There was an assignment during one of my teacher trainings to create my ideal practice schedule — time, length, and type. I dreamed of having two hours of practice every day from 10-noon. For various reasons that seemed like the Perfect Yoga Life.
Ah, if only… at the time, I had a real job and was sitting at a desk during regular work hours. So I carved out other, less ideal times and went about my way.
that was then…
I still work at a desk, but it’s in my home… where I make my own hours and answer only to the voices in my head.
And yet… I practice less. For a yoga teacher (or in my schema of how a yoga teacher should be), I do actual asana practice pretty infrequently.
what’s going on?
There are numerous reasons my self-care goes in cycles — some personal, some not all that interesting.
What I know is this: I’ve been on a self-abuse spree. Good habits supporting sleeping, eating, practice, and general self care have been sadly lacking. The consequence is exacerbated by the fact that I am so hard on myself when I don’t meet my expectations (including the shame that is here in admitted this to you).
a teacher needs to prep, but a girl’s got to practice
There’s a saying that we teach for ourselves and we practice for our students. I agree. And I would expand it to say that we practice for the world — for our families, our co-workers, our neighbors, people we meet on the street, people we don’t even know.
Not only is it true that I can’t give what I don’t have (as a good accountant will remind you), the effects don’t stop at the people within my arm’s reach. When I’m connected through my practice to my body, breath, and the moment, I meet the world from that place. I respond to the world from that place.
One of the things I was reminded of during the Healthy Eating Cleanse at the studio is that I do well with structure. I like defined boundaries, check boxes, and measurable outcomes. Maybe there’s a little leftover Business Consultant in me.
Left to my own devices and generalities like I will practice more this week, I know I will not practice “more.” It’s too easy to let the morning slip away, and then it’s 4pm, and then there’s someone who needs something and all of a sudden it’s time to go to bed.
Because this online community of people near and far is so amazing and supportive, and you’re so good at creating accountability, I am making a practice commitment for the month of June:
I will practice every day.
On days I teach (3 days a week), “practice” may be as simple as legs up the wall before bed (serving two goals: a better night’s sleep and self-love time).
On days I do not teach, I will devote at least two hours of practice time on my mat. Not class prep, but me time.
And I will increase my twice weekly sits (with The Virtual Buddhas) to five, even if it’s just a few minutes.
It really comes down to what’s important? As I’ve written about many times, it’s difficult for me to say I am important. Important enough to take care of and nourish and love.
And you are too!
How do you take care of yourself? Among all the things in life that ask of your attention, how do you make time for yourself? Where do say No?
Really, do tell. It may inspire someone else whose self-love account is a little low.
And feel free to state a commitment of your own. Feels so gooood to write it down!
Be well friends. xo
ps- Here’s the real reason I haven’t been using my props. Shiva the kitty is holding them hostage! Ransom: a large bowl of canned cat food.