Several students have come back to Kava recently, after a lengthy absence, saying they are getting the New Year’s resolution started now. That kind of discipline is really admirable! But I know for many of us it’s hard to imagine starting a yoga practice all over again when you know you’ll be at Square One.
Listen – you might be surprised that I have been at Square One many many times in my practice. I think sometimes Yoga students build up in their minds that we yoga teachers a) know how to do every posture (nope!), b) practice every day (we wish!) and/or c) have dedicated our lives to the practice and therefore always make getting on the yoga mat our first priority (also, no). Over the 25-ish years that I have been practicing yoga, my Square One do-overs have been caused by injuries, life events and just plain-old bad priorities.
I, like many of you, have been injured. When you have an injuries, you learn to slow down. The crazy arm balance that I had recently achieved was certainly not possible while recovering from a shoulder injury. When my dad died of cancer 5 years ago, that shook up my reality and my daily routines tremendously. Do you think that I was getting on my yoga mat all the time while he wasted away from bone cancer? Nope. I was barely able to eat, do laundry, teach or run my business. And there were those years in my 20’s and 30’s when I worked in the corporate world when my priorities often didn’t feel like my own. Business trips, conferences, client meetings, work projects. I got caught up in that other world and took my eye off the ball.
This up-and-down stuff in life is NORMAL. Yoga practice is not a linear progression. We don’t start on Day One, then progress and improve and improve and improve and then BOOM! one day you are DONE. Doesn’t work like that. Even people who practice every day – their progression slips back and moves forward in fits and spurts.
If you’re contemplating coming back in January to start a New Year’s resolution, I say “No time like the present.” When you do return, I encourage you to embody compassion for your body, humility, and a sense of humor. And realize that while you might be thinking everyone in the room is better or more consistent than you, remember we ALL have many Square One moments over a lifetime.