a week to not check my social media feeds.
I took the time to stand on my mat, be with my thoughts, and be alone with my practice.
I instantly felt the urge to move and let myself be 100 percent focused on my practice. I took my time to notice how my alignment was, how each posture felt, and how I was finally feeling myself again. Just me, myself, and I with no distractions, no comparisons, and no sensation of burning myself out.
I encourage you to take the time this month to take a break from your online world. Focus on living in the moment and check out the world around you. If you’re feeling down and in sort of a funk I recommend taking a break from social media.
I think we let it play a bigger role in our day to day lives then we would like it to and it can sometimes negatively impact our mindset.
This month, I want you to focus on gentleness, being gentle with yourself and remind yourself it’s OK to not feel 100 percent all the time.
While we may often feel like we have to push through and force it we must also remember our practice includes listening to our body and taking into account how we feel on the mats. There is an element of forgiveness in being gentle with yourself. It’s kind of like you have to forgive yourself for pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion for so long.
If you feel like you’ve given it your all and the outcome was a failure or just overly disappointing, it can be challenging to forgive yourself for the circumstances.
For example, If you keep practicing the same posture 1,000 times in a row and keep failing at it, it will result in a burnout. But if you practice that one posture one time (and I mean one time) every day for a few weeks you’d prob ably notice yourself conquering the pose quicker and more effectively.
I’m not trying to over-spiritualize anything but I do believe there is a lesson in every burnout experience. When I’ve burned myself out there’s been a reason for it. I’ve been tired, sleep deprived, overworked, and over thought my way into these funks that somehow manifested into these big waves of overwhelming sensations I didn’t know what to do.
Now I know it takes time and a more mindful awareness of how we let certain things, like social media, run our lives. You see it all the time; “Do it for the gram.” Or “Like for like.”
But why not support one another in a more face to face way? Why not tell yourself; you are doing a good job and you are getting better. You don’t need to torment yourself into exhaustion. You should accept your wins and your failures on and off the mat because they help shape you into the person you are and the person you will become.
Overall, I hope you can take this month to recharge your mind and let yourself be fully immersed in your yoga practice. Put the devices away and be on your mat.
At the end of the day it’s you vs. you. We all start somewhere so don’t worry about what someone else is doing in their yoga journey or in their own world. Be in the moment and remember, something as short as 5 minutes on your mat everyday can make a positive change for your day to day life.
Cassie McIntyre is a NASM certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and nutritional coach at The Edge Fitness in Bristol.