Yoga Practice Burnout

(This post is first of a two part series on burnout. Part One is for burnout in your personal practice and Part Two is for if you are experiencing burnout as a teacher.)

Burnout in your practice can manifest in a myriad of ways. You might find you can’t get yourself to the mat, you might feel bored with what you do, perhaps the practice itself doesn’t leave you feeling light and bright, or you might find yourself easily distracted while on the mat. However your burnout shows up, there are a number of ways to counter burnout and bring renewed energy to your practice.

The most effective way to counter burnout is to reevaluate why you practice. What is the purpose of your practice? Why do you do yoga? Sometimes we forget and our practice becomes stale and from rote. Reminding yourself why you practice can bring your excitement back.

Plus, you might find your reasons for doing yoga have changed and your practice must therefore change. Our practice needs to reflect our purpose so we are inspired to return to our mat. Your purpose can have many levels to it.

Overall, I practice for the peace of mind that connects me to my spirit. I also have micro-cosmic reasons for my practice.  I may be experiencing a need for personal strength or letting go or gratitude and I can use my practice to cultivate what I need. I do a different practice for each of these purposes.  If I am in a place where I need to surrender, having a practice that gives me energy is not appropriate.

Here are a few other ideas for renewing energy in your Yoga practice:

  • Take a vacation: take a break from practicing. I once experienced such an extreme case of burnout, I made myself stop all forms of practice for four weeks. After about a week I was already excited to return to the mat but I held off to let the excitement mount!
  • Practice in a new area in your home, a different corner, in front of a window, outside, just having your mat in a new spot can shift the energy for you.
  • Do you have a pose you always do? Stop doing it for a few weeks. Do you have a pose you always avoid? Do it now. Start your practice with a pose you never start with. You would be surprised at how powerful this can be for changing how you feel.
  • If you normally have a practice plan, stop using it. If you usually flow with where your body wants to go, create a plan.
  • Do you usually practice in the morning? Shift to the evening. Usually in the evening? Do it in the morning.
  • Read a yoga book. Take a class. Take a workshop. Attend a retreat.
  • Get a yoga buddy. Compare notes, discuss poses and experiences, check up on each other.

These should get you started! If you have more to share, please add them to the comments.

Photo by:
Meditation (Chin Mudra)

Originally uploaded by sattva yoga