But what I actually love most of all about yoga is having done yoga.
It’s not easy to get on the mat where there are so many other things to do( like scrolling through Twitter for the 40 th time today !) and as someone with anxiety it’s downright intimidating to look ahead to 30+ minutes of left alone with my thoughts and pull the trigger. So I procrastinate or I don’t practice yoga often, even if every time I do I walk away believing” I should do this more often “.
I’ve tried to do 30 day challenges before, but I’ve never been able to stick to it through the end before my most recent endeavor, following along with Adriene Mishler’s on her channel, Yoga with Adriene. On the 6th day of the challenge, right about the point where I was about to “take a few days off” and then keep forgetting trying to keep up with it altogether, Adriene said something that reached me right in the gut.
She told ,” There’s no cheating in yoga, you make it your own .”
What I discovered when I started thinking about why this phrase hit me so hard it’s because I had this idea of yoga as something else to judge myself on. I had to be able to do all the positions, I had to be able to do them well, I had to do a full practise everyday — all these goals that have nothing to do with the actual goal of yoga which is to spend time checking in with my mind and body in a way that feels good.
When Adriene told ” there’s no cheating in yoga” it clicked for me. I was trying to power through and have a perfect practise, and I felt like anything less than that was ” cheating “. This attitude of succeeding or failing was vaporizing the exhilaration out of my yoga. Of course I didn’t feel like doing yoga every day if doing yoga was just another thing that built me feel like I wasn’t good enough .
The purpose of having a practice — the whole entire reason I want to practice yoga every day isn’t to be perfect at something. I just want a consistent intellect/ body practise that I do at the least once a day. This aim is a lot easier to achieve, especially once I identified it for what it is and divided out my expectations that it had to look a certain way.
I realized that every time I has hitherto failed to develop a daily practice, it’s because I was trying to rely on willpower to move myself through day in day out. I wasn’t enjoying it and I wasn’t naturally to do it because I was out of sync with my goal. I was judging myself about how perfectly I demonstrated up and moved through the practice instead of letting go and demonstrating up for my goal of being present.
helped me understand that I won’t need to rely on willpower to do yoga everyday when my goal is” enjoy doing yoga every day” instead of” move myself to do something I don’t enjoy every day .”
There truly has been a lot of freedom in moving forward with my practice and adopting the philosophy that” there’s no cheating in yoga .” If I want to do an entire video and sit with my forehead on the mat in child’s pose, I can. After a few minutes, I usually don’t feel like doing that, but it helps me a lot to have that permission. I start, I check in with myself, I inhale, I feel better, and then I usually get into the flow and start following along. Also, for the record it doesn’t her that her extremely beautiful pup Benji makes an appearance !!!
If you’re a beginner, or if you’re like me and have struggled to cultivate a daily practise, give a try, and remind yourself as much as you have to that there’s no cheating in yoga. Adriene is gentle and encouraging, she will tell you to” find what feels good” instead of having any judgement about what your posture looks like which is really helpful in feeling good about what you can do today instead of obsessing about what it’s supposed to look like at an advanced level.