Dear Yogi, Listen to Your Body…

Yoga pose stretch for the hips, knees, and back by

He said, “You must only practice yoga to truly be successful.”

“If you run—or do anything else—you will lose your flexibility and won’t be a good yogi”, another master yogi said to me.

“A good yogi practices every morning at 5:00 a.m. and doesn’t eat meat.” This is what many of my peers told me (because their guru’s had told them that).

“You must meditate every day and only eat ghee and curry and drink your urine in the morning”, I was told by the guru of the day.

Ok, that last one was half sarcasm (the ghee and curry part, not the meditation or urine parts).

But you get where I am going with this?

If you’ve practiced yoga regularly for any period of time and really paid attention, you’ve heard this type of thing before. At some point, like me, you may have even believed it and subscribed to it at least at one point or another along your yogic evolutionary path.

I call it extremism. But I did it too. I admit it.

I believed in it. I even subscribed to some of it for long time.

I mean, yoga is a time-honored practice—going back millennia. It’s time proven, been written down, passed down through guru after guru over the centuries, made it’s way from ancient India to modern America where it spread from the 1960’s on to become almost commonplace nowadays.

So….well, it must be true, right?

RIGHT?!?

Nineteen years down the road (for realz) and I’m here to tell you—it’s definitely not all true.

No way and I say stop the madness!

It would like if I were to tell you to only use essential oils for EVERYTHING…it’s just not feasible. They, like yoga, have their place and time for specific reasons.

Everything in moderation, as they say (whoever they are).

I’d be leading you down a false path if I tried to tell you otherwise.

But I did do it. And I was led to believe that if I ran, ate meat, or decided that I wanted to lift weights that this would ruin my practice and destroy my ability to move and that there would be no way I could be a good yogi, let alone a yoga teacher.

Somewhere along the way this philosophy sort of wasted my back and my hips though. I got WAY too flexible and now I have frequent issues in these two areas of my body.

It’s exhausting and frustrating and all because I personally over did it.

It sort of wasted my love for yoga for a long time.

My body suffered and is still suffering. And today I have some relatively deep rooted physical issues that are healing but taking time to heal.

Yoga is supposed to heal. I should never have gotten to this place.

I blame myself, of course. But I also blame the “extremism” that can happen in yoga—or in any sport or health craze. Because it happens with all of them to some degree at some point.

Yoga #everyday, we say.

Yes, let’s yoga everyday but let’s mix it up and let’s be compassionate with ourselves and do it in MODERATION and pay attention to our need for a break or our need to just not go that extra inch if we aren’t feeling it in the moment.

Let’s be REAL.

Let’s get out and go for a run. Let’s swim and bike. Let’s lift weights and go do pull ups.

Yoga without all of this can get out of balance and can hurt you by over stretching your joints, removing stability in the body and, as with any sport that is “overdone”, overuse injuries are on the rise due to us not paying attention to what the body is telling us.

As a teacher and guide, I teach others to be real in this way and I ask that they be real with their students.

As a student, you have to do this for yourself too. Be real. Listen to your body. Don’t let a competitive feeling or a teacher’s words take you where your body isn’t ready to go.

Connection is what brought me to my mat 19 years ago. And at it’s core, this is what yoga is—union. Literally, the root of the word yoga means union.

So, let’s STAY connected to our bodies. AND mix it up a little to stay strong, and to help prevent injury, and to achieve a stronger, deeper practice in the process.

Variety is the spice of life so go on out and get goin’!

You’re Possible! XO – Marcia