I quit yoga.
I know what you’re thinking. How on Earth did you do that?
I tell you, it wasn’t easy. I didn’t want to. I fought it for a long time. I made a lot of excuses—a lot. And then one day, I couldn’t even remember the last time I practiced yoga.
Sure, I’ve laid down my mat a handful of times in the past year. And let me tell you, the mat can be an enchanting place. You roll out your mat and suddenly your hopes and dreams seem only a namaste away.
But if you’re really honest with yourself, you know that in order to maximize productivity you need to quit flitting your time away on a mat.
You know you need to quit yoga when you:
Get pregnant, or acquire a medical condition that requires you to slow down. You are suddenly a delicate flower that can only be bothered to practice on the good days. And if you get the morning sickness, those good days don’t come along all that often.
Have a baby, or get a puppy. They’re pretty much the same thing. They disrupt your sleep by crying at all hours of the night, so you’re mostly too tired to practice. Whenever you do get down on the mat, they think you’re there to play with them. They crawl all over you and camp out under your downward dog. When you try to ignore them, they wander off in search of sharp corners and choking hazards.
Are a control freak—about everything. How can you possibly make it to a yoga class? No one else (and I mean no one) knows how to put the baby to sleep, how to lock up the shop, how to pick the perfect peach, or how to make it through a whole season of Orange is the New Black in one sitting. Whatever it is, no one knows how to do it like you.
Have a to-do list a mile long. Try this exercise: prioritize your list, putting yoga right at the top. If you can only do one thing today, it’s going to be yoga. Now do everything on that list except yoga. Don’t you feel great about everything you got done in one day? Amazing, right? How can you feel guilty about neglecting your practice? That’s why it’s time to quit.
Find another form of exercise that takes half the time. Go for a 30-minute run a few times a week. Try a 55- minute cycle class. I mean, who even has time for a full 75-minute yoga class? Don’t even get me started on those 90-minute classes. Honestly, all you really need to do is a few squats and crunches while you catch up on the latest episodes of your favorite TV series. Poof enlightenment! Who needs yoga?
Last, but not least…
You promise yourself that you’ll practice yoga tomorrow. You will. You totally will. And then you don’t.
Who among us hasn’t experienced at least three of these points?
Seriously, yoga is only for the people who have nothing to do in the middle of the day. You’re busy and important and have better things to do with your time.
And then life gets hard.
Shoot. Who are we trying to kid? Life is always hard. Sure, there is bliss. But we will always come up against stuff that has the potential to drag us down. Every single day holds the opportunity to laugh and the opportunity to cry. How do we cope? I’ll tell you—yoga.
If you haven’t gleaned yet, I was only kidding about quitting your yoga practice. Don’t do it!
I mean, it’s pretty easy to find a reason to quit your yoga practice. I know, because I did it. It felt too hard to fit my practice into scattered days of errands, family, work and friends.
But I missed it. So, one day I unrolled my mat and oh wow, it was good. It was hard and it was good.
The thing is the mat is where we learn how to work through our crap, to show up and to stretch ourselves (both literally and metaphorically) beyond our limits. When we insist that we are too busy or too inconvenienced, when we insist on maintaining utter control of everything off the mat, we miss the opportunity to transform.
Every time we come to the mat to practice, something shifts. It can be the kind of shift that changes your life instantly or it can be subtle. But it’s always there. And it’s almost always for the best.
You can quit yoga. But I really don’t recommend it. It’s called a yoga practice for a reason. The thing we’re really practicing is life. On the mat we lose our balance, we fall, we sense when we can go deeper and when we should pull back.
All of this prepares us for life. It transforms us and makes us stronger so we can step off the mat and with confidence say to ourselves, let’s do this.
Author: Jazmine Aluma
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Philip Lai/Flickr