As a writer, I believe I have a highly developed sense of procrastination. There are times I find myself more interested in cleaning the toilet, looking for glue to fix a loose drawer knob, or switching the clothes in my closet from summer to “not summer” (in Phoenix we really only have two seasons) than I am in sitting down and putting effort into my WIP (work in progress). It takes practice, but after a while creatives begin to notice when some tangle with themselves, or in their current piece, is making it difficult to return to the work. The same could be said for a yoga practice.
Since I’m a 500-CYT, and have spent some time practicing yoga. Like my writing, I’ve noticed when I come up with seemingly logical reasons to not attend a class at the studio, but also not do a home practice. See if any of these ring true for you.
- “I’m tired. I’m just going to go home, read a book or watch something on TV.” Most studios offer a variety of classes around the same time. If we’re not up for Vinyasa, perhaps a Restorative or Yin class is more what we need. With practice, we realize which instructors might push our buttons, which asana practice could benefit our physical bodies. Yoga can bring us to a calm awareness and do more for our health than allowing our mind to drift in front of the TV or escape into a book.
- “I have too much to do to go to yoga.” Classes run from 45-90 minutes, on average. We know we could take care of a few errands, do some grocery shopping, or get things together for the next day. With practice, we realize that we’re more present and can accomplish more on our to-do list (which we limit and prioritize because we have a yoga practice) in a less harried state if we attend class.
- “I’ll skip class today, and I’ll go tomorrow.” Trade-offs are a part of life. Sometimes we do show up the next day, but sometimes the next several days come and go before we make it back to our mat. Our reasons for putting off an asana practice grow, our logic mounting a serious attack against any guilt for missing several classes in a row. With practice, we realize that we feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally when we keep a steady momentum with our mat practice. Some of us can skip here and there and return with no negative effects. Others of us skip one class, and it spirals away to the point that we forget the tools and techniques of yoga altogether that help us to live happier.
- “I don’t like the teacher/studio/that one student in class.” Sometimes the teacher we don’t like is exactly the teacher whose class we need to attend. Set it up as an experiment. What is it about the instructor that we don’t like? Their voice? Their instructions? Their sequence? Their take on philosophy? Search out the reason with as little judgement for ourselves and the instructor that we can manage. Is it something that we can allow to be there so we can attend class? If not, there are other teachers, other studios. If it’s a student in class, conduct the same experiment. Perhaps we’ll learn something about ourselves, which is the real practice of yoga.
At one time or another, I’ve used, or thought about, all of these reasons/excuses, and more. With practice (did you notice the repetition of this phrase?), we realize that our ego is trying to run the show by putting off that which allows the ego to be a little less important. Why wouldn’t the ego create excuses to delay its taming? During my teacher training, I wrote some poems about yoga. You can read a few of them on my website: www.myjoyenterprises.com
What reasons do you give for skipping a yoga class? When you’ve gone anyway, what happened to your logical excuse?