Each and every one of us experiences energetic lows from time-to-time. Whether a life event like the loss of a loved one brings you down, you find the lack of vitamin D hard to cope with in winter, or you have a habit of pushing yourself too hard for months on end only to hit a proverbial wall, these lows are natural. Sometimes the dips drag on for longer than we’d like, but this doesn’t mean that we should give up, or that we’ll be in the rut forever. When you’re a yogi or yoga teacher in a low energy cycle it can be a natural reaction to berate yourself for being unyogic or feel as though you are supposed to be high energy and blissed out all of the time. But the reality is, yogi or not, you’re human. What does it mean for your yoga practice when you’ve been in a low energy cycle for a while? It might seem like a time where your practice isn’t going anywhere, but it can actually offer up a number of gifts, if you’re open to receiving them. So, what’s waiting for you if you’re willing to create space for change and embrace your low energy cycle rather than fighting it?
- The chance to practice non-attachment. Attaching your happiness, identity, worth (or anything really) to an external factor will hold you back. And as we hum along through life without disruption, we start to form attachments (be it adhering to a certain style of practice, a formula for how you run your classes as a teacher, or developing certain descriptions of yourself or your practice). But when we drop the descriptors and ideas that we attach to ourselves or our practice we open up to new possibilities. How does having no energy let us do that? It’s a natural segue to change, if you accept it. Do you usually practice Ashtanga for your home practice but can’t get the energy up? Don’t skip practice, rock a restorative one instead. Are you a yoga teacher who follows a set formula for your classes and you just put floor work ahead of balances because you’re feeling tired? Don’t sweat it. Break the pattern. Discover a new way to structure your class and see what parts (if not all of them) work. When you let go of attachments there’s a ton of potential waiting to be discovered.
- Achieve balance and growth. Like it or not, humans are creatures of habit. And if life isn’t throwing us curveballs, we’re likely to be forming patterns – even when it comes to yoga. This flows directly from non-attachment. Once the patterns break, there’s room for all sorts of new. That hardcore ashtangi finds a new balance by incorporating a less disciplined, softer practice into their week. That teacher stumbles upon a new way to sequence. Growth happens when you accept the chance to see the gifts that a different perspective has to offer. And balance is found in never staying too entrenched on one side of the spectrum.
- Step closer to the divine. When we let go of attachment, we don’t just free up ourselves from patterns, or create opportunities to grow, we also learn that the qualities we identify with as parts of ourselves aren’t actually who we are. This stripping away of quantifiers gives us the chance to move closer to the divine within us all. The worldly aspects that we identify with are part of the maya, or illusory world, and yoga is a journey toward the Atman, or divine truth, within us all. So go ahead. Ride that wave of low energy. And don’t think for a moment that it means you are less of a yogi, or that you’re off track in your journey. You’re human. A beautiful and perfectly imperfect human, and you are right where you are meant to be. If you start to forget it, remember that the lotus has to rise out of mud in order to blossom above. It wouldn’t exist without all the muck it made its way through on the journey. Sometimes we need to endure the darkness in order to see the light.
Coming to yoga through dance, Coraley Letcher, an RYT 200, is passionate about sharing yoga asana, philosophy and lifestyle with others. A contributing teacher and organizer of the Feel Good Fernie Yoga and Wellness Festival, she lives, teaches and writes in gorgeous Fernie, B.C. Canada.
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