We all know those days, when we just don’t feel like getting on the mat. Even the best of us do. And sometimes, it’s absolutely legitimate – you’re feeling ill, under the weather, it’s the first, cramp-ridden day of your period… In those cases, you probably shouldn’t go for a 90-minute vigorous vinyasa style practice. I’m not talking about those days. I’m talking about the days where you’re tired after a long day of work, you’re in a bad mood or it’s too cold to actually change into your yoga shorts (if you live in snowy Berlin on a student budget, you’ll know what I’m talking about). On those days, you should absolutely get on your mat.
When you just don’t want to get on your mat
I can be quite prone to procrastinate from doing yoga on days where I am feeling my mental health issues a little more strongly. At times it just seems easier to burrito wrap my blanket around me and stay in bed watching – no kidding – yoga youtubers all day.
I know for certain that yoga is a perfect quick fix to improve my mental state. But despite this knowledge, it can be the most daunting task to accomplish in that moment.
Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to establish a daily practice, the benefits of which I will talk about another time. Daily practice, for me, includes getting on the mat on those days, where I don’t feel like it, as hard as it may be.
Having no expectations makes room for surprises
Have you ever had those nights where you really don’t feel like going out, but your friends convince you? Usually for me, those turn out to be the best nights – I got together with my boyfriend on one of those.
Well, it seems to be the same with yoga. Every time I have to drag myself onto my mat, I have an awesome practice. Very rarely do I end with just five sun salutations, normally I just get into the flow and keep going.
I allow myself to just sit there for ten minutes in meditation, do five sun salutations or my favourite poses – but I have to get on the mat.
And more often than not, amazing things happen. I manage to hold my first unassisted headstand for a little while. My meditation is exceptionally deep or my flow especially fluid.
It’s worth it.
Last time I had a down day like this, I had settled for some gentle hip stretching. Hip openers are very hard for me, since I struggle with hip dysplasia. I have to work very hard at them and make very slow progress. I went for the half lotus pose, and was confused at how easy it felt. So I tried, just for the hell of it, to get into full lotus – and to my surprise, my leg slipped right on top of the other.
I was so exhilarated that I scrambled to my phone in this position, shot a picture of my accomplishment and sent it to my partner, who has no clue about anything yoga, but always manages to be as happy about these contortions as I am.
The progress I make on those days is my reward for getting on my mat despite not really wanting it. It’s like my practice telling me it’s worth it to just keep up my daily practice.
So I encourage you, to get a practice in even on those days where you feel off. Be gentle with yourself, don’t push it to hard – but practice, and you’ll reap the rewards.