If you’ve done yoga for any number of years, you already know that the above and the below are the WRONG questions to ask or even speculate. Pose the questions and get an immediate game show like buzzer sound:
What has yoga DONE FOR ME? <Errrrrr!>
What do my triceps look like? <Berrrrrrr!>
Can I do Crow yet? <BERRRRR!>
What a person “gets” from yoga is a spectrum from nothing in particular to the tools you need to cope with Western society. No more, no less. You get a little more flexible, a little more gentle, one hopes. It is not about achievement or levels or belts or PRs. But still, a milestone is a cool thing, so I found this in my email box today:
I have been in and around yoga for exactly 5 years today, with an 18 month hiatus in there along the way. Initially it did wonders for both my psyche and my physique. Of course, like all things the effect wanes with time.
Everyone understands that a drug addict needs more and more as time goes on to get the same effect, but that is hardly limited to drugs. Pretty much anything habitual with a physical component will have a slow compensatory effect, from running to pushups to hiking to coffee brewing techniques to typing speed to . . . you name it.
Our nature is to constantly change with our environment, seek out new challenges (or be bombarded with new problems to solve without any choice in the matter, as was the case for most of our evolution), and leap to a different level or pastime when one has exhausted it’s ability to fascinate. Just before my hiatus I wasn’t sure what was “next” for me with my practice so I decided to just stop and see how long it took to come back. Months, days? It was more than a year; it seems I do well while doing yoga but it does not take up my life, nor is it a black hole when not a part of my daily routine. I work with it, or without it.
I do still love it – love watching the trembling of balance, the stillness of mind after exertion, the ease of friendships in the studio. For now, I will continue.
Thank you to Molly and Bruce, who made this their entrepreneurial calling nearly 10 years ago, and to Jamesina, who took me to my first class with James and unleashed my monster: it was a downward (dog) spiral from there.