I am certainly not qualified to answer that question, but I've noticed that my practice "goes downhill" in the middle of the semester and revs back up again once the finish line is in sight. That cause and effect is obvious. But what's behind it? I tend to start getting very un-narcissist about myself halfway through the semester. Spirits flag in class, students start dropping, my grading load triples, and I figure pretty much everything crappy in the universe is my fault. Then, yoga becomes one more place to practice counting the reasons why I suck. It's almost like I have this idea that because things are "not going well," yoga should reflect that. Probably, the opposite should happen. I'm strong, I'm remarkably flexible, and dammit, I've been doing the same freakin' 26 postures for two years without a break, to say nothing of the years of other types of yoga I've done before.
This is an oft-quoted passage from Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson that might explain things:
"Curiously, people resist the noble aspects of their shadow more strenuously than they hide the dark sides. To draw the skeletons out of the closet is relatively easy, but to own the gold in the shadow is terrifying. It is more disrupting to find that you have a profound nobility of character than to find out you are a bum. Of course you are both; but one does not discover these two elements at the same time. The gold is related to our higher calling, and this can be hard to accept at certain stages of life. Ignoring the gold can be as damaging as ignoring the dark side of the psyche, and some people may suffer a severe shock or illness before they learn how to let the gold out."
Wow. So much there. The gold metaphor doesn't really work for me personally, but the concept of being frightened by what I'm good at really resonates. Glad I'm not the only one on that. Thanks, Jungian analyst guy, for making me feel a little less alone there.
I think yoga gives us the perfect opportunity to see "these two elements" so clearly. When I'm in class, I'm so aware of my body and thoughts. The criticism of self and other, as well as the pride I feel for myself and the other, are observable. So, I really feel those "shadow" classes and those "gold" classes.
No idea if I'm making sense here. No idea at all. Did it all get ephemeral? I'm sorry.