What I Learn by Avoiding My Morning Yoga Practice
Is there something you do every day no matter what? Maybe it’s water your plants, walk your dog, meditate or go to the gym?
You know you are going to do it — because you always do — yet, suddenly you are thinking about how to avoid it.
Right in that spot lives the intersection of devotion and resistance.
I have been doing a morning yoga practice for about 12 years. I do it every day, no matter what. I liken it to brushing my teeth. I do not leave home without getting on the mat. Ever. *one caveat noted — see #9 below
My morning practice is about 12 minutes of varied poses. I created it based on poses I loved in yoga classes I have attended over the years. There is a mix of stretching, twists, standing poses, flows and binds. When I learn a new pose or flow in a class, I integrate it in. I recently added a flow movement to my Warrior 2 pose that opens my whole chest.
My yoga routine began in bed. Years back, before I even got out of bed, I would do a series of wind removing poses and stretches with my legs. It felt wonderful. I loved that so much that I added a mat and more poses to my practice.
Why Do I Practice Daily Like This?
The bottom line is that I am a deeply devoted human.
I am deeply devoted to feeling alive and healthy in my body. I am deeply devoted to being intentional about my morning so that I can live my best life each day.
And I am deeply devoted to the concept of practice in my life.
What is the Concept of Practice?
In our world, there is a mentality of win/lose, right/wrong. The concept of practice removes those limited ways of thinking and puts an emphasis on growth and self awareness. This emphasis is much more expansive, as it is never ending, with no winners or losers, and no right or wrong.
With the concept of practice, I am always winning because I am always growing and expanding. I can see where my behaviors are not aligned with my desires and I am able to make adjustments.
So, even if I resist my yoga practice for 2 hours on a particular morning, which has happened, I did not fail in yoga that day, because by looking at my resistance, I get to unlock the places inside me that keep me stuck or avoid my desires.
When I focus on my deepest desires for myself, I am driven to be my best self, which feels empowering and fulfilling.
My Morning Routine
I am an early riser. I get out of bed, turn on my abundance fountain and my Spotify Morning Inspiration playlist, I kiss my Buddah fountain good morning (yes, my love extends pretty wide), I water my plants when needed, put my hot water kettle on to make Magic Tea and then go to the bathroom to brush my teeth and poop.
On the way out of the bathroom, I grab my purple yoga mat and set it down next to my bed.
And that, folks, is where my resistance begins.
Oh Let Me Count the Ways I Resist
Instead of getting on the mat, I have been laying back down on my made bed to check my phone. I even wrap myself in my snuggly turquoise blanket. Mmmm it feels so good.
There’s nothing wrong with this, by the way, it’s just that by doing that, I am actively avoiding my yoga practice, and that is curious to me.
I do my Today’s Top 3 Practice in that moment and that leads to me checking my texts and sometimes, if I go really unconscious, I end up on social media. It’s so easy to get lost.
The truth is I have fallen off the wagon with my practice of not checking my phone in the morning until after my practices. As I write this, I realize that this is the main cause of my yoga resistance. When I break my own rules, it leads to more avoidance and that feels sluggish to me.
But thank goodness for the concept of practice, which generously offers a new opportunity in every moment. Plus there is the bonus of my commitment to sharing what I learn with others. Thus, my avoidance gets alchemized into creative projects like this article.
Can’t We Just Skip to the Juicy Fun?
Maybe it sounds hokey, but I love my life. I love my projects, my business, my clients, my friends, my family, my sex life and I love writing articles on Medium. I am SO excited to get moving on all of the juiciness of my day that I sometimes want to get right to it.
It’s not possible though. I mean, maybe for a day it is, but it’s not sustainable.
You see, one main reason I have such a juicy wonderful life is a result of of my morning practices. Believe me, I don’t always wake up clear and joyful. Sometimes I wake up with resentment, anger, hurt or judgement. My practices help me clear all that out so that I can live my joyful abundant life and be a woman who lives in service.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Deep devotion and commitment is wonderful. I love how it enriches my life and calls me to be the woman I want to be — through honoring that commitment or by unwinding myself out of it in a healthy, connected way.
And like any commitment or routine, when we do something regularly, it can get mundane. And as much as I love routine, I also crave change and variety. So one way I take responsibility for my life is I change thing up a lot.
Here’s a few ways I have played with changing up my morning yoga routine:
- Practice it backwards.
- Every movement is one breath.
- Listen to Morning Rampage while practicing.
- Spring Clean with a friend. (an emotional clearing tool with specific steps)
- Listen to inspirational music.
- Practice at the beach.
- Practice on the grass.
- Be naked.
- Go to a yoga class in a studio.
- Write an article about it. (Yes, it has helped)
Bring It to the Mat
One of my teachers used to say, When we decide to go to Bikram Yoga, the time from deciding to go and getting on the mat is a constant negotiation with self.
This is normal.
I know that my mind can be a tricky place to be. Luckily, I have learned not to listen to my own thoughts. Even deeper, I have learned to discern between the voices of my ego and my desire. That is what keeps me on track.
So I love all of me. I love the desire, the commitment, the need for variety, the play and yes, even the resistance.
This morning, as I felt my resistance arise, I asked myself, While I am feeling this resistance, can I be resistant on the mat?
So I laid on my yoga mat, naked, chatting with a friend. Yes, it turns out I can bring my resistance to the mat. This melted my heart and gave me deeper compassion for myself.
Pleasure lies beyond that which we resist the most. ~Mama Gena
Do you know how great I feel after my morning yoga routine?! I feel expansive and open, like anything is possible.
That feeling is the whole reason I began my practice in the first place and the whole reason I continue it.
So, today, I love myself here, in my resistance and in my devotion. And I practice that.
“Love and magic have a great deal in common. they enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice.”― Nora Roberts
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