I'm a bit of a perfectionist. While I've learned to love myself, flaws and all, I still struggle with the concept of making mistakes. Recently, I discovered that I was imparting pressure and expectations upon my yoga practice, inflicting guilt on myself if I didn't reach arbitrary self-imposed goals.
I had to learn to let go, breathe, and remind myself to always leave something for tomorrow.
I practice traditional Ashtanga yoga, and as of early October, I have an early morning practice Sunday through Friday that lasts 75-90 minutes. When my studio changed schedules to this morning practice, I realized that I had no remaining (legitimate) excuse to miss practice, save illness or injury. The practice allows for the traditional Saturday rest day, plus new moon and full moon rest days. In addition, women are encouraged to rest the first three days of their cycle each month. That makes for up to nine days of rest each month.
I vowed to NEVER skip a morning practice. I bounded from bed at 5:45 (OK, 6 or 6:15…), showered (we start practice with a clean body), and headed to the studio, groggy but eager to practice. By the time I arrived at the office a couple of hours later, I felt awake, alive, better than ever.
But the practice is rigorous, life happens, and I got tired. I found myself taking off a morning here and there.
Then I was injured (pulled back muscle), and I missed almost an entire week. A couple of weeks later, my teacher traveled for some training, and my schedule was disrupted again. I did home practice and went to other studios (and taught a few classes), but it wasn't "normal." The week before Christmas, I missed two mornings because I was purely exhausted.
I spent the day fretting about the setback, feeling "off" because I missed practice, and generally beating myself up.
That night, I lay in bed and thought about those feelings. I decided then and there to stop treating myself poorly.
My new morning mantra:
Do your best today.
Do better tomorrow.
And my evening affirmation:
I did my best today.
I'll do better tomorrow.
Whether you ordered takeout instead of cooking a healthy meal, ate four Christmas cookies at the company treat exchange, or slept in and missed a workout, don't beat yourself up. Treat yourself with love and respect, acknowledge that you did your best, and promise to do better tomorrow.
Instead of looking at the things I did "wrong," the decisions that led to "bad" choices, I choose to focus on the positives. Sure, I missed yoga that day, but I did eat 11 servings of fruits and vegetables, squeezed in a run, talked to a friend who was having a bad day and spent a few minutes meditating. All in all, not a "bad" day.
Do you agree with these sentiments? Do you beat yourself up for every healthy decision you miss, or do you focus on the ones you get right?
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