Practice. Practice. Practice, and all is coming. Patthabhi Jois.
Getting to the mat is hard. We all have those days. When we feel injured, tired, overwhelmed, or completely unraveled. You’ve gone through a long day. Or maybe its early in the morning, yet, but the day ahead is daunting. You make it to the kitchen only to remember you’re out of coffee. Your to do list is so convoluted you wonder if it might not be more responsible to skip out on your practice. You wonder about this long enough to have wasted time you might actually have spent doing something from that to do list. You wonder about the yogic implications of stopping at a coffeeshop on your way to class. You wonder what in the heck you're doing, who it is you think your fooling.
But you make it to the mat. Somehow.
Getting to the mat is hard. Sometimes being on the mat is harder. We all have those days when our practice feels shallow. It reveals a hell of a lot more frustration that it does Zen. When listening to your breath, quote unquote, makes you want to slap your teacher in the face or maybe just breakdown and cry. You just don’t seem to be in the right ‘mood’.
You’re in exactly the right mood.
Uncovering the layers of crud and dust and disease that this being human brings is yoga. It is hard, sometimes, to show up. And hard to stay with the practice even while it’s happening. But it may be hardest to realize that this is the very stuff that makes up your yoga practice. Unraveling all the layers that are hurting us or holding us back. Revealing exactly what our ‘mood’ is. What reality is. What we’re capable of.
And what we are not.
It is hard. There is no one on that mat but your own self. There is no test at the end of class, no multiple choice. You never graduate. There is no competition in yoga but the competition you yourself bring. That is exactly what makes yoga so beautiful and powerful in our over competitive, rashly judgmental world.
But it is also what makes it so hard.
All judgments, then, all expectation, disappointments, demands are coming from your own self. Yoga is ruthlessly personal. Here’s a secret: all those layers of crud and dirt prove not that you’re in a bad place, or that something is wrong, but that the yoga is working. The process is happening.
The judgments we make – of ourselves, of the day, our teachers, other students – are part of your practice. Just as much as asana is. Notice the judgments you make, on and off the mat. Try to smile at them. Recognize them for what they are. They are what you need to sift, work through, see.
The process is working.
You are unraveling the layers.
Trust the practice.