Example: On most days that I don't do a physical yoga practice, I feel a hell of a lot less social. I don't really feel like talking with people, being around people...I just want to be left alone. All throughout my childhood, I was always the "social butterfly." And then "life" happened and I got less social. Since starting to practice yoga, I do feel a lot more open and sociable towards people, more like how I used to be. So I guess I'll put that in the "good" column--yay, yoga is "working."
But then there is this: I feel more "awake," when I don't practice. Like a cloud or something has been lifted from my mind and now I can think again. Sometimes after I go to a yoga class, and especially after practicing Mysore Ashtanga, my mind kind of feels "shut off." And I don't know if that is a "good" thing or a "bad" thing. Technically, that's what is supposed to happen right? "Quieting the mind..." I don't know. Sometimes my thoughts also feel more cohesive and put together on days that I do practice and sometimes it's the other way around....my mind feels more alive on the days that I don't practice, like I can finally think again. I'm not sure, it kind of goes back and forth between the two but it's always there too.
Another thing that I tend to notice a lot more on the days that I don't do yoga is that I'm a lot more dissatisfied with my life right now. Again, I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. After I do yoga there is a feeling that is somewhere between complacent and content...though it usually feels more towards the complacent side. Kind of like there is no urge to push myself to be better or do more. Maybe that's a good thing and I need to have that attitude more so that I don't wear myself out. And maybe it's not, because there is a lot that needs improvement. My room needs a thorough cleaning and purging of unnecessary junk (seriously, I'm losing floor space). I need to buy some more clothes to wear to my new job (this one pair of black pants isn't going to last forever). My diet also needs some serious work. I can't believe that has been such a struggle for these last 2 1/2 years. But, I guess one can't live off of cereal and bagels forever, right? Gotta eat something more than just carbs. Food frustrates the hell out of me and I hate having to devote any time or energy to it. Can't there just be this one magic food that gives you everything you need and tastes good? Well, that's a topic for another time, but it just demonstrates another area of my life that really needs some attention and work.
Basically, it kind of feels like that on the days that I don't "do" any yoga (a physical practice) all the other areas of my life sharply shift into focus. Take away the one thing that makes you the most happy and fulfills you the most. Are you still happy? Is everything else that you have in your life "enough?" In my case, I think not. I was actually forced to do this experiment and learn the hard way when I suddenly couldn't run anymore (broke the foot--crutches and cast boot for 2-3 months) and I graduated from college and was no longer in school. It became painfully and glaringly clear that I was very unhappy with my life and I ended up in a depression that I am still working out of. It's still there; everyday, just beneath the surface. Almost like it's waiting for me to stop moving long enough to take hold again. I used to feel like I really had to actively fight against it. Now I don't feel like fighting as much when I feel it because it started to feel more like an indicator. Or a way to measure the amount of satisfaction I feel in my life. And right now, I kind of feel like I'm still in the same spot I was when I couldn't run.
Take away the one thing that I'm enjoying the most in my life and there's nothing keeping me here. In Boston I mean. My new job is ok, but it's nothing I feel this intense desire to keep doing. Apartment is ok, roommates are cool; but neither are enough to make me want to keep working to stay here. I like the climate as well, and the ocean...but I rarely engage in them. I'm always indoors, always working. Basically, without the yoga and the yoga community that I've slowly started to become more engaged with, it feels like there is not a whole lot (except lack of funds) keeping the restless wanderer in check. The one that just wants to let go of any attachments and just go. Somewhere, anywhere. Just to live freely with the least amount of restrictions as possible, engaging with whatever strikes my interest at any given time. And sometimes I wonder, is that a bad thing, or a good thing?
"I believe that in spite of the chains we bind ourselves with, there's a primordial section of the human psyche that is still nomadic and still yearns to roam free."
---Richard Paul Evans (The Walk)
Oh yes. I feel you on that one...