Are You on Yoga Autopilot?

The format of Bikram Yoga, or the Original Hot Yoga, is that it is the same sequence of postures over and over again. It is hot, and sweaty, and can feel predictable to those of us that continue to practice year after year.

How often do you walk out of class and not even remember going through the motions of Wind Removing Pose? Or have you had the thought, “Did we actually do Tree Pose today or did the teacher somehow skip it?” pass through your mind as you collect your now three-pound mat and towel and grasp your water bottle and walk into the cooler air waiting for you in the lobby or outside the studio doors?

If this happens every now and again, that’s okay. Your mind was wandering, or somewhere else and that happens to everybody. If this happens all of the time, please know this is not what we are working towards when we call our yoga practice a moving meditation. This is not meditation. This is yet another form of distraction. You have become so used to your everyday routine, you are on autopilot.

Life is not lived in autopilot, yet a large part of the human population is living in just this way. Day after day, they go through the motions they went through the day before, thinking the same thoughts they did the day before and yet, are surprised that nothing in their life changes. They feel stuck. They ARE stuck.

It takes one new thought a day to change your life. A solid yoga practice challenges you to think differently and can shake you out of any kind of rut – in your life, in your body, in your mind, and also, in your spirit.

So, when was the last time you had a new thought about Wind Removing Pose? Or, maybe even had a glimmer that a certain posture in the series might actually be achievable for your body despite what it’s been put through in the past or what injury you are currently working through? If one new though can change your life, can you imagine what one new thought about a posture could ignite within your practice?

And teachers, when was the last time you had a new thought about how you teach or were challenged to be better for the students that show up to take your class? Do you always have exactly the same patter for each and every class no matter who is in front of you that day? That’s not teaching. Teaching is a craft and there will always be work to hone your skills to be the best for the students that are trusting you with their practice.

Yoga practice and yoga teaching are very similar in this way. You have to be present for something new to happen. You have to be aware of the breath and the energy you are bringing into the space you are inhabiting to affect positive change within the body and the mind.

The challenge is to become aware of when you go into autopilot mode and start to figure out why. Do you hate the posture? Does the posture bore you? How can you can get excited about it again and reach for something more? This is the true work of a yogi. To always work for a little more. Your potential within your practice and within your life are limitless. Don’t forget that. Even if you have hit your mat week after week for over a decade. Be open to the change that one new thought can bring. It has the possibility to change your whole life for the better.


Love the blog? You will love the book! Follow my yoga journey and the accomplishments of five of my students, as well as, recount some of the most popular blog posts in my first book: Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi. 

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