3 Confessions of a Yogi

Lessons from Yoga 5 Jul

I think there’s this general view that yogi’s have their s**t together. That we’re in this state of constant happiness and nothing can take us away from our Zen way of being.

Now, I would love to tell you that’s true and that I am in this constant state of bliss on and off the mat, but I’m going to need to be honest with you. The same issues you encounter are still there for me. So, it’s time to confess a few things…

Credit  Gemma Correll
Credit Gemma Correll

1) I get distracted on the mat

Ever been half way through your yoga practice and your mind starts thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner? Yes? Well me too! Dinner plans, to do lists, people I need to contact, as well as realising the floor needs cleaning (that’s home practice for you!) – I’ve had all these thoughts and hundreds of others totally unrelated to my practice.

So how do I not let myself get annoyed about this? First of all – I accept that it’s normal. Truth bomb – Yoga does not stop your thoughts! I generally become aware that I’m wandering down that rabbit hole of thoughts when I start to wobble and get all tangled up within my own body – I lose that connection.

So, instead of getting frustrated with this, next time you notice your thoughts taking you away, just simply bring it back to your practice. Connect with a part of your body that is activated – often the feet can be a good place to start, notice their position, the feel of them against your mat… and you’re back! If all this fails – keep a notebook and pen by your mat to stop overplaying something you are worried you’ll forget and quickly right it down and get straight back to your practice.

2) I overthink my practice

I show people for a living how simple a yoga practice can be but yet I often still overthink mine. I spend too long trailing through videos or even overthinking my own self-practice. By the time I actually do get on the mat, I often feel a little rushed and worried about time. Silly right?!

So what’s my coping strategy? Well I have two… firstly if I am doing an online recorded class, I take a moment before I switch on my computer to decide how much time I have, whether I want something more dynamic or restorative and if there is a part of my body that feels like it needs some extra care (Wednesday is often a day my Monday squat DOMS are calling for some extra hip love!). I then pick a practice that ticks those boxes.

Secondly, if I am just exploring my own practice, I do one simple thing that never fails… I step on the mat and move! You know how your body feels so just move it in a way that feels good. Who cares if you are not doing yoga postures, or if your Warrior 2 looks a little different today. Just move, get lost in the practice and most importantly – have some fun.

3) I don’t listen to my body

Being a regular Crossfit fanatic and a yogi means I have quite a busy exercise routine and admittedly sometimes a little too busy. I get lost in the love for both of these that I often jump into another class with my head rather than my body. I don’t stop to recognise when I need to take that extra day of rest. I take the option for deepening my practice when really my body is crying out for a child’s pose.

I tell my students to listen to their bodies and take any modifications that they need, but yet I don’t take my own advice! I won’t be too hard on myself, I’m getting better at resting but it is something that I am aware of can easily tip the other way. Not giving yourself the rest can impact much more than just your energy levels, so I’ve actually got to the point where I schedule in a rest day. I’ll go for my morning stroll but apart from that, I rest.

So there we go, I’m afraid I’m not that zen yogi, living this beach life in paradise that you thought – well the zen part anyway! It’s a work in progress and the challenges will always be there in one form or another.

If I can give you one takeaway from this, it’s not to be hard on yourself. Don’t give up if your practice doesn’t look like what you thought it was. I see yoga as an internal and external exploration – a never ending one – so keep going on that journey and enjoy every little bump because the views along the way are worth it.

Can you resonate with any of my confessions? Which one do you find yourself doing too? We’d love to know so drop me a note in the comment box below.

Join Kathryn for Sunday Night Yin – In this mindful practice we learn to slow down, be ok with feeling a bit uncomfortable, and aim to find stillness, in our mind and body. In Yin Yoga we hold the poses for longer to target both the deep connective tissues.