I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I was doing my yoga…I was getting to the gym, but then I went on vacation and it all fell apart; but then I got sick and I stopped; but then I had a lot of work to do and I haven’t been back in months” etc. etc. etc.
And all of these beautiful souls finish their sentence with the same thing, “and I don’t know how to start again.”
I’m gonna tell you guys a secret, and maybe its one I shouldn’t share, but I fall off too! The only difference is I know how to start again.
This month I did not do much asana, there I said it. Although I practice yoga every day- in my life and relationships, in my breath, in meditation-I do not do asana every day. Sometimes I don’t even do it once a week. The last month, I’ve gotten to the mat maybe 4 times. This last week, I practiced asana and went to the gym every day.
*I don’t psyche myself out.
*I don’t shame myself.
*I don’t get frustrated when I’m not as flexible in my down-dog split or can’t go as long on the stepper.
*I’m kind to myself. I meet myself where I am.
Don’t get me wrong, during this time I certainly had the dialogue of “you need to get to the mat. you need to be practicing yoga. how can you be a teacher if you don’t do the poses? look how you’ve lost flexibility and strength, you could hold one legged high plank for over a minute last month”
Then I let all of that go, and allowed my practice to meet me where I was. I didn’t define how it should be or how it should feel. Instead I laid out my mat, and here and there I would pop into a balancing sequence during commercials or to the soundtrack of My So Called Life, I rebuilt the strength of my chair pose in the shower. I didn’t decide that in order to get back on track I would have to go to Dharma Mittra’s Master Sadhana, or even turn off all the lights and put on a great soundtrack of my own. All I had to do was lay out my mat, and allow myself to work into it, to enjoy being on it.
There is no right way. There is only action.
*I did little bits without judgement, I did little bits without a goal. Hold boat pose during commercials! Do an eagle wrap every time you go to the bathroom! Let it be easy!
*I congratulated myself for the work I did, I didn’t concentrate on what I did not do or where I “fell short”.
*I was proud of breaking my inertia.
*I was proud of myself for starting, and continuing.
*I celebrated my activity, I did not undermine it with “buts” and “shoulds” I accepted it’s perfection, and let even the lull of the asana practice bring me to an inquisitive place, while I allowed regaining my footing to be a spiritual practice; a chance to to delve, to discover, a chance to be patient and present.
Everything, all of life, is practice to become bigger, brighter, better and more intune.
Then when I did my first full practice, I still granted myself patience and kindness. I just did my thing. It’s just yoga.
I’m back on track.
And PS–this is how it works for the gym too. Usually I do an hour on the stepper ( I don’t even know the right name for the machine I use, I think it’s the stepper!) The first few days back I did 30-40 minutes, so what? Who cares? Blessed be, Diana, for loving yourself enough to get back to the gym period.
Don’t dwell on the things you’re NOT doing, regale in the work you ARE doing.
Movement leads to more movement, be patient and let it happen!
The thing that keeps us from moving forward and from breaking our inertia is our mind and our ego. Just because you haven’t practiced asana or been to the gym in months doesn’t mean you can’t start again.
Begin from where you are, and let yourself be.
There is nothing to judge. There is nothing to fix. There is just the experience, the moment, the present.
In our asana, in our physical exercise, in our lives- there will always be distractions, changes, excuses.
Find a place of self-compassion and non-judgement, and just keep going.
Om shanti & Blessed Be