The Guilt Project

After two false starts, I rebooted the Yoga Project this week and vowed that this would be the last beginning.  That was Tuesday, and so far I’ve practiced twice: that night I did Sage Rountree’s Yoga for Athletes- Basics, and I just finished another Yoga for Athletes practice, this one focused on turning inward.  That’s more yoga in less than a week than I’ve done in quite some time, and I still have tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday to continue adding to my running tally…but I’ve been struggling all week with intense feelings of guilt.

The guilt comes from a couple different sources.  For one thing, if I’m doing yoga it means I’m taking time away from running, and if I’m running it means I probably won’t have time for a yoga practice that day.  For another, I’ve made this big deal about how I’m doing this whole big “Project” thing, but I’m not exactly a living embodiment of yogic energy these days.  I mean, is two practices a week even worth mentioning?  Some people do yoga every day, and I’m failing to manage that.  As I’m sure you can tell, it’s a very productive way of thinking about things.

It wasn’t until I was practicing this evening that it really hit home for me that yoga is as much a mental exercise as it a physical one.  I mean, I’ve known that for a while, but it wasn’t until I thought about it in the context of the guilt I’ve been experiencing that I was able to make it resonate in a really meaningful way for me.  In her Yoga for Athlete’s series, Sage Rountree talks a lot about doing “what’s right for now”, whether that means breathing differently while you’re running, or deciding to go into child’s pose instead of a vinyasa cycle between sets of lunges.  My feelings of guilt are a direct reflection of the degree to which I’ve managed to cultivate neglect for what’s right for now.  What’s right for now is practicing when I have the time to do it and enjoy it; balancing a yoga practice with running; taking time to rest when I need it; and not forcing myself to do something because I’ll feel guilty if I don’t.

In the end, sometimes the most valuable practice is choosing not to practice, and to do something else (or nothing) instead.  Even though it has taken me a while to realize it, this is just as much a part of the Yoga Project as any podcast or studio class.

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4 comments

  1. i struggle trying to balance a variety of workouts too… sometimes i have to set a “bare minimum” rule – like, 10 minutes a day. there are some yoga videos online that are only 10 minutes i think… maybe “yogaisyummy”? (i don’t fully remember)

    the mental aspect of yoga is the hardest part!!

    1. I like the bare minimum rule. I try to apply that to running too (even though I mostly fail) and tell myself that I should do at least ten or twenty minutes. In this case, even five to ten minutes of sun salutations or something would be better than nothing!

    1. Yeah, yoga gets lost for me pretty quickly too. I’m really trying to change that, though, because I really feel like a regular yoga practice would benefit my running.

      I definitely know what you mean about the pull of yoga–there are times when there’s just nothing else that my body wants!

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