You must recognize the path of yoga or meditation you are on is a spiritual journey inward, as opposed to an externally driven one. We must start here because of course we are going to become bored with ANYTHING that is externally driven. We will eventually fall in to the pattern of needing more or different in order to stay interested.
Thats the case with externals. Like our homes, our stuff, our gadgets, our clothes, our apps, our appliances, our electronics, our car, …. etc. When something is or becomes a commodity in that way, when we interact with it from a place of “entertainment” in some form or another, yes… indeed… boredom will ensue. Without the depth of understanding and truly relating, boredom will continually steer our ship invisibly forward toward some unknown destination. And it may take a lifetime before we realize just how lost we really are. Like someone who needs to move or switch jobs or change relationships every 3-5 years to stay “interested”, nothing will every hold our attention for very long if we don’t first understand the subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which we expect to be engaged and entertained by others, by activities and by things.
This tendency is largely driven by our own boredom. But what perpetuates this boredom? I believe it is at least partially caused by misplacing our understanding and becoming focused, as it were, on a false “goal” or any definable goals for that matter! If we think that asanas, for instance, are poses meant to be mastered and that the more challenging the better, we’ve created a structure within which we are expecting ourselves to achieve a certain level of skill. One we have “gotten” there, whether thats 5 months or 5 years or 15 years, there becomes a kind of “OK, now what?!” realization. Sure, you can take a long time to get there and kind of learning all the way up to that point.
All the while, however, the practice was not in fact a practice at all, but a perfection toward an attainable goal. Perhaps that goal in our minds eye was something we saw someone else achieve, on you tube, on social media, in a master class, etc. Perhaps we’ve deemed it as good, rewarding or otherwise beneficial. But yoga and other self awareness systems like it, require you to let go of goal driven truths and to embrace instead, the inquiry itself AS the path and not as a means to an end. This is quite subtle, actually. And I meet and know very few who truly embody and live this aspect of yoga. In this way, “practicing” is not so much about how many hours a week you put in on your mat, or teach or have studied or how many hours of training you have or even how ‘successful’ your yoga business is, but the quality of time spent both on and (perhaps more importantly ) OFF the mat. How do you show up when you are not wearing your yoga pants?!
In this age where yoga clearly has “fad” status, where it is often relegated to “fitness” alone, where social media produces images of perfect lean young (or well kept older) bodies in perfect poses (or even in imperfect poses!), everyone is vulnerable to this conditioning. And honestly, yes, yoga will work to get you in shape and help you feel better improving your overall health including your state of mind (which, comes with improved health anyway!). But if we fall into this conditioning, we miss the point.
And the point, quite frankly, is incredibly beautiful and well worth paying attention to.
Why do we become bored or uniterested in Yoga? Why do we need a million “new” kinds and styles and combinations and tricks and props and additions to yoga to keep us engaged? Because, we forget that Yoga does not happen on the mat or in a gym or hanging from the ceiling or flying with another person or when we sweat or feel a deep stretch or sense the adrenaline rush from a vigorous flow or experience the endorphin release after a physical practice…
Yoga is union (overstated, but barely understood).
Union of stillness and motion.
Union of inhale and exhale.
Union of mind and body.
Union of heart and mind.
Union of life and death.
Union of effort and surrender.
The union of all parts of you on every level in every way through every lens. It is a delicately crafted, indescribably tender balance. And the moment we separate out these parts, these pieces, we are sadly no longer cultivating union. No matter how much we claim or say we are. Our words won’t make up for this lack of understanding. We are no longer bringing long term balance to the body and systems. We are no longer practicing the ancient transformational ART of yoga.
So how about this:
Forget your fancy yoga mat. (the ancient Rishis didn’t have them!) and the stylized clothing. Forget your “practice” of asana all together. Forget about “Posing”. Forget about impressing anyone, even yourself. Forget about yoga as something you ‘do’. Think of it more as a verb itself. How do you YOGA at work? How do you YOGA at the computer? How do you YOGA while you are commuting? How do you YOGA when you are engaged with your children or partner? How do you YOGA when you are by yourself at home and nobody is watching or listening? How do you come into balance and union and softness and strength and clarity and discernment? How do you embody your center in every moment… live from this place? Otherwise, your yoga is truly just you ‘going through the motions’.
Its not enough to step in to this awareness every once in a while, to visit it like a fun stopping point along the way. Don’t you see: this place, this union, this delicate balance IS the path and the goal all wrapped up in Oneness.
And every time you do step on to that mat, step fresh, new as a beginner as though you know nothing, because in that moment, if you show up authentically, you really don’t. And stay away from inversions or twists or backbends. Try keeping your practice humbler, simpler and deeper than you’ve ever dared. When you travel deeply in this way, internally, instead of externally, there is no limit to how far you can go. There is no need to create something new or better or more advanced or more complex or sweatier or more fun or harder or more challenging.
There is only surrender, surrender, surrender, sweet surrender.
And trust me, there is no boredom anywhere to be found in this place of deep surrender.