When Doing Less Yoga Is Actually Doing More
That is the mindset that I have bought in to. And it's truly changed my life.
Adding in yoga has not taken time away from other things. Quite the opposite. It has enabled me to do more with those same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 365 days in a year. Because I am calmer, more focused, happier, and q`stronger.
Events in my life that would have previously sent me into a tailspin are now met with a pause. And a breath. And continuing to potter on along. Reminding myself that all I can control is my reaction.
Because these are the lessons I first learned on my mat.
I learned that the pose was easier if I actually breathed. I learned that I could fail over and over again and the world wouldn't fall in. And that my journey to getting back up and trying again was quicker and nicer if I was nicer to myself along the way.
So yeah, this is a practice I try to have in my life more days than not.
Most of the time.
Ebbs and Flows
These past couple of weeks I’ve had a generous dollop of yoga breakthroughs; things I doubted would ever be possible. Handstands and dropbacks without a spotter. And the splits. THE BLOOMING SPLITS! It is so easy just to get carried away with all of this, but I am trying to take a breath a remember that yoga, as with life, is full of ebbs and flows. So I am consciously working to see this in the wider context of the past few months. Which embodied these ebbs and flows so perfectly.
The past 3-4 weeks have felt like ones before my teacher training: yoga virtually every day, lots of intense classes and productive home practices. And surprise surprise my practice has evolved.
But I scroll back just a couple of months and I was running out of steam. Running. Out. Of. Steam. It’s all there in my "Week in Yoga" posts from late July and into August. The crazy wonderful year that was the first half of 2017 was starting to catch up with me. And I was tired.
I wrote the following back then, but was too tired to do anything bigger with it:
“At the moment getting up when the clock says 7 something is hard, forget about the 6 or 5 handle it needs if I am going to fit in both yoga and freshly washed hair. Squeezing in a yoga class is hard when I still have a to-do list a million miles long and my concentration isn't what I am used to it being. Messing around on my mat at the weekends is hard when suddenly the call of the sofa and a snuggly cat belly seems so much louder than it was a few weeks ago. So I am doing at lot less... A lot lot less.”
And then thankfully I had two wonderful weeks holiday with the love of my life and recuperated. Yes I practiced. But less. A lot lot less.
No More Fear
And there was a time where that just wouldn't have happened. I would have kept pushing and pushing until I basically blew up.
Because I was afraid. I was afraid of what I would lose if I paused. The muscles, the flexibility, the poses. The identity I was creating for myself. Dare I say it loud? The Instagram followers.
But not any more.
Now I realise that one or two or three quiet weeks will make absolutely no difference on the physical side. Actually, it is more likely to be a positive as tired muscles get the chance to heal and grow rather than get injured. I've realised that the thing I love so much about Instagram - the community - will still be there no matter whether I am posting every day or not.
Now I realise that the breakthroughs come after the rest.
That doing less is sometimes doing more.
It’s just not easy to see that real time.
But I am getting ever so slightly less worse at this. Because for the first time in my life I have a metronome beating a steady pulse out for me: my practice.
My practice. My practice. My practice. My practice.
It shows me when I am off kilter.
I just have to listen...
So what is your practice telling YOU?