Practice “Getting Worse” / “Regressing”


Question: A student had been coming about 4 years and then stopped. He felt his practice had gotten worse. Can someone’s practice ACTUALLY get worse?

We all hit physical plateaus, but I believe we are actually gaining mental strength and a greater understanding of what the yoga is really about and who we are.

What do you think causes students to “fall out of love” with their practice? Even in my own practice there have been times (especially at training!) I couldn’t believe how lousy I felt, physically, only to be amazed at the end of 9 weeks to be completely clear mentally.

Do you ever talk about this in class? Even if just to let everyone know that it’s part of the whole process to have ups and downs?

Answer: Yes, I do talk about it in class. Whenever you have a really bad class, it’s usually followed by a really good one. And the opposite is true too. Bikram says it’s like waves in the ocean…one up and one down.

I also talk about the meditation of the dialogue and trying the right way. A lot of people get discouraged regarding injuries as well and I talk to them about getting massage or going to chiropractor, etc. to get better…that it’s a combination of modalities sometimes. ?

Even still people that swore they would do this yoga for the rest of their life, fall away, stop coming, do other yoga, etc. I think some people don’t stick with things a long time, some people are being taught the wrong way and get discouraged, some people’s lives get crazy and they don’t have the time to do it, and some people look for excuses (the smell, the carpet, etc) to stop coming. I could go on.

?It’s best to focus on the students that show up for class, not the ones you think should be there or that used to come?

A LOT OF THE TIME a student will get worse right before they get better. Particularly in regards to healing injuries or chronic conditions. I find that a lot of students stop right before they get better because they are scared when the condition gets worse. I talk about this in class too sometimes. Expect it to get worse right before it gets better.

Hang in there, you are developing those five qualities of the mind. Faith being one of them. Faith in yourself, faith in the yoga?

One of the primary benefits of doing class twice a day for nine weeks is so you can experience all of this stuff and get through it and be healed. Then you can tell your students it’s worth sticking it out. It gets better.

Q: A student has practiced 4x per week for 2 years. Recently she has muscle tightness all over, especially the hips and lower back. She has a very strong practice & always works hard.

She also does a Vinyasa Flow class elsewhere. She feels she is regressing.

A: Hmmm….4 times a week Bikram. How may Vinyasa Flow classes per week? After two years, when her body is in good health, she doesn’t need this much yoga.

The Flow class is making her more tight because it’s more like exercise than yoga. The Bikram is stretching her out.

?Anything manifesting physically (i.e, the tightness) is coming from a mental or emotional place. I would venture to guess she’s got something going on in her life that is making her experience this. ?

Also, I’m curious to know whether she really enjoys her yoga. When it becomes a chore, it doesn’t have the same benefit?

We all, at times feel like we are regressing. Especially if we get an injury or have an accident. Not to worry.

Life is like waves in the ocean…one up and one down…as Bikram says.

Please use this topic for further discussion about practice “getting worse.”

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