My Ashtanga Yoga Practice Was Boring Today


That's right. You read the title. Because I am an Ashtanga yoga teacher, I should ALWAYS be inspired by my practice and all things yoga. I'm not. At least today I am not. In fact, I had a very boring practice today. I tried to be inspired, to be excited to roll out of bed at 5am this morning, to throw down my mat at the studio and have an expansive, mindful, breath-full practice. But I did not. And somehow, I don't feel like I am alone. I think lots and lots of us have boring practices, but we don't admit it, at least not until we quit the practice. And that's why I am writing this blog today. I am writing because I am sharing the fact that it doesn't freak me out or make me want to quit because I am bored. Boredom is normal. It's something that shows up in any commitment we have. There are lots of things that we do for awhile, get bored, and then move on. And then there are things that we try to convince ourselves aren't so boring, but end up quitting anyway. And then there are those things that bring boredom, but we stick with them. This is the essence of what commitment is to me. I have this crazy commitment to my Ashtanga yoga practice. It's crazy because I will endure good times and shit times. This practice is central to who I am. It's an integral part of my life. I was telling a friend today that my practice is my other wife. I am committed to both for the rest of my life. My practice probably won't look the same when I am 90 years old, nevertheless, it will be part of who I am.

And when it comes to a partner that you love dearly and one that has given boundlessly to you, you don't just up and go when times get rough. You stay. And you stay. And you stay. And you stay. But it's not like the staying that occurs when you're eating shitty food just to be nice to the host. There is a quality in which you continually search for and reach for the connection.

When my wife Melissa, and I are out of whack, I may initially shut down but at some point, I start to try a bunch of stuff to reconnect with her: communication techniques I've learned, cooking her a yummy meal, or, yes, doing the laundry. I will keep trying stuff until we reconnect. Often times, it takes giving something up, like admitting my fault in something or owning up to something. Sometimes it requires that she does that. Either way, I am committed to staying in relationship with Melissa. Whatever it takes, I am going to make it happen. And when it doesn't happen, I am not like, "Screw her. I am out of here." Instead, I just know that this shows up in marriage and this is an opportunity to learn and grow.

I suppose the same is true for my practice.  It's not like I'm just going to say, "Screw the practice. I'm bored. I am going to Anusara class from now on." I may go to an Anusara to get some inspiration, but I am not going to all of a sudden become an Anusara devotee. My primary yoga relationship is to Ashtanga. So when boredom shows up, it's an opportunity to scratch my head and say, "Wow, here's boredom.  I get to look at boredom." Instead of seeing boredom as this sign that my practice is all wrong for me, I get to just notice the boredom.

Boredom doesn't mean anything. I could make the boredom I experienced today mean that the practice is boring or that there is something wrong with me that I need to fix. I guess when you've been bored before, like I have in my 20 years of practice, it's not incredibly worrisome. I know that at some point, something will come along and I will be chugging again with excitement. I also have this intuitive sense that the boredom is giving me access to know myself in a new way. It's not like I am just going to wait until the boredom goes. I'm going to keep trying stuff, keep reading, keep looking for something to inject into my practice or take away. I will actively pursue an entrance into relating to my practice in a way that enlivens and excites me. So I actively pursue change while passively knowing that at some point change will come. It always does.

If there's one thing we can expect, it's change. That's inevitable. So you can be sure that when your practice is boring like mine was today, at some point, it won't be. And if you're loving practice today, at some point you will be ambivalent about it. It tests our mettle in terms of our commitments and it causes us to grow. In short, it's my hunch that boredom is a good thing and an opportunity for another breakthrough in my relationship with my second wife, but don't tell Melissa because instead of dealing with boredom, I will have to face jealousy.