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Will You Be Doing Yoga 30 Years From Now? (How To Tell)

by Greg OrmsonOctober 22, 2014

Burnt Out Doing Yoga?

In a recently published article, an author wrote that yoga burnout is predictable and practically guaranteed. His dour predictions made me ask, who will be practicing yoga in 30-years?

I’ve seen how a yoga studio or a gym gets crowded during the first week of January. But eager neophytes, powered by ill-conceived New Year’s Resolutions, often quit before the end of February.

I’m quite certain though, that there is a group of people for whom yoga will continue as a key aspect of their lives and the lives of those around them. That group is easy to identify because their life story testifies to an investment in recreation and health.

Trying to predict who will be practicing in 30-years, I believe the answer is etched into cornerstone at the Library of Congress as a modern-day rune: “All that is past is prologue.”  

How many yogis will be practicing in 30-years, 30-days or even 30-hours?

I think people that share these six characteristics will continue practicing yoga long after the semi-ecstatic glow has dimmed. Their past actions show their generative choices. Such choices are part of their history and will be part of their future.

Students that Keep their Balance will be Doing Yoga

Yoga is meant to be a restorative practice, designed to balance body and mind. Having a good balance in practice means that one way to avoid burnout is to accept that one is not required to practice every day. Think of an every-other day practice as a way to structure restraint with ambition.

This will keep lifelong yogis refreshed both mentally and physically. Those who establish balance will be practicing yoga in 30-years.

Students of Recreation will be Doing Yoga

Recreation means re-create. Those who re-create, even a couple times a week, will continue to do yoga. They will also spend their money on hobbies apart from yoga. They will travel and engage in social activities finding enjoyment in music, art, nature and other creative outlets.

Recreation, much to the surprise of many, is not just an expression of our physical selves, it is spiritual. If you want to be doing yoga in 30-days or 30-years, keep your eye on re-creating a fresh mindset at least a couple times a week.

Students of the Mind – Life-Long Synergists’ – will be Doing Yoga

Learning never ends and always evolves. Those who think through the influences of their conscious and unconscious lives will tend to keep learning and will question their motives, their influences, their decisions and their reason for being.

People with active minds are spending time reading and writing because they love the renewal found in mental stimulation. Their communication skills lead them to search for good conversation and they know that learning didn’t stop when they grabbed a piece of paper during an event called ‘commencement.’

Synergists’ are not afraid of putting themselves in pathways to absorb new modes of thought. Learning does not frighten them and they keep sharp by embracing change.

Synergists’ will study yoga, fitness or diet and will discover the philosophical grounding of yoga’s physical practice is a deep well from which they can draw inspiration, growth and lifelong learning.

Students Who are not Afraid of Discipline will be Doing Yoga

Discipline is a hard word for many, and so is the word sacrifice. For some, discipline might be a simple mindless exercise such as skipping dessert after a meal. But yogis who continue going to yoga will be those who understand that growing, learning, stretching and the effort toward health and wellness requires a measured self-discipline.

Yoga people don’t exercise their discipline and postpone a portion of their social lives because they want to be hermits; they do so because they choose to spend their time in something that directly benefits them in positive ways.

These choices, which seem strange or burdensome to the uninitiated, are actually choices that the yogi enjoys. And these choices, draped in healthy discipline, will lead to at least 30-years of yoga and abundant health.

Students of Nature will be Doing Yoga

Two friends of mine (one in Ohio and one in Minnesota) have, for over 30-years, held fast to their physical recreation: one runs and one bikes. They find inspiration in their own ways and use it as fuel for their activities. Their past is prologue to lifelong running and biking.

As students of life, my friends are not rigidly fixed to a religious perspective, but both profess faith and find moments of the veiled miraculous in nature and its numinous material: campfire, trees, meadow, ocean, lake, community.

They are conscious of a deeper stream in their life’s script. They search for ways to show appreciation and they are alert to find inspiration in solace or creative community.

Students that Laugh will be Dong Yoga in 30 Years

Our world is stress-filled. One way to keep stress from getting the best of us is to keep laughing at life’s challenging juxtaposition of the serious and the ridiculous.

I’ve been involved in two professional associations over the years. Both of them required a lot from me. In one group, laughter was frequent, raucous, compelling and enjoyable. In another group, laughter was present but not to an equally strong degree.

My colleagues in the laughing group, while dealing with stressful situations during their careers, remained fresh and motivated. I take that as a lesson for life and a lesson for the future. Those who laugh frequently will be doing yoga for a long time.

If you want to avoid burnout so that you will be practicing yoga 30-years from now, follow in the stream of my generative friends:

  • Come to balance in your practice    
  • Recreate for your mind and body     
  • Keep learning
  • Engage a healthy discipline  
  • Find joy in nature’s numinous    
  • Laugh

It’s true that some people are so busy with work that they can only spare 30-minutes every now and then. Excellent, that means there’s still enough time to find renewal and help deal with burnout. I point to one common activity of my friends.

Both spend time in nature. Your moment away doesn’t have to be Yellowstone, but if you find a quiet place and can be there mindfully – even for a few minutes – you can still find renewal.

In the meantime, to keep you from burnout, set your intention for balance, recreation, learning, healthy discipline, finding the sublime in nature and laughter.

Greg Ormson
Greg Ormson
Gregory Ormson is the motorcycling yogi; he does hot yoga in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and rides Wildfire - his Harley-Davidson - 365 days a year. He earned a D. Min from the Chicago Theological Seminary and an MA in English from Northern Michigan University. He also writes for cutbankonline.org and HOG magazine
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