Why Isn’t My Yoga Working?

Why Isn’t My Yoga Working?

by Michelle DeLong


A beloved teacher once told me, “The mind is a bundle of storms just waiting to explode.”

If you have ever left yoga class feeling grounded, centered, and rather pleased with yourself only to spew profanities while stuck in rush hour traffic on the way home, then this “bundle of storms” idea is not news to you. We chant for the happiness of all beings and then snap at our partners over the phone. We say “Namaste” and smile politely to our neighbors on their mats and then sigh loudly while waiting in line at the post office, tapping our feet at the woman who cannot count out change quickly enough.

What ugly transformation has taken place? Why can’t the teachings of yoga fix our problems, control our tendencies, and mellow our anxieties? The answer lies in the ancient text that our modern physical practice rests upon: Patanjali’s yoga sutras. The sutras, written in Sanskrit and often chanted, are a series of little pearls of wisdom that are meant to guide yogis on their path towards enlightenment. The sutra “Vritti Sarupyam Itaratra” tell us that vrittis, the disturbances or storms of the mind, are “like of the night.” In other words, the implosive nature of the mind is sneaky, and just when we think we have overcome an old pattern, the insidious vrittis will surely catch us off guard.Some progress, like the mastery of a difficult pose, is easily measured, but spiritual


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Some progress, like the mastery of a difficult pose, is easily measured, but spiritual progress is much more vague. Achieving ”Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodaha,” or the calming of the fluctuations of the mind, is the journey of a lifetime, of many lifetimes.Progress does not look like a straight line, and it rarely comes quickly or easily enough.

Yoga is more like a toolbox than a remedy. Even practiced diligently, it does not guarantee happiness, love, calm, or flexibility, though these benefits are possible. It will, however, give us the tools to truly see ourselves, to interrupt old habits and to calm our vrittis, therefore preventing unnecessary future suffering. Yoga can allow us to see our pitfalls as opportunities, even as necessities.


Related: The Summer of Fire


At any given moment, we may be faced with the shadow side of our personalities, the side that doesn’t really jive with our identification as a yogi or a spiritual person.

And that’s ok.

The spiritual path belongs to all of us, in every moment of our lives, even in our moments of regression. Especially in our moments of regression. The work of our practice is in the maintenance of the practice, and if you are doing the work, the yoga is working.


Michelle DeLong

I am a RYT 500 hr yoga teacher with a unique blend of Ashtanga and Iyengar background. I provide private yoga classes tailored to your individual and group needs, whether you are looking for a fun and creative flow or an ailment specific therapeutic class. I provide mats and all other props and can travel to your residence or business, or book a time for you at a local studio.


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