To Practice or Not to Practice?
I've become a master at knowing when I really need
In the past, I wasn’t so good at recognizing this.
When life would get overwhelming, when my anxiety would go through the roof or my day just seemed brutal, I would crawl into my bed and wait for things to pass. I’d hope that whatever it was that had triggered my low mood (often nothing) would just go away.
Take it from me - this is not a good strategy.
It never made me feel better. In fact, it made me feel much worse. I would lie in bed and give my thoughts the chance to run wild. I’d replay over and over whatever put me in a funk until I became so exhausted from it all that I fell asleep.
My yoga practice has taught me that sometimes (often) my mind tells me something different than what my body actually needs. Now, when I feel life getting crazy and out of control, I don’t crawl into bed, I crawl onto my yoga mat. Sometimes this shifts me out of whatever it is I’m dealing with in my head. Other times it doesn’t and it’s just a painful, drawn out experience of just trying to get myself out of my head.
On those days do I regret hitting my mat? Never.
I had a terrible, stuck in my head kind of practice on Monday morning. It was one of those days where I came up with a million reasons that I shouldn’t practice but eventually (knowing I need it most at those times) dragged myself out. My breath was shallow, my mind was racing and no matter how hard I tried to shift things, I just couldn’t land in my body. But I was still happy I made it there.
When I walked into the studio on Monday night to teach, a student was walking out of the class before mine. We chatted for a moment and when I asked him how his class was he shared that he hadn’t felt like coming at all but now that the class was over he felt so much better. We laughed over our similar experiences that day and then he shared a little bit of wisdom that I feel is important to pass on:
"It's easy to come to the studio on those days that you want to practice - anyone can do that. The real test, the real growth, the true power comes from getting yourself here on the days where it’s the last place you want to be.”
The next time I find myself in that mental battle between practicing and not practicing, I’ll remember his advice.
To practice or not to practice?
I know my answer!