Sunday, August 16, 2020

When Yoga is Too Much

Interesting concept, isn't it - that Yoga could be "TOO MUCH"|?"

My Grandmother, Rachel, was fond of saying, "Anything in Moderation." Moderation is one way of translating the yogic principle Brahmacharya. Some translate it to meaning chastity, while others consider the householder's role in yoga and say Moderation. To me the word moderation feels much more appropriate given our human roles in relationships, so I usually move towards that translation.

In any event, a yogi or yogini must practice moderation in all things. Now, slip in some other yogic principles like ahimsa, which means non-violence, and a good argument could be made for vegetarianism or veganism, which is more of a complete non-reliance on animals for food. However, if I am going by my Jewish Grandmother's agenda, then I could have some cheese or a little fish now and then...this is certainly not a discourse in morality. Each person must find comfort in his or her own translation and meaning on these very things in life. What is important is the inner dialogue about it.

But I digress...

Moderation in all things, says the yogi. Here's been my personal dilemma since March when the world turned upside down: I have very few yoga teachers who are able to teach the classes for the studio, so I had to pour myself into teaching all the classes. I was relieved and grateful when one teacher came back on, and then even more so when the second did. Now the second teacher has decided to pull back to honor her own energy and I find myself overwhelmed.

My lower back has been irritated for several months. I have been dealing with severe pain and nerve impingement that occurs, generally, after yoga practice. This all seems completely foreign to me as yoga has always been my go-to routine for my back and body since I began the practice 25+ years ago. Now I realize my body is totally shot from all the yoga and I must pull back.

The issue now is that most classes are taught online. I feel an obligation to show myself practicing on the screen. When I taught half the classes that I do now, I taught at least half of them off the mat. My body felt much better when I taught this way. For those who are not yoga teachers, you must realize that teaching yoga is not our practice - it's yours. So when we are practicing and teaching at the same time we are not connected and tend to do things we may not normally. Add on 10-15 classes a week taught this way and there's a recipe for overdoing. My body literally feels "shot out." My chiropractor agrees with me and has asked me to lay off my practice for a bit to see if we can rectify some pretty hefty issues going on in my lumbar spine.

So here I am - not practicing because yoga has been too much.

The realities of our world can be difficult. I am grateful for the understanding student base that I have. I will continue to offer my best when teaching. But I must also honor myself. Who knows how this will look or play out, but then again, who knows anything these days!? (that's a rhetorical question, at best).

When is yoga too much? Do you have a regular daily or weekly practice and does it support you? Or, do you need to do more - or less?

Be honest with yourself and know when yoga is the Godsend/blessing in your day and when you need to rest. I personally feel that a daily practice can be quite beneficial - when practiced correctly and appropriately. I have not been doing this. I need to heed my own advise and wisdom. Stepping into the second half of August with more reverence for myself and the practice that has helped keep my body and mind in balance for so long. Now the balance I seek is actually, not practicing! Interesting concept...

Brahmacharya = Moderation

Where in your life do you need to create more of this?

Chew on that today, my friends...chew on that.

In love, service and wisdom,

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