What Happens When You Lose Your Yoga Practice

You ever lose a skill or an ability you once had? 

For example: You go to the gym and find a weight you used to be able to lift, no problem, pick it up and find it’s now  impossible to hoist?

Or that banjo lick you once played without even thinking, is now lost to your fingers?

Or your previously fluent Spanish now can’t even buy you lunch at the corner taco truck? 

I joined Bryan Kest’s Yoga Sanity Challenge yesterday thinking I needed something fresh, just some new language, some new yoga inspiration. But what I got instead was a smack in the face with the harsh reality that I’ve lost my practice. 

Again.

Poses that would have been no problem for me a year ago, were completely impossible yesterday.

I had no strength. I had no endurance.

I was weak.

But this isn’t the first time.

I’ve lost my practice more times than I’m proud to say. 

I remember a long time ago losing my hard-won Ashtanga practice. To be honest, it wasn’t all that great to begin with, but it was definitely coming along. 

But I stopped because I got bored with the same sequence every day, the broken toes, and the physical grind of it. Still, I was shocked to come back a year later to find nothing left of it. Nothing. Something I had worked so hard at, was completely and utterly gone. I couldn’t even remember how to breathe correctly.

It made me unspeakably sad. 

But here’s the thing: I made a conscious decision to let Ashtanga go, to not resuscitate it.

Instead, I put my practice time into power vinyasa flow. 

But even within that practice I knew there were things I’d never be able to do. Things like handstands, or anything that would aggravate the plates and pins in my left wrist. 

And I was, and am, totally okay with that.

What I’m not okay with is letting my strength and endurance slide. And losing the perfection of poses that are strong and steady and foundational. Poses I came face to face with yesterday and fell out of.

So, now, for the umpteenth time, I’m going back in. I’m going to revive my sloth-and-Covid-induced practice.

Even still, I’m plagued with thoughts like:

“What if I can’t? What if my body is just aging out of certain postures? What if I’ll never be able to grab my top foot in Balancing Half Moon ever again?”

But I’ve been through this head game before. I know that these are just the howlings and rantings of the Threshold Guardians, those gargoyles whose job it is to sit at the entrance of the temple and scare away all those who aren’t truly committed.

And that’s not me.

I’m going in.

4 thoughts on “What Happens When You Lose Your Yoga Practice

  1. I’m sure you can get it back. Struggling here without my gym to go to but fighting it everyday. Thanks for the added inspiration,

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  2. Loss. It’s a challenge. It reminds me of this scene from No Country for Old Men: “Well, all the time you spend trying to get back what’s been took from you, more is going out the door. After a while you just have to try to get a tourniquet on it.” It’s my favorite scene from any movie. Watch the whole thing but the quote above happens at 1:55. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co5aKOGcHaw&t=161s

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