A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me what I was working on in my yoga practice.
Actually, she tagged me in a post on Instagram, but honestly that’s the same as asking.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I wanted to respond.
It’s Instagram after all.
The wild, wild west of yoga.
At first, I wanted to post some of the fancier transitions I’ve been trying to add back into my practice or some flashy backbend that I dug up from ancient muscle memory, but here’s the truth of what I’m really working on:
I’m working on finding my joy in my yoga practice again.
When I first discovered instagram yoga, after the birth of my daughter, I was delighted by the wacky ways poses I saw posted there.
I’d been practicing for 13 years and teaching for 8 but there were poses I’d never seen and never tried. There were transitions I’d never even dreamed of.
It was exciting.
Then things on Instagram got a little conflicted for me.
I found myself comparing my practice to people I followed who’d only just started doing yoga but could press into handstand like it was no big deal.
I’d find myself resentful of people who got boatloads of free leggings or free yoga props and oodles of praise just because they could contort their bodies into super deep backbends.
I felt deeply jealous of teachers with less experience than I had who were offered the opportunity to teach workshops and retreats all over the world just because they could take pretty pictures of advanced poses.
I outright despised teachers who were offered opportunities to teach on platforms like CodyApp or at Wanderlust, not because they had lots of experience or training, but because they had lots of followers on instagram.
My resentment ran deep.
Slowly, this bitterness started to harden inside of me and twisted like a knife in my belly.
I still liked practicing yoga and even teaching it.
But I’d lost my joy for yoga.
My practice felt obligatory and unimportant.
I once took refuge in my yoga practice, and now I felt like yoga had left me for the cool kids with the fancy yoga pants and the outrageous yoga poses.
I felt really lost.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do, so I kept practicing and I kept teaching but felt like my heart wasn’t in it as much which scared the shit out of me.
Yoga had been my anchor for years. Yoga had ushered me from my late teens and college-life into motherhood. Yoga had carried me from an unhealthy mindset and damaging behavior to a healthier mindset and happier life. Yoga had guided me through some really rough moments in my life and taught me how to live with more awareness and to act with more intention.
I was terrified of losing my love of yoga and the joy I experienced through practicing it. I wasn’t really even sure I knew who I was without yoga as one of the primary pillars of my life.
It was a rough year.
Lately, I’ve been rediscovering my joy.
I’m not 100% sure what the shift was.
Maybe it was finding new teachers who inspired me.
Maybe it was inviting my kids to play more on my mat with me.
Maybe it was letting go of the Instagram yoga scene a little bit and practicing yoga just for me.
Maybe it was realizing how much I love sharing yoga because yoga has so radically changed my life.
Maybe it was realizing that I actually prefer marching to the beat of my own drum and dislike playing by the social media star rules. And that at the end of the day, I’m not really sure I want insta-fame as much as I want to be true to myself
All I know is that I’ve been looking forward to my daily yoga practice again.
I’ve been playing with new movement patterns and exploring familiar poses with new eyes.
I’ve been playing yoga with my kids more, letting them crawl all over me and join in the fun.
I’ve been practicing with music again, and occasionally busting out a dance move or 2 at random moments on my mat.
Even my teaching has taken a deep gulp of fresh air.
I created a YouTube channel where I offer brief weekly yoga practices for free.
I created a yoga and self-care membership community where I offer 3 yoga practices plus self-care and recipes while also connecting and creating a supportive community.
The classes I’m teaching are getting a little silly again. There are more animal noises, more pop-culture references, and more unusual sequencing.
I recently taught an online pigeon party yoga class inspired by Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Yep. Bet you’re bummed you missed that one, huh?
This photo above is of me falling out of a pose. I’m falling out of half-moon pose, specifically. I was photographing myself in the pose for the cover shot of one of my Conscious Healthy Collective classes. The camera was too close in, so the shot wasn’t going to work, but the timer was already going, so I just goofed off instead.
It’s silly and real.
I fall out of most yoga poses when I’m not teaching #IRL.
This is what I’ve been working on lately.
Not just enjoying the falling out of yoga poses.
I’ve been working on reclaiming the silliness and the joyfulness of my yoga practice.
And I’m damn proud of it.
And if you haven’t watched this video of me and Milly teaching a yoga class together, it’s silly, adorable, and melts my heart every single time.