When You Fall Off the Yoga Wagon….

Child's Pose Eve

It’s hard. It’s very hard. It’s just plain hard, and that’s all there is to it.

When you fall off the yoga practice wagon and try to clambour back on, it’s difficult to find the muscles you need.
I’m talking about those events that upset your disciplined routine: going on extended holidays, being laid low with an illness, moving house, or suffering a big emotional upset.
I have an expectation that because I said I’m going to get back into my practice as soon as I’m on home ground that I will. No so. As the folks of Westeros are prone to say, ‘Words are wind.’
All that matters is that you take action. Get back on the mat and into a regular routine.
Of course, it’s the same deal when you’ve been good at maintaining a healthy, moderate diet, and then you take a tumble. As Daniel and I travelled through the U.S. and Canada recently, we had to remind ourselves to order one meal for two. North American portions are huge and calorie-laden. But there were new tastes to try and exotic, never-to-be-repeated experiences to savour. The result? A blown-out waistline and irregular digestion.
It’s much harder to shed weight afterwards than to have exercised a modicum of control along the holiday way.
We’re only human, it’s true, but there is the divine spark that is our conscience. A mental tap on the shoulder that says, Whoa! Or, do you really want to do this? One more bite, one more drink, one more dessert?
Oh well, I have returned to practicing in The Yoga Shed – a bit of a ragtag and distracted practice, but I’m there.
I came across a Pema Chodran quote this week  from a talk she gave at a 2009 retreat:
There is nothing more important on our spiritual path than developing gentleness to ourselves.
I take this to mean it’s deleterious to our spiritual development to be harsh to ourselves. However, in the same talk, Pema says that another aspect of gentleness, and where our strength comes in, is discipline. Allowing ourselves to indulge in bad habits is not practicing gentleness.
I think what might have helped on my vacation is turning up the volume on that ‘quiet voice within’ and possibly remembering how hard it is to climb aboard the practice wagon once again.

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