Child's Pose Eve

It’s 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 clamber back on, it’s tough finding the muscles you need.

Here we are in mid- February. It’s still relatively early in the year. And, you had all those great intentions and your January resolutions as well. But soon life intervened. 

There are countless events that can interrupt a disciplined routine. Extended holidays will do it. Being laid low with an illness, or suffering an emotional upset. Moving house and even changing jobs are other meddlesome events. 
 
I tell myself that after taking a long trip, I will to get back into my practice as soon as I’m on home ground. Yet, it doesn’t always happen that way. As the folks of Westeros are prone to say, ‘Words are wind.’
 
All that matters in the end is that you take action. Getting right back on the mat and into a regular routine.
 
Have you something similar happens when you’ve been maintaining a healthy, moderate diet but then take a tumble?
 
When Daniel and I travel to the U.S., we have to remind ourselves to order one meal for two. American portions are huge and calorie-laden. I have to especially exercise my ‘no’ muscle when there are new tastes to try. You know, those exotic, never-to-be-repeated experiences. Inevitably , the result will be a blown-out waistline and/or irregular digestion. You will hopefully live and learn. It’s 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 that divine spark that is our conscience. A mental tap on the shoulder which says, ‘Whoa! Do you really want to do this?’ One more bite, one more drink, one more dessert?

It’s not always hard

I have practiced yoga fairly regularly for 47 years. Is it easy for me to get back on the wagon if there are major disruptions? Easier than if I hadn’t had all that practice under my belt. There’s a saying, the best time to plant a tree is yesterday. Given that that particular yesterday opportunity has gone, the best time to start your practice is now. Then, start again straight away if there is a glitch.
 
Here’s a Pema Chodran quote from a talk she gave at a 2009 retreat. It offers the best context for doing our practices.
 
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 mentions another important aspect of gentleness. It’s where our strength comes in, that is, discipline. Allowing ourselves to indulge in bad habits is not practicing gentleness.
 
Discipline comes from simply turning up the volume on that ‘quiet voice within’. And, possibly remembering how hard it is to climb aboard the practice wagon once again.
 
*Here’s some simple advice for newbies to yoga practice.