Since October of 2018, I’ve had a regular yoga practice. Before that, I loved yoga, I went to yoga whenever I could, but I wasn’t consistent. Throughout my teacher training, I got into a habit of practicing almost every day, which, back in October, seemed nearly impossible. How would I balance my time on my mat with my time at the gym and all the other things I like to or need to do in a day? But it’s true that the more you roll out your mat, the more frequently you want to be there.
Last month, I made a goal for myself to try and do yoga every single day. Out of the 30 days of April, I achieved this goal 28 times, which I’m pretty proud of. Admittedly, a couple of those days were 20 minutes by myself at home, but I practiced. I showed up. And by about three weeks in, I started noticing this lightness that hadn’t been there before. I felt happier, cheerier, less stressed, less anxious, more energized, better able to fall asleep at a reasonable time and stay asleep longer. In class, I found myself more resilient with less soreness. My balance improved, my flexibility and strength noticeably improved. It was kind of incredible, really.
And then May came.
May is one of my two favorite months of the year (October is the other) and it’s also my birthday month. As such, there tends to be a good bit of revelry. And for me, two weekend trips to take, to Minneapolis and Las Vegas, with one weekend at home in between. But coming off of my month of yoga almost every single day, I felt sure that I could keep it going, sustain the peace I’d found in April. I took my mat with me to Minneapolis and made sure to at least stretch a little each day. But as the month has gone by, I’ve had a harder and harder time getting to the studio, getting on my mat at home, and especially practicing any kind of solo meditation at home.
On top of that, I’ve barely made it to the gym or taken time out for my super long, meandering walks. Maybe I’m just worn out from the intense teacher training I completed in April. Maybe my body and mind subconsciously decided they needed a little rebound time before my next fifty hours of training. Whatever the reason, this month has been inconsistent.
And I can feel it. I can feel the anxiety creeping up a little bit, the sadness sliding over me just a touch. Maybe it wouldn’t be so noticeable if I hadn’t gotten so attuned to the subtleties of my body and mood, but I have. I’m a yogi, and that’s just how it is. I now notice when I’m slightly happier or sadder than I was. Which is a good thing - it may help me catch my episodes of depression or anxiety before they take hold of me. Like right now.
So, I’ve been thinking about this problem - how to carve out time for myself, for meditation or mindfulness practice of some sort, every day. Because I want that peace every day. And I’ve found that as little as 15 minutes of meditation or yoga helps me slow down, ground myself, and sense into my body and what’s going on, which helps me tap into my mood and check in with myself. And it’s just easier to do that in a designated space, like my yoga studio, or on my therapist’s couch, than at home with dogs who REALLY enjoy laying on my yoga mat while I’m trying to use it. Which is very cute, but very distracting.
And meanwhile, I need to simultaneously give myself a kick in the pants and jump back into the rhythm of balancing yoga and meditation with the other types of exercise I like to do, because they’re all important, and part of what keeps me aligned.
In the end, I think we’re all just searching for some balance, the sweet spot between effort and ease. An elusive thing, to be sure, but all things worth doing require some patience and a wee little leap of faith that things will all even out in the end.