No matter what you do, don’t stop doing what you love.

Artist: Marabeth Quin

 

This post is for my dear friend Lizzy, who said, can you write about this?

We were catching up for an early morning cafe breakfast before work, and we were chatting about our morning practices. I get up early and do some kind of yoga practice most days – during the week it’s usually a 30 minute Sunrise practice from Gaia (best $10/month I spend), and then on the weekends I will do a longer practice, usually about an hour.

When I tell people this, they nearly always look at me with a slightly envious air, and use words like lucky or discipline or I wish I could do that or weirdo 🙂

I’ve had a regular home yoga practice for about seven years now, and I can assure you that it has nothing to with either luck or discipline, although right at the beginning there was a little of both, when I came across the book 40 Days of Yoga and my accidental yoga room.

Here’s the thing – yoga is the double whammy – I love doing yoga, because it makes me feel strong, centered and spacious in my body, and everything goes to shit when I don’t do it.

It’s always been like that for me with yoga, ever since I went to my first Iyengar yoga class back in 2000, but I spent the better part of a decade trying and failing to create a regular home practice. Why?

Well, lots of reasons, which I’ve written about at length in my 40 Days of Yoga series – mostly to do with perceptions of time, space, self-value and self-imposed restrictions.

Today I’m going to go through just one of the things that stop us from doing the thing that we want to do, which in this case is yoga, but could be anything that we enjoy doing, is good for us, but for some reason, isn’t a regular part of our life – and this could be any daily exercise, meditation or creative act.

I don’t understand why I can get up at quarter to five three mornings a week to go swimming, said my friend, but I can’t do that on the other mornings to do yoga! 

In my experience, people tend to think that they don’t do this thing they want to do because they lack discipline. 

In my experience, this is almost never true. If you enjoy doing something, it makes you feel good, and you know it makes you a better human, you don’t need discipline to do it. It is a bit more complex than that.

Like my friends, I thought I lacked discipline, and that’s why I hadn’t been able to establish a regular home yoga practice after years of trying and failing. It wasn’t until I committed to doing 40 days of yoga, where I started to work through the actual things that were stopping me, that I discovered discipline was the least of my concerns.

The issue which came up over breakfast, is this: we have a lofty vision of our daily ritual, whatever it might be: yoga, tai chi, meditation, writing, playing an instrument, painting, a daily walk, gardening – and that vision is stopping us from actually doing it.

Myth 1I need at least an hour to practice yoga. It needs to be in a beautiful room, at sunrise, and I must be completely uninterrupted in order to experience the full sacred experience. Anything less than that is unacceptable and probably pointless.

Truth: A short, daily practice is more effective than a long weekly practice. The benefit is in regularity and frequency, not in the occasional long sacred experience (although they’re great too).

Myth 2I need at least four uninterrupted hours to write. The writing must be done in a quiet space, with a beautiful vista, so that I can look upon it and be inspired. It must be done between the hours of 6 and 10am, because that is my most productive time, and if those criteria can’t be met, then I cannot write.

Truth: A short, daily practice is more effective than a long weekly practice. The benefit is in regularity and frequency, not in the occasional long sacred experience (although they’re great too).

Or what about this one: 

Myth 3: I am halfway through a degree, which I’ve loved every minute of. However, I am working full time, so I can’t study, because in order to reach my high standards, I must have at least one full day per week per subject free, where I can deeply immerse myself in my learning. If I don’t get a minimum Distinction grade, it isn’t worth studying at all.

Truth: You do what you can with what you have. When you have more, do more. When you have less, do less. But whatever you do, don’t stop doing the things you love.

4 comments

  1. Your discussion adds perspective to several similar conversations had recently. Sometimes we are doing what we want to do but not exactly in the way we thought we would… still worthwhile. Not everyone has just one grand passion or single glorious focus in life… the romance around that has created a myth, or vice versa. Reality is some -probably most- of us have more ideas, passions, enthusiams, vocations than we will ever have time for in this lifetime… but you bever know until you try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true Dale! We can’t let our idea of the way it should be get in the way of how it is. I’ve never been one for the great obsessive passion – tbh I think it’s weird and boring. I love the great kaleidoscope of ever changing interests ❤️

      Like

  2. Sara, thank you for this post. My posts have become mostly concerned with writers, artists, and the creative process, but I read you as much as I can. You should stop by. You’re always interesting and sincere. Thank you friend, and best wishes,

    David

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear David, how lovely of you to pop by, and thank you for reminding me about your blog ❤️ I don’t read many blogs these days, but I have always enjoyed yours, so will be sure to pop around in the next couple if days. I hope you are well, and enjoying the Autumn. Spring is unusually beautiful here this year ☀️

      Like

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