The Practice of Practicing

I'm only happy when I sweat.

I’m only happy when I sweat.

I get really annoyed at myself when I don’t make it to yoga, mostly because getting a really good session in sets me up to feel great for the rest of the day.

My Sunday morning practice has become a staple of my weekend. It’s a mixed level class so I know there will be challenging poses, I’m guaranteed to work up a sweat, and as an added bonus I really enjoy the instructor.

On Sunday, as I mentioned, my husband went to play golf and couldn’t make it back in time for me to go to my regular class. I considered practicing at home, but I’ve become such an outdoorsy person a big part of the allure of going to yoga is the process of getting up early, having my coffee, taking my time to get ready and walking the mile and a half to class. On days when I wake up late and don’t spend enough time outside the house, I get in a funk. Like I haven’t enjoyed my life enough that day.

So rather than stay home and get grumpy, I found a beginner class at noon at my own studio and headed out there instead. I avoid very basic classes because I don’t want to hold myself back, but I figured basic yoga would be better than no yoga.

The class was actually just the right mix of perfecting the basics and going for more challenging poses (like Galavasana). Interestingly, though, despite the fact that I’d be happy with an entire practice full of just arm balances, the part of the class I enjoyed most was working on perfecting the basic poses like Warrior I, Warrior II and Chaturanga.

I’m such a DOER in my life, and that’s naturally translated into the way I approach yoga. I’m not interested in doing things perfectly, I’m mostly interested in testing my limits, learning as much as I can and advancing as quickly as possible. I jumped very quickly into the mixed level classes, got my first Crow three months later, and forgot very quickly about all the foundational stuff other people spend months on.

It was nice slowing down and challenging myself a different way. Taking the time to get things right. No, to get things as near to perfect as I could get them given my body type, strength and level of flexibility.

Of course, by the time I got home I’d forgotten all about how good it felt to slow down, and I managed to drag my family out to National Harbor to enjoy what’s left of a dwindling summer.

I did manage to work in some therapy for myself, though. I suggested we ride the Ferris Wheel (which those of you who have been keeping up with my blog will surmise, I’m terrified of). Claustrophobic, freaked out, but happy and awestruck by the view, I remembered why I do these things to myself when my son happily declared it was the best day of his life while looking down at the boats in the marina from our capsule three million stories high.

I must admit, it was a pretty good day for me, too.

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