Most of the time I can’t wait to practice. To teach. To take a friend’s class and sweat my ass-ana off.
Most of the time.
Alas, there are still those times I’d rather not...Do. A. Damn. Thing. There are days when I just find myself floating my way onto the couch instead of into Chaturanga, reaching for the remote instead of a yoga block, and waking up by way of a Grande Starbucks Verona Blend instead of Sun Salutations.
It happens. We all sigh at the thought of climbing onto our yoga mats occasionally. No big deal, unless of course your mat is covered in pet hair and your ass-ana starts taking up more cushion space on the sofa. When that happens (ideally before!), take a good look at what’s getting in the way of your intention to practice.
Try to distinguish between a valid vs. lame reason for avoiding the mat. Here are my personal top five lame reasons for skipping practice, and how I get around them:
1. I’m Sore
Practice enough and you’re gonna get sore. It’s part of enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle. It certainly beats acquiring the inevitable ailments associated with being sedentary that are sure to come your way otherwise. Getting on the mat in spite of a slightly strained adductor (inner thigh) muscle, for example, helped me pay closer attention to what poses were aggravating it, and how to work around it.
Obviously if you’re experiencing excruciating pain, you might need to avoid certain poses altogether or take a short time away from practice. But if it’s just a little stiffness from yesterday’s hard core flow, you can most likely benefit from a slower, deeper practice today.
2. My Favorite Teacher Lined Up A Sub
When tempted to bail simply because Suzie Sub is taking over for Badass Betty, I stop and think about how I’d feel if students skipped a class I was subbing without giving me a chance. And honestly, are you going to feel better an hour and a half later having done nothing vs. taking someone else’s class?
3. I Got A Ton Of Likes
Facebook, Instagram, that new playlist my brother just emailed me…it can all wait. It has to, or several precious hours later when you truly can’t get your flow on, you’ve missed out. Break from the digital life temporarily and get into what’s right in front of you – your mat, your breath, your focus, your intention to practice.
4. I’ll Just Wing It
Without a plan, my practice (if I get one in at all) is lame at best. If you’re attending a class, map out a schedule of the classes you plan to attend a week before. Hold yourself to it by signing up online ahead of time. If you’re practicing at home, write out a sequence first, or choose a podcast or DVD ahead of time. Planning ahead makes you accountable, and gives you something to look forward to.
5. I Just Washed My Hair
Yeah, for real. I don’t consider myself high maintenance (the entirety of my makeup collection fits in a travel size pouch), but knowing what my recently coiffed mane is in for after a hot, sweaty flow, I sometimes consider whether I want to deal with the “head looks like it was stuck in tumble dry on high” aftermath.
Yoginis listen up! Everyone, save for the silky-maned girl in the front row who dropped a few Gs on a Keratin treatment, is coming out of class looking just like you. And now you have a perfectly justifiable reason to purchase one of those cute yogi headbands in every color.
So get on the mat, find your flow, and hit the couch after you’ve delivered on your intention. You’ll be glad you did!