By Gail Z. Martin
In yoga, your mat becomes the space in which you grow, stretch, and find rest. Your mat is both a laboratory for self-exploration, and a refuge where you work out the stiffness that comes from carrying the burdens of life on your shoulders.
When you come to your mat, it’s important to come without judging yourself. Yet, while you don’t judge, you are supposed to be aware. Are you more stiff today than yesterday? Does something hurt today that didn’t hurt yesterday? Is one side moving more easily than the other? Did a pose finally “click” for you?
This process of checking in with yourself has value outside the yoga studio. How often do you go through the workday berating yourself for being off your game, instead of reacting to the variations of every day with compassion, asking yourself why today is different for you?
We’re not robots. We’re going to have high-energy days, and days where we sleepwalk, days when we feel like talking and days when we don’t, days when ideas come easily and days when every thought seems to require hard work.
What would happen if instead of judging ourselves and beating ourselves up because we’re not just like we were yesterday or the day before, we ask: What’s happening with me today? Where am I strong today? What’s going hard for me? Then play to your strengths instead of fighting your temporary weakness. If today it’s easier to be social than to write, get your phone calls taken care of and leave the writing for tomorrow. If you’d rather be working alone than talking with other people, switch your to-do list to accommodate what your mind and body are telling you they need.
When you recognize your daily fluctuations in energy and interest, and adjust your expectations and to-do list accordingly, it becomes much easier!