In Need of Yoga Motivation
Why it is that some days we have a great asana practice? Poses seem to flow effortlessly from one to another. Your energy level is high, your 90-minute practice feels like half an hour at the most. You feel connected, focused and even more energized after practice. Other days you feel stiff as a board and you can barely touch your toes. You don’t even feel like practicing. You are probably wondering, why did I get out of bed this morning?
Experiencing these ups and downs is normal; you are not the same person today as you were yesterday. All our experiences shape who we eventually become. If you’ve had several busy days in a row, or you have been sick or dealing with strong emotions, be sure that within a few days you will need to relax and slow down. You may not feel it, but your body surely does and it will find a way to let you know. You may fall asleep while watching your favorite TV show or not hear the alarm clock in the morning, forcing you to sleep in. It may show up in your yoga practice, either physically or emotionally, begging you to carefully observe yourself.
The days I actually want to practice and am excited to be on my mat is when I’m at my best. It’s days like these that my asana practice makes me feel happy. Sometimes, there's even an ego boost when I have been struggling with a pose for months or years and finally see progress. But I know yoga is not supposed to make me feel happy; it’s supposed to shed the layers of protection I have put on, teach me to let go of worldly attachments, quiet my monkey mind and reveal my true self. I can’t help but think that this is exactly what happens. All these walls I’ve built around me come tumbling down. I don’t really need all the belongings I have, and I can finally think clearly and realize that.
On the days I don’t feel like practicing, I need motivation. I dress in my yoga clothes, unroll my mat and stand on it with no expectations. I have tons of reasons not to practice. I am sore, tired, lazy, I have errands to run, groceries to buy, a class to teach, friends to meet...so many reasons.
These reasons are all just excuses; they don’t exist! When I feel sore, tired or lazy, I realize that I have a body that is healthy, strong and flexible. When I complain about being too busy or that I have undone chores waiting for me, it means I have family and friends who depend on me. At times I try to convince myself that the reason for my lack of motivation is that I practice alone at home, and I need the energy of a room full of yoga practitioners. No one is watching me, no one sees what I’m doing, no one is there to assist me, no one to say ‘come on, you can do it!’ or even to say ‘enough for today.’ Excuses and reasons to not practice are endless!
Whatever the reason I have for not wanting to practice, the feeling I have at the end of my practice is most certainly contentment and gratitude. This feeling is what I choose to focus upon and ultimately becomes my motivation. The benefits of practicing always outweigh the many reasons I have for not wanting to practice, even though I am unable to see that at first.
Whatever you do on your mat, it will have infinite benefits, especially on the days you don’t feel like practicing. Practice anyways! You will always be happy you did.