I've Been a Bad Yogi
Today was my first yoga practice since leaving Florida for Costa Rica almost two months ago.
Yes, two months without so much as a cobra pose.
Like many men and women, I turned to yoga as a plea to live a life with more balance and less stress. My yoga journey has been very brief (just over a year, to be more exact), but it has made a lasting impact on my mental and emotional health. Plus, the physical perks are obvious.
Yoga actually was the "gateway exercise" that led me to join my gym and become serious about fitness.
To me, yoga complements weight training and lifting beautifully. Tear your muscle fibers, pushing your muscles to their limits to increase your strength...then flood your muscles with oxygen with deep breaths, stretching your torn muscles and breathing life into the corners of your body.
...Or vice versa.
So why the lack of practice?
Reason Level: Novice
Honestly, I have no good reason other than laziness. Or, what I consider to be laziness.
After a few weeks of neglect, it becomes harder to start than it would have been to just continue. Upon moving to Costa Rica, I had no routine like I did back home. I had to make a routine. So, when I failed to incorporate yoga into that routine, I started to become afraid to see all the progress I had lost, how inflexible or weak I had become.
And then the excuses just start to pile up.
"It's too hot."
"I don't have a mat."
"It's too noisy here, anyway."
"I don't have any privacy."
And, albeit these are valid excuses (and very true), they are still exactly that - excuses.
Maybe that's not quite laziness, but it's what I consider laziness. I didn't have the willpower to overcome my own insecurities, so I looked for the reasons not to.
As I sit here, finished with my practice, enjoying a glass of an exquisite Argentine Malbec, I am proud of what I accomplished today.
If something is important to you, such as your health, you're going to find a way to challenge those excuses. You're going to find a way to turn those excuses into reasons why you should.
"You're right, it is hot. Let's get some fans in here."
"I'll get a mat." (This one was pre-meditative...I finally bought one last weekend, but it sat unopened in my living room for 5 days)
"Yes, it is noisy here. That's exactly why I need to center my mind with yoga."
"I'll make some privacy. Nik will understand." (And he did)
As small as it may seem, this isn't only a physical hurdle I overcame, but a mental one.
I was forgiving of myself.
I was gentle with myself.
I was kind to myself.
I listened to my body and mind when they both said, "It's been too long." and did something to change it.
What I found was that my body is still strong. My body is still flexible. My mind needed focus. I needed those deep breaths that I haven't been taking. I needed the oxygen to flood my bloodstream. I needed to drown out the noise of our little neighborhood and find my own inner voice, buried in the folds of my cerebrum.
I needed balance.
During Savasana, I made a few commitments to myself that I want to share here, mostly so I have some accountability.
Commitment #1: I will be kind to myself. That means forgiving instead of punishing myself. Forgiveness means progress can be made, like restarting my yoga practice today.
Commitment #2: I will give my mind the time it needs to find balance and center.
Commitment #3: I will give my body the time it needs to stay strong and healthy.
#2 and #3 directly translate into "DO MORE YOGA." I am going to aim for 2 more yoga practices before the weekend is over, and at least 4 next week.
That would be double what I was accomplishing at home 😁
So yes, I've been a very bad yogi.
But I shouldn't be punished by my own inner Judge. I should be encouraged and uplifted by my spirit. Humans are the only creatures on the planet that pay for the same exact mistake more than once, because we punish ourselves so harshly over and over again.
That is something I have learned from the book I am now reading for a second time, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.
The moral of the story is: If you love something, don't let it fall by the wayside. Catch yourself making excuses and take action to put them to rest. But, if you need a break, remember that you're living your own life. It's a journey. You will ebb and flow. Be patient and forgiving with yourself.
I'll be writing a book review and takeaway about it here on my blog, so watch out for it soon!
I'm going to be a good yogi.