Years back, I used to get completely out-of-synch if something came up that would make me miss my daily workout. If I found out last-minute that we had dinner plans when I was planning to do yoga, I would get into a funk for the rest of the day and consider myself a failure. Put simply, having that kind of weight on my shoulders was no fun. It made exercise a harmful addiction in the sense that if I didn’t have it, the potential for ruining other things in my life was there. While I am 100% an advocate of exercising daily and going out of your way to make it part of your routine, my point is that there has to be a little le-way, and you can’t take it so damn seriously. Because lets face it, life isn’t all that serious.
These days, I think missing a day or two of exercise a week is ok. I don’t like to let it go for more than that, because then I feel like I could easily slip into the habit of not exercising at all. I work hard on the days I do my yoga, and I love it. When I miss a day, it is usually because some amazing, irresistible plans have come up, or I am simply exhausted from other activities in my life and the idea of doing yoga seems more like a boring, unpleasant chore like cleaning old, dirty dishes, instead of something I love to do. When I feel like that, I have come to recognize it and not force myself, because I don’t want to endanger my wonderful relationship with yoga. I never want to feel like it is something I am doing begrudgingly.
That being said… I have these days few and far between. And if I am even a little bit on the fence, I force myself on the mat and see what happens. It has gone both ways… sometimes I’ll quit after 10 minutes (because that 10 minutes felt like an hour) and other times my body will surprise me and I’ll have a liberating wonderful practice. Learn to listen to those cues from your body and surrender to them. Whatever your physical passion may be – yoga, running, biking, kayaking – you are lucky to have found a physical activity that you love to do, so just like a fragile relationship, don’t force it! Most people stop exercising because they can’t find something they enjoy, something that speaks to them – don’t make your passion start to feel like that!
It is perfectly ok to spend an evening on the couch with your favorite book and a glass of wine instead of sweating through rounds of Sun Salutations. Simply recognize it for what it is, and get back on the horse the following day!