You Do This Because That's What You Do

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You know how I love my mantras.

They guide me through life:
"Lead with your heart; the rest of you will follow."

They reassure me that I've done enough:
"I did my best today. Tomorrow, I'll do better."

They remind me to take life as it happens:
"You can have it all, just not all at once."

After a recent yoga retreat with Ashtanga master teacher Kino MacGregor (seriously, check out her videos. The human body's capabilities are infinite.)
She led us through what were the most difficult practices I've experienced since I started yoga. By the time Sunday afternoon's Yoga Sutras talk began, I was exhausted.

That morning's practice had been tough. I was in the front row, next to a large window with no shade. It was 10 a.m. As sun rose higher and higher, the 50-plus students in the room breathed and progressed through their practices. The temperature rose by more than 10 degrees. Condensation appeared on water bottles scattered throughout the room, sweat dripped from every inch of my body, and the windows fogged up. Even the hardwood floor was covered in condensation. I lifted my body, stretched it, breathed all the while.

Whereas the previous day's practice had felt exhilarating--I was practicing with an incredible teacher, surrounded by close friends, and basking the energy of so many motivated Ashtanga yogis--today's felt torturous. I felt heavy, weak, defeated.
Ninety minutes later, I made it to the end of my practice. I was exhausted. I had given all I could. My muscles were shaking, my stomach growling, my body soaked in sweat.

It was over.

As I rose from our final relaxation, savasana, my mind started to wander. I was tired, but I knew that there was little break in sight. Tomorrow I would return to my studio in Cincinnati, do my practice as best I could, as I would the next day and the day after that.

When you've committed to a yoga practice, you have to practice. Even when you don't want to. You can do less, but you can't give up. You don't quit, even if you do need to take a day off because life interferes.

But why?

That afternoon Kino explained: "You do this because that's what you do." Not because it has any special qualities.

I took that to heart.

Why do I return to my mat six mornings a week, even when I'm tired, sick, or cranky? Because it's what I do. I practice yoga. It's not something you do once a week, not something you just quit when you feel like it. I committed myself to this path, and I'm going to stick with it. I don't do it so I can have ripped shoulders, so that I can put my foot behind my head or so that I can wear stretchy black pants all the time. I do it because that's what I do.

Why do you drink your 8 cups of water daily? Why do you track your fitness minutes, use your lunch breaks to walk, and skip the snooze button so you'll have time to pack a healthy lunch?

Because you've committed to this path. And that's what you do.
What do YOU do?

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