I used to laugh at my mom when she told me how she’d go to exercise classes with a walkman on. “I watch the teacher but I don’t need to listen to her,” she’d explain. Typical mama. Can’t follow a rule or a recipe to save her life. Turns out apples fall dangerously close to Jewish trees.
3 ways I break all the rules in yoga (and in general):
1. I own time – The hour before class begins is included in what I call “yoga”. Why limit yourself to 60 mins when you can have 120 mins of “me time”? Conversely, I leave class once I feel like I’ve gotten my fill. Some say “finish strong” but if towards the end I’m not feeling the love, I’m out. The idea being that I go where I want when I want, not according to anyones schedule but mine. At this point, I own time. Life is too short for anything else.
2. Sleep out of the lines – In yoga, after you’ve woken yourself from “final relaxation”, there’s a custom of thanking your teacher by sitting up and bowing. Younger me did this with mucho gusto. Today I shrug saying: I’m gonna sleep right through that. Without a single worry about what anyone thinks, I keep on sleeping as they mop the floors around me to prep for the next class. I get up, rosy cheeked and rejuvenated, yoga benefits having soaked in a hundredfold. Then I pack up and go back home to the battlefront recharged. I do it for shavasana, seriously. That’s how you can tell a novice from a seasoned pro.
3. Take the difficult path – Like professional swimmers who stop shaving their legs and wear 5 swimsuits to decrease buoyancy in the water, I practice hormesis by not getting too comfortable on the yoga mat. I forego the fancy grippy towel that keeps you from slipping and the face towel too. The rivulets of sweat cascading down my eyes, chest and inner thighs make for a very slippery mat. Don’t worry, this only ups my game. Just imagine if I had the right gear, I’d take everyone in that room down!
80% of the congratulations I give to myself in yoga (and in life), is for showing up in the first place. Forget the effort I bust out in class, forget the benefits gained from deep breathing, forget the crazy energy boost I get afterwards, 80% of the grade is for showing up—the most important step for anything you want to achieve in life. Don’t forget to be ballsy too.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
― Theodore Roosevelt