Naturally, the second I publicly state I will do 30 days of yoga and write about it every day... I wake up with a terrible cold. The stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing has actually been slowly building over the past few days, and despite popping Day-Quil, drinking green juice and kombucha, and trying to get extra hours of sleep, it's now in full force. I think colds are particularly annoying because you're typically not sick enough to stay home and do nothing, which means you are still obligated to go to work or should probably get things done, but you feel miserable along the way.
When preaching "inhale, exhale" yesterday to myself and students in class, I realized that I take for granted most days that I inhale, exhale just fine on my own. Until I can't breathe in and out very easily or practically at all -- and then I am envious of all the people who aren't blowing their nose 247 times a day.
So this morning, when my alarm went off at 5:40 a.m., I hit snooze. Because the thought of downward dog at 6 a.m. made me cringe, and I didn't think other yogis would appreciate me bringing a box of Kleenex to class, and I figured my body preferred the extra sleep. I might make it to my mat later today, or I might just do a couple Sun A salutations and stretches at home and call it good. Either way, it'll be okay.
If you're a type-A personality like me, then you often set lots of goals for yourself and overbook your schedule and say yes to everything and everyone and forget that at some point, your physical and emotional health will suffer because of all the moving and yes-ing. Every time I forget that truth, I'm quickly reminded: I get sick. I'm forced to cool it down, to back down, to take care of myself.
Shauna Niequist puts it perfectly; she writes,
"I love it when a day’s activities stack up on top of each other perfectly, from breakfast to work to lunch to grocery shopping to coffee, all the way through till I fall into bed. I love days when you’re always leaving something early to arrive just a touch late at the next place, like pearls on a string or Tarzan swinging on vines, feet never touching the ground. Or really, I love the idea of that way of living, so I sign myself up for it every chance I get. And then I realize in the moment that it isn’t what I wanted at all.... A full life is not the same as a full calendar."
So today, the lesson is this: it's okay that I planned to practice yoga every day for a month and then on day 2 I have to bail. Really. It's okay. Because I'm not actually bailing on my intention. I'm only "failing" in my own mind.
See, the mind and ego want to say that stretching at home isn't a workout, isn't yoga, doesn't "count", isn't "worth it." But why not? Why doesn't that count? Who cares how it looks or what it's worth? Is it worth it to me? Does it feel good and right to me? Is this (whatever "this" is) the best thing I can do today, the best thing for my body today? (Ha - I automatically wrote "the most" instead of "the best" in that sentence . . . just goes to show how often our minds focus on quantity over quality!) Maybe, maybe not. But every person gets to decide that for themselves; that's one of the beautiful lessons of yoga.
Start to notice the fullness of your life versus your calendar, as well as how rest and activity intertwine. Are you pushing when you need to be resting? Are you racing around being busy in order to distract yourself from, well, yourself?
And if you are still resisting a moment of rest in your life, choose to be inspired by this guy:
Puppies are good at resting.
(image sources: 1 & 2, Pinterest)