So often I hear students sigh as they walk into the studio, kicking off their shoes and smiling an exasperated smile as they check in, only to finally declare, “I haven’t been here in 4 weeks! This is going to be rough,” as they then head into the hot room to set up their mat.
Other versions of this are:
“I can only practice once a week right now.”
“My (mom/dad/sister/friend/child) has been sick and I’ve had to take care of them. I’m not coming as often as I’d like to.”
“I was sick last week and couldn’t come.”
“It was the craziest summer. I couldn’t make it to the studio at all.”
“I recently moved and have had a hard time making it back in to practice.”
“I’ve been out of town and where I went had no yoga studio.”
“I started dating a new guy/girl and my practice took a backseat for a while, but I’m back!”
I think I’ve heard it all. This is what I hear within an average week, not just a month or a year. Life is busy. I get that.
My response to any one of these comments is simply this, “Sometimes you have tons of time to practice and sometimes you don’t. You made the right decision to come today and I hope you get to come again tomorrow or the next day. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
Students seem surprised by this answer. I, myself, am devoted to practicing 4 to 5 times a week on top of my teaching schedule and my other job. At least I was until this year. This year it has not been easy to get my butt in the hot room and on my mat for a list of reasons I will not bore you with. Life has been up, down, and all around and though, yes, I do still find a couple of minutes at home to work on a posture here and there, my practice has been more of an average of 3 times a week this year. That’s still pretty good. Not what I’d like to have happening, but good.
I know that this is just for now and not for always. In fact, I was able to practice 4 times last week and I think I may be able to get 5 sweaty sessions in this week. I’ll take what I can when I can.
The thought that if you only make it once a week to the studio, nothing is happening for you is wrong. It is still worth coming once a week. Yes, it is easier to beat the heat if you come more often. Class seems to fly by if you have a day after day practice. You will see greater progress in your postures. But you are doing something for yourself you won’t regret. You are taking time out for you.
I wish that everyone in the world took a yoga class once a week. That the whole world would simply stop and breathe. That we would all notice how amazing each individual on this planet is and how we are all connected.
So, quit being so hard on yourself. When I started practicing in 2005 I only showed up a couple of times a month. And then I felt so good on those days that I practiced that I was able to find the time to show up more…and more…and more. That’s what happened for me. It may or may not happen for you.
If life is dealing you a hand that says there is no way you can practice yoga every day, or even every other day, then make it when you can. Your teachers are always glad to see you walk through those studio doors. Practicing yoga is one of the most unselfish things you can do. Practicing yoga gives you space – in the mind, body, and spirit – to focus on you and the things that matter in your life. It will also help you notice the people, situations, and things that are causing stress, friction, and pain, in order for you to make the choice to finally let go of what is no longer serving you. This makes us lighter, happier, healthier human beings. This makes us alive instead of going through the motions of life.
Get to class. Do what you can with what you have. Give this time to you – whatever amount you’ve got at the moment. Learn to be gentle where you were hard, focused where you were distracted, and loving where you were closed off. Once a week is still good if it’s truly all you have. Once a week is a beginning.
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