MAKING SPACE + TIME FOR PRACTICE. Every. Damn. Day.
On December 31st of each year as I watch the clock strike midnight, transitioning from the old year to the new, I find myself full of optimism, hope, and moxie as I set my sights towards the future, including confidently tackling a fresh set of New Year’s resolutions.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I like to keep it varied, ranging from the totally and easily achievable to the somewhat more lofty and maybe-not-so-totally-and-easily achievable; my resolutions going into 2018 are no different. On the former end of my achievability-spectrum, in 2018 I am going to: take more baths, read one book each month, and try to swim in as many hot springs as I can physically seek out. On the latter end of my achievability spectrum, in 2018 I am going to: meditate more, work on self-acceptance and self-love, and do yoga every. Damn. Day.
Now, if you follow any yogic social media accounts, you are likely very familiar with the phrase, and associated hashtag, #yogaeverydamnday. While there is no shortage of yoga in my life, being a regular practitioner as well as teaching three – four classes each week at Better Buzz Yoga right in the heart of Northwest Denver, I have never actually set my mind to and executed on the challenge of doing yoga every damn day. Even when I was going through yoga teacher training and was tasked with the homework of doing yoga every single day, I found myself coming up short. Thus, I decided that in 2018, I will do yoga every single day. “Just one class, or one hour a day,” I thought. “How hard can it be?”
I discovered exactly how hard it can be just four days into 2018. January 1st? Easier than I thought after a couple too many champagne toasts on New Year’s Eve. A nice juicy home practice to get the year started off on the good foot. January 2nd? In the bag! Took a great class with Devyn Ashley at Better Buzz Yoga in Sunnyside, and even made my way into Hurdler’s Pose for the first time! January 3rd? A mellow but much needed home practice before teaching my 6:45 PM class at Better Buzz. January 4th? A solo practice at the gym, spent mostly practicing my newly-discovered Hurdler’s Pose. The night of January 4th I was feeling good . . . confident in my resolution to practice yoga every damn day and ready to kick ass . . . . Until I start thinking about the next day.
I had to work my day job from 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM on the 5th. And then I had a dinner obligation. And I wasn’t going to be home until late. And the wheels kept turning, and turning, and turning until I thought myself into a frenzy, thinking “Here I am, only nearly five days into 2018, unable to fulfill one of my New Year’s resolutions already.”
I sat in the fumes of my self-created frustration, wondering if anyone is ever actually really able to set aside an hour at the studio or at home to practice every single day, until I had an epiphany . . .
Would it be great to have an hour to take a class or home practice every day? Hell yeah. Is it feasible for me, working a “9:00 – 5:00” day job, teaching multiple classes, writing for the Better Buzz Yoga studio blog, and going through life’s motions as we all do, to set aside one hour every single day to do yoga? Probably not.
I was setting myself up for failure. And I needed to gently, kindly, and lovingly readjust my expectations of myself.
The night of January 4th, I set my alarm for 4:30 the following morning, 30 minutes before I usually wake up to get ready for work. And, I’m not going to lie, when the alarm went off that morning of the 5th, I snoozed for ten minutes. And the alarm went off again. And as much as I wanted to hit the snooze button a second time, I sauntered out of bed and into the dining room where I laid out my mat, lit a few candles, and had a gentle, mellow, juicy, absolutely beautiful 25 minutes of easy goin’, easy flowin’ yoga. And I walked into work at my day job, where I have admittedly been feeling unfulfilled and stuck, shortly after feeling lighter, kinder, and fuller than I have in a long time.
And I realized this: doing 25 minutes of yoga versus 60 minutes of yoga does not make me a failure in working towards my resolution of doing yoga every damn day in 2018. Committing to my practice every single day this year is going to look different each day. Some days it’s going to be a class at Better Buzz Yoga. Some days it’s going to be home practice. Some days it’s going to be waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual to slink into sleeping pigeon pose and then belly savasana before calling it a day on my mat.
It’s not the duration, or the where, or the how of practicing yoga that really matters: it’s the commitment to practice that matters. It’s that feeling you get, and harness, after yoga that allows you to enter the world off your mat as a lighter, more understanding, kinder, and fuller version of yourself that matters. It’s that sensation you get when you practice your ass off and finally pop up into crow pose or handstand for the first time that matters. It’s the frustrations you experience when you try class, after class, after class to sink into Hurdler’s pose until one day it seemingly effortlessly clicks that matter.
Whether it’s heated Vinyasa Flow or Yin at Better Buzz Yoga, or any of the plethora of styles and types of yoga out there, from Bikram to Ashtanga, from Aerial to Forrest, the shifts yoga is capable of triggering in our lives are not phenomena that can only be found, only be triggered, in a structured sixty-minute practice; certainly they can be found there, but they can be found elsewhere, too.
I have experienced these shifts in mind and body during a structured class; I have experienced them practicing on a boulder along the Arkansas river; I have experienced them staring up at the blue sky at Yoga on the Rocks; I have experienced them on my dining room floor curled up in sleeping pigeon pose at 4:58 AM before work on a Friday morning. Some shifts may have been more profound and pronounced than others, but all have touched and affected me for the better.
Make time and space in your life for these shifts to occur. Take a class at Better Buzz Yoga. Take five, 10, 15, 30 minutes at home to flow or simply to sit in seated meditation or child’s pose. Do whatever it takes to get on your mat every. Damn. Day. Because while it may not be easy, it will always be worth it.