The Reluctant Yogi: A Lifelong Journey

Sometimes it’s hard for me to get on the mat.

I’ve been in a relationship with yoga for almost 40 years. We started very casually, and it took years before we became serious. We’ve had honeymoon periods where we literally couldn’t get enough of each other, and we’ve had slumps when it’s been hard for me to even roll out my mat.

But the most nourishing long-term relationships aren’t always filled with endless hours of excitement. The most enduring love affairs are the ones that have stayed the course during ALL that life has to offer: the ecstasy, the misery, the boredom; and have grown stronger for it.

In my moments of resistance, I remind myself that the essence of any relationship lies not just in the intensity of its passion but in the ability to weather the ebbs and flows. It’s about showing up when it’s hard, and understanding that the practice isn’t just about physicality—it’s a mirror reflecting my inner landscape.

It’s during those reluctant steps onto the mat that the true magic often happens.

When my breath syncs with my movements, and my mind begins to settle, my mat becomes a haven, not just for perfect poses, but for finding solace in the attempt.

In this long-term relationship, I’ve learned that the mat doesn’t judge my gaps in commitment or fluctuations in enthusiasm. Instead, it waits patiently, ready to embrace me whenever I return. And when I return, there’s a silent acknowledgment—an unspoken understanding that our relationship isn’t about consistency but about resilience, about showing up, even when…no, especially when it’s tough.

The efficacy of our practice isn’t measured in hours spent mastering poses, but in lessons learned and moments of clarity.

So on days like today when it’s hard to step on the mat, I remind myself that it’s OK. I remember that it’s about the intention rather than the frequency, and the willingness to return and rekindle that flame of connection, and to honour the journey however it unfolds.

© Julie Smerdon 2023

Photo: Pete Longworth

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