So the plan was to take 2 weeks off yoga. And by taking 2 weeks off, I mean not attending studio classes, no yoga at home, no yoga at work. No yoga.
What’s the big deal, you ask? Why would someone write an article about taking 2 weeks off from practicing yoga?
Well, it was kinda a big deal to me, as a daily practitioner and I thought, if it were a big deal to me, surely it must also be a big deal to someone else?
And you can swap out yoga for any other activity. Like dance class, or jogging, dating, or tennis or swimming or cycling or even shopping (except grocery shopping. We still need to eat!). The point is, I took 2 weeks out from an activity I loved, just cos I could.
Also, my pass was about to expire and my shoulder, after one too many Chaturunga push-ups, was saying no. So a little hiatus was in order.
Perhaps I should also mention at this time, I also deleted all dating apps on my phone.
I broke up with dating. 100% my decision. My decision based on the random messages I received and the fact, that it just wasn’t serving me at this time. (maybe also because most of the men I met couldn’t hold a proper conversation, didn’t use correct grammar, their photos were taken 20 years ago, or with lots of filters and it basically felt like a waste of time).
I was also just a little curious to see what would happen to my self without yoga, what I would become.
So, to give you all a little background, I have been practicing Hatha yoga pretty regularly for the past 12 or so years. But since living in the Yoga Capital of Canada, let’s just say, things have ramped up a little.
You can’t walk down any block in my suburb without seeing a sign for a yoga studio. Or yogis with a mat strapped across their back. The ultimate accessory that lets everyone know that you belong to the That club. It kinda adds a little character to the city, it can also make the city look a little obsessed. But every city has something, right? NYC is THE fashion capital of the world, London has the best pubs and art galleries, Paris has Parisians, and Vancouver has Yoga.
And pretty quickly, I became one of those yogis who wander down the street with a mat firmly strapped to my back, water bottle in hand. I loved it. I felt like I belonged. Like I fitted into this community. Which was slightly daunting for me, being a woman of colour in this city, and especially in my neighbourhood. There are not a lot of black people here. Let alone in a yoga studio. Maybe this is why I also had issues dating? Maybe I was too intimidating? Was I too out-spoken? Too colourful? (pun noted). And when there is another black woman, especially with natural hair, in the class, I make it my mission to place my mat as close as I can without seeming too stalker-ish and attempt to make eye contact, smile and say hi.
Yoga has a pull to it, like any physical activity has. There are endorphins released. You look super cute in your new yoga tights, or super relaxed in your comfy loose trackies. There is a chance for escapism, from the daily dredge of life. There is the offering of just laying is Savasana, Corpse Pose for the entire class.
And yoga has got me through some pretty rough times. And looking back, yoga played a much bigger role, than I gave it credit for. But now, well, now I know of the magical powers.
Now, it has become my preventative care plan.
Part of me was really curious to know what would happen if I didn’t spend a minimum of 1 1/4 hours in a yoga studio, per day. And that didn’t include the 10 minute travel time there and back (did I happen to mention the number of studios in this city?!)
And of course there was this burning curiosity as to what would happen to my mind. My ever churning, burning mind. Would my thoughts turn stressful? Doubtful? Would it run into overdrive on the overthinking, even more so that what it currently did?
Would my body miss the physical practice, by not having the daily scheduled time to stretch? Would I gain weight? Would I loose weight? Would my fellow yogis miss me? Would I retain my flexibility?
So many doubts and fears.
The first day was really hard. My body clock woke me up in time for the early morning class. Slightly irritating, because it never did when my alarm was set. So being irritated wasn’t the best start to my day. But I soon jumped on social media and received instant gratification. And being honest, I did wonder if also deleting the dating apps at the same time was a bad decision. Now that I had all this free time without yoga in my schedule, surely it was perfect time to go out on a few dates?
As the week went on, I had so much time on my hands. It was unreal. I could sleep in past 5.45am and not feel guilty about it. My body clock had finally got with the programme. I checked social media leisurely, caught up with friends online and in person. I read the news – to be honest I don’t really recommend doing this early in the morning as doom and gloom is not the best way to start your day. I paid more attention to what was happening around me, at work, at home, on my commute to work, and also within nature.
As for the dating apps, they also freed up a lot of time. There was no scrolling through photos, looking for The One. No time spent reading profiles that didn’t tell me anything.
My mobile battery started to last way longer than it usually did during the day.
To be honest, I didn’t notice my mind going into overdrive, without the yoga practice. I still over-thought things, as per usual, but not in an extreme way, and I kinda rewarded myself with a smug smile.
And my hiatus lasted 3 weeks. I gave myself an extra week off because I enjoyed all my free time. I enjoyed not having the stress to be somewhere at a certain time. I enjoyed the re-allocated self care time.
So, I went back to the studio. And being 100% honest, it was hard to give up that free time. I loved it so much.
But back I went. I went to a class that would be a challenge even if I hadn’t taken my hiatus. On the walk to the studio, I thought I wouldn’t make it through the Sun Salutations. I thought that my muscles would forget everything they had learnt and that evening I would be in so much pain that I would be stuck to my couch for days. That I wouldn’t remember how to plant my feet for Virabhadrasana II. Or that I wouldn’t even remember what Virabhadrasana II was.
During class, I barely noticed how I moved. It was incredible. I felt light. I felt renewed. I also felt a little cheesy for thinking this and slightly judged myself. Then forgave myself for judging myself.
I felt strong and powerful throughout the whole class. I didn’t berate myself for not getting into Bakasana, Crow Pose with both feel lifted off the ground, nor did I blame my hips for being too bootylicious to lift up and be in the full expression of the pose, or later on in class, for nearly taking out my neighbour when transitioning into side plank.
I enjoyed my yoga class. I felt a sense of pride in myself. I had so much gratitude for my body for being able to complete the class. To tailor it specifically for my needs today. It was a gentle reminder that every yoga class should feel this way. That every activity we do, has the potential to be specifically tailored for my needs, for today.
My walk home after class, was a total 360 from my walk to the studio. I was walking on air.
I would do it again. Definitely. Hiatus’ rock.
Sometimes the need to surrender that daily connection to what we love, in order to be fully grateful for what we do have, in order to have gratitude for it being a part of our lives.
And just if you were wondering, nope. Didn’t lose weight, also didn’t gain weight. I just revelled in my free time. And it felt amazing. And a fellow yogi mentioned that they hadn’t seen me in class for a while.
Oh, and I am still dating app-less.