3 Ways to Recover from Yoga Burnout
By Nicole Nadeau
These days Yoga seems to be marketed as the cure all for practically everything. High cholesterol? Go to Yoga. Not flexible? Go to Yoga. Stressed out? Go to Yoga. Have pain in your [enter body part here]? Go to Yoga. Can’t Sleep? Low libido? Have a terrible relationship with your mom? Don’t know how to breathe properly? Want to reach enlightenment? Can’t get over that thing that happened that one time?
Go. To. Yoga.
The buy in for this idea is high. Why? Because there’s truth in it. The principles of Yoga are very healing, not just physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It’s one of those things that has it all, and everyone knows it.
So then, what happens when this healing and inspiring practice leaves you feeling less than inspired, or possibly even disgruntled at times? I mean, clearly something is wrong with you then; Yoga always makes you feel better... doesn’t it?
I call bullshit. There is no requisite that says you’re going to feel good all the time if you practice Yoga. In fact, as you build more awareness on your mat it pours into your everyday life, and at times be hit with uncomfortable realities about the current way you are living your life — but that’s another post.
Honestly, the reason you may be feeling uninspired or disgruntled with your practice could be a large number of things... maybe you’re pushing too far too fast past your boundaries; maybe you’re rubbing up against some old belief systems you need to evaluate; maybe you ate too much sugar; or maybe you’re experiencing yoga burnout.
Yoga burnout? Is that even a thing?
Absolutely. Quite a normal one actually, but not one you often hear about. At least not loudly; probably because the idea is bad for business.
Over the years of my own practice, and listening to various student’s experiences, there are several types of Yoga burnout but the bottom line is your practice isn’t nourishing you at the moment.
This happens when you lose sight of one of the fundamental teachings of Yoga — just being. Instead, you write your practice into your day planner, or add it to your to do list. It becomes something else to achieve. Whether the achievement is nailing a specific pose, or continually trying to dig through the layers of your shadow, or just showing up to practice in the first place, it has become another thing that you do. Another thing that you can check off. Another thing that you’ve placed an expectation on. In all this “doing” you have disconnected yourself from the laws of nature.
“We’re human beings, not human doings.” - several inspirational people; google doesn’t even know anymore.
3 Ways to Recover from Yoga Burnout so Your Yoga Can Feel Magical Again
As always, the first step to recovery is acceptance; nothing can change or grow without acknowledgment. Give yourself permission to be burnout and remember it’s okay for your practice to plateau. In this acceptance you can better see where the burnout may be coming from.
2. mix it up
Maybe you’re bored with the style you’re doing, or you aren’t relating to your usual teacher(s) - try a new class. It doesn’t even have to be a “Yoga” class; you can take some of the principles you’ve learned in Yoga to any type of class, from dance to art to cooking. In my own practice, I’ve settled more into the idea that Yoga is just Yoga; it changes as much as I do. Yoga is a state of being, and that can look a thousand different ways. So find something that feels inspiring, nourishing, and light. Find something that makes you feel like the kind of person you want to be and make that your practice for awhile.
3. Find something that allows you to enjoy all the work you’ve already done!
This one is for my intense personal growth/shadow workers - take a freakin’ break. There is a never ending list of things you can work on to develop yourself, and guess what, that list will always be there. Find something that allows you to enjoy all the work you’ve already done! You are perfect in your imperfections. You are enough just as you are right now. It’s true what they say - you can be a masterpiece and a work in progress all at the same time. Revel in yourself as you are.
and, most importantly..
The most important takeaway is knowing that it’s normal to get burnt out in your practice, even though it’s meant to provide you all the feel goods and inner peace. Your practice will ebb and flow just as everything in nature does, and that’s okay.
About the Author
Nicole Nadeau is an international Yoga teacher, Reiki Master, and life coach. Combining book smarts with self-discovery, she brings creativity, curiosity, and encouragement to her students. Nicole loves travel, Harry Potter, psychology, bridges, & tacos.