June 29, 2013

The Art of Discipline: Knowing When to Practice and When to Hit Snooze. ~ Natalie Winters

I am too busy to make time. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself lately.

Every yogi I know hits a rut sooner or later.

No matter how gung-ho we feel in the beginning, how great that savasana feels, how beautiful the studio is or how wonderful the instructor, sooner or later life decides to get in the way.

For the last three months, I had a great home practice going. We’re talking every morning a 30 minute practice, and even on the weekends! (Gasp!)

Then one day this spring, my grandma was unexpectedly diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow cancer. I flew home to be with her and my family, turning away from my precious routine in the process. I brought a travel mat with me, but couldn’t bring myself to practice. I’ve found that  the times I’ve often needed yoga the most, are the times I’ve struggled to “make time” for it.

I read every Top 10 List out there on how to break the rut. I planned to do yoga early in the morning, before the day’s distractions begin so I set the alarm. I even named it Yoga/Meditation on my iPhone to literally set an intention.

But when it goes off in the morning, my first thought is, man, I could really use another 30 minutes of sleep. Maybe just today I’ll hit snooze.

The funny thing is, I usually don’t fall back asleep. I roll around, toss and turn and debate whether I should just give up and grab my mat to squeeze in at least five minutes of yoga practice. Those minutes of practice I know I would not regret. But my mind shouts louder than my heart, and I’m not wise enough to hear the difference yet. So in bed I remain, and by the time the real alarm goes off, I’m frustrated with myself before the day has even started.

I have gotten so good at talking myself out of things that I know are good for me.

I know that little voice in my head that is telling me to sleep instead of practice yoga is the same voice that:

  • nags me when I don’t do something perfect, or
  • gets irritated with a coworker who makes an innocent mistake, or
  • causes me to swear under my breath when the escalators are broken (again!) on the metro

It’s funny how things come full circle. That voice keeping me from the mat is the same one to blame for the constant criticizing and self-doubt of my monkey brain during meditation.

Why hello inner bully, we meet again.

So what is my solution? In perhaps the greatest of ironies, I choose to let go. I choose to stop blaming myself for the mornings I hit snooze. I keep setting that alarm.

I know that when I am ready to “make time” again for yoga, the time will be there—because it has been there all along.


Natalie Winters aims to live this life by following the fullest and most expressive path possible.  Whether through musical composition, theatre, dance, yoga, or meditation, she has felt a lifelong connection to creative self-expression. She hopes to continue to celebrate every moment. A recovering perfectionist, she finds solace in candles and bath salts. One day she will leave her East Coast desk job and open a yoga studio in California


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