I just got up off my yoga mat.

Whew! Let me take a minute to breathe in some deep, happy yogic breaths.

Doing yoga makes me feel like this, generally:

with a side of this:

so I am always really happy when I get up off my mat. Still, though — I have to make the shameful admission that I haven’t practiced in about a month. The lack of regular classes has been hard on my focus, honestly. It’s been hard to continue making yoga as much of a priority in my life as I want to when my home practice is accompanied by a low buzzing in the back of my head: dishes to wash! laundry to fold! diapers to stuff! baby to listen for! — which isn’t an excuse; if anything, it’s even more of a reason to make sure I practice regularly.

Thankfully, yoga as a practice is very forgiving — yeah, my limbs aren’t as loose as they were before my break, but even with every modification in the book, my practice as a whole isn’t hindered by my physical capabilities or limitations. (I learned this very well when I was pregnant and it continues to be true!) My issue lies more with this black-and-white idea I have that I have to devote lots and lots of time to asana practice (the physical aspect of yoga), which is both overwhelming and untrue. The 25-minute podcast I did just now was enough to refresh my heart. It gave me a quick break from the busyness of my day, and allowed me some time for spiritual rest. Obviously, spending an hour a day in asana would be awesome — but that’s not my life right now, and the great thing about yoga is that that’s okay. I can advance my practice just as much even if all I can manage is a few minutes every day. After all, yoga is a spiritual discipline even more than a physical exercise, so my heart is what matters here, not my flexibility.

All that to say: I need to let go of this perfectionist, must-always-think-of-yoga-as-a-workout mindset if I want to get anywhere in my practice. I stretched and strengthened my muscles for 25 minutes just now, but that’s really more of a bonus than anything. That wasn’t why I got on my mat to begin with. And I need to remember that.

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