I started yoga to balance my running addiction. One can only get so inflexible before she gives in and attends a vinyasa class. But when yoga proved to be more than just glorified stretching, I gradually gave it precedence over the evening jogs and, eventually, stopped running at all. For months at a time. At that point yoga ceased to be purely physical. Running had always been "therapy"; now there was a new counselor on the block. The switch occurred somewhere in late 2015. I wasn't working but craved group energy, madly depressed and, it seemed, lacking any control over all but my body. If I can make it do this or that or this, I thought, then I can overlook everything else. Thank God I only turned to yoga to fill all those nasty voids.
Fast forward a couple months, and I enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Vida. Nothing captured my attention there like the study of Yoga as a philosophy, as well as its metaphysical counterpart Samkhya. Therapy became something more religious. Meanwhile, at home, I was attempting to read the Bible cover to cover and praying every night (mostly for God to light my ass on fire, but I digress).
I lived and breathed yoga during those four months. Didn't run a mile, but my body never looked better. Vanity and health didn't lead me then, but spirituality and a quest for peace and self-knowledge did. Then I graduated and moved away. The yoga textbooks returned to their shelves, and yoga returned to its prior position in my life: something between therapy and exercise, always second fiddle to my career and social life.
Now, I realize, my practice is suffering, and not just because I can barely find time for it. The intellectual weight that made it so critical to my well-being last winter and spring is missing; what is yoga now if only a workout? I think it is very little. Without everything else, yoga really is just glorified stretching. Without the metaphysical, it's purely physical, and that's not yoga at all.
To be continued...when I figure out how to get my groove back.