A Kick In The Butt: When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

Via Claudia Azula Altucher
on Jul 21, 2011
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See this article in Spanish here.

A few days ago I was not ‘feeling it’: The practice.

You know what I mean: Too early. Don’t want to. Let me do what the body wants. Bukowski out of all people came to the rescue, and it was his poem (interspersed here) that got me through primary series:

If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Otherwise, don’t even start.
It could mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision.
It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift.

It is Wednesday morning and I find myself in a fascinating literary spot in New York City. I am surrounded by cartoons of the New Yorker all over the hallway. In the wall paper. The lobby presents me with pictures of incredible writers among the potted palm trees. Long chandeliers make me think of Mark Twain. Who wants to get on the mat?

All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.

Too Early

That:‘too early’, is, of course, just a marketing line. A chosen deliminator in our thinking that now defines what we think we are. Until we notice it and go pass it, there is always: Afternoon practice.

And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.

Don’t Want To:

We can compromise. Give up the practice if you must, but not the ritual.

Pull up your hair, get in the sweating clothes and stand on the front of the mat. Take that first ujjayi breath, balance the weight over the four corners of the feet, engage the bandhas and start that first sun salutation. Go to where you can. Never give up the ritual. See what happens.

And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.

Want To Do What My Body Wants:

Paul Dallaghan’s philosophy is so powerful I have made it my own: “if it ain’t broken and you don’t have a fever, then get on the mat”. The point is that it is a daily practice for a reason. It works only if sustained for a long time and we have to get real. If it ain’t broken and you don’t have a fever, then get on the mat.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.
There is no other feeling like that.

In Conclusion:

1) Try afternoon if morning does not work
2) Never give up the ritual: get on the mat and do what you can
3) If it ain’t broken and no fever, do it!

You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.
You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

I find intriguing that Bukowski uses the same concept as Patanjali for the end-goal. You will be “alone with the gods”. Patanjali could not have said it better himself.

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About Claudia Azula Altucher

Claudia Azula Altucher has studied yoga for a long time. Her only focus these past eight years has been on Ashtanga through which she studied at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India (three study visits so far), and at Centered Yoga in Thailand (focus on practice, philosophy and pranayama). Currently she studies at Pure Yoga in NYC. She has taught yoga classes in both Spanish and English. She is also the Author of: 21 Things To Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice (you can get a free PDF at her blog). She writes daily at ClaudiaYoga.com And you can follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ClaudiaYoga


15 Responses to “A Kick In The Butt: When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing”

  1. athayoganusasanam says:

    Great piece Claudia! I totally empathize ….I've had a week of a minor flu and mini dramas all of which seemed like great excuses not to practice…but getting on my mat and moving through the series today felt great nevertheless….it's so true – you just have to put your little self to the side, remember your commitment and DO IT!

  2. Claudia says:

    Thank you Frances, good to hear the sound of recognition from a fellow traveler on the path 🙂

  3. Thaddeus1 says:

    It might be something in the air or the cosmos, because this week has been hard for me as well. And you can look around the room at the end and see it in other people's faces. But this is a wonderful reminder. I spent an entire summer reading pretty much everything Bukowski ever wrote. A true, under appreciated and misunderstood genius. But, I don't think he would have it any other way. You know at the end of his life, he actually quit drinking and took up transcendental meditation. BTW, did you give the title of this poem and I missed it?

  4. Claudia says:

    You are kidding me! I did not not know that he stopped drinking and took up meditation… guess in a way it is not THAT surprising because he was a seeker of truth… all the way, he just showed what perhaps we all, or at least me, have trouble seeing in ourselves… I hear you, yes, misunderstood writer, I am in love with his literature lately… the title of the poem… I did not put it down no. It is from Factotum, "roll the dice" maybe?

  5. Claudia says:

    oh and one more thing, I hear you on the cosmos thing. What is UP this week?

  6. Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

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  7. Claudia says:

    Thank you Bob!!! 🙂

  8. tanya lee markul says:

    REALLY needed this today! Thank you, Claudia! I love the idea that you CAN be flexible with your practice – sometimes I feel if I don't do it in the morning, then I somehow give myself the impression that I can skip it all together instead of taking advantage of the afternoon or evening. Also I love – if it's not broken or no fever, practice! 🙂 🙂

  9. Claudia says:

    Yeah, that was Paul, you probably remember him saying that in Thailand, oh the good old days when we were in Samui… miss those days sometimes… 🙂 thank you Tanya

  10. tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  11. tanya lee markul says:

    Yes!! 🙂 Oh, me toooooooo. 🙂 xo

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