Experienced yogis have probably heard it time and time again. Newer yogis may have even heard it from their teachers after their first class. You know, something along the lines of:
“During your first yoga class, you may have felt something inside of you shift.”
“On your way home from your first yoga class, you felt different than when you came in. Something shifted.”
“Ever since starting yoga, you’ve changed. Your body and mind has shifted.”
I’m here to tell ya, I didn’t feel shit for a “shift”. And that pressure was such a burden on my practice.
The Shift is Shit
I’ve been dabbling in yoga since high school and have been a studio member with a more consistent practice for just over a year.
I have gone to workshops to improve my practice.
I’ve taken Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training and teach it at the studio that I fell in love with.
I recently started my 200-hour yoga teacher training.
After all that, I still can’t say I’ve felt “the shift.”
Am I Still a Yogi?
I started to wonder if there was something not totally “pure” about my yoga. I mean, I started it as a “workout,” and still see it as that sometimes. My physical practice wins over my mental and emotional and spiritual practice most of time when I think about “my yoga practice.”
While I want to learn more about yoga, but I find myself worrying about not being the right person to teach yoga to others, because my experience doesn’t sound like what my teachers are describing. I feel great after class, but I always chalked that up to being around happy people and moving my body and getting those endorphins flowing that I know come with exercising.
All the “shifting” though? Not happening for me.
Am I doing this wrong? Should I feel more? Why don’t I feel it?
Even though I wasn’t “feeling it,” that life-changing “shift” I was told I’d feel, I kept coming back. After years of not practicing, I found a mat. I went to free classes by myself, and for the record, I don’t do anything by myself. In all other situations, I find it too awkward. I need someone to talk to. I don’t want to be the weird girl with no friends.
But, when it came to yoga, I happily went alone to spend the hour flowing.
So, what gives?
I was reflecting after my first night of yoga study, and a word popped into my head that made much more sense to me than “shift.”
For me, it was more of a whisper.
I didn’t feel it in the way that was always described to me, but yoga was always calling to me. Whispering, “What about this class? What about this new studio popping up?”
I wanted to know more about yoga and my local yoga community. There are different styles and different techniques and poses and breathing, and I wanted to know all of it (a losing proposition, I realized quickly when I committed to a regular practice).
Giving Into the Shift- Or Lack Thereof
It’s easy to get caught up in a word. I didn’t “shift,” but I was called by what I felt during my practice to keep coming back.
As silly as it sounds, I feel more at ease in practice now that I don’t feel the pressure of not feeling what I’m “supposed” to be feeling. There’s something bigger to my yoga than just my physical practice, and that’s perfect for me and where I am in my yoga and life’s journey.
In any yoga class, if what the teacher is saying doesn’t resonate with you, it’s okay to let that go. Find what works for you, don’t take words so literally, and enjoy the time on your mat.
And if “enjoy” isn’t the word for you when it comes to your yoga, it’s a-okay.